Feature
Seventy-three old Augustus Morgan, has been working in the overseas agricultural (farm work) programme for the past 55 years.
Photo: Garwin Davis

Story Highlights

  • In 1965, then 18-year old St. Thomas native, Augustus Morgan, left Jamaica for the United States to participate in the overseas agricultural (farm work) programme.
  • Fifty-five years later, not only is Mr. Morgan still with the programme, but at 73 years-old, he is one of the oldest members, and tells JIS News that he is “fit and ready to go and give it another 10 years.”
  • He tells JIS News that his over five decades as a farm worker “has been quite a journey”, which has taken him from a modest upbringing in the coastal town of Yallahs, to where, today, while not a rich man, he has managed to make a decent living.

In 1965, then 18-year old St. Thomas native, Augustus Morgan, left Jamaica for the United States to participate in the overseas agricultural (farm work) programme.

Fifty-five years later, not only is Mr. Morgan still with the programme, but at 73 years-old, he is one of the oldest members, and tells JIS News that he is “fit and ready to go and give it another 10 years.”

He tells JIS News that his over five decades as a farm worker “has been quite a journey”, which has taken him from a modest upbringing in the coastal town of Yallahs, to where, today, while not a rich man, he has managed to make a decent living.

“Like everyone else I went in search of greener pastures and maybe a little of that American dream that everyone was talking about,” Mr. Morgan notes.

“I went to a farm by the name of Fruit Hill in Winchester, Virginia and have been going back for the past 55 years. I have had the same employer, Diane Burger, who is now like family. She keeps calling me back every year and I am expecting to get a call very soon,” he says.

Mr. Morgan tells JIS News that over the years, he has been engaged in cutting sugarcane and picking apples and oranges.

He says he has also mentored younger workers “showing them the ropes and advising them as what to do and what not to do to where they too have made something out of their lives.”

The recently widowed father of five tells JIS News that his motivation over the years was to provide a good life for himself and his family.

“It has never crossed my mind to run off or to do anything stupid that would hurt or embarrass my family,” he notes.

“I’m not saying that it has always been an easy road but I simply dedicated my mind to working hard and to exercise a level of integrity that would make people want to believe in me and to trust me. That has been my secret to success and I have no regrets,” he says.

Mr. Morgan and 42 of his colleagues were presented with long service awards for their participation in the overseas agricultural programme at a function held recently
Melia Braco in Rio Bueno, Trelawny.

The veteran farm worker tells JIS News that he is proud to be recognised. He says that farm workers make a significant contribution to Jamaica, not only in remittances, noting that “we have been playing our part as true patriots and ambassadors.”

Mr. Morgan tells JIS News that he has no regrets about participating in the programme, noting that if he had to live his life again “I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, describes Mr. Morgan as “a poster boy” for the programme, hailing his hard work and longevity.

She says he is a role model for younger workers.

For his part, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon. Audley Shaw, says it is success stories like Mr. Morgan’s that give the programme credence.

“Here is a true son of the soil and one of our great ambassadors,” he notes.

“Fifty-five years continuously in the same programme speaks volume and deserves full commendation”, he adds.

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