Twin Cities Business: Farmers and food processors worry anti-immigration policies will harm their businesses—and Minnesota

EXCERPT: “Ag is a big deal in this state, generating $16 billion in economic output and 150,000 direct and indirect jobs. Minnesota ranks fifth in the nation for ag production, including livestock (in turkeys it’s first, hogs third and dairy cows sixth). It ranks first, second and third in production of sugar beets, corn and soybeans, respectively. And on average, an estimated 20 percent or more of the Minnesota workers behind these stats are Mexican or Somali, and mostly recent immigrants . . . (Pat) Lunemann grew up on a family farm just outside of Clarissa, Minn., that his German immigrant grandparents started in the 1930s; he and his wife, Jody, took over from his dad in 1985. Since then, they incorporated and have grown the operation from milking 55 cows a day to nearly 800 today. Along the way, he served as president of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association and in January, became chairman of the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council. ‘One-half of the cows in the United States are now milked by immigrant labor, and it’s primarily by Hispanics,’ Lunemann says. ‘Without that segment of the workforce we’d be in dire straits. It’s more than that if you look at fruit and vegetable production. But if you look just at livestock, across the spectrum and especially with hogs and poultry, there’s a significant part of the labor force that is now immigrants.’” FULLSTORY: