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Migrants and Dairy
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio
Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: February 21, 2017
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There was a front-page article in the Idaho Statesman the other day talking about how devastating the Trump immigration plan would be to the states dairy industry. Without migrant labor, the dairy industry would collapse so with that in mind I called Idaho Farm Bureau reporter Jake Putnam. “We see very strong impacts on the dairy industry. Not only dairy, but across the whole agricultural sector. Without a labor workforce and that workforce is shrinking every year, it gets tougher and tougher to find people who are willing to go out and take these very tough jobs. These are jobs that only migrants will do, unfortunately it is a fact. It is really hard to find someone to get up at 4:30 in the morning and milk cows or to go work a sugar beet field. The other thing going against us is the unemployment rate in the state of Idaho is 3.7%. That is the lowest it has been. So everybody is already working here. We have people back in Washington who don’t seem to realize that we are almost at full employment and instead of fewer workers and pushing them out, we need more workers for the upcoming harvest season.
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