Agricultural Markets Demand More Maintenance — But Georgia Farmers Face Weather, Labor Challenges 

Farmers in Georgia have been impacted by a multitude of events in the last few years: hurricanes, stalled aid, trade policy and, on top of that, drought. 

In September, the Southeast saw record heat — with little to no rain. Now, there is lots of rain in the forecast for the coming week. On Second Thought checked in with onion farmer Aries Haygood of A&M Farms in Lyons, Georgia, to hear about the issues impacting farmers.

"Some of us have gone almost a whole month without any rain," Haygood said. "So you just imagine a crop not growing with any rain. There's going to be size issues and moisture problems within that crop, that we really don't know how severe it is yet."

A&M Farms is just now sowing seed for a new crop of onions. But when it comes to harvesting in April, Haygood says that workforce shortages present challenges for getting everything done in time. He explained that farmers often need to use the H-2A program, which allows agricultural employers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. for temporary labor.

"Some of the challenges we've seen is just getting a workforce that shows up everyday, that's reliable and dependable, for us to get that onion out of the field before that next rain," Haygood said. "So we've had to start leaning on the H-2A program a lot to help us offset that for our fields."

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