Migrant workers make up the majority of the dairy workforce in Wisconsin. However, because there is no federal program for year-round agricultural work visas, most people producing milk across the nation are working illegally.
This connection between the U.S. dairy industry and workers from Mexico and Central America is at the center of journalist Ruth Conniff’s new book, Milked, which not only tells the story of the ongoing transformation of Wisconsin’s dairy industry but shines a spotlight on the people who put food on our plates and imagines a new future for rural Wisconsin.
Today, she joins guest host Douglas Haynes for a discussion about farming, migration, and reimagining a more sustainable food system.
Ruth Conniff is editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as editor-in-chief of The Progressive magazine, where she worked for many years from both Madison and Washington, DC. She is the author of Milked: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers (The New Press, 2022).