Got milk? Thank an immigrant. The U.S. milk supply depends on immigrant labor

The Business of Food with Steve Alexander

Americans won't do the work, and outdated visa rules are forcing some producers out of business

Linnea and Joel Kooistra with some of the cows they were forced to sell.

In 2018, longtime Woodstock, Illinois, dairy farmers Linnea and Joel Kooistra reluctantly sold their cows and exited the business they love, in part because anti-immigrant rhetoric was heating up and they were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to keep the Mexican immigrants who had long been reliable employees. Hiring American workers isn’t an option: Even with high pay, liberal benefits and paid vacations, they don’t want to work the long hours needed to run a dairy farm. Linnea spoke with Steve Alexander about her lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., to convince congress to change immigration labor laws for the benefit of dairy, pork and other producers who need year-round immigrant labor.

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