Desert Labor is owned by Jody Barker, a CHS 1988 graduate and local farmer. Desert Labor is an agricultural labor contracting business that opened in 2008. Jody works with area farmers and orchard owners to provide the best much needed temporary farm labor and services.
Desert Labor has 5 full time employees and about 100+ seasonal employees. Many of the laborers are local to the area/community but some come with work visa’s. When asked about expanding Desert Labor Jody stated “Yes, as a business I am always looking into ways to expand. We would love to work with more farmers and orchard owner’s and be able to offer more labor and services to the local agricultural community.” His main motivation for starting Desert Labor came from the shortage of seasonal and year-round labor in the area. Opening a business was a way to bring jobs to the area and add relief to the shortage. Jody also stated that he likes to add to the community, “we provide employment opportunities to the community, keeping good paying jobs local, if anyone is interested have them come by and apply.” You must be 18+ years old to apply. Jody enjoys working hand in hand with farmers and being involved in different aspects of the local agriculture. The idea of Desert Labor came when he was weeding his own field by hand with a few labor helpers and then it grew from an idea and expanded into a business from there. He provides the transportation for his groups to go out to fields/orchards.
In addition to Desert Labor, Jody also owns a separate business, Mid Basin Labor. Mid Basin offers services with H2A – which are seasonal laborers that come from Mexico with work visas. Most are here primarily for the harvesting of orchards and corn harvest during June – November. The H2A project provides housing, transportation and employment. There is currently H2A housing being planned in Connell that will be ready to be utilized for next year’s harvest season. With that, Jody looks forward to bringing more people to the area to shop and be a part of the community if only for a few months of the year. Bringing more commerce to Connell will add to the community and help businesses be successful too.
Jody and his wife Cristi live on a farm outside of Connell. Both grew up in Connell and are still very active within the community with the Chamber of Commerce, Community Club, Fall Festival Group and more. Desert Labor has supported both the Firework Show and Fall Festival for our community for several years.
Desert Labor also provides the services of purchasing tabs for auto, boat, RV, trailers, and recreational vehicles. The office is located at 133 N Columbia Ave in the center of Connell and is open from Monday – Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. You can visit their Facebook site “Desert Labor” or the website desertlabor.com for more information or call them at 509-234-9596.