W.H. KERSTEINER ...Los Dunas Ranch
The Honorable Augustus F. Hawkins
The effect of the prospective end of the bracero program has begun to hit me, personally. I have ten acres of dates, and it is time to cut the dead branches and prepare to put on bags. The American Date Gardens, who handle our dates for market, have been able to reassign to me bracero date men. This week they are so far behind for want of date workers that they have none to spare. The Coachella Farmers Association has no date men. This operation is a minor one; what will I do when the big operations, date picking and pollinating, come along? I am speaking for one small grower.
Since the death of my husband, Tom Sakai and Louie Dan have been leasing my farm land for tomatoes, beans and other truck crops. This was supposed to have been a long term operation. I have been shocked to be confronted with the news that, owing to the anticipated end of the bracero program, they will not be able to renew the leases.
My son-in-law was on the verge of selling a piece of farm land in the Fallbrook area when the news of the end of the bracero program came. Overnight the real estate business died, as far as farm land was concerned.
The first of June people were saying to us farmers, "What will you do?"
We were replying, "We'll wait and see."
Now we, too, are saying, "What will we do?" We are Asking you. Will you let the program die?
Mrs. W. H. Kersteiner