WIUM Tristates Public Radio

migrant farmworkers

ESTHER HONIG / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA FILE PHOTO

The number of migrant farmworkers in the U.S. dropped 42% in 2020, likely because of the risk of COVID-19 coupled with high unemployment rates.

 

On the outskirts of Rantoul, in east-central Illinois, about 100 migrant farmworkers are living at an old hotel in a sleepy part of town.

COURTESY OF JAMES UNZICKER, CHP OF IL

Maricel Mendoza is familiar with the work migrant and seasonal farmworkers do. Growing up, her family traveled from Texas to central Illinois every year for her parents' jobs as contractors with a large seed company.