Many farmers in NC say they don

Many North Carolina farmers said they do not have enough workers to pick the crops, in light of a national labor shortage.

With immigration reform back in the spotlight, farmers like Doug Carrigan said they welcome an overhaul.

"Most Americans wouldn't pick their own produce if you gave it to them," Carrigan said.

In North Carolina and across the U.S., the number of seasonal agriculture workers is shrinking, in large part because of the tightened border with Mexico. The North Carolina Growers Association is traveling across the country, trying to remove penalties for employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

"When there's a labor shortage, we won't have as many acres of crops planted, there won't be enough fresh fruits and vegetables and it's going to be more expensive," Deputy Director Lee Wicker said.

The Farm Bureau Federation recently estimated the national labor shortage could cost up to $10 billion a year in losses.

North Carolina's economy draws about 20 percent of its income from agriculture.

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