This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Migrant workers in Maine being replaced by blueberry-picking machines
- As expected, Austria follows Hungary in saying ‘No more migrants’
Migrant workers in Maine being replaced by blueberry-picking machines
Littau ORXL Over-the-Row Berry Harvester has a harvesting speed of about 1.0 mph for picking blueberries and blackberries. (Littau)
Ten years ago, more than 5,000 migrant farm workers, mostly of Latin American, Caribbean, Native American or Canadian aboriginal origin, would come to Maine each year to pick 60 million pounds of blueberries between late July and Labor Day. It was grueling work, but it was also a way of life, providing several hundred dollars in pay each week. Today, Maine’s blueberry crop is much larger, about 90 million pounds, but only about 1,500 migrant farm workers are needed.
The difference is blueberry-picking machines, heavy pieces of machinery, each operated by a driver, and each replacing several migrant farm workers. The machines require flat farmland, so there is still a need for migrant workers in the gullies.
According to one manufacturer, Littau, berries picked by machines are better than berries picked by humans:
Berry plants, such as Raspberries, release ripe fruit at an optimum time when the fruit is fully ripe. At this time the berry is as heavy and sweet as it will ever be. Once this time has passed (often a 1-2 day window) the plant regains its previous hold on the fruit. Machine picking can cover much more acreage in a short time, reducing labor, and harvesting the berries quickly to keep them fresh and healthy. Machine harvesting also picks the entire plant, not only what is visible on the outside of the bush. Machine harvesting is a perfect repeatable process set to pick exactly how you configure it, unlike hundreds of hand laborers who have their own opinion of what is under or overripe. Another advantage of machine harvesting is our cleaner fan system. The cleaner fan system allows the operator to separate debris from the berries and regulates how ripe of berries will be kept or discarded. For example, if an overripe berry is picked by the machine the cleaner can be set to remove it before it gets dropped into the crates automatically.
As expected, Austria follows Hungary in saying ‘No more migrants’
As we wrote two days ago, Hungary finally gave in to the massive flow of migrants, after having tried to do everything possible to impede their flow — especially at the southern border with Serbia and at the train station in Budapest. But when thousands of them began walking along the M1 motorway for the 200 mile trek to Vienna Austria, Hungary finally gave in, and provided over 100 buses to carry them to the border with Austria.
Also on Saturday, Austria announced it would permit the migrants to pass through the country to their final destination which, for most of them, was Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel had promised them a warm welcome. Many Austrian citizens helped out on Sunday by driving to Budapest and then driving back to Austria with as many migrants as their cars could carry.
But on Sunday, Austria’s Chancellor Werner Faymann announced that enough was enough:
We have always said this is an emergency situation in which we must act quickly and humanely. We have helped more than 12,000 people in an acute situation. Now we have to move step-by-step away from emergency measures toward normality, in conformity with the law and dignity.
At the railway station in Munich, Germany, there were 6,800 arrivals on Saturday. 13,000 more were expected to arrive on Sunday, and then another 11,000 more on Monday. Authorities in Munich have been setting up beds in a disused car showroom and a railway logistic center, but they’re running out of room.
Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán blames Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel for the huge flow of migrants and refugees from Syria:
As long as Austria and Germany don’t say clearly that they won’t take in any more migrants, several million new immigrants will come to Europe.
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Maine, blueberries, Littau Harvester, Budapest, Hungary, Viktor Orbán, Vienna, Austria, Werner Faymann, Munich, Germany, Angela Merkel
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