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ERIC Number: ED190337
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Migrant Agricultural Labor in Wisconsin: A Short History. Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers.
Slesinger, Doris P.; Muirragui, Eileen
Examining the relationship between certain sectors of Wisconsin agriculture and their need for seasonal workers, the paper traces the use of farm workers of European origin in the early 1900's through their replacement in the 1930's by Hispanic migrants (Mexican nationals and people of Mexican heritage living in southern Texas) and the use of foreign workers and prisoners of war during World War II to the present time of declining migrant employment. The reliance on workers of Hispanic heritage, who make up the major proportion of migrant workers today, is linked to the transformation of Wisconsin into a leading state in the production of vegetable crops for processing. The history of the use of migrants in such major crops as cucumbers and cherries is discussed in detail. Also discussed is the rapid decline of migrant employment since the mid 1950's. Some factors suggested as causing this decline are: the mechanization of crop planting and harvesting, the use of herbicides and pesticides which supplanted hoeing and weeding, and the effects of more stringent protective legislation which provided minimum standards of housing, sanitation and working conditions (i.e., increased costs). Changes in proportions of migrants employed in field vs. cannery work are reviewed, and future trends in the use of migrant labor are predicted. (Author/AN)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: United Migrant Opportunity Services, Inc., Milwaukee, WI.; Wisconsin State Div. of Health, Madison. Bureau of Community Health.
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Univ., Madison. Inst. for Research on Poverty.