Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been forthright about his strict immigration policy ideas.
In addition to revealing plans to build a wall between America and Mexico, he has expressed disdain for the “lax” immigration policies in the U.S. today. But his policies could have unintended consequences, like severely handicapping the dairy industry.
Milk farmers operate around the clock, 365 days a year. The work is tough, and even though it pays above minimum wage, farmers say it’s hard to find workers who are willing to labor in those kinds of conditions.
As a result, farm operators often turn to illegal immigrants as a source of hardworking labor, according to Bloomberg. One-third of all farm workers employed by dairy farmers are immigrants, according to researchers at Texas A&M University. This means that putting a tight rein on immigration in the United States could have dire consequences.
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The report breaks down the potential crisis by the numbers: If immigrants are removed from the dairy industry entirely, about 7,000 dairy farms would close, amounting to a loss of 208,000 jobs-- as well as a reduction in milk production by almost 50 billion pounds.
Matt Andreas, who manages his family’s dairy farm in Sugarcreek, Ohio, told Bloomberg that Trump's proposed policies would mean a huge shift in the way dairy farms do business.
Said Andreas, “Donald Trump throwing that out there, that puts a big red flag up for a whole bunch of us in agriculture."