Open Borders NAFTA Strikes Again
Now we can't even grow our own strawberries
- Open border trade agreements passed by both parties are seeing jobs losses in every sector of the economy.
- In California we are seeing a largely Hispanic workforce being fired and the jobs shifted to a much lower paid Hispanic workforce in Mexico.
(Ventura County Star) - Oxnard-based Mandalay Berry Farms is closing and will lay off 565 employees.
The company informed the state Employment Development Department of the pending closure in a June 1 letter as required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The letter was disclosed at Tuesday's Ventura County Board of Supervisors meeting by Supervisor John Zaragoza, whose district encompasses Oxnard. The company has been in business since 1995.
"This letter is to inform you that Mandalay Berry Farms ... will be permanently closing all of its operations effective the end of this current season," company President John Dullam wrote.
The operations are conducted at nine ranches in Oxnard, he stated.
The employees who will be losing their jobs effective July 31 are 497 harvesters/pickers, 19 harvest machine operators, 15 foremen, 15 stackers, five irrigators, five truck drivers, four forklift drivers, three punchers and two office/administration workers, according to Dullam.
None of the employees are represented by unions, his letter stated.
Dullam did not return a call Tuesday seeking comment.
The disclosure about Mandalay follows last week's news that three other agricultural businesses in Oxnard, vegetable grower Hiji Brothers Inc., and two associated operations — seedling nursery Seaview Growers and shippers Richview Inc. — will be closing in early August. Together, they employ about 260 people.
John Krist, CEO of the Farm Bureau of Ventura County, said he didn't know the particulars of why Mandalay is closing.
"But what I can say is that the last three years have been extremely tough on strawberry growers in Ventura County," he said. "It's been a number of factors, but the bottom line is that prices have been pretty bad and berry growers have been losing money."
"Part of it has been caused by an expansion of production in Baja, with varieties that overlap with our traditional market window here in Ventura County," he said. "So more fruit than usual on the market. Demand hasn't increased commensurately. Prices have fallen."
Land and labor costs are considerably higher in Ventura County than they are in Baja, Krist said.
"The production cost equations are so different here than in Baja," he said. "You make money growing in Baja at price levels that cause growers here to lose money."
Still, strawberries remained the county's biggest crop in 2014, with a reported value of almost $628 million, according to the county's most recent annual crop report from the office of Agricultural Commissioner Henry Gonzales. Strawberries were followed by lemons, raspberries, nursery stock and celery.Read More . . . .