Labor Dispute Hurting Kern County, Valley Farmers

The executive director of the Kern County Farm Bureau says the the labor dispute forcing the shutdown of western ports will have a ripple effect on the area’s multi-billion dollar agriculture industry.

Beatris Sanders said orange growers and cattle ranchers are currently being hit the hardest.

“If it continues, it goes into other harvests – we have berries that are incredibly perishable, and cherries as well,” she said.

She said ranchers are losing $40 million weekly, and citrus farmers are losing $20 million – but should be able to recoup some of those losses through crop insurance.

“If you look at our numbers, the agricultural industry here produces close to around $7 billion,” she said. “Now, not all of that is exporting, but a lot of it is.”

She also said losses today will lead to higher prices at the supermarket further down the road.

– Anthony Pollreisz