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The Status and Economic Impact of Wisconsin's Migrant Farm and Food Processing Work Force
Research Reports No. 11, February 2003
by Doris Slesinger and Steven Deller

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As part of a study aiming to determine the impact of migrant workers on Wisconsin’s economy, we compiled several sources of data on the status of these farm and food processing workers. We interviewed 161 migrant workers, surveyed 56 migrant-worker employers by mail, and analyzed published sources of migrant-related data. Currently, somewhat over 5,000 migrant workers plus 1,000 dependents arrive in Wisconsin annually. Most are of Mexican heritage with homes in Texas. Two-thirds work in canning or food-processing, and one-third in agricultural fields. Some travel singly, others in family groups. In 2001, average weekly pay for singles was $349, for families $659. Migrants spent about half their earnings in Wisconsin. Also, about half the singles and one out of seven families sent remittances home.