By Mary Beth Faller, ASU Now
That plate of beautiful vegetables on your table is the result of a complicated matrix of farm labor, wages, costs and consumer prices. The growers who produce those vegetables have been sounding the alarm in recent years that the lack of farm labor is cutting into their livelihoods and leaving crops unharvested in the fields.
An Arizona State University professor has been examining the issue of farm labor and how immigration policy could affect how much you pay for those vegetables. The research is so important that now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has given Timothy Richards, a professor in the W.P. Carey School of Business, a two-year grant to delve deeper. He’ll be working with colleagues at Cal Poly and Cornell universities.
In preliminary research, Richards created a theoretical model to examine farm labor and showed that widespread removal of all undocumented farmworkers would result in skyrocketing wages that would squeeze growers and likely cause prices at the grocery store to spike. …
Richards hopes the research can better inform agricultural policy.