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Some Ala. farmers plant fewer crops, say immigration crackdown drove away workers to pick them
ONEONTA, Ala. (AP) ' Some Alabama farmers say they are planting less produce rather than risk having crops rot in the fields a second straight year because of labor shortages linked to the state's crackdown on illegal immigration.
Farmers interviewed by The Associated Press say they had no choice but to reduce acreage. They fear there won't be enough workers to pick crops at harvest time. The crops are often picked by Hispanic migrants, both legal and illegal.
It's unclear exactly how many farmers are changing their planting patterns this year because of the law.
Neither the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries nor the Alabama Farmers Federation has compiled statistics yet for the year. But a federation expert says this year will be vital in determining the size of Alabama's labor shortage and its potential cost to consumers.