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Life on a dairy farm [Video]

February 23, 2013|By Alana Semuels

AVON PARK, Fla. -- A dairy operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There's always someone needed to herd and milk the cows, tend to sick animals and clean up after healthy ones. The work must be done in the heat of a Florida summer and the chill of the early morning hours.

When the economy is strong, farmer Joe Wright says it's nearly impossible to fill jobs on a dairy.

That's why he's a vocal supporter of immigration reform; he says he needs a steady supply of workers from overseas.

Native-born workers don't last long in the grueling jobs, he said. In 2000, the economy was so strong that Wright had to hire workers from Zimbabwe, Croatia and Uruguay to help run the farm.

Business owners such as Wright have emerged as a vocal force in immigration reform negotiations this year, perhaps aware that as the economy picks up, they may have trouble filling jobs once again.

In this video, Wright takes a visitor around his farm, explaining the difficult nature of the job.

alana.semuels@latimes.com

Twitter: @alanasemuels

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