Jan 15, 2007 — More and more American farms are employing workers from Mexico and Central America. Even as far north and east as the North Country -- the number of Mexican and Central Americans working on dairy farms has risen dramatically. Industry leaders agree farms depend on reliable, plentiful Hispanic labor to survive.
A group of New York farmers is in the Veracruz area this week, hoping to learn more about traditional farming, local customs and life in their workers villages. Workers who come this far usually leave their families behind, and plan to return home.
A North Country dairy farm might employ a half dozen Mexican farmhands. But crop farming requires much more help, and the demand rises and falls with the planting and harvesting. During the growing season, nearly 300 workers and their children live in migrant camps around the K. W. Zellers family farm in rural northeast Ohio. Julie Grant spent some time at the Zellers' farm this fall.