Lack of migrant workers leaves county farms choking in weeds


Farmers cope with labor shortage

LONGMONT — A dry summer and the shortage of migrant laborers have depleted Boulder and Weld county crop production this year.

Sugar beet and organic vegetable farmers stand to lose the most in ag
yield this fall because of a labor shortage that has left their fields
choking on weeds.

Organic farmers rely most on migrant laborers because organic-label
standards limit them from using many chemical herbicides, Longmont soil
conservationist Don Graffis said. Those farmers typically employ large
numbers of Hispanic workers to weed their fields and, in many cases, to
harvest them.

Hand-picked vegetables often receive less bruising than mechanically harvested vegetables and sell for more money, he said.

Along with drought, farmers this year have also begun to cope with new
state laws that many say have already scared immigrant workers out of

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