We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I worked on a railroad tie gang (we were called Gandy dancers) during my summer undergraduate years (1966-1970). Replacing ties that, in some cases, had been laid in the 1920"s. Most of the work was hand work--except we did have a tamper for the finish work. It was back-breaking to say the least. A crew of about 20 and we lived in boxcars and moved every week or so as we progressed down the tracks. After a summer bucking ties and pounding spikes I was in pretty good shape and was more than ready to return to school. The pay was $2.50/hour and we paid $2.00/day for our room and board. I could make and save enough from this summer job to pay for the next year of school.
As zerohedge points out in passing, some agricultural production will move away from California. I'm guessing a whole lot will go to Mexico and Texas. California has already screwed up its water supply very badly and their ag was already in pain from that.
Up here in Western Canada I have noticed more and more produce from Mexico and less and less from California. NAFTA has done a lot of good for us in low prices for Mexican produce and American manufactured goods.
"...you just need a handful of people to supervise the machine." Last time I looked it only took one person to supervise a human-driven tractor. Of course if a few people could supervise 20 of the things, that would be another matter.
When I was in the USAF working in GPS in the early 90s, when its availability and use exploded after the first Gulf War, I (not being a farmer) was surprised to find out that the fastest growing civilian market for GPS devices was agriculture.
People were combining satellite and aerial photos to analyze the growth patterns, and then plotting fertilizer spray patterns that could be programmed into a plane using GPS coordinates. It cut way down on the expense of fertilizing, put the fertilizer where it would help and not harm, and incidentally reduced chemical run off from the fields.
Now I'm not surprised that Big Ag is poised to automate the whole business. Drones for aerial work, robot tractors, robot pickers, and robot trucks to take it all to market.