We earlier noted the absurdity of the idea of the "farm labor shortage": "as any economist can tell you, there's no such thing as a 'shortage,' only an unwillingness of purchasers to pay a market price that may have previously been artificially depressed." Ilya Somin is more economically savvy than most law professors, but buys into the idea of a shortage of farm-workers, because there are "crops rotting in the fields." But as Steve Sailer notes, a profit-maximizing farmer will always have "crops rotting in the fields"; there's always going to be last dregs of produce that are economically infeasible to harvest. We tolerate (indeed insist upon through such mechanisms as expiration dates) food waste at home, at restaurants, at grocery stores; why is it a surprise that farmers don't have 100% yields?
But John Carney blows away the notion that there's any labor shortage at all. Even as profits went up, farm labor expenses went down:
It's just basic economics. The overall cost of labor on farms is falling. The cost of seasonal labor is rising but at a rate far less than revenues. That implies that supply of labor is outstripping demand. Which is to say, farmers may be screaming about labor shortages but their checkbooks are telling a very different story.