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Home Grown: Farmers react to shipping container removals

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - With fields of leafy greens just feet away from the US-Mexico border.

Farmers say the Yuma economy and North America’s food security are at risk.

“Our primary concern in Yuma is our agricultural base. Everybody is involved in agriculture whether they think they are or not, because of our economy being built around agriculture for the last 100-plus years,” said Yuma County Supervisor, Jonathan Lines.

Per last week’s agreement, the state will remove the shipping containers from Federal property in the Yuma Sector by January 4.

The shipping containers helped funnel migrants and decreased the chance of them walking into AG fields.

One local AG producer says he witnessed last year, pre-containers. 

“They were wandering out into our production fields. That causes huge concerns not only for the illegal immigrant's safety, but also our worker safety. When people are walking around a production area, they don’t know what the rules are," said Mellon Farms Vice president, Cory Mellon.

Mellon says he’s worried about how the removal of these shipping containers will affect the fields, leaving the gaps open. 

“All the growers in Yuma have a concern. Yuma produces 80 percent of the leafy greens for the United States, Canada, North America from November and April. It becomes a food security issue. If we have the same thing that we had last December, or even worse we tend to lose a lot of products down here that we can’t harvest because it’s been compromised by illegal immigrants walking through the fields,” said Melon.

County Supervisor Jonathan Lines says he's working with farmers and other lawmakers to make sure the gap by the Morelos Dam is not left without some sort of barricade when containers are removed.

“I shared those concerns with Senator Kelly, we spoke last week twice and I asked him specifically to make sure that in the areas where the containers were removed that they were able to provide a barrier whether it’s permanent or not,” said Lines.

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Samantha Byrd

Samantha Byrd joined the KYMA team in February 2022 and is the morning anchor/producer for News 11 and Fox 9.

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