Plant breeding for a limited workforce

A vegetable researcher says specialty crop breeding is starting to find solutions for a lack of farm workers.

John Purcell, Global R&D Lead for Monsanto Vegetables, tells Brownfield seed companies are researching traits that will allow farmers to produce crops more efficiently with less labor.

“Some of it is having better agronomic traits, things like disease-resistances that allow for better management of crops, but others are making sure we have very uniform maturities so it reduces the time it takes to harvest.  Even plant architecture—we have products that have a raised head broccoli that allows for a more efficient harvest or even an automated or mechanical harvest.”

Purcell a lack of workers is a very really issue for farmers that depend on seasonal hand labor and innovations in research are helping overcome challenges.

AUDIO: Interview with John Purcell

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  • Why is it that we have millions of low-skilled Americans on welfare and yet farmers complain they cannot find farm workers? Time to step back, take a long look at this picture and realize that foreign labor does not create “cheap food for Americans” it just hides the real cost to American taxpayers – putting Americans back to work in agriculture helps then entire country!!!

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