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VOA慢速英语:冠状病毒疫情下 美国农场丰收季难寻收割工人

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Farms Look for Answers As Coronavirus Threatens Workers

冠状病毒疫情下 美国农场丰收季难寻收割工人

In normal times, farmers worry about the economy, the weather and being able to sell their crops. Now add the effects of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

在正常情况下,农民会担心经济、天气状况以及农作物能否顺利出售。现在他们的担忧又多了一个——新冠状病毒引起的新冠肺炎疾病带来的影响。

Now as harvest season nears in many parts of the United States, farmers are wondering if they will have workers to bring in their crops. And, if there are workers, how can they be kept safe?

当前随着美国多地丰收季节临近,农民们开始担忧是否要请工人来收割庄稼。而且,即使有工人可请,又该如何确保他们的安全?

One area known for its farming is the eastern state of Pennsylvania.

美国东部的宾夕法尼亚州是一个以农业闻名的地区。

Adams and Franklin counties in rural Pennsylvania have some of the largest farms for fruit and berries.

宾夕法尼亚州农村地区亚当斯县和富兰克林县拥有几个最大的水果和浆果农场。

"Generally, one of the biggest concerns right now… it's just access to workers," said Liam Migdail. He is with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the largest farm organization in the state.

利亚姆·米格代尔表示:“现在这时候大家普遍最担忧的一点仅仅是工人是否能来。”他在宾夕法尼亚州最大的农业组织机构——宾夕法尼亚州农业局工作。

During harvest season, many farmers employ migrants to collect crops from their fields. Many are guest workers from Mexico or Central America. They move from one farm to the next, wherever they are needed.

在丰收季,许多农民雇用移民从田间收割农作物。许多被雇用的人来自墨西哥或中美洲,如果有需要他们可以到不同的农场进行劳作。

The possible labor shortage comes from new restrictions on international workers because of COVID-19. Farmers are also wondering about what to do if their guest workers get sick.

新冠肺炎对国际劳工的新限制政策或会导致劳动力短缺。农民也担忧万一他们雇用的临时工人生病了又该怎么办。

"That would shut us down…if we all got the coronavirus, OK, nobody could work, the fruit falls on the ground," says Kay Hollabaugh. She is co-owner of Hollabaugh Bros., Inc., a family owned and operated fruit and vegetable farm in Butler Township.

“那会导致我们被关闭停工……如果我们都感染了冠状病毒,将无人工作,最后果实都只能自生自灭,”凯·霍拉伯说。她是家族企业霍拉博克斯兄弟公司的合伙人,该公司是巴特勒镇家族经营的一家果蔬农场。

For now, she added, her farm is trying to move forward and keep their workers "safe and healthy."

她补充说,目前她的农场正在努力运营并确保其工人的“安全和健康”。

Some farmers say it is too early to tell if the new safety rules will affect their ability to harvest fruits and vegetables. At many farms, workers are to begin harvesting crops between May and July.

一些农民表示,现在判断新的安全法规是否会影响他们收获果蔬还为时过早。许多农场的工人都会在五月到七月之间开始收割庄稼。

Farmer Chris Baugher said he does not know if he will have workers.

农夫克里斯·鲍尔说,他不知道自己是否还会雇用工人。

'Locals don't want the work'

当地人不想做这份工作

In 2016, the fruit industry contributed $580 million to the Adams County economy. It also created 8,500 jobs and added $16.4 million in taxes, an agricultural study found.

2016年,水果产业为亚当斯县经济贡献了5.8亿美元。一项农业研究发现,它还创造了8,500个工作岗位并增加了1,640万美元的税收。

An area called the South Mountain Fruit Belt produces 70 percent of Pennsylvania's total apple crop. That represents over 180 kilograms of apples a year.

一个被称为“南山果带”的地区苹果产量是宾夕法尼亚州苹果总产量的70%——一年180多公斤苹果。

In 2019, there were more than 1,800 guest workers in Pennsylvania through the federal government’s H-2A visa program.

2019年,通过联邦政府的H-2A签证计划,宾夕法尼亚州迎来1,800多名临时工人。

Farmer Denton Benedict usually employs around 90 workers through this visa program.

农民丹顿·本尼迪克特通常通过该签证计划雇用约90名工人。

The program lets agricultural employers hire workers from other countries to do temporary or seasonal work when local workers cannot be found.

