Farmers Fund Crop-Harvesting Robots to Replace Migrant Fruit Pickers

Crop Harvester

by James Buchanan

One unintended consequence of all the talk about Amnesty and the gutlessness of every media-approved Republican presidential candidate on the illegal alien problem is an increasing reluctance by illegal aliens to do farm work –the very reason why many Americans tolerate them.

With the emergence of Donald Trump as the front-runner in the GOP primary race, the reluctance of illegal aliens to do farm work may no longer matter since they may not be here for long if Trump becomes president. In either case, farmers will need to replace illegal aliens with robot harvesters so it’s just as well they were taking steps to do so for fear of an Obama Amnesty.

In the article quoted below, California farmers were funding the design of an automated harvesting machine because the illegal alien “contractors” who normally do the work, were becoming unreliable several years ago, long before Obama’s Amnesty decree last year.

One sane solution to the crop-harvesting issue in America would have been to allow public school children in rural communities to work as minimum wage crop pickers and to rearrange the school year so that all the local crops could be harvested before they spoil. This is what many rural communities did in the nineteenth century by the way.

By relying on illegal alien labor and the government turning a blind eye to this, farmers got used to paying less than minimum wage, making it less and less likely that legal Americans would ever do that work again. Ultimately the number of illegal alien crop pickers would grow to more than a million.

The down-side is that the illegal aliens were creating expenses for the government from medical care to the very expensive cost of public school for all the children of the illegal aliens. Also, the large numbers of illegal alien Mexican and Central Americans were creating a non-White underclass that was rapidly changing the demographics and culture of states like California.

An article from wired.com reports “As if the debate over immigration and guest worker programs wasn’t complicated enough, now a couple of robots are rolling into the middle of it.”

“Vision Robotics, a San Diego company, is working on a pair of robots that would trundle through orchards plucking oranges, apples or other fruit from the trees. In a few years, troops of these machines could perform the tedious and labor-intensive task of fruit picking that currently employs thousands of migrant workers each season.”

“The robotic work has been funded entirely by agricultural associations, and pushed forward by the uncertainty surrounding the migrant labor force. Farmers are “very, very nervous about the availability and cost of labor in the near future,” says Vision Robotics CEO Derek Morikawa.”

Back in the 1970s, the US government was funding the early robotics industry, until left-wing hack politicians taking the side of Cesar Chavez intervened, and the robotics industry got promptly defunded.

The article notes “…it wasn’t just technological challenges that held back previous attempts at building a mechanical harvester –- politics got involved, too. Cesar Chavez, the legendary leader of the United Farm Workers, began a campaign against mechanization back in 1978.”

“Chavez was outraged that the federal government was funding research and development on agricultural machines, but not spending any money to aid the farm workers who would be displaced…”

Frankly, no one should have cared that Mr. Chavez was outraged or that his illegal aliens might be put out of a job. They could have all gone back to Mexico and the illegal alien problem could have been nipped in the bud.

Unfortunately, the Democrats saw these illegal alien Mexicans as future Democrat voters and we started going down the wrong road to a major illegal alien problem.

The article continues “The farmers are willing to pay up because they’ve been rattled by a labor shortage over the past few years — California growers tell horror stories of watching their fruit rot on the trees as they waited for the picking crews to arrive. Last fall, growers rallied in front of the U.S. Capitol, frustrated that Congress still hadn’t created a program to ease the passage of foreign guest workers across the Mexico border.”

“With the supply-and-demand equation uncertain, growers see the robots as a better option. ‘You can predict what it’s going to cost to buy a machine and maintain it,’ says Baskin. ‘You can’t predict the bargaining that we go through with contract labor,’ he says.”

“The two robots would work as a team: one an eagle-eyed scout, the other a metallic octopus with a gentle touch. The first robot will scan the tree and build a 3-D map of the location and size of each orange, calculating the best order in which to pick them. It sends that information to the second robot, a harvester that will pick the tree clean, following a planned sequence that keeps its eight long arms from bumping into each other…”

“This time around, growers’ associations are funding the research. By the end of this year, the orange growers will have invested almost $1 million in the project, says Ted Baskin, president of the California Citrus Research Board. He estimates that it will take about $5 million more to get to the finished product.”

So instead of the government funding robotics four decades ago, we’ve allowed tens of millions of illegal aliens to invade the United States since the 1970s. The illegal aliens, who worked in the fields, weren’t happy working there and every year or two, a new million illegal aliens had to be brought in to replace the illegal aliens who moved on to work in the cities.

Now Obama wants to give Amnesty to the 20 to 34 million illegals in the US today, and to top it all off, the farmers are finally building crop-harvesting robots on their own dime because the illegal aliens are becoming less and less inclined to provide them with cheap labor. Once they get citizenship, they’ll be able to demand minimum wage, making robots that much more economical.

America would have been much better off if it guarded its borders against invaders from the Third World and if it developed high tech solutions to crop harvesting in the 1970s, rather than import millions of Mexican illegal aliens to do those jobs.

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