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Trump’s Immigration Policy Criticized by Dairy Farmers
March 5, 2016

Dairy farmers say they’re fed up with the posturing of presidential candidates who don’t understand the importance of immigrant labor to milk producers.

That’s according to “Donald Trump’s Immigration Plan Could Affect the Nation’s Milk Supply,” a CNN piece published March 1, or Super Tuesday, when voters in 13 states and 1 American territory head to the polls for presidential primaries.

Here is an excerpt:

Building a wall on the border with Mexico and deporting all undocumented immigrants has become an applause line at Donald Trump’s rallies and the main policy idea for the GOP front-runner.

But Trump’s promise has sparked fear and frustration among farmers around the country, who, like it or not, depend on immigrant labor.

“I’m angry,” says dairy farmer Mike McMahon, who owns 700 cows in upstate New York, which is now the third-largest dairy producing state and the biggest producer of greek yogurt in the country.

“For someone like Trump or Cruz to say they are going to send them all back is short-sighted because so much of our food supply is dependent on their labor,” he said.

According to the National Milk Producers Federation, 41% of dairy farm workers are immigrants. Overall, there are about 2.5 million farm workers in the U.S, and anywhere from half to more than two-thirds of them are undocumented, according to experts.

Dairy farmers, who are unable to take advantage of seasonal work visas for their laborers, said the situation needs to change—but that building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico is not the answer.

“You take the Hispanic workforce away from agriculture, the price of food will go sky-high and you’ll be looking at empty shelves,” McMahon told CNN. “Good luck at the ice cream stand.”

By: Alison Rice, Markets & News Editor


Summer 2018