The article “UC Davis report: Farm labor supply from Mexico is falling fast” in Fruit Growers News discusses the dwindling supply of labor from Mexico that the Ag industry has come to rely on in the United States. I read this article after skimming through the headlines of The Signal in my inbox. The Signal is a new weekly newsletter produced by Meister Media that highlights trends in ag technology and automation. How does the industry begin to address the issue of declining labor from Mexico? It’s time to embrace technology and innovation and the companies that will develop the solutions to overcome these challenges that the industry faces. Let us help you get back to farming.
How can you make crop production more profitable and efficient? It starts by minimizing expenses. Today, I also read on GrowingProduce.com that, “According to a report recently released by the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), U.S. farmers and ranchers earn just 14.6 cents for every dollar American consumers spend on food.” This is the lowest value since this statistic was first recorded in 1993 by the USDA. So how do you do more with less?
Invest in tools that will optimize the productivity of your workforce
We are told from many of our customers that using the InstaCaliper cuts the time it takes to caliper trees and count inventory in half. You have just made your nursery more productive.
How many hours and office staff were staying one, two, maybe even three hours after picking ended to count, hand-enter, and calculate total hours worked and pieces earned? Eliminating these time-consuming processes just made your farm more productive.
Find ways to ensure that you have accurate labor costs
When we initially tested the FairPick scale out in cherry orchards, we found that, on average, each cherry lug weighed about 18.5 pounds. Each lug should hold 20 pounds of cherries. 1.5 pounds of “missing” fruit adds up quickly. Paying by weight ensures that you are only paying for the fruit harvested.
The only way to justify the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” or “it’s because we’ve always done it that way” mentality is if you accept that nothing has changed since you started farming. Tariffs haven’t increased, farm income has remained the same, technology has not progressed, labor has remained constant and abundant…. Being a productive, profitable farm looks different than it did 50 year ago, even 10 years ago.
Every obstacle a farmer faces is an opportunity for the Ag Tech industry to grow.