> But we're contemplating contract (not illegal) workers, after the
> experience of friends in Maryland who were declared a migrant work camp
> because of the presence of their summer apprentices. After learning what
> regulatory hoops they would have to jump through to keep their college
> workforce, these farmers decided just to bag it. One less farm in Maryland,
> one less supplier of local produce to direct markets, one less place for
> urbanites to get exposed to farming.
I to am familiar with the migrant worker issue. We've had 5 or 6 men from Puerto
Rico come and help us over the summer for the last 35yrs.(not always the same
crew) Even though we have a long term relationship with these guys (I've been to
visit them twice in P.R. and my dad 8 times ), we are considered a "migrant labor"
camp. They are not really migrants because they just work for us for 3 months and
then go home. The state (PA) regs have been reasonable. The Feds are a different
story! One year we were told that our "camp" would be shut down because it was
located within 500 ft of livestock. Ended up we didn't have to. Another time we
had to pay $1,700.00 for travel reimbersement. The worst was when we were
surprised checked and had 1 window screen that had a hole the size of a pencil, a
burnt out light bulb, screen door that was dinged in, and an unapproved backing to
the stove. This was all repaired in 3 days and they still fined us $850.00! After
we balked they wanted to negotiate the fine or go to court!!! We concidered
cutting back our operation so we would not need as much labor. That would have
meant that 6 people would have probably been unemployed just because of these
We are now trying to get local Amish labor as a way to get around the gov. regs.
"New Generation Cropping Systems": the cutting edge of sustainable agriculture http://www.cedarmeadowfarm.com Steve Groff Cedar Meadow Farm 679 Hilldale Rd Holtwood PA 17532 USA Ph. 717-284-5152
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