Nathan Deal: Offer probationers 11,000 ‘employment opportunities’ in Georgia’s crop fields

Gov. Nathan deal’s just-issued assessment of rural Georgia’s labor shortages as a result of HB 87:

“After a thorough review of the voluntary survey conducted by Georgia’s Department of Agriculture, under the leadership of Commissioner Gary Black, it is my understanding that there are some 11,000 employment opportunities currently available in the agriculture community for one day, one month or multiple months.

“Working in conjunction with Mark Butler, commissioner of the Department of Labor, Commissioner Black put together an honest and thoughtful data package, and I commend them and their staffs for their hard and timely work on this significant matter.

“The agriculture industry is the number one economic engine in Georgia and it is my sincere hope to find viable and law abiding solutions to the current problem our farmers face. Specifically, I asked Department of Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens and Commissioner Black to review the current situation and offer possible options. Commissioner Owens has indicated that there are 100,000 probationers statewide, 8,000 of which are in the Southwest region of the state and 25 percent of which are unemployed.

“Commissioner Owens is working with Commissioner Black and other state agencies to connect unemployed probationers–especially those in the Southwest part of the state–and others who are preparing to reenter the workforce to employers who are seeking labor. I believe this would be a great partial solution to our current status as we continue to move towards sustainable results with the legal options available.

“I want to encourage Georgia’s agricultural community to continue working with Commissioner Black. In the meantime, Commissioner Butler will continue to publicize the availability of agricultural employment opportunities and Commissioner Owens will work to potentially fill jobs on our farms.”

Click here to read the entire Department of Agriculture report.

About a quarter of the respondents in Commissioner Gary Black’s survey say they are in need of workers year-round. But here’s your wake-up paragraph:

…47.7 percent of respondents do not offer any additional benefits beyond an hourly wage or salary while 36 percent offer workers’ compensation [coverage]. Housing is offered by 22.5 percent of respondents and transportation is offered by 19.8 percent. Only 7.7 percent of respondents offer health insurance.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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285 comments Add your comment

John

June 14th, 2011
10:19 am

I don’t think the farmers want meth heads, thieves, and the like working their fields. There is a reason that those unempoloyed probationers are unemployed. They were too lazy to keep their previous job and will either quit or call in sick after a day or two on the farm.

jd

June 14th, 2011
10:23 am

you have to be kidding yourself if you think these people are going to work in the fields. they think they are above it. they rather sit on the street corners and sell drugs. good luck but this has to be so funny if you think you can solve the farm shortage problem with probationers.

The General

June 14th, 2011
10:23 am

@ Galloway–

Hey Jim, I just love your biased and opinionated lead to this story, “Gov. Nathan deal’s just-issued assessment of rural Georgia’s labor shortages as a result of HB 87″

I don’t see anywhere in the governor’s remarks that any shortage is attributed to HB87.

hdhd

June 14th, 2011
10:23 am

And pay them…..? $5 peaches anyone? lolz

John hit the nail on the head

June 14th, 2011
10:24 am

John you are correct. It’s sad, but true.

hdhd

June 14th, 2011
10:25 am

Oh, and there are _____ thousands of child molesters that can cut your grass too. Excellent.

pojackso

June 14th, 2011
10:25 am

Absolutely this is a good idea. Not only probationers but prisoners as well. When I was a child we had county farms that did exactly that. Get them out of the air-conditioning and put them to work.

rock steady freddy

June 14th, 2011
10:25 am

Awesome idea!

Flo

June 14th, 2011
10:30 am

What is going to happen is there will be more arrests for minor offenses in order to make up for the shortfall in labor since we drove off all the illegals. It is reminiscent of the Victorian prison system. It’s just a matter of time before Deal suggests a debtor’s prison. Goodbye small government and freedom! That is just the GOP way.

Ramzad

June 14th, 2011
10:30 am

Is that like saying, “Let them pick cotton”?

