New Mexico Dem governor utilizing as much as $5M in coronavirus reduction to spice up farm staff’ pay: report
New Mexico plans to make use of as a lot as $5 million in federal coronavirus reduction funds to spice up the pay of chile pepper pickers and processors to $19.50 an hour, in keeping with reviews.
The transfer will assist guarantee a profitable harvest of the state’s most iconic crop, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham stated Thursday, The Related Press reported.
“It’s an all-important image of New Mexican agriculture and commerce,” Grisham stated in a press release. “I’ll do all the things in my energy to help the trade of their efforts to reap and course of a profitable 2021 crop.”
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The transfer comes as New Mexico has been grappling with an increase in new coronavirus instances, bracing for 1,000 new instances per day by the top of August, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported this week.
Criticism from GOP
It additionally comes after Grisham confronted criticism from some New Mexico Republicans, who claimed the state’s farm-labor scarcity may very well be blamed not less than partly on folks preferring to remain residence and accumulate enhanced unemployment advantages somewhat than return to the chile fields.
“Folks in southern New Mexico are witnessing firsthand how the chile trade is changing into a casualty of our flawed supplemental unemployment insurance coverage program,” three state Republicans wrote to Grisham earlier this month, in keeping with the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper.
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“Although the chile farmers of our state might bear the early burden of this labor scarcity, it’s not lengthy earlier than different agricultural industries really feel the consequences of this coverage.”
The letter to Grisham was signed by state Sen. Crystal Diamond of Elephant Butte and state Reps. Rebecca Dow of Reality or Penalties and Luis Terrazas of Silver Metropolis, the newspaper reported.
‘Doing fantastic’ at residence
One chile farmer, Joe Paul Lack, instructed the newspaper he feared a diminished harvest of his chiles, onions and pecans this 12 months as a result of he can’t discover sufficient staff, the New Mexican reported.
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He claimed a few of his previous workers have instructed him they’re happy with the additional $300 per week they’ve been receiving in unemployment advantages – although the additional cash is meant to finish in September.
“I don’t suppose they’ve an incentive to work,” Lack instructed the newspaper. “They’re doing fantastic sitting at residence and never having to work.”
A Grisham spokeswoman denied earlier this month that enhanced unemployment advantages had been solely answerable for workforce reentry points in New Mexico, the New Mexican reported.
The Related Press contributed to this story.