Governor Noem may now be campaigning for a second slaughterhouse in Sioux Falls, but she hasn’t said where Wholestone Farms will find 1,000 new workers to chop its pigs. All sorts of Sioux Falls businesses (not to mention the Penitentiary) are struggling to fill their labor needs:
In [its] post announcing the temporary closure, All Day Cafe reiterated it was “urgently hiring cooks.”
That happened after a few cooks were out due to hospitalizations and emergency situations, All Day Cafe Manager Nikki Schroder said. The restaurant was forced to have servers transition to the kitchen after only having two cooks on the line. To run smoothly, about five cooks are needed, Schroder said.
…Showplace Cabinetry, which employs roughly 700 people, is facing shortages in hiring. Human resources manager Garet Wyatt said the business is looking to hire anywhere from 20 to 30 people at entry-level jobs [Trent Abrego, “‘Being Short Staffed Is the New Pandemic’: Sioux Falls Businesses Struggling to Fill Open Positions,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 2022.09.01].
The South Dakota Pork Producers, who obviously support the proposed slaughterhouse, recognizes that the only place Wholestone will find its workforce is the same place the existing Smithfield Foods slaughterhouse finds its workforce: immigrants! The Pork Producers will host a press conference in their State Fair tent tomorrow (Friday, September 2) in Huron with a bunch of industrial ag advocates and the American Business Immigration Coalition to call for immigration reform to bring more foreigners to South Dakota to make our food:
On Friday, September 2, at 9am CST, the American Business Immigration Coalition Action (ABIC Action), the South Dakota Dairy Producers, the South Dakota Farm Bureau, the Edge Dairy Cooperative, the South Dakota Pork Producers Council, AmericanHort and the International Fresh Produce Association will participate in a press event and roundtable entitled “Lower Food Prices, Keep Shelves Stocked: Common Sense Solutions to South Dakota’s Farm Labor Shortage.”
With Senate negotiations ongoing, the event will call attention to the urgency of fixing South Dakota’s and the nation’s farm labor shortage by passing new Senate agriculture workforce solutions.
- Marv Post, Board Chair, South Dakota Dairy Producers
- Scott VanderWal, President of the Board, South Dakota Farm Bureau
- Michael Crinion, Board Member, Edge Dairy Cooperative
- Alla Kureninova, Operations Manager, Natural Beauty and AmericanHort Member
- South Dakota Pork Producers Council
- James O’Neill and Enrique Sanchez, American Business Immigration Coalition – Action
…According to the American Immigration Council, immigrants make up 7% of all workers in farming, fishing and forestry in South Dakota—and their labor is strongly linked to food prices. On the national level, Texas A&M International University recently released data from a new economic study on the link between stabilizing the agricultural workforce and decreasing inflation and consumer prices, showing that ensuring farmers have a stable, secure, reliable, and legal workforce is crucial to keeping America’s grocery shelves stocked, combating inflation, and lowering food prices (including milk, eggs, meat, and produce) for all domestic consumers.
Addressing workforce shortages facing farm employers and stabilizing the H-2A visa application process is also crucial for enhancing our national food security by protecting domestic agriculture production. According to the USDA, next year, for the first time in U.S. history, we as a country will be importing more agricultural goods than we export.
…In 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act with bipartisan support. That was a good start, and now in the Senate, Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Mike Bennet (D-CO) have taken the lead on negotiating improvements on the House’s solutions and moving the process forward. Passing new Senate legislation is critical to solving labor shortages facing the South Dakota agriculture sector and sustaining the state’s economy as a whole [American Business Immigration Coalition Action, press release, 2022.08.31].
As passed by the House last year, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act would allow the undocumented workers who make up nearly half of America’s farmworkers and their families to apply for temporary but indefinitely renewable legal status, if they don’t break any other laws. Those workers could also buy green cards for $1,000 and four to eight years of ongoing farm labor. The FWMA would also streamline and expand H-2A visas for farmworkers and implement E-Verify for all ag employment.
ABIC Action notes that nationwide we have 10.7 million job openings and only 5.7 million unemployed workers. “Even if every unemployed American found a job, we would still have five million jobs unfilled,” says ABIC Action exec Rebecca Shi. “But for America’s broken immigration system, immigrant workers could fill many of these jobs — and it is U.S.-born citizens who would benefit the most from their contributions.”
South Dakota has 10,800 unemployed workers and 33,000 job openings. The only way we’re going to get all that work done, including grinding up all of Wholestone’s piggies, is to bring more immigrants to South Dakota—not those snowflake white blue-state refugees who spend their time shouting at Mike Rounds about their intent to wage civil war if they don’t get their way, but more of the Latin American, Asian, and African immigrants who are already shouldering most of the burden of making our bacon and steaming our wienies.