该计划允许农业雇主在找不到本地工人的情况下,雇用其他国家的工人从事临时或季节性工作。

"Not being able to find good help locally is the reason that we went to the H-2A program," said Baugher. He usually has over 20 people from Honduras working on his farm.

鲍尔说:“无法在当地找到工人是我们转向H-2A计划寻求帮助的原因。”通常,他会雇20多名来自洪都拉斯的人在他的农场工作。

Kay Hollabaugh said local people do not want to do the work because they lack the skills and the work is physically demanding.

凯·霍拉伯说,当地人并不想做这项工作,因为他们缺乏相应的技能,而且这份工作主要是体力劳动。

On March 20, the U.S. Department of State suspended visa services like in-person interviews at all embassies and offices overseas because of the coronavirus pandemic. A week later, it announced that H-2A workers could get visas without an interview. But it is still not clear if and how many H-2A workers will come to the United States.

3月20日,由于冠状病毒大流行,美国国务院在海外所有使馆和办事处暂停了面试等签证服务。一周后,它宣布H-2A工人无需面试即可获得签证。但目前仍不清楚是会有否以及将有多少H-2A工人能来美国。

"If we don't get our help…that would be devastating,” Benedict said.

本尼迪克特说:“如果我们没有工人帮助,结果将是毁灭性的。”

A shortage of farm workers would also affect people in the United States. With less produce available, food prices could see large increases.

农场工人的短缺也将影响全美人民。由于可食用的农产品变少,粮食价格可能会大幅上涨。

I’m Susan Shand.

苏珊·尚德报道。

 

Farms Look for Answers As Coronavirus Threatens Workers

In normal times, farmers worry about the economy, the weather and being able to sell their crops. Now add the effects of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Now as harvest season nears in many parts of the United States, farmers are wondering if they will have workers to bring in their crops. And, if there are workers, how can they be kept safe?

One area known for its farming is the eastern state of Pennsylvania.

Adams and Franklin counties in rural Pennsylvania have some of the largest farms for fruit and berries.

"Generally, one of the biggest concerns right now… it's just access to workers," said Liam Migdail. He is with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the largest farm organization in the state.

During harvest season, many farmers employ migrants to collect crops from their fields. Many are guest workers from Mexico or Central America. They move from one farm to the next, wherever they are needed.

The possible labor shortage comes from new restrictions on international workers because of COVID-19. Farmers are also wondering about what to do if their guest workers get sick.

"That would shut us down…if we all got the coronavirus, OK, nobody could work, the fruit falls on the ground," says Kay Hollabaugh. She is co-owner of Hollabaugh Bros., Inc., a family owned and operated fruit and vegetable farm in Butler Township.

For now, she added, her farm is trying to move forward and keep their workers "safe and healthy."

Some farmers say it is too early to tell if the new safety rules will affect their ability to harvest fruits and vegetables. At many farms, workers are to begin harvesting crops between May and July.

Farmer Chris Baugher said he does not know if he will have workers.

'Locals don't want the work'

In 2016, the fruit industry contributed $580 million to the Adams County economy. It also created 8,500 jobs and added $16.4 million in taxes, an agricultural study found.

An area called the South Mountain Fruit Belt produces 70 percent of Pennsylvania's total apple crop. That represents over 180 kilograms of apples a year.

In 2019, there were more than 1,800 guest workers in Pennsylvania through the federal government’s H-2A visa program.

Farmer Denton Benedict usually employs around 90 workers through this visa program.

The program lets agricultural employers hire workers from other countries to do temporary or seasonal work when local workers cannot be found.

"Not being able to find good help locally is the reason that we went to the H-2A program," said Baugher. He usually has over 20 people from Honduras working on his farm.

Kay Hollabaugh said local people do not want to do the work because they lack the skills and the work is physically demanding.

On March 20, the U.S. Department of State suspended visa services like in-person interviews at all embassies and offices overseas because of the coronavirus pandemic. A week later, it announced that H-2A workers could get visas without an interview. But it is still not clear if and how many H-2A workers will come to the United States.

"If we don't get our help…that would be devastating,” Benedict said.

A shortage of farm workers would also affect people in the United States. With less produce available, food prices could see large increases.

I’m Susan Shand.


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