Pat Hardesty, the county extension agent for agriculture, told Moore the number of migrant workers who help with the harvest has dwindled because there are simply not enough small farms now in the area to keep them employed for long. “Some of our smaller producers have been waiting on crews or they’ve been trying to get local help, which is very difficult,” Hardesty said. “That’s why the migrants are here, because we can’t get enough local labor to get the crop in.” He said migrant workers aren't taking jobs away from Americans: “I promise you, if a tobacco producer here in Taylor County could get local, dependable help, there wouldn’t be migrants here.” Local farmer Aaron Newcome agreed that finding steady local help this year has been difficult. On any given day, he told Moore he has no idea how many workers will show up or how long they will stay.
As a killing frost loomed, Hardesty explained to Moore that speed is of the essence. If frost hits tobacco, the crop's quality is reduced and acres of it can be wasted.
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