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The Advocate: Sugar cane farmers, relying on temporary workers as planting nears, watch for coronavirus

Growing cane at the Ramagos farm – photo by Sally Ramagos

Ellyn Couvillion of The Advocate reports on the labor challenge posed by the novel coronavirus to Louisiana’s sugarcane producers.

The four people from Mexico who have worked seasonally for many years at the Ramagos sugar cane and soybean farm in Iberville Parish were at the U.S. consulate in Monterrey, Mexico, in mid-March, going through the usual four-day process to get a temporary visa for agricultural work in the U.S., when the coronavirus caused a short-lived but unsettling state of limbo for both workers and farmers.

The consulate sent out an email saying it was suspending routine immigration and non-immigration services beginning May 18 until further notice, said Katie Ramagos Sistrunk, who farms alongside her father, Cecil Ramagos Jr., and two of her brothers on the family’s 1,100-acre farm near Plaquemine.


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