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Migrant Farm Workers Look for Work

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

Tomato farmer Will Maxwell surveys his land in the off season. His farm alone produces close to 200,000 boxes of tomatoes a year.

Though no tomatoes to pick in Gadsden County now, there's still plenty of work left for migrant workers in preparation of next year’s crop.

“They'll come here and work through June. They'll move up to Virginia, Tennessee or parts of Alabama, then they will come back in October or November to pick our fall crop," says Maxwell.

In other words, an off season in one place means an on season somewhere else.

"They get into a car, two or three guys, they come up here to work, then they go back. Some of them don't stay up here too long," says farm worker Cioildo Alaniz.

Maxwell says many who decide to call Gadsden County home find work in area nurseries or construction jobs.

Farm worker Emma Alaniz has had her share of jobs.

"For me, I regret not going back to school. I didn't finish school and I've been working out the fields ever since," explains Alaniz, who says while workers hate having to constantly move, for them it's simply a matter of survival.

Maxwell says his farm averages between 40 and 45 migrant workers a year during the tomato picking season.


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