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Foreign Labor in Wool
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio
Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: April 11, 2017
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We have talked so much of late about the president’s approach to NAFTA and immigrant labor. In those reports, we have focused very heavily on the dairy industry. But Idaho, as strong as it is dairy wise, also has a huge wool industry. Harry Soulen of Soulen Lvestock in Letha, Idaho runs a major sheep operation and depends on foreign laborer himself. Streamlining the process to secure workers is what they hope will come out of any immigration reform by Congress. “Without foreign workers, we would be out of business quite frankly. We can’t get qualified American help. I would hope some of the rules would be streamlined so it wasn't so intensive and take so long to get guys. If I lose a guy, I have lost them for the season. It takes me 4 to 6 months to apply and get a guy over here.” Under a new administration, wool growers in Idaho are hopeful that government will become more helpful to livestock producers. "Keep cutting back rules and regulations, number one, make it easier to be out there on federal lands and definitely work on the immigration issues.” Harry's 87-year-old father Phil has counted a lot of sheep in his life and is still going strong.
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