Farmer says oil and gas boom luring away labor force

BRIGHTON - It's no secret the oil and gas industry is booming. A Brighton farmer says that boom has attracted his seasonal labor force away, and he's struggling to find workers to pick his crops.

"Last year, we left about 25 percent of our cabbage out in the field. [I] didn't have the labor," said Bob Sakata, who grows many different crops on his farm.

In his seven decades of farming, he says he's never had a labor shortage like this one.

He worries that when the cabbage on his fields is ready for picking later this summer he won't have the people to pick it.

"We took a pretty big loss last year," he said.

His starting wages are $8.15 per hour, and he says that just isn't competitive with the oil and gas industry. In the last year, he says he's seen a huge drop in applications for work.

Sakata says a huge help would be if Congress passed immigration reform with a provision to help farmers.

That provision would allow people to cross the border and work legally with a VISA—but they would be allowed to work only in agriculture.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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