The price of milk these days is not a matter of pride for this country’s dairy farmers. Not that this is good news for consumers either, as most of the price associated with milk comes from transportation and labor costs. The situation is so dire that Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, this week introduced the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2009 (S. 1645) to allow the Secretary of Agriculture to determine the price of milk used for manufactured purposes.
To help control labor costs, dairy farmers over the past two decades had come to rely on immigrant labor. Many immigrants had first hand knowledge of working with animals and were not afraid to work the long, grueling hours needed on a dairy farm. And many dairy farmers are calling for an expanded guest worker program.
But the immigration controversy complicates matters for farmers. From the Feet in Two Worlds Project, reporter Valeria Fernandez and producer Rene Gutel bring us the story of two dairy farms in Arizona, where immigration is an extremely hot topic.
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Watch a slide show as you listen. (Photos courtesy of Valeria Fernandez and Terry Green Sterling.)