Conservative TikTok farm-fluencer makes case for immigration reform
Farmer Shay Myers spent much of the pandemic on TikTok, introducing hundreds of thousands of followers to the basics of onion storage and his frustrations with growing hemp. This spring, facing a labor shortage he attributed to delays with the H-2A guest worker visa program, Myers posted a video on his decision not to harvest about 150,000 pounds of asparagus, sacrificing an estimated $180,000 in profit. After the video racked up some 3 million views, Myers allowed more than 5,000 volunteers to pick the vegetables for free. This week, citing the loss of his asparagus profits, the conservative farm-fluencer penned a Washington Post op-ed urging Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented farmworkers. (Longtime readers of The Counter may remember the issue is more complicated than it sounds.) Despite offering $16 an hour, Myers writes, he can’t find workers to harvest all his crops. It’s a familiar refrain coming from conservative farm groups, who were complaining of labor shortages long before the pandemic and Biden’s presidency.