Monday, August 12, 2013

New York Dairy, Greeks, and Immigrants

Chris Clayton at DTN has a long piece about New York dairymen's need for immigrants.  They're expanding production to supply the desire for Greek yogurt.  A quote:
"Emerling Farms is a 1,200-head operation run by John and his son, Mike. The Emerlings have 20 full-time employees, and like a growing number of larger dairies, most of those workers are immigrants. John Emerling said he realizes some people don't understand the need for immigrant labor, particularly when unemployment remains high. "But it wouldn't matter what we paid. People just wouldn't answer."
 So that's roughly 60 cows per person.  That's not all that different than back when I was growing up, though these cows probably produce 20,000+ lbs per year, while the average back then was about 1/3 of that.  (We did good with 10-11,000.)

Dairy isn't an easy life.  (IMHO only those farmers who have to feed their livestock and milk them twice or thrice a day merit the name of true "farmers", but I won't push that.  One advantage of the dairy/poultry life is you get checks coming in throughout the year; you don't have one harvest and one big check which has to be budgeted to last.)

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