SpaceyG on Twitter

June 14th, 2011
10:31 am

This is all so 1930’s-era Soviet Union-y! Who knew Deal would turn out to be such a great work-camp proponent?! And then there’s the whole Great Leap Forward to look forward to. But we can brand the heck out of it our special way and call it something cute like… Peaches For People. (Love it!!!!) Maybe get a mascot. Blue worms have been done, of course. Hmmmm… so many ideas! So many jobs to be generated!

Disgusted Republican

June 14th, 2011
10:31 am

Hey Nathan! Good idea for a change! Why not ad incarcerated state and county prisoners convicted of non violent crimes to the equation? That would make up for the loss of the illegals and the pay they would receive for working on our farms could be paid to the state treasury to take care of the cost of housing them. Also a little hard work never hurts anybody and helps build character. God knows those jail birds could use a little of that!

Matt

June 14th, 2011
10:31 am

Exactly John. The people that the Governor is proposing for the Ag jobs are in many cases far worse criminals than the “illegals” we just booted out of the state. This law is short sighted and might end up killing the South GA Ag industry.

Jerry Gonzalez

June 14th, 2011
10:32 am

That’s his solution to the problem that HE created because of HB87? I have one response: Crider Poultry in Stillmore, Georgia had to shut down evisceration operations because they never recovered from the immigration raid several years ago. They tried this type of labor force too. I guess he will let our farms continue to suffer.

Marcus Polus

June 14th, 2011
10:32 am

So many ways that this can go. This could either be a great idea, or it could be a big step back to indentured servitude or slavery. Depends.

Will these 8000 probationers be paid? Where will they live? Will the state provide them housing, in view of the fact that South Georgia is a pretty big geographical area?

More to the point: if these people have served their prison time and been otherwise penalized by the state, can the state force them into manual labor? If so, that’s an extension and change to the rules of their sentence, and that cannot be legal.

One wonders if Nathan (ought to be in jail himself) Deal thought this one through.

Charles

June 14th, 2011
10:34 am

How about prisoners doing manditory work release work. “I’m shaking the bush boss” from Cool Hand Luke.

frustrated

June 14th, 2011
10:35 am

There is alot of probationers that made stupid choices in there life, but by society laws they have served there time and that should be it, but they have to live with it the rest of there lives. The reason so many go back to doing what they did before cause no one is willing to forgive and forget. I am not saying some don’t just make a career of being a criminal but there is alot that have tried very hard to do the right things, served there time done everthing that has been asked and still not given a chance. Once you have served your time that was imposed that should be it, but unfortunately it’s not. I really think it is a good idea for the probationers and farmers. Society might be a little different if people were willing to give them a chance.

KBrab

June 14th, 2011
10:35 am

@General…are you kidding me. Everyone recognizes (including Gov. Deal) that the shortage is a direct consequence of HB87. Stop kidding yourself, this is the unintended but extremely forseeable effect of this stupid law.

Sick of free loaders

June 14th, 2011
10:36 am

What would be best is if they put all these welfare bums out there. If you dont show up, dont get that EBT card filled next month. I know they dont want to get their $150.00 sneaks dirty.

OneFreeMan

June 14th, 2011
10:37 am

You people crack me up…they won’t do that kind of work…says you. How many people have you all asked? As to the type of people, it sounds like the previous employees were criminals (illegal immigrants).

America hate each other and that is the major reason this country will have a hard time providing a good living environment for it’s citizens. Give them a chance.

Manchurian-Kenyan candidate

June 14th, 2011
10:38 am

bring back the chain-gangs!! Love it!!

Peaceupatowndwn

June 14th, 2011
10:38 am

Oh Mr Deal what a terrible idea my thing is that we should have never adopted this immigration law now you want criminals in the fields… oh well you did this Mr Deal … !! now you reap what you have sow !! You Crook !!!

seabeau

June 14th, 2011
10:40 am

I believe that everyone who draws a “CHECK” should have to work for it!

vietnamvet

June 14th, 2011
10:40 am

Why not offer them the jobs that were created by the tax cutting of the REPUBLICANS in the US CONGRESS and STATE LEGISLATURE who we just elected. Remember: Elect us so we can cut taxes to create jobe. Well, you were elected. Where are the jobs. Seriously?????????????????

