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DBA Hopes to Educate Trump on Importance of Immigrant Labor
USAgNet - 03/29/2016

With Wisconsin's primary election just a week away, the leader of the Dairy Business Association is hoping his group will have an opportunity to convey a message to Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump on the importance of immigrant labor to agriculture. DBA President Gordon Speirs, a dairy farmer from Brillion, says the dairy community is hopeful that Trump will gain a better understanding of how foreign workers provide much of the labor requirements needed to make the industry thrive.

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

Trump has announced several events throughout the state leading up to the April 5 election. Speirs says some of Trump's past statements about immigrants have not shown an understanding of just how critical this group is to dairy farmers and American food production.

"As Americans we are concerned about national security," he noted. "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."

Despite offering competitive wages, dairy farmers struggle to find and retain workers because of the demands of the job, according to Speirs. Research conducted by a team at Texas A&M University showed the retail cost of milk would nearly double without immigrant labor.

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