Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Play

A lawsuit over the funding of Pennsylvania schools is in the hands of a judge, California launches a student loan debt challenge, and texts show former President Trump seeking donations after the FBI raid.

Play

Republicans rally around former President Trump after the FBI searches his home for missing archive documents, President Biden formalizes U.S. support for Finland and Sweden joining NATO, and the FDA expands authorization of the monkeypox vaccine.

Play

People in five rural Kentucky counties are fighting their way back after catastrophic flooding, efforts to preserve Oklahoma's historic buildings in small communities are running up against funding challenges, and more factory-built manufactured homes could help solve the nation's housing shortage.

Immigration Restrictions Affect Christmas Tree Growers, Workers

Play

Friday, December 7, 2018   

ELKTON, Md. – Christmas trees will be available this holiday season, although growers say they've had a tougher time getting Balsam, Frasier and other fir-tree varieties out for purchase – and one reason is the U.S. immigration crackdown.

President Donald Trump's effort to restrict legal and illegal immigration at the nation's borders has meant fewer migrant workers filling tree farms with the seasonal labor they need. Gary Thomas, who is president of the Maryland Christmas Tree Association, says the lack of workers has an impact on tree availability nationally, and he expects to see shortages in some parts of the country.

"I've talked to farmers in North Carolina, as well as out in the Midwest, as well as on the West, Pacific Northwest,” says Thomas, “that we don't have enough help."

Thomas said he's seen some of the largest Christmas-tree-growing states along the East coast, such as North Carolina and Pennsylvania, suffer the most from the immigrant restrictions. Some farms that used to employ 25 workers are now trying to get by with about ten.

Another issue is smaller numbers of trees on the market. Since Christmas trees take eight to 10 years to mature, this year's harvest was planted during the Great Recession, which hit the industry hard. But Thomas says the lack of workers to harvest them has had the biggest impact.

He predicts it will affect more than just trees in the coming year.

"This is hurting farmers across the country,” says Thomas. “And wait until there's no food on the table or in the grocery stores because we don't have people to pick it."

Thomas says negative environmental impacts should keep people from turning to artificial trees, as they eventually end up in landfills and take many years to decompose. He adds for every live tree his industry provides, two or three others are planted in its place.




get more stories like this via email

A shortage of affordable housing is seen as one reason for a spike in eviction cases in Virginia. According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the state needs 153,415 affordable rentals for people who are extremely low-income. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

With Virginia's Rent Relief Program ending, a flood of eviction cases has emerged. Established during the pandemic, the program was designed to help …


Environment

As Congress debates a bill to fund climate-change solutions, Pima Community College is doing its own work to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and …

Social Issues

In the first six months of this year, the U.S. saw a significant jump in foreclosure filings, coinciding with concerns about the pressure inflation …


The Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers often pretend to be from the Social Security Administration and ask to "verify people's taxpayer ID" numbers in an effort to steal their identity. (Stockphotopro/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Last year, Americans reported losing a record-breaking $5.8 billion to scams, and now, the State of California and AARP are teaming up to try to …

Social Issues

The state has just launched the California Student Loan Debt Challenge, to let public service employees - like teachers, law enforcement, nurses…

People can wait up to three years to get into affordable housing in Spokane, Wash. (Zach/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Washingtonians are feeling the squeeze from high housing prices, but a novel concept launching in Spokane could speed up the creation of affordable …

Social Issues

More officials from South Dakota's health care community are speaking out in support of Medicaid expansion. Voters will decide this fall whether to …

Social Issues

After eight years, the Pennsylvania school-funding lawsuit is in the hands of the judge, creating a waiting game heading into the new school year…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021