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Anecdotes are not evidence but...
07-30-2020, 12:49 PM
Post: #1
Anecdotes are not evidence but...
... is there really a lack of willing workers for farm work?


Quote:I was Sunraysia Daily editor in the 1980s. In a strong seasonal fruit-picking region like Sunraysia, I never saw evidence that this annual whinge is true. Nowadays I’m constantly knocking back unsolicited farm work applications,
local and backpackers.
From Peter Klages
@PeterKlages
Farmer and grazier. Animal lover. Vegetable grower. Owner of Glenhaven Organic Farm, Campbelltown, Vic. Former journalist and newspaperman.

I was interviewing farmers all last week, and one of the questions I asked about COVID impacts was if they had experienced labour shortages. Not one farmer said yes, indeed they felt guilty they had to keep turning away a lot of people looking for work.
From Sarah Ann Wheeler
@SarahAnnWheele1
Professor of Water and Agricultural Economics at Centre for Global Food and Resources, UofA

Is it too hard to imagine that there are workers in Australia willing to do seasonal farm work and that all that is needed is someone to recruit and manage this potential work force?

"When your opponent is destroying himself, don't interrupt him." Napoleon
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07-30-2020, 04:23 PM (This post was last modified: 07-30-2020 04:23 PM by maxhr54.)
Post: #2
RE: Anecdotes are not evidence but...
I have also seen this so called labor shortage debunked.
I have seen many farmers say they have been overwhelmed by people wanting seasonal work
Saw Michael McCormack mention some website where all the available work is posted online.
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07-30-2020, 10:14 PM (This post was last modified: 07-30-2020 10:15 PM by Di Wundrin.)
Post: #3
RE: Anecdotes are not evidence but...
What reason would farmers, in particular fruit producers, have to lie about it?? Why would they do that?
Is anyone investigating them? Linking them with a conspiracy to put canneries out of business. Or are they paid by supermarkets who don't want to sell their product for an obscene mark up profit?

What's it about? I've seen them talking on camera saying that the fruit won't wait to be picked and there simply aren't enough people in their region to get the job done.

The wives and kids used to do a few hours when the grapes were ripe around Muswellbrook years ago, I don't see why they wouldn't do it with fruit picking... but the point with a couple of farmers was the number needed over a short period and the expertise needed for some crops. Sounds a bit twee, but there are tricks to some harvesting methods apparently. I know the vineyards were 'picky' about hiring those with experience.
The numbers needed were found in teams of backpackers travelling from farm to farm, but those teams can't fill their ranks.

So we're getting different stories about this, why are we?
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07-30-2020, 11:18 PM
Post: #4
RE: Anecdotes are not evidence but...
One anecdote against another?

Whatever the reason I think there might be an opportunity for recruiting even if the recruits are in need of some training. How difficult would that be?

"When your opponent is destroying himself, don't interrupt him." Napoleon
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07-31-2020, 01:12 AM
Post: #5
RE: Anecdotes are not evidence but...
Well, considering how hard it is to even get people to wear masks in Woolies I'm not sure how many would leave their doonas to pick apples on frosty mornings.
They're getting paid to stay at home, why would they leave to work for a lower rate and pay rent somewhere else out of their wages?

It's the teams of missing back packers that seems to be the problem. A fruit or crop farmer doesn't need them 51 weeks of the year so he's not going to hire pickers full time.

He hires contractors with teams, much as they do in America, to turn up for a weeks work.
They work for the contractors in that set up, not for the farmer. Like shearers.

It's not a matter of moving to Woop Woop for a permanent job, the seasons and crops vary over the rural regions and that means being on the move to follow them.

Ideal for back packers, not so much for young Aussies who need secure jobs. Those who don't want secure jobs are thinking about a career on welfare and they're not going to go out on the road either.

There's no simple solution, especially when the unions get into the picture.
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08-01-2020, 02:22 AM
Post: #6
RE: Anecdotes are not evidence but...
Late news on the fruit picker teams. Glad is setting up a system to allow the Victorians from unaffected (we hope) rural border regions to cross the border into the Riverina to pick the crops.

Calculated risk, but a practical one.
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