Another Voice

June 14th, 2011
10:41 am

Yeah…. I am sure productivity will be great!!!!

Centrist

June 14th, 2011
10:41 am

The AJC and some of its more liberal followers just can’t let go of the fact that ILLEGAL aliens in Georgia are being encouraged to go elsewhere if not back to their native countries.

And in addition to their higher crime rates, here is another good reason: Here is a good reason that Georgia is tightening ILLEGAL immigration policies: “Study: 70% of Texas’ illegal immigrant families receive welfare”

http://mobile.chron.com/chron/db_40686/contentdetail.htm;jsessionid=624D77D92BD476EF3236EADD0E703AF2?contentguid=0bZs3f2r&src=cat&full=true#display

vietnamvet

June 14th, 2011
10:42 am

One other thought: Since we just elected one of the most corrupt members of Congress if we wait a while, he might be in line for one of these jobs.

Rob

June 14th, 2011
10:44 am

At least he’s trying to point out some options available. That’s more than can be said about people complaining how they can’t find people to pick their crops. Wake up people, there’s 10% unemployment in this state, get off your butt and go find these people. Advertise in the newspaper, go to the labor department, reach out to the community, give incentives to relocate people from surrounding areas. If all these farmers are hardworking people that were able to build a successful business out of their land, it shouldn’t be a difficult thing to go out and find people to work your land, I mean come on. Instead people bitch and gripe about how we should keep people illegally in this state, like that’s the only way the farming industry can work. Guess what, farming has been around a lot longer than illegal immigration and if you can’t find a way to run a legal business, then you shouldn’t have one.

Whacks Eloquent

June 14th, 2011
10:45 am

FreeMan @ 10:37 – excellent point! We are actually upgrading from criminals to parolees. Perhaps an opportunity to work hard and develop a work ethic will actually make a change for some of these guys. It’s hard work, but pretty decent money out there as well. Especially if we can cut off their unemployment, why should these guys be allowed to drain our precious tax dollars sitting around and being lazy. There are plenty of non-criminals looking for work too, and ones that can pass employment tests, keep the unemployment assistance for them while they are looking.

David Staples

June 14th, 2011
10:45 am

100,000 / 9,687,653 * 100 = 1.03% of Georgians are on probation. Perhaps we need to re-examine the laws of our great state and determine if we’re not being perhaps a little too strict?

From the Georgia Department of Corrections website – “GDC is one of the largest prison systems in the nation, with 15,000 employees who are all focused on one goal – our mission of protecting the public is non-negotiable.”

Average Operating Cost All State Prisons Per Offender Per Year – $16,502

Probation Detention Center Operating Cost Per Offender Per Year – $17,717

Regular Community Probation Supervision Net Cost to Taxpayers Per Offender Per Year – $377

Intensive Community Probation Supervision Net Cost to Taxpayers Per Offender Per Year – $1,366

Even if all 100,000 people on probation only cost us $377 per year, that’s still $37.7M that taxpayers are spending on probation supervision each year. Don’t tell me all of these people absolutely need to be on probation.

Centrist

June 14th, 2011
10:46 am

reader

June 14th, 2011
10:47 am

Yes they will be paid you idiot. Fact is Americans need to take these jobs simple as that.

Reality

June 14th, 2011
10:48 am

This idea will not work. Obama has taken care of that with his mandatory healthcare and share the wealth system. They don’t have to work ’cause “lifes luxuries” are being provided by “their” Messiah. Obama will surely take this to court to stop this practice of making someone work for a living……. especially those that will vote for him for a second term.

