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Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 4:15am

Deal Wants Farm Worker Report

The state is looking into the farm worker shortage in South Georgia. Governor Nathan Deal is asking for a report after the industry complained there aren’t enough workers to pick the crops since the illegal immigration reform law was signed.

Industry advocates are saying some farmers are missing half of their labor force.

Governor Deal has asked the state’s agricultural agency to assess the problem and issue a report by June 10th. In the meantime, he says he’s working with the state labor department.

"We still have an unemployment level here that is unacceptably high. Whether or not we can provide some way of transitioning those individuals. Perhaps if it applies, some kind of relocation for those people to fill some of those jobs. We're going to explore all of those things," says Deal.

Deal says when the report comes in it will inform a change that needs to happen on a federal level to get a better guest worker program.

The illegal immigration reform bill he signed a few weeks ago requires employers use a federal data base to check the legality of new hires.

The law doesn’t go into effect until July 1st.

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