Michigan crops going unharvested as COVID keeps away workers

Finding an adequate supply of farm workers has become increasingly difficult in recent years but the coronavirus pandemic has made it especially hard for some.

Michigan fruit grower Michael DeRuiter tells Brownfield while farms and ag processors have been trying to do their due diligence to follow COVID-19 protocols and keep employees safe, not having enough help is making an impact.

“There’s just no labor to get it processed, so we’re losing fields of perfectly good crops and it’s all in lei of labor and the COVID challenges.”

This week a group of farmers and farmworkers dropped their case against an emergency order requiring COVID testing on some farms and processing plants.  Many specialty crop farms across the state have reported employees leaving or not showing up because of the mandated tests.

DeRuiter says its unfortunate perfectly good crops are being wasted when demand is strong simply because there aren’t enough people.

“It seems like everything is a little more in high demand but the difficulties is not necessarily on the grower level, it’s really getting it processed.”

DeRuiter grows tart cherries, peaches and apples and operates a small processing facility in Hart.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Stay Up to Date

Subscribe for our newsletter today and receive relevant news straight to your inbox!

Brownfield Ag News