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Farmers in the Hatch Valley, are facing a serious worker shortage – spurred by heightened border security, virus fears and lucrative unemployment incentives – as the demand for green chile spikes.

Jeff Witte, secretary for the state Department of Agriculture, said the virus has “compounded” the problem in an area already seeing labor shortages. The situation is becoming untenable for some farmers who are losing profits, crops and the good graces of buyers. In many cases, the workforce has been cut in half. But the workload hasn’t.

Scott Adams, of Adams Produce Inc. told the Journal, the lack of workers is a result of the fact that they had been making more on unemployment than in the fields, thanks to the additional $600 per week unemployment payments available up until recently.

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