David Staples

June 14th, 2011
10:49 am

Rob – perhaps you haven’t read the stories of farmers saying they’ve hired plenty of people who quit after an hour or two due to the heat. There are plenty of unemployed people that refuse to work in the fields because it’s hard work. Perhaps when their unemployment runs out they’ll be a little more willing to take anything that comes along.

juan

June 14th, 2011
10:49 am

Great! why don’t you just repeat History and pass a law where the Hispanics would be the new slaves of the XXI Century! that way you relax at home while you have some slaves working on your fields!!!! that is pretty interesting, pray for this to happen!! you are dreaming, there are millions of Hispanics ready to vote and many more are becoming us citizens. those who pass this kind of laws are going against the teachings and morals of JESUS CHRIST. you know what happen to those who reveal against Jesus teachings??

ByteMe

June 14th, 2011
10:50 am

Ooh aah ooh aah
Ooh aah ooh aah

(Well don’t you know)
That’s the sound of the men
Working on the chain gang
That’s the sound of the men
Working on the chain gang

All day long they’re singing
Ooh aah ooh aah
Ooh aah ooh aah

Deal Me Out

June 14th, 2011
10:50 am

Just listing job openings and unemployed people doesn’t mean that all applicants are skilled enough for the work required. What a joke.

SpaceyG on Twitter

June 14th, 2011
10:51 am

Come to think about it, this plan COULD actually work. But only if what people were working to harvest/create was something else other than chicken processing, tomatoes and soybeans. Legalize weed, build more distilleries and breweries… and then let’s talk.

commoncents

June 14th, 2011
10:51 am

Probationers and others recently released from jail are often set up with other jobs to help them transition. Why not field labor? It will pay better than being a grocery clerk…

Rob

June 14th, 2011
10:52 am

David,

So just give up right? No, if you want to have a successful business, you keep looking until you find the right payscale to attract the people that are actually willing to work.

SpaceyG on Twitter

June 14th, 2011
10:52 am

vietnamvet: ROFLing! Never thought of that, but how right you are!

ProgressivePeach

June 14th, 2011
10:52 am

You vote Republican, you deserve what you get, Georgia. Starting to figure it out, yet?

commoncents

June 14th, 2011
10:52 am

Juan, hispanics are more than welcome to return to the fields to work. As soon as they enter the USA legally…

Jane

June 14th, 2011
10:53 am

Great idea, but let’s go one further and have jail inmates/prisoners work in the fields. Or, how about those unemployed beneficiaries, as a requirement to have extended length unemployment benefits, paid to them? Or food stamp recipients as a requirement for increased benefits in that area? People are too use to living on the government dollar!

deegee

June 14th, 2011
10:53 am

“Guess what, farming has been around a lot longer than illegal immigration and if you can’t find a way to run a legal business, then you shouldn’t have one.”

HAHAHAHAHAHA! I’m not old enough to remember when slavery was legal but I heard that the system worked well for the farmers. After that there was sharecropping until the factories drew the sharecroppers to the city. Then there was illegal migrant labor from Mexico until the republican party went to war against them. Get real, picking crops is hard work and no one does it unless they want to.

YourPoliticalAnimal

June 14th, 2011
10:54 am

Anybody have the ACLU’s number???????

myother

June 14th, 2011
10:54 am

Yes, let them pick cotton instead of a cushy air condidtioned jail cell.

marcus twain

June 14th, 2011
10:54 am

I think the offer of employment to probationers is a good idea. There comes a point when we must come to understand that being responsible is a learned process. There are some people on probation who will take advantage of this opportunity to be productive. I am not in favor of hugging a thug but for those people who are willing to make a change from criminal activity to becoming productive citizens they should have a chance.

commoncents

June 14th, 2011
10:54 am

ProgressivePeach- I like what I’m getting: Less hands in my wallet!

Dave

June 14th, 2011
10:54 am

A better idea would be to make prisoners do the work and the state gets paid instead of them.