Sunday, November 29, 2009

Farm labor shortage predicted for summer of ‘53

Prompt action must be taken by Malheur county farmers if they are to have an adequate labor supply for 1953, Roy Hirai, president of the county Labor Sponsors association said today.

Hirai reported the association drive for membership dues has made little progress, and that camp facilities cannot be operated without a minimum of 6,000 acres of row crop signed up and membership paid.

The sponsors association estimates 3,000 laborers will be needed in the area this season and that 350 of them must be housed and dispatched from the labor camps at Ontario, Adrian and Vale. Hirai pointed out that there is not adequate farm housing to maintain a labor force and that even operators with farm housing will suffer if the labor force is not large enough to stabilize wage rates and reduce competition among uses of labor.

Last year’s operations saw 245 workers during peak seasons living at the camps from April 20 to October. A large percentage of row crop operators used labor from the camp, and last year’s association membership totaled 139 operators and 6,950 aces of row crop. Labor supply and relationships with labor were the most favorable in many years in this area.

--- From a February 1953 issue of the Ontario Argus-Observer

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