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Higher wages for farm workers would cost you next to nothing

It’s been argued that American farms need cheap imported labor to keep food prices low. But in an online debate at the New York Times, UC Davis agricultural economist Philip Martin makes the case that increasing farmworkers’ wages by 40 percent would have an almost negligible effect on your grocery bill.

If farm wages rose 40 percent, and this wage increase were passed on to consumers, average spending on fresh fruits and vegetables would rise about $15 a year, the cost of two movie tickets. However, for a typical seasonal farm worker, a 40 percent wage increase could raise earnings from $10,000 for 1,000 hours of work to $14,000 — lifting the wage above the federal poverty line.

 

 

One Response to Higher wages for farm workers would cost you next to nothing

  1. Mark says:

    I work in the solar industry and have, on occasion, worked wineries up and down the state. I was surprised to learn from one winery owner that the bulk of his outside labor force was paid very, very well. Apparently, the need for skilled, reliable workers far outweighed the increased cost to retain good help. Of course, these wines are not commodities and command premium prices.

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