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Pulse Price Report: Immigrant Workforce

It’s no surprise that two bills that passed the state assembly and deemed “anti-immigrant” were met with an estimated 14,000 Latino protesters at the state capitol in Madison on Feb. 18. The bills would allow police officers to ask arrested or detained persons their immigration status, a practice otherwise outlawed in places known as “sanctuary cities,” and restrict the issuing of local identification cards. Latino groups went as far as to stage what was called “A Day Without Latinos and Immigrants in Wisconsin” on their day of protest.

But equally opposed to the legislation is the Dairy Business Association (DBA). Gordon Speirs, president of the DBA, said in a statement that Wisconsin depends on its immigrant workforce and, “Driving away immigrant workers is not the answer.”

A University of Wisconsin-Madison study in 2009 found that 40 percent of all employees on dairy farms were immigrants, with 90 percent from Mexico. UW-Extension said they have no record of any immigrants working on farms in Door County, but those numbers are likely as misleading as the census. The 2010 census recorded 671 Hispanic or Latino people living in Door County while the Hispanic Resource Center of Door and Kewaunee Counties said there are at least 3,500 living between the two counties.

Speirs and other dairy farmers admit that the two bills now heading for the Senate will likely have little impact on how their cows get milked, but oppose the laws for their broader implication that Wisconsin is not a welcome place for immigrants.

“It’s critical that Wisconsin be a welcoming place for Latino and other immigrant workers who play such an important role in many parts of the economy,” said Speirs.

Now left to the Senate, Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said it is not a priority despite calls to hold a vote, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Crop prices (Feb. 22)

Rio Creek Feed Mill – Algoma

Commodity Price (per bushel) Basis
Corn $3.23 -0.43
New-Crop Corn $3.36 -0.51
Soybeans $8.08 -0.70
New-Crop Soybeans $8.13 -0.76
Wheat (SRW) $4.02 -0.60
New-Crop Wheat (SRW) $4.04 -0.70

Fox River Valley Ethanol – Green Bay

Corn $3.36/bushel -0.30
New-Crop Corn $3.47/bushel -0.40

Basis: The difference between the local cash price for a commodity and the Chicago cash price (where the Board of Trade sets national futures price).

Gas Price Averages

United States: $1.71

United States one year ago: $2.29

Wisconsin: $1.64

Wisconsin one year ago: $2.28

Northern Door: $1.70

Sturgeon Bay: $1.69

Other Commodities

Gold: $1,209.00/troy ounce

Silver: $15.18/troy ounce

Oil: $31.43/barrel

Sources: aaa.com, agweb.com, gasbuddy.com, cnn.money, bloomburg.com, agriculture.com

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