(1) One of the latest near-full-page spreads from the Russell Olson campaign touts the increased production of milk in our state and says Olson will keep that milk flowing. I'm still trying to figure out from the ad exactly what Russ did to expand the dairy industry (was he out milking cows himself while our other elected officials were legislating?), but far be it from me to criticize a Republican for running an ad that will alienate the lactose-intolerant.
(2) Our industrial dairy operations won't continue to expand if the Department of Homeland Security keeps paying visits. Yesterday Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raided dairies up in Veblen (originally on KSFY; see this Aberdeen American News article) and arrested 27 people: 14 for immigration violations, 13 for identity theft.
Details aren't in yet, but Madville Times readers will recall that Rick Millner of Veblen is CEO of Prairie Ridge Management, the outfit that runs the Excel Dairy in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, a big confined animal feeding operation that stunk neighbors out of their homes last June. The Minnesota Department of Health declared Millner's Thief River Falls CAFO a public health hazard this month. We'll find out soon enough if Millner's Veblen operations are responsible for polluting our state with criminal labor.
That our growing industrial dairies turn their profits on illegal immigrant labor is no secret. Faced with a proposed CAFO, folks in Grant County were more worried about the potential damage to air, water, and roads. But they also complained that these big dairies provide more jobs to illegal immigrants than to locals, and all those reasons together elicited enough citizen opposition to kill the project.
Farming turned into a factory operation is bad enough environmentally and spiritually. Industrial agriculture based on criminal activity is all the worse. If dairies can't make it without illegal immigrant labor, is that really the kind of industry we want to promote?
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