business, california, Central Valley, San Joaquin, Stockton, Stockton

CROPS DELAYED: Rain Brings Optimism

PrintBilingaul Weekly (BW) –
Juan Sepian, San Joaquin seasonal field worker and father of two waited outside for an employer to  hire him for a days work as he contemplated the rain last week — his thoughts, “there is no steady work as long as the weather keeps raining,” he shared.


The central valley is known to be among the top agriculturally rich regions in California; ranking seventh in State agricultural producers  as reported by the University of California Cooperative Extension —following the 2008 San Joaquin County Agricultural Report.  Thousands of residents work to produce a “$2,129,725,000 gross agricultural production” notes the report.


“The rain we are having is putting disease pressure(like Tomatoes) and causing splitting (common in Cherries) in our crops,” explained Joseph Bautista, partner at Eat the Best —a local farm dedicated to Farmers Markets in San Joaquin and the Bay Area—, “we estimate this water to hold our production about three weeks behind.”
The delay in agricultural work also posts a delay to relieve the 17.3 percent San Joaquin unemployment rate, as reported in April 2011 by the California Employment Development Department.  The State Unemployment rate is 11.9%, San Joaquin suffers a 5.4 percent difference when compared to California’s unemployment rate.
The beginning of June is turning to be slow for folks similar to Sepian who hangs out south of the cross town freeway in Stockton.  “I’m ready to go back to work,” shared Sepian as he highlighted his unstable work for the cherry season and his former employment on asparagus fields.

On the other hand, the wet weather offers farmers a promising future.  “After several dry and sluggish years, farms are planting more acres, investing in equipment and rehiring idled workers,” wrote Robert Rodriguez, Reporter for the Fresno Bee, on his article, “San Joaquin farmers are planting more, hiring more,” published on May 23rd 2011.
“I just hope that the wet weather does offer a steadier job later on this year,” said Sepian in an optimistic tone.


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