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Post-rain can mean less work, financially stressing for local farmworkers

Chelsey Michaelis/KEYT

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – January's big storm on the Central Coast paused some farm workers' jobs, causing a financial burden for their families, according a local farmer with Ikeda Brothers.

Tom Ikeda, co-owner of the company, said that they had to wait over a week and a half after the storm to allow most farm workers back into the agriculture fields.

At the time, he was rotating workers to work 15 hours a week, as tasks were limited and the dirt was still muddy.

Ikeda said that a limited number of hours a week can not sustain families from this specific community financially.

The co-owner of Ikeda Brothers said he tried to evenly give out tasks to his workers, but it was a challenge.

Right now, workers are back at work full-time. However, Ikeda says they are still recovering financially from the lost hours in the last few weeks.

Local organization 'CAUSE' said they've heard farm workers are concerned that this season will start later due to the rain.

"The impacts of recent storms will continue, and these heavy rains will likely slow down agricultural production for the remainder of the season," said Monse Garcia-Jimenez with CAUSE. "This is very concerning as many farm workers are undocumented and arent able to access the support from a federal agency like FEMA."

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Karen Cruz-Orduña

Karen Cruz-Orduña is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Karen, click here.


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