California Agriculture, January-February 2000
Volume 54, Number 1
California's changing face: The challenge ahead
peer-reviewed research articles
Past, present and future: Immigration, high fertility fuel state's population growth
by William A.V. Clark
Immigration, and births to new immigrants, will continue to fuel California's population growth, not just in the urban areas but in the cities and towns of rural counties. Local communities will face a wide range of social and economic changes as they adapt to increasing population diversity. As we enter a new century, the demands for greater investments in education, health care and other aspects of the urban infrastructure will increase.
For California farmworkers, future holds little prospect for change
by Philip L. Martin , J. Edward Taylor
Agriculture is a major employer in California. Some 800,000 to 900,000 people work for wages at some time during a typical year on California farms. Only about half of those work year-round so that farmworkers represent just 3% of California's average 14 million wage and salary workers. Most farmworkers in California are seasonally employed on one farm for less than 6 months each year, and earn a quarter of the average factory worker's annual salary. The vast majority are Hispanic immigrants. During the next quarter century, these trends are likely to continue, with the farm labor market becoming increasingly isolated from the mainstream. An alternative scenario is that strong unions and government regulations could transform farm work into an occupation that can provide a career and support a family. Immigration policy will play a critical role in determining the characteristics of California farmworkers in the 21st century.
The new rural poverty: Central Valley evolving into patchwork of poverty and prosperity
by J. Edward Taylor , Philip L. Martin
From Redding to Bakersfield, the Central Valley is evolving into a patchwork of poverty and prosperity. Despite being part of the world's most prosperous agricultural economy, more than 25% of Fresno County's 800,000 residents were eligible for Medi-Cal in 1998. A study of 65 rural California towns indicates that labor-intensive agriculture contributes to poverty and welfare demands in rural communities by attracting large numbers of unskilled foreign workers and offering most of them poverty-level wages. In the 65 towns, 28% of the residents live in households with below-poverty incomes. Major policy choices for ameliorating this situation include modifying immigration and labor laws that affect farming to help farmworkers earn higher wages.
The new rural California: Farmworkers putting down roots in Central Valley communities
by Juan-Vicente Palerm
Welfare reform shines a light on work-force development challenges
by David Campbell
In August 1996, Congress passed sweeping reforms to the nation's welfare system, requiring most recipients to work and placing a 5-year limit on benefits. The California Communities Program at UC Davis has been studying the progress of welfare reform in six California counties, and comparing the state's experience to national trends. Through more than 200 interviews and an extensive literature review, we have found that welfare reform is succeeding in reducing caseloads and reinventing local social-service bureaucracies. But these changes must be joined with long-term job creation and work-force development strategies if they are to truly reduce poverty. California's welfare reform policies and experiences highlight the particular challenges facing rural counties, which generally have fewer staff resources, a less-developed infrastructure of nonprofit service organizations, and lower expectations about their ability to implement major reforms.
How will the Central Valley economy grow?
by Ted K. Bradshaw
The Central Valley's economy is becoming increasingly bifurcated, with a new economy overlaying the traditional agricultural economy. Two distinctive economic forces are responsible for this transformation of the Valley's indigenous agricultural economy. The first is the continuing development of agriculture from commodity production to more specialized, integrated clusters of agricultural industry. The second is the emergence of nonagricultural industries, based on industries such as information technology and biomedical supplies. The health of the Valley's economy will continue to rest heavily on production agriculture, which supports many related businesses. However, the lack of workers possessing skills needed for the newer nonagricultural jobs may limit progress in Valley communities.
‘Third’ institution needed to bridge family-school gap for youth
by Stephen T. Russell
California's youth of the new millennium will be the first adults to have grown up in a truly multicultural society; their experiences as children will set the stage for the leadership that they will provide beyond our lifetimes. Along with dramatic changes in the racial and ethnic composition of the state's population, the next 50 years will also bring significant changes to family life. These changes have profound implications for public education and civic involvement. A new, “third” social institution is needed to encourage youth in meaningful developmental activities when they are not at home or in school, and to prepare them for life in a diverse society.
ANR responds to Hispanic teenage pregnancy
by Elizabeth Gong , Stephen T. Russell
Elderly population will increase dramatically
by Bryan Lincoln
UC must take lead in curricula reform, teacher training
by Mary V. Price , Richard A. Cardullo
California, once reputed to have the best public education system in the nation, finds itself ranked at or near the bottom at the end of the 20th century. Traditionally, the University of California has not been deeply involved in K-12 education, but the social and economic cost of an undereducated work-force in a global economy makes it imperative that all segments of California's system of higher education — including UC — get involved. The University can directly improve our public schools through outreach programs. At the same time, UC needs to improve its own curriculum, particularly in science and mathematics, and especially for prospective teachers. To prepare graduates for an increasingly technological world, curricula must be more interdisciplinary and inquiry-based, for science and for nonscience majors alike By breaking down traditional barriers that have prevented UC faculty from participating in curriculum reform efforts, UC can play a leadership role in providing Californians the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the next century.
editorial, news, letters & science briefs
Population change to challenge Californians
by W. R. Gomes
Q&A: Hard choices ahead for growing world
by Joel E. Cohen
Women, minority farmers are growing in California
by Byron Janet
Women, minority farmers Grandparents become parents Tidal Wave It
Grandparents become primary parents
by Kan-Rice Pam
“Tidal Wave II” to hit higher education