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Saturday, June 11, 2011 - 4:21am

Deal Gets Data From State’s Farm Labor Survey

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.

Contributors

Contributors: 
GPB's Joshua Stewart contributed to this report.