Pandemic could affect vegetable harvest

first_imgMost vegetable crops in Georgia — such as bell pepper, specialty peppers, tomato, eggplant, cucumber, yellow squash, and zucchini — are currently being planted into early April. These crops should be harvested in May and June; however, in light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, Georgia growers, who rely on seasonal workers, need to plan ahead to be prepared for the harvest.The indefinite closure of U.S. consulates and borders may cause a delay in the processing of agricultural workers’ visas (H2A) or prevent them from entering the U.S.According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, the number of agricultural workers entering the country on H2A visas has increased dramatically since 2000. In 2019, 204,801 of all U.S. agricultural workers were workers on H2A visas, and a significant portion of those workers help to keep the Georgia vegetable industry viable. In 2018, Georgia’s vegetable industry generated $1.13 billion in farm gate value and 13,900 jobs (Wolfe and Stubbs, 2018).As of March 26, there is an authorization to grant interview waivers for H-2 applicants whose visa expired within the last 48 hours, who have not previously received an H-2 visa or whose visa expired more than 48 months ago. This will speed the process for growers to get labor, however planning ahead is still vital for timely harvest of spring crops.Estimating the number of workers required to harvest the planted acreage is the first step to ensure vegetables and fruits are out of the field in a timely manner. Furthermore, it is important to highlight that harvested products must be packed before reaching the consumer. Labor in the packing line is also a key point in this process. Overall, farms have different activities and crop management practices and, consequently, labor requirements vary widely. Producers should identify activities and periods of intense labor demand in their operations and try to stagger these periods, rather than coinciding labor peak needs.Ultimately, the legitimate trade between the U.S. and other countries is still open, and the U.S. continues to import produce from countries such as Mexico. Growers, now more than ever, should secure the market for their crops. It seems alarming that grocery stores have empty shelves, however, this is a result of delays in restocking rather than a malfunction in the food supply chain. Identifying your partners is crucial for business success.The uncertainty of the current COVID-19 situation is ongoing. While the coming days will reveal the way, being prepared will ensure the success of the Georgia vegetable industry.To see more resources from the UGA vegetable team, visit vegetables.caes.uga.edu.last_img read more

How About This?

first_imgIn a September 3 game in which the Washington Nationals won 15-1 over Atlanta, Bryce Harper had quite a statistical line for this game.  He did not have an official at bat.  He walked 4 times and drove in a run.  He was the first one in the modern era of baseball to accomplish this feat.  His one RBI came when he walked with the bases loaded.If you see such a line in a major league box score, you may think you are looking at a Little League game.  It is here where a player might get a home run without hitting the ball to an outfielder or he may score 3 or 4 runs without a hit.  Harper’s feat, though, came in a major league game.  Since this had not been done for over 60 years, you know how rare it is.last_img read more

2 teens, mother charged for killing Berbice security guard

first_imgTwo teenagers, along with the mother of one of them, were on Friday remanded to prison for the murder of a Corentyne, Berbice security guard.Carlos Ballers, 19, of Williamsburg; and Yuvraj Singh, 17, of Guava Bush, Albion Front, Berbice, appeared before Magistrate Renita Singh at the Albion Magistrate’s Court. The two were jointly charged. Also charged was Lalita Ballers of Section E, Port Mourant. However, she was charged separately also for murder.The three are accused of killing Munisperen Iyasammy Monien of Lot 45 Clifton, Port Mourant, Corentyne, during the course of a robbery on March 31. They wereDead: Munisperen Iyasammy Monienall remanded and the case will continue on April 23.Reports are Monien’s body was discovered in a pool of blood in a storeroom at Sukhsram General Store at Lot 13 Public Road, Rose Hall.The 53-year-old provided security services for two years for the store which sells agricultural products; working a 12-hour shift, which commenced at 17:00h.Following the discovery of the body, it was also discovered that money which was being kept in the store was missing.It was also reported that when the store was closed on Saturday afternoon, $1.5 million was locked in a draw inside. The money is reportedly missing.Police later arrested all of the employees following a theory that the robbery/murder was an inside job.Two days after, Ballers reportedly confessed toCharged: Lalita Ballers, mother of murder accused Carlos Ballersplotting the robbery and also implicated Singh, who later also allegedly confessed.As the Police continued to probe, Ballers allegedly took them to a house at Port Mourant where his mother lives. The woman reportedly went to a section of the yard and dug up some money, which was buried.Her son also reportedly showed the investigators where he had hidden the murderweapon.Meanwhile, the Police are searching for another suspect.last_img read more

Firm checks out books at a profit

first_imgLIBRARIES: Municipalities are hiring private companies to operate a traditionally public service. By Julia Silverman zTHE ASSOCIATED PRESS MEDFORD, Ore. – A big, red “Closed” sign has been plastered across the front door of the library here since mid-April, when Jackson County ran out of money to keep its 15 branches open. In a few weeks, though, the sign will come down and the doors will be flung open again, now that the county has come up with an unusual cost-saving solution: outsourcing its libraries. The county will continue to own the buildings and all the books in them. But the libraries will be managed by an outside company for a profit. And the librarians will no longer be public employees and union members; they will be on the company’s payroll. Library patrons might not notice much difference, but the librarians will, since the company plans to get by with a smaller staff and will have a free hand to set salaries and benefits. “The average citizen, when they walk into the library, they will see well-trained, well-educated, customer-service-oriented people working in the library,” said Bob Windrow, director of sales and marketing at Germantown, Md-based Library Systems and Services, or LSSI, the company taking over. “They won’t know who is paying their salary, and they won’t care. They care whether the library is open adequate hours, and are they getting good service.” For years, state and local governments have been privatizing certain functions, such as trash collection, payroll processing and road maintenance. But contracting with an outside company to run a library is a relatively new phenomenon, one that has been gaining in popularity as communities from Jackson County, Tenn., to Redding, look for ways to save money. “This is a shift from the public trust into private hands,” said John Sexton, an out-of-work Jackson County librarian who has interviewed with LSSI for his old job. “Libraries have always been a source of information for everyone and owned by no one.” Some bibliophiles fear that the library, under distant, corporate management, will be less attuned to local interests when buying books and will stock the shelves with lots of best-sellers. “Does this company understand local needs?” asked Loriene Roy, president of the American Library Association, which opposes library outsourcing. “We have long regarded libraries as different. We deal with intangibles. We are not profit-driven.” Riverside County, one of California’s fastest-growing regions, is widely seen as the pioneer in library outsourcing. The county signed with LSSI in 1997 and has stuck with the company; a 2002 study found that Riverside County library patrons were generally pleased with the services. In just the last year, Texas cities San Juan and Leander, California cities Redding and Moorpark and the Jackson-Madison County library system in Tennessee have joined LSSI’s ranks. In Bedford, Texas, outside of Fort Worth, Mayor Jim Story cast the tie-breaking vote in August against allowing LSSI to take over the libraries. “The salaries were going to be pretty low, and I was afraid that that would lead to high turnover of their own employees,” Story said. “Plus I did not think that they would have the manpower to handle the quality of service that we now have in our library. I wasn’t willing to that risk.” Back in Oregon, Jim Olney, director of the Jackson County Library Foundation, considers himself a union supporter, but said: “Look, if it is either close the libraries or outsource them, we’d rather have outsourcing. Sometimes you have to go for the difficult choice because there is no easy choice.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more