YUBA COUNTY, CA - News stories about the current shortage of workers to pick peaches in the Yuba Sutter area have prompted a flurry of calls to the Yuba Sutter Farm Bureau.

"We've actually been completely inundated with calls from folks looking for work," said Megan Foster, the farm bureau executive director.

And at least some growers are willing to give the unemployed a chance.

"Yes," said grower Sarb Johl. "If you could just get the 17 percent unemployed to go out and do what needs to be done, definitely it would help."

But other growers weren't so sure. Peach pickers are usually paid around $16 per binand it takes an experienced worker about an hour to fill a bin. An inexperienced worker could take a lot longer but would still have to be paidminimum wage which could end up costing the grower money.

On top of that, it isn't that easy.

"I think a lot of folks don't understand the hard work they're in for," saidFoster.

Still, the farm bureau is working to connect the people who want to give it a try with growers willing to give them a chance. With an immigration crackdown and violence from Mexican drug cartels keeping many workers home in Mexico, growers could face losses this year of up to some 40 percent -- and that despite a good crop of peaches.

If interested, you can contact the farm bureau by calling (530) 673-6550, email ysfb@ysfarmbureau.comor clicking on the attached .pdf file of labor contractors.

by Jonathan Mumm,

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