Inside USA - the state of agriculture in the US  

The big business of farming in America is booming but, if you look a little closer, it is feeding off millions of vulnerable lives to do it.

More than half of the farmworkers in the United States are undocumented migrants.

Lack of legal status means they are ripe for exploitation, facing low salaries, substandard housing, risk of injury, pesticides, heat stroke. Some literally work themselves to death.

So why do migrant workers choose such a brutal path? The usual narrative is that they are seeking a better life in the US, but for many there is no choice involved.

Free trade deals and business-friendly policies cooked up in Washington have driven millions of Latin American farmers off their land, unable to compete with the heavily subsidised food pouring in from the US. South of the border, entire farming towns have emptied out, and communities have been ripped apart.

Inside USA examines farming in the era of free trade, from California to Mexico to North Carolina.

Watch part two of this episode

This episode of Inside USA aired from Friday, August 22, 2008


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