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Daugaard Dairy Focus Alienates West River, Employs Illegal Immigrants

Governor Dennis Daugaard continues to push the big dairy industry along the I-29 corridor. In Pierre's constant focus on pouring state and foreign money into East River dairies (quite the government intrusion in the free market, don't you think?), Rep. Tom Brunner (R-29/Nisland) sees neglect of comparable investments to save and grow West River dairies:

Dairy boosters might also want to consider a finding from the Department of Homeland Security last summer that at one East River dairy boosted by the state's efforts to draw immigrant investor money, 16 of the 17 jobs created went to illegal immigrants.

But be careful: talk like that against the governor's cherished corporate priorities will get you kicked off your committee and worse, right, Rep. Nelson?

Update 17:29 MST: But why wouldn't you promote an industry when it gives you another chance to fly to California in winter?

Related: Required coursework in Lake Area Vo-Tech's dairy program: AGR 258, Basic Dairy Spanish, two semester hours. It's good to see someone in this state believes that even local working folks need to study foreign languages.


  1. Roger Elgersma 2012.02.13

    freemarket capitalism would keep south dakota a beef state. but california knows the cheese market is not nearly as profitable as the bottled milk market to they have us spend money trucking cheese while they make the real money. but beef people here do not realize this.

  2. Roger Elgersma 2012.02.13

    i saw on the news a few days ago that south dakota has 90,000 dairy cows. fourty years ago minnesota had 800,000 cows and wisconsin had 1,200,000 cows. we might impress ourselves with how many cows we have but then we can not look any further than the end of our own driveway.

  3. mike 2012.02.13

    Interesting. I get that Daugaard is a nice guy and the legislature is weak but don't these people ever think of forming a group of legislators together to advocate for a cause?

  4. Lee Schoenbeck 2012.02.13

    Corey - I've had the opportunity to work with those families that are employed at dairies -- this may suprise you, but...they are people too.

  5. Troy Jones 2012.02.13

    Cory, you "defend" illegal immigrants yet are so quick to throw them under the bus.

    What's up? You employ a couple to do your lawn or what?

  6. Bill Fleming 2012.02.13

    Well now, this is a switch. My GOP buddies sticking up for La Causa. Si se puede, hermanos. Cory, the best we can do is to make sure the workers are treated and paid well, and to insist they follow existing law. I'm also hoping they give the Czecs and Germans a few lessons on how to really play polkas:

  7. Charlie Johnson 2012.02.13

    Why can't hispanics be encouraged to be the family farmer-be the owner, be the management, and be the provider of labor--all within one family?

  8. larry kurtz 2012.02.13

    US Border Patrol is coming under fire for detaining Native Americans and First Nations Peoples at Canadian border contributing to red state failure.

    Statehood for Mexico and the tribes.

  9. Bill Fleming 2012.02.13

    Good question Charlie. Toyota is building cars in Alabama and Kentucky, and GCC (a Mexican company) is making cement in Rapid City. Why not?

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.02.13

    Lee, we're all people. But some people engage in fundamentally destructive, unsustainable industries. And good or bad, Rep. Brunner understands why folks getting big handouts to start East River mega-dairies warrant more attention from Pierre than my West River dairy neighbors who are being crushed by such state-boosted competition.

    Troy, I mow my own lawn.

  11. Charlie Johnson 2012.02.13

    The mega dairies on the east side are being built on the backs of cheap labor. This is the only way to make the huge dairies competitive over family scale dairies. Otherwise in terms of efficiency, with expensive feed and trasnportation costs, they can't match up. So when you exploit human labor, what is that called? In the early American years, that was slavery on the plantations. For the Europeans, it was the feudal system. In the big cities of the northeast, it was child and women labor in the factories. When plain and innocent South Dakota comes to terms some day may they realize they have traded in family farm dairying for human bondage of low pay, long hours, and few choices.

  12. Troy Jones 2012.02.14


    You are being easy on Cory here. If a Republican had said what he did, you would have rightfully pointed out the racism/gingoism to deny more plentiful and cheaper milk for our nation's families, local jobs, outlet for our grain, and more tax revenues for our schools.

  13. Bill Fleming 2012.02.14

    Troy, I only would have pointed that out if I was smart enough to think of it. I don't know very much about the dairy business in SD. And I imagine those with green cards will be as happy to work for little dairy farmers as big ones.

  14. Bill Fleming 2012.02.14

    I do recall how agribusiness squeezed out the family farmers in California by manipulating produce prices. Not sure if corps will have that same kind of clout in SD in terms of dairy products. Presumably SD Dairy Farmers know how to take care of themselves in that regard?

    I do object to blaming the problem on people willing to do the hard work. That's never fair, regardless who they are working for. And as long as SD chooses to remain a "right to work" state, there's not really a whole lot the workers can do about it, even if they wanted to, is there?

  15. Steve Sibson 2012.02.14

    "And as long as SD chooses to remain a “right to work” state, there’s not really a whole lot the workers can do about it, even if they wanted to, is there?"

    Yes there is. Understand that the Marxist approach of using government is flawed as the fascists who are oppressing the labor class control the government. The solution is to lessen the scope of government by excluding the economic development role and leave economics to the competitive free market. In such an environment, there would be no need for collective bargaining because employees can go to another employer or set up their own small business and compete against their former oppressive employer.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.02.14

    Come on, Troy, we could generate all sorts of revenue for the schools and counties by legalizing prostitution and industrial hemp. I don't have to roll over for every big industry just because it promises big money.

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