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David Sparks Ph.d Foreign Born Labor
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: March 06, 2017

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“The need for comprehensive immigration reform is real. It is an issue that can no longer be ignored.” Nationwide rhetoric on immigration has Idaho agricultural leaders reaching out to tell the true story of how important foreign born labor is to Idaho agriculture. Braden Jensen of the Idaho Farm Bureau says our national priorities for a visa program allowing year round guests has so far shortchanged our basic human needs. "I personally find it interesting that there are visa programs for students, scientists, for performers and many other interests. However there are still no year round these of programs for our most basic needs… Our food, fiber and fuel.” Jensen joined Idaho dairy industry spokesman Bob Naerbout at a press conference to promote the importance of getting something done to secure long-term, the foreign born labor needed to keep the economic engine of Idaho agriculture running. “So I want to bring it down to what it means to the dairy industry. First you have to understand what the dairy industry means to the state of Idaho. The dairy industry in Idaho has $2.4 million in total gross sales. It contributes $3.5 billion to Idaho’s gross domestic product. The dairy industry in domestic and foreign exports is worth $4.2 billion. Really the economic vitality of the rural Idaho stands on the shoulders of foreign born labor.

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