Farmworkers, cannery workers, and tree planters are vital to our economy, yet few Oregonians know much about their contributions, their experiences, or the people themselves.

Agricultural workers are indispensable to the state's economy. Without their hard work, we would not have food on our tables, the boom in Oregon's nursery plant businesses, Christmas trees, and countless other important industries.

Agricultural workers, who are predominantly migrant farmworkers, follow a pattern of migration depending on when crops ripen and where there is work. Workers from Mexico or other areas move to the northern part of the United States as harvest time grows nearer. They are hired by a farmer or are recruited by a farm labor contractor to work the harvest. Sometimes the farmer provides housing for the workers, or sometimes a labor contractor will arrange housing, transportation, and other necessities to be paid for out of the workers' earnings.

When the harvest is complete, the workers move along to the next crop and harvest in a yearly cycle. Today, most of the workers are men who leave their wives and families in Mexico during the 10-month work period. The workers send their earnings home, visit home during the winter months, and often try to bring their families north as they become more accustomed to life in the U.S.

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