As labor pool shrinks, farmers turn to foreign workers
Linnea Kooistra’s roots in farming go back 10 generations. She and her husband, Joel, were both raised on dairy farms, and they operated their own in Woodstock, Illinois, for over 40 years. But in 2018, they were confronted with the hard decision of selling their herd of almost 300 cows. After months of deliberation, they decided to sell the herd in part because they relied on immigrant workers to care for and milk the cows, and they feared losing their workforce. “The labor situation, you know, it was just so hostile,” Kooistra said.