New Mexico agriculture has always depended heavily on immigrant labor, overwhelmingly Mexican, to manage the state’s fields and pastures.
About 9 percent of farm laborers here are foreign born, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But in some sectors, particularