Migrant Farm Labor

April 19, 1950

Report Outline
Roots of Migrant Farm Labour Problem
Economic Status of Farm Migrants
Community Services for Migrant Families
Postwar Efforts to Better Lot of Migrants

Roots of Migrant Farm Labour Problem

Distress among migrant farm laborers in the West has drawn renewed attention to a problem which caused national concern during the 1930s: how to assure enough seasonal labor to produce needed food supplies without subjecting the workers to the worst hardships of irregular employment and a migratory existence.

Maricopa County, Ariz., juvenile authorities reported in March that 100 children in a farm labor camp had been found suffering from “first degree starvation or malnutrition,” and the National Farm Labor Union (A. F. L.) told President Truman that at least 100,000 children of unemployed farm workers in the nation as a whole were in a similar plight. In the same month California authorities estimated that 5,000 to 10,000 families in the San Joaquin Valley had been unable to tide themselves over between cotton picking and commencement of work on spring crops.

Such reports offer evidence that the “Joads” whose plight stirred the public conscience during the depression are again becoming a serious problem. With the high employment of World War II, thousands of former migratory laborers found jobs in industry, and farm workers were imported from Mexico and the British West Indies. Now, with inadequate opportunities for employment in industry, the number of native migrants seeking farm work has increased.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Farm Labor
Oct. 08, 2004  Migrant Farmworkers
Jun. 03, 1983  Migrants: Enduring Farm Problem
Feb. 11, 1959  Migratory Farm Workers
Apr. 04, 1951  Farm Manpower
Apr. 19, 1950  Migrant Farm Labor
Oct. 13, 1948  Collective Farming
Jan. 23, 1943  Farm Labor and Food Supply
Mar. 14, 1942  Farm Labor Supply
Farm Produce and Commodities
General Employment and Labor
Immigration and Naturalization
Outsourcing and Immigration