American agriculture employs some 2.5 million workers during a typical year, most for fewer than six months. Three fourths of these farm workers are immigrants, half are unauthorized, and most will leave seasonal farm work within a decade. What do these statistics mean for farmers, for laborers, for rural America?
This book addresses the question by reviewing what is happening on farms and in the towns and cities where immigrant farm workers settle with their families. Philip Martin finds that the business-labor model that has evolved in rural America is neither desirable nor sustainable. He proposes regularizing U.S. farm workers and rationalizing the farm labor market, an approach that will help American farmers stay globally competitive while also improving conditions for farm workers.