I have always wondered about how the agricultural business is doing knowing that the work is hard and there is a prejudice against those who are in charge of harvesting crops. In this article my assumptions were true that the farming industry must not be doing well and struggling to find workers. John Klein, a Stockton farmer, described the situation “There’s not enough guys, and everybody is fighting for everybody else’s guys,’ he says. ‘In Napa and Sonoma, they’re getting $2,000 a ton [for grapes]. So, those guys can afford to pay $15. For me, I’m just trying to break even.”
Immediately after I read this I was thrown into Grapes of Wrath. Just like in the book farmers in California have to be careful about how they pay the ‘Okies’ because of its effect on the rest of the farming community. Timothy, the farmer Tom is given work from, explains that he was told, “You’re paying thirty cents an hour. You’d better cut down to twenty-five…If you pay thirty, it’ll only cause unrest” (295). The difference is that in real life farmers have a shortage, not a surplus, of workers available. The desperation is now on the bosses rather than the workers to keep a steady flow of money. Since other farms have raised their wages the small pool of willing workers flock to them, throwing off the balance of how much lesser paying, but still containing vital staple food, farms can produce.