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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Son of agricultural workers will launch a web platform to combat state's shortage of farm workers

Feliciano Paredes

"We are at a point right now where the shortage in the agricultural industry is really causing a lot of issues across the whole, like in the agricultural ecosystem, like the dairy, the specialty crop which are those crops that require a lot of hand harvesting." 

That is Feliciano Paredes, who remembers traveling for several days in the back of his parent's truck in search of agricultural seasonal work from Texas to Michigan. 

"It was common for us to arrive on a farm, and then either, because we got there too late or too early, maybe the housing wouldn't be ready for us so that would mean we would have to spend a few nights in our truck until we could find another farm, or just to wait for another until that farm opened up their housing and then we’d be able to stay there." 

It’s Paredes’ memory of family frustration over relying on word-of-mouth for work that drove him to creating a web platform that connects agricultural workers with farms across the nation.        

"If they are either getting ready to go to work they will be able to find jobs wherever they go, they will be able to see the best paying jobs, the jobs that have housing. They are going to be able to see like what resources are in the area whether its education, health." 

The platform, Aghelp, launches in October in both Spanish and English at aghelpusa.com. Farms will pay a subscription fee starting at $35 per month and the platform is free to use for agricultural workers. 

In Michigan, the agricultural industry contributes to $101.2 billion dollars per year, but according to the Michigan Farm Bureau, in the last three years, there has been an acute threat to the industry caused by a reduction of farmworkers.

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News. 

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