Discussions about citrus labor frequently focus on concerns about a shortage of harvesters and problems with the federal program that allows temporary foreign workers into Florida. But grower and hedger Frank Youngman recently voiced concern about a shortage of more skilled grove workers.
Youngman said with tractors becoming “more technologically enhanced with GPS systems and so forth, we don’t have the skilled labor” to operate the equipment. “And our local labor, moving forward, really don’t want to be tractor drivers or hedger operators, in my case, or loader operators,” he said. “So moving forward that’s going to be a huge issue in the future.”
Youngman shared his concern at a recent grower forum in Sebring hosted by Highlands County Extension director and citrus agent Laurie Hurner.
Hear more from Youngman:
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