This year, like every year, Landus employed roughly 60 migrant and seasonal agricultural workers to help during the busy season of harvest.
55% of those workers come from outside countries like Mexico, while 45% of them are from other areas of the United States, like Texas and California. Some of them are even from Iowa, living just 30 minutes away from Landus locations. Some years, we have had 100% of them coming from other areas of the U.S.
The value that the workers have brought to Landus over the years has been immeasurable, as it can be hard to find short-term, seasonal employees who are willing to put in the long hours.
“If we didn’t have the migrant and seasonal agricultural workers during the 2019 harvest, we would have never got it done,” said Location Manager Jeff Mason.
Not only does it allow locations to get the work done in a timely manner, but it also allows all workers to get it done safely. With more help, all employees and workers can take breaks and get adequate rest between each shift – eliminating possible injuries and accidents from being overworked.
We strive to make it feel like a home away from home. Most Landus locations provide a house for the workers to live in during the harvest season, while other Landus locations pay for hotels. All houses are inspected and approved by the Iowa Workforce.
“Our team always looks forward to having them join us in the harvest. They become friends and a part of the team through working long hours together,” said Mason.
At the Bayard and Dedham locations, they have even established their own traditions with them. As a frequent hunter, Mason likes to share deer and fish meat with the workers each year. Because white tail deer are not native to states like California and Texas, this is something that they always enjoy.
Mason says that a language barrier hasn’t been a significant issue, as some of the workers do speak English. However, technology has helped to decrease the language barrier when it does arise – by using apps like Google Translate.
A beneficial relationship for both, Landus wouldn’t be able to operate smoothly during harvest without the help of these migrant and seasonal agricultural workers.
In honor of October as Hispanic Heritage Month and National Co-op month focus on diversity and inclusion, Landus has made a $1,000 donation to the Immigrant Right Network of Iowa (IRNI).
We are committed to making Landus and our communities welcoming to our migrant workers and their families. Beyond that, we want to support long term solutions to keeping these quality people in our Landus family and our communities. We feel these align with IRNI goals.