Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been extremely forthright about his strict immigration policy ideas. Besides wanting to build a wall between America and Mexico, he has expressed disdain for the “lax” immigration policies the country currently holds. 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. They often turn to illegal immigrants as a source of hardworking employees, 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 would have dire consequences.
The report breaks down the potential crisis by numbers even further: If immigrants are completely taken out of the dairy industry, that would mean the closure of 7,000 dairy farms and loss of 208,000 jobs, as well as a reduction in milk production by almost 50 billion pounds.
“Donald Trump throwing that out there, that puts a big red flag up for a whole bunch of us in agriculture,” Matt Andreas, 37, who manages his family’s dairy farm in Sugarcreek, Ohio, told Bloomberg.