CISA to host farm labor workshops

The Recorder, January 10, 2018, by Diane Broncaccio

The arrest of three migrant farmworkers in a raid by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in Hatfield last fall raised farmers’ concerns about the stability of their workforce and workers’ safety in this time of shifting federal policies regarding immigrants.

That was one reason why CISA (Communities Involved in Sustainable Agriculture) decided to offer a winter workshop series on labor — a priority issue for farmers.

The workshop series, “Policies, Practices and People,” begins on Thursday, Jan. 18, covering everything from an overview of farm labor management to workplace culture and leadership, employee manuals and best practices, food safety training and complying with labor regulations.

“We have been hearing from farm owners that local farmers are worried,” said Claire Morenon, a CISA spokeswoman. “There’s a culture of fear, as there were a handful of farmworkers last year in Hatfield who were arrested by ICE,” she said. “Things like that generate concerns and fear. What we have been hearing from farm owners is they are concerned about the welfare and safety of their workers.”

The US Department of Labor estimates that about 72 percent of farmworkers nationwide are foreign-born, and that 46 percent of all farm workers are undocumented, Morenon said.