“Farmers have been facing an increasingly tight labor market for years. The immigrant workforce that has long picked and packed the nation’s fruits and vegetables move to better jobs as soon as they can, replaced by new immigrants.
Due to a strong Mexican economy that’s created more opportunity there, and increased border enforcement, the number of people to replenish the workforce has dropped significantly, said Eric Nicholson, a national vice president with the United Farmworkers of America.
Robotic, sensor and other companies are striving to fill that hole. The technology, from a Lettuce Bot to crop drones to robotic strawberry pickers, is still in its infancy. But agricultural-tech companies say any policies that further keep out immigrants is likely to increase demand.