Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Why manufacturing jobs are outsourced while farm jobs go to illegal immigrants

Primarily because US farmers as a rule don't understand that they need to brand and differentiate to offset the fact that farm products are commodities-shoes are a commodity as well, but look what Nike has done...

I think that an improved US farm policy would be to allow imports of many farm products currently produced in the US that are subsidized through federal payments and tariffs/quotas from countries with low labor costs. The key would be to turn family farmers into branding and distribution concerns. I believe that the average American farmer understands that the American food market breaks down into two segments: cheap and plentiful basic foods; and premium specialty foods. What the farmer needs to do is rather than bringing workers to farm his land is to arrange for crop production in say, Mexico, and then his task would be to manage the transport of the crop across the border and marketing the product to food processors and consumers. Distribution and marketing bring higher margins than commodity production and therefore this would improve the farmer's net income.

Ranchers are getting the idea to a degree as we are seeing some ranchers turning to marketing their beef as "free-range" and "hormone-free" and getting higher prices at the supermarket for that product.

In any case, changing this policy would likely significantly reduce illegal immigration into the US...

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