Thousands of South Africans plough a lucrative furrow on...


Thousands of South Africans plough a lucrative furrow on American farms

In 2022, almost 10,000 South Africans worked on farms in the US — a fourfold increase over the past six years. PIETER VAN DER MERWE set out to understand why South Africans are in such demand as seasonal workers and what they experience — and earn — in a land of endless opportunity.

WHEN Michael Taljaard walked out of Hoërskool Zeerust's gates for the last time in 2016, he knew his days in a classroom were over. No more studying. It was time to work.

However, it did not come easy. Most employers did not want to hire someone younger than 25, says Taljaard. That's when his girlfriend — now his wife — started googling for farmers in America who were looking for seasonal workers.

Taljaard, who had spent much of his life on farms, had an interview with a grain farmer in North Dakota and a month later he found himself on a plane heading to the US. That was in 2017...

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