Big dairy owners in the US used to be a tough sell when it came to paying to have their cows milked by robots rather than human farmhands, but President Donald Trump has changed that, according to Lely North America sales manager, Steve Fried.
The crackdown on illegal immigration in the US, which has been spearheaded by President Trump, has seen the nation’s agricultural sector shaken up by increased border enforcement and arrests, and the American Farm Bureau Association has estimated that as many as seven out of ten farm workers are undocumented immigrants.
Republican lawmakers in Congress have also been responsible for introducing legislation to force all employers in the US to make use of federal databases to check that any potential employees have the legal right to work in the country. The chief executive of The US Dairy Export Council, Tom Vilsack, who served for eight years as President Barack Obama’s Agriculture Secretary, says that the tough approach has resulted in much anxiety in the farming industry. The change comes at a time when the industry is already trying to adapt to an aging and diminishing workforce, which is increasing the pressure to switch to new technology.
Although there is little official data showing what impact Trump’s immigration policies have had on farm laboring, illegal immigration has been shown to have decreased markedly since the President was sworn into office in January 2017.