Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Farming and Immigration- Interview with Garner Overton and Harrison Preddy

In this excerpt, Garner Overton interviewed me (Harrison Preddy) about how I found myself to be a member of the farming community. She also asks me about how I feel about immigrants taking the jobs of American farm workers.

Garner: Hi! I am here with Harrison Preddy, a member of the rural and farming community from Granville County, NC. So Harrison, how did you know that you were a member of the rural and farming community?

Harrison: So, I knew I was a member of the farming community when I was very young. I went to school at Kerr-Vance Academy in Henderson, NC and found that my family did things differently than my other classmates. Like, I always found that nobody else, except my friend Brian who was also a farming kid, thought of summer as a time for working. Everybody just always talked about relaxing and sleeping and playing…. but me and Brian always knew that when summer came, you started to get up a little earlier and work instead of play. So, I guess I knew that farming families were different from other families when I was about 4 or 5 to be honest!

Garner: So, did people ever make fun of you for being a farmer or for being from a rural place?

Harrison: Well…. yes and no. Nobody said anything at school because we all grew up together and so they knew I was not particularly different from them. I mean, there were only like 26 or 27 kids in my graduating class so…. we were all kind of like brothers and sisters! Anyways, nobody picked on me at school. However, whenever I traveled for camps and leadership conferences, people always thought I was less intelligent than they were, or they thought I was backwards or something. The worst part was that I would always say that I rode a cow to school when I meet someone who just thought I sat around on a stump and ate ants or whatever. Haha, the worst part was that they most of the time would believe I did ride a cow to school until I told them otherwise!

Garner: Haha! That is kind of stupid of them! So, moving into stereotypes, I have always heard that rural people don't “like immigrants”, do you think that true?

Harrison: Again… yes and no. But before I say anything else, I want to make it clear that it is not a racial thing. So, the rural folks who don’t like immigration are mainly blue collar workers. This mostly comes from a fear of replacement. The blue collar workers are just afraid that companies will lay them off and hire the immigrants because they will work for less than Americans in most cases. However, the farming subgroup in the rural community loves the idea of immigration and are pushing to make immigration easier! We need immigrants to work on farms, in actuality, they are the only people who will come to work on the farms! Without an immigrant labor force that are willing to work as agriculture hands, nothing would ever get done. Crops and harvests would rot in the field and would never be brought to market. The immigrants are happy and willing to work and deserve fair treatment, they do not feel like farm work is beneath them… that is why the farming community is supportive of immigrants and immigration reform.

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