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The People Who Pick America’s Fruits And Vegetables Are Getting Older

A crew of migrant farm workers picks cantaloupe on Thursday, July 4, 2019 north of Kennett, Missouri.

The average age of farmworkers born outside the U.S. steadily increased from 2008 to 2019, while the average age of U.S.-born workers has stayed about the same over the same period. 

Foreign-born farmworkers are on average 5 years older than their U.S.-born counterparts. 

An analysis by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Environmental Research Service attributes the trend to a decline in younger immigrants entering the U.S. workforce. 

The age of the average immigrant farm worker was nearly 42 in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available.

Three quarters of hired farm workers were foreign-born as of 2016, and about one quarter are women, according to the USDA. 

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Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is an independent, nonprofit newsroom devoted to educating the public about crucial issues in the Midwest with a special focus on agribusiness and related topics such as government programs, environment and energy.

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