By Doug Ohlemeier

The Packer

Grower-shippers shouldn't expect any significant developments in the ongoing battle over immigration reform effort until next year.

Growers heard the latest on the immigration debate and learned more about other issues affecting Southeastern growers, such as the farm bill and food safety efforts, at the 2008 Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference on Jan. 10-13 at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.

Panelists at a labor forum discussion say Congress won't likely seriously debate the immigration issue until after the presidential election.

Because of an agricultural labor shortage, Dan Bremer, owner of AgWorks Inc., a Lake Park labor agent company, says the industry remains at a crossroads over the issue.

"There are all kinds of things headed toward labor," he says. "What we have now is a severe labor shortage. We have had growers cut back here in Georgia by 25 to 50 percent because of it."

The Packer is a sister publication of The Grower.

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