East End farmers express concern over immigrant labor

Some East End farmers say they are concerned that they don't have enough laborers as the growing season begins. Some East End farmers say they are concerned that they don't have enough laborers as the growing season begins.
RIVERHEAD -

Some East End farmers say they are concerned that they don't have enough laborers as the growing season begins.

Farmers say about 75 percent of their workers are immigrants, and they make sure they have working papers and documents before being hired.

Bayron Perez for the past six years has lived and worked at Wickham's Fruit Farm in Cutchogue from spring through fall. He goes back to his native Guatemala for the winter. Perez says the money earned in the states is much better than anything he could make in his home country.

The workers usually live on Long Island all year. Others get special H-2A visas that allow them to live on Long Island for six to eight months before they have to go back to their own country.

Farmer Tom Wickham says that although he pays for the workers' transportation and housing, it's the best way to ensure a reliable, documented workforce.

However, other farmers say the current program is so expensive and burdened with red tape that it does not work smoothly. In addition, they say that the anti-immigration sentiment has made it harder for them to find labor.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, who represents eastern Suffolk, says he is working with the Department of Labor in an effort to streamline the guest worker visa program.

  • EnvironmentMore>>

  • Environmentalists urge Nassau to consider plastic bag fee

    Environmentalists urge Nassau to consider plastic bag fee

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 5:48 PM EDT2018-05-23 21:48:07 GMT
    Environmental groups are urging Nassau County lawmakers to consider implementing a plastic bag fee.Environmental groups are urging Nassau County lawmakers to consider implementing a plastic bag fee.

    Environmental groups are urging Nassau County lawmakers to consider implementing a plastic bag fee.

    Environmental groups are urging Nassau County lawmakers to consider implementing a plastic bag fee.

  • Wainscott well water problem could mean tax hikes

    Wainscott well water problem could mean tax hikes

    Monday, May 21 2018 10:07 PM EDT2018-05-22 02:07:30 GMT
    Suffolk County water officials unveiled a proposal Monday night on how to bring public water to Wainscott.Suffolk County water officials unveiled a proposal Monday night on how to bring public water to Wainscott.

    Suffolk County water officials unveiled a proposal Monday night on how to bring public water to Wainscott.

    Suffolk County water officials unveiled a proposal Monday night on how to bring public water to Wainscott.

  • State rolling out plan to combat tick population

    State rolling out plan to combat tick population

    Sunday, May 20 2018 5:45 PM EDT2018-05-20 21:45:52 GMT
    The state says it has a new plan to control the tick population and combat tick-borne illnesses.The state says it has a new plan to control the tick population and combat tick-borne illnesses.
    The state says it has a new plan to control the tick population and combat tick-borne illnesses.The state says it has a new plan to control the tick population and combat tick-borne illnesses.

    The state says it has a new plan to control the tick population and combat tick-borne illnesses.

    The state says it has a new plan to control the tick population and combat tick-borne illnesses.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."