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Saturday, June 11, 2011 - 4:21am

Deal Gets Data From State’s Farm Labor Survey

Updated: 6 years ago.
A state Department of Agriculture survey is supposed to determine whether growers are experience a shortage of farm labor because of the state’s new illegal immigration law. The results of the survey were delivered to the governor late Friday. South Georgia farmers say they can't get enough workers to pick the state's most profitable and best-known crops, including peaches and Vidalia onions. (Photo Courtesy of Ryan Griffis via Flickr.)

A new state-sponsored survey of farm labor could shed light on whether Georgia growers are suffering a labor shortage after the state passed a law cracking down on illegal immigrants.

Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black sent the survey results late Friday to Gov. Nathan Deal, who requested the information. Deal spokeswoman Stephanie Mayfield said the governor will review the results and comment next week.

State officials would not immediately release the information.

Farmers have complained that the newly passed law is discouraging migrant workers — including many illegal immigrants — from harvesting crops in Georgia.

A different survey released earlier this week by the Georgia Agribusiness Council found nearly half of farmers reported they don’t have enough workers to harvest their crops.

The controversial law will allow local police to inquire about a suspect's immigration status in some circumstances. It will also force farmers to use a federal electronic database to make sure new hires are in the country legally.


GPB's Joshua Stewart contributed to this report.