COACHELLA, Calif. – On a recent sunny morning, Isidro Fuentes spent several hours thinning out two-week-old rows of romaine lettuce.
In years past, that job would have been done by 30 people. But today Fuentes, 56, sits alone atop a tractor with a specialized mechanical attachment that handles the entire operation.
“This is the future,” he says.
The future, in fact, has many farmers nervous. The company Fuentes works for provides labor to Ocean Mist Farms, which has begun turning to automation because farm workers are both in short supply and increasingly costly.
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