DON’T SMOKE THE MESSENGER: Who Are All These New People In Town?
Fall harvest in Southern Oregon is here, full force. With no rain expected in the next while, it appears that a long, warm dry fall is ahead. Which bodes well for a fruitful harvest. It also means that the Valley is filling up with people that are ready get to work pulling the harvest in. The Trimigrants are here.
“There are kids with cardboard signs, scissors drawn on them, hanging out on Hwy 238 on your way to Williams, waiting to get jobs. Its nice to support the culture they bring, and help travelers, as they add character to our culture” comments Jamin Gierscbach of The Rogue Farmer and Talent Health Club, both in Talent. They are an eclectic group of people, from many walks of life; many are artists, or travelers from other countries. Or people who heard what a great opportunity trimming could be.
But this year, people will be arriving to a slightly different scene than they last. Because of the increase in costs to operate a farm, many growers have to change some of the ways they harvest and how much they are able to compensate for the labor.
Giresbach explains, “As the industry matures, it will continue to be more efficient; trim machines can cut down on labor costs as well make the trimmers work more efficient. When the harvest comes, it is a race to get the work done, so the machines are
assets. Rogue Farmer is having a hard time keeping them in stock.” He admits it’s not a perfect solution; hand-trimmed will always be better.
The amount a trimmer is able to make in a season will be less than before, as well. While it was standard that a trimmer could make $20 and hour or $200 a pound, because of all the extra costs the grower is carrying to comply with legalization rules, everyone’s labor budgets are smaller. Giresbach again: “It is important to keep rates a little higher. $175 (a pound) is starting to be an accepted rate for trimmers. By maintaining a higher rate, the grower can expect that the experienced trimmer will be doing a fast, high quality job.”
Trimming can be a great, entry-level job for people wanting to enter the cannabis industry. It can also be a proving ground, where many realize it is not quite as easy as it looks. The work is long. And trim camp can be a fun reunion with friends or a dramatic situation- it just depends what everyone brings to the table. Attitude is everything.