Thirteen local agriculture groups, including the National Sunflower Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, North Dakota Farmers Union, Northern Canola Growers Association and others, sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking for help. Among the requests, the groups want an adequate labor force to be maintained during the coronavirus pandemic. “Farmers have people they’ve already trained and invested in,” says Jim Callan, CEO, James Callan Associates. “Some local farmers who employ 15 to 20 people told me the latest they can have folks is April 1. The crunch is coming.” National Sunflower Association Executive Director John Sandbakken says the purpose of the letter was to get the issues in front of the president. “We haven’t heard back yet, but we know there’s a lot of things going on. A lack of labor and potential delay of supplies impact all of agriculture.” Farmers in the region are also looking into hiring local labor. One farmer tells the Red River Farm Network this could be the first time there will be enough local labor available to help during the spring and summer.
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