Wisconsin's "Got Milk" Thanks to Immigrants

According to the report, “Changing Hands: Hired Labor on Wisconsin Dairy Farms,” wirtten by the department of rural sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, most dairy farms in Wisconsin depend on immigrant labor.
More than 40 percent of all hired dairy employees are immigrants according to the research. Not only are the workers impacting the industry, but they are changing the demographics of rural communities and presenting challenges for the industry.
The research came from focus groups made up of dairy farmers, surveys of 83 dairy farm owners and 370 of their employees as well as detailed follow-up surveys.
Research found that farmers started hiring immigrants around 2000. Of 12,551 people hired to work at Wisconsin dairy farms in 2007, 5,315 of these were immigrants.
The study cites these reason for the changes: (taken from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
*Farmers are increasing production to increase income, and larger herds mean more workers are needed to keep the three-times-a day milking schedule
*Tighter budgets may drive more farm families to work off the farm to stabilize the family income and/or health insurance
*Farm families are shrinking and spouses and farm children often go off the farm to build careers
*The average age of farmers has increased.
Although the subject is incredibly sensitive and controversial, farmers say it is hard to find dependable U.S.-born workers.
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