Oklahoma ‘Wheaties’: What They Are and Why They’re Hard to Hire

Ben Allen / KOSU Radio

Nomadic workers from states like Kansas migrate to Oklahoma to help with the wheat harvest.

Dan Skinner is a business owner, but he’s a lot like a college football recruiter. He spends three months of every year on the phone, trying to build a team that’s ready to toil and travel tirelessly.

Finding good workers is tough, and Oklahoma needs a lot of summer help for its wheat harvest. These migratory, temporary workers are called “wheaties,” and Americans don’t want the work, Skinner says. But hiring foreign workers comes with piles of paperwork and reams of red tape.

Ben Allen is a reporter for KOSU, a StateImpact partner and collaborator. This is part of a series on summer jobs in Oklahoma.