Digging deeper, the current state of the U.S. Dairy Industry is a classic case study of huge damage being done to American family businesses by illegal immigration; and of the damage being quietly facilitated because of ideological perversion by the very political representatives who should be first to protect the victims.
As Reuters explains, dairy prices have collapsed. [FACTBOX: U.S. dairy farms in crisis as milk prices dive July 31, 2009] This is pushing many farmers to towards bankruptcy. A typical account is Wisconsin farmers in crisis as prices, exports crash By Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 2, 2009
The average dairy farm in the state is losing about $100 per cow each month, according to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation
Another is My Turn: Crisis grips Vermont farms By Rep. Peter Welch, Burlington Free Press July 15, 2009
today we face a crisis like we've never seen before. Prices have fallen to record lows even as the cost of production continues to rise — pushing scores of farms out of business. In the past five years alone, Vermont has lost over 250 dairy farms, leaving us with only 1,046 today. Thirty-two of those farms have been shuttered since the start of this year alone.
Milk prices have always been cyclical, but the fundamental problem here is that production has been expanding too much, as the Reuters report says. More particularly it has been expanding very rapidly in non-traditional states in the West like California, Idaho and New Mexico—as documented in this report (PDF). In the West, the new operations are huge, with great efficiencies of scale. Mid Western and Eastern operators are rightfully intimidated
Minnesota dairy farms, just like the state’s plants, face heavy competition from other states, particularly in the West, where both plants and farms are newer and larger. These facilities have been able to incorporate up-to-date technology that results in lower operating costs and larger herds, which in turn allows for better economies of scale. The average size of a dairy herd in California is 750 cows. In Minnesota, the average herd size is 77. California has 1,100 herds with 500 or more cows, compared to Minnesota’s 60. And 5,000-cow farms are common in California; Minnesota has two. “California producers can spread their fixed costs over more units,”
The Dairy Decline ,by Fran Howard, Twin Cities Business, September 2006
Over time, it looks as if a great deal of American Dairy production will go West. But there is one undiscussed element. The Western operations require large amounts of wage labor. They are too big to use the family model more common back East. To quote Miriam Jordan:
A study commissioned by the dairy industry found that immigrants account for 40% of the dairy labor force and are responsible for nearly two-thirds of U.S. milk production—the demographic shift in the dairy labor force is relatively new.
Dairy farmers in the East have started to use immigrant labor, of course. But the new Western farms absolutely could not operate without it (unless they mechanized, of course—which will not happen while cheap labor is around).
To put it simply, without access to floods of immigrant labor, these Western factory farms would not be able get into business and destroy the Eastern family Dairy operations. Families businesses are tougher than mass employers. This industry is being destructively distorted because of the availability of imported cheap (frequently illegal) workers.
So where are the political representatives of the Dairy states on Immigration? According to the wonderful NumbersUSA rating system
Vermont's only Congressman. Author of article above.
The Vermont Senators are making special contributions to solving the problem. Leahy, as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has America on the road to making this type of article too dangerous to write. And New York transplant Sanders, who bills himself a Socialist, is trying to shift the whole blame to milk distributor Dean Foods—a classic demagogic distraction.
Eastern Dairy farmers need to wise up. Illegal immigration is lethal - and your political representatives are the problem.