Last week Fox News ran a story about asparagus growers who were complaining about a lack of workers who are willing to endure brutal conditions for poverty wages, with the requisite quote by an agribusiness representative demeaning Americans. I was quoted in the piece pointing out the fact that large commercial farmers, who are the predominate employers of illegal farm workers, can afford to pay more, much more, in wages.
I received an e-mail from a farmer from North Dakota who saw the story and took issue with my remarks. I sent him a substantial, and what I thought was a reasoned and courteous, reply. I explained that, while I was not commenting on his particular situation, the available evidence demonstrates very clearly that large agribusiness operators can offer better wages and working conditions to farm laborers. I also told him that I grew up working on farms and understood first hand the physical demands of farm labor. Below is what I received back from him as a response:
WOW……I cannot believe how far out of touch you are. Guess being a city kid made you very narrow minded and uninformed. Be sure to talk badly about farmers when your mouth is full of food. Seems like your brain is full of manure. Get a life
Sadly, this dismissive attitude toward their fellow Americans and the willingness to exploit, or at least to defend the exploitation of foreign workers, is not uncommon among commercial farmers. Many are just like any other unscrupulous employer who willingly breaks the law in order to increase their profits. We should not sympathize with their “plight.”