Illinois farmers would like to use legal labor, but it isn’t easy, according to the head of the Illinois Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert says his organization continues to push members of Congress on immigration policy. “We would like a good immigration program that works to get documented workers without the challenges of all the paper work and the liability going back on the farmers to make sure that those workers are all documented,” he said at a news conference at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting in Chicago.
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In Illinois, it’s livestock, dairy and specialty vegetable crop farms that need the labor. Guebert says it’s difficult to get native-born Americans to do farm work. Some operations that pay $15 an hour have no trouble finding documented immigrants, but he told the tale of a vegetable farm in Northwestern Illinois that had the produce rot in the fields for lack of legal labor.