YORK, South Carolina – The peach-growing industry in South Carolina depends on Mexican farmworkers, who every year arrive with H2A visas to a state where anti-immigrant sentiment has intensified.
“This lucrative industry would not exist without Hispanic labor and specifically workers from Mexico, who have come here legally every harvest-time for years,” Russell Ott of the South Carolina Farm Bureau told Efe.
In June, Titan farm in Ridge Springs, the largest peach-growing operation in the Southeast, began selling sweet peaches to stores on the southern border for the first time in 17 years.
The bilateral accord signed in early 2011 gives U.S. farmers access to the Mexican market, which banned imports of peaches from the states of Georgia and South Carolina in 1994 for fear of pests.
“This is very important for South Carolina farmers because Mexicans prefer the small peach produced in this region to the big ones preferred by consumers in the United States. It opens infinite opportunities to make money,” Desmond Layne of Clemson University told Efe. (more…)
Filed under: Migrant Workers, S.B. 20 | Tagged: Apolinar Hernandez, Clemson, Desmond Layne, farms, H2A visa, Hispanic, Jose Martin Calva, labor, Mexican, peach farmers, peaches, Russell Ott, South Carolina, South Carolina Farm Bureau, Tammy Besherse, Titan | Leave a Comment »