Wisconsin Dairy Farmers Challenge Donald Trump on Immigration

March 28, 2016 02:09 PM

With the April 5 Wisconsin presidential primary just eight days away, Wisconsin’s Dairy Business Association wants Republican front-runner Donald Trump to understand the importance of immigrant labor to the nation’s food security.

“As Americans we are concerned about national security,” says Gordon Speirs, a dairy farmer from Brillion, Wis., and president of the Dairy Business Association (DBA). “We cannot have national security without food security, and we cannot have food security without workers. It is better that we import workers to help grow, harvest and process our food here rather than have the food grown elsewhere and have to import it.”

“Immigrant workers play a key role on dairies throughout the state,” says Speirs. “Without access to labor, some dairies would simply have to close. Any growth or expansion would be out of the question.”

Even though farms offer competitive wages, many dairy farms struggle to recruit, hire and retain workers. “Dairy farmers know that their immigrant workers to be good, honest, and hardworking people,” adds John Holevoet, DBA’s director of government affairs. “The campaign rhetoric so far has been hurtful and has made many workers unnecessarily apprehensive about their futures.”

A recent study by Texas A&M University, commissioned by the National Milk Producers Federation, shows the retail cost of milk would nearly double without immigrant labor.

“We hope Mr. Trump will take some time to talk with our farmers while he’s here,” Speirs says. “We need a thoughtful discussion of this topic for the good of our farmers and overall economy.”

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Spell Check

Pensacola, ID
3/30/2016 12:55 AM

  They can start paying enough money to hire American workers and send the illegal aliens home. If it means the price of food goes up, so be it. That's a whole lot cheaper long term than supporting them on the backs of taxpayers.

Shawano, WI
3/29/2016 06:45 PM

  DBA is just a front for Mega dairies. Dickerell as usual sucks

sherburne, NY
3/29/2016 01:57 PM

  I take great issue with dairy farmers willing to brake the law because they are unwilling to do the work themselves or pay enough to hire people within their communities. I can see why people would be unwilling to work for most farmers, expecting someone to work 7 days a week 12 hours a day with no chance of advancement, start as a milker and in 20 years you will still be a mil. Iker. There used to be many people willing to work for themselves as dairy farmers but the few dairies that seem to want to be in continus expansion mode has made it almost imposible for others to dairy. Maybe you have the right to own that many cows but don't give me the argument that you also have the right to force other people to take care of your cows. If you are unable or unwilling to pay a living wage for a US citizen to make ends meet maybe you should be looking at your business plan. There is an easy way to increase the pay price farmers receive for milk, produce less of it with less foreign labor. I am doing quite well thanks for caring!


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