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Chester County Press

Uncle Irvin: Add mushroom workers to labor shortage

05/16/2017 01:44PM ● By Richard Gaw
According to an article in the Monday, May 15 issue of The Wall Street Journal, the immigrant-nurtured mushroom industry has been hit hard by a labor shortage. That comes from Tim Hihn, a manager at CP Yeatman & Sons, Inc.
Hihn called the labor shortage “the worst it's ever been.”
Large growers like Phillips Mushroom Farm have already raised per-pound bonuses, but Phillips general manager Jim Angelucci says he's concerned about further attrition. Other American farmers, including blueberry and cranberry growers in New Jersey, use immigrant labor for shorter picking seasons, and they see workers not showing up.
Chester County's mushroom production is already on the downswing from the 2013-14 season, losing about 1 million pounds. Mushroom farms have generally failed to recruit locals, who can make as much as $50,000 per year, or $16 an hour.
It appears that if the mushroom industry, as well as agriculture in general, is to survive, growers will need to make major changes in compensation.

(Uncle Irvin's column is his opinion only, and is not a news story.)