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Lowville veterinarian Mark Thomas at the school in Malacapetec.
Lowville veterinarian Mark Thomas at the school in Malacapetec.

Farm to Farm, Family to Family, part 3: the view from Lewis County

This week, we've been hearing the stories of a group of New York dairy farmers. In January, they traveled to a tiny mountain town in Mexico, where many of their milkers and farmhands come from. They wanted to better understand why their employees come thousands of miles to New York for work, and what that means for the immigration debate. Yesterday, we heard young Mexican men saying they wanted to work in the United States to make money. But eventually, they planned to return to their homes in Mexico. Immigration statistics tell a different story - the longer immigrants live in the United States, the more they want to stay here. In part three of a three part series, David Sommerstein looks at how Hispanic immigrants are affecting rural communities in New York and what the future may hold.  Go to full article
Above: Older houses in Malacatepec, below: new house built with wages earned on North Country dairy farms

Farm to Farm, Family to Family, pt. 2: the cycle of migration

As Congress continues to craft ways to control immigration into the United States, the reality is that the allure of good paying jobs and a chance to improve one's conditions back home is hard to resist. In January, David Sommerstein traveled to Mexico with a group of New York dairy farmers. They went to a mountain town called Malacatepec, where names like Lowville, Carthage, and Utica are as familiar as they are here. Young men migrate South to North, leaving families behind, so they may one day come home to stay. In part two of a three-part series, David looks at their cycle of migration. One note: the dairy farmers in this series are identified by first name only to protect their farms and the Mexican immigrants who work there.  Go to full article
How many kids in the school have family working in the US?

Farm to Farm, Family to Family, part 1: North Country farmers go to Mexico

In January, David Sommerstein traveled with a group of New York dairy farmers on a sort of reverse migration. They went to a tiny mountain town in Veracruz, Mexico, called Malacatepec. There, almost everyone has a family member who has worked or is working on a New York State dairy farm. The farmers wanted to better understand their new employees culture, economic situation, and what it all means for the immigration debate in this country. Here part one of a three part series. One note: the dairy farmers in this series are identified only by their first names to protect their farms and the Mexican immigrants who work there.  Go to full article

Farm Bureau Warns of Immigration Raids

The New York Farm Bureau is cautioning farmers to watch out for immigration officials. An e-mail alert reports of roadblocks and farm raids as federal agents step up their...  Go to full article

Farmers on the Wrong Side of the Law

Over the last five years, the number of Mexican and Central Americans working on the North Country's dairy farms has risen dramatically. Industry leaders agree farms depend...  Go to full article

Web Only: Farmworker Legal Services of NY

Listen to David Sommerstein's interview with Jim Schmidt, co-director of Farmworker Legal Services of New York, based in Rochester. He talks about the common abuses Hispanic...  Go to full article

Latinos on the Farm, in the Shadows

In the North Country, two groups are watching the immigration debate closely: dairy farmers and the Mexicans and Central Americans who work for them. There are no numbers on...  Go to full article

Dairy Farmers Seek Guest Workers Program

Massive protests in California are providing a dramatic backdrop for the debate in Washington over America's immigration policy. The issue can seem distant in the North...  Go to full article

Mexican Farm Workers Arrested en Route to Lowville

State Police in Oneida County arrested 10 illegal Mexican immigrants yesterday. Troopers responded to a vehicle that had slid off of Route 12. David Sommerstein spoke with...  Go to full article
Carrie Baker's emotional encounter with the mother of Gabriel, her employee.

Farmers Seek Workers' Roots - in Mexico

Five years ago, just a handful of dairy farmers in the North Country employed Hispanic workers. Today, some 50 farms use or have expressed a desire to hire workers from...  Go to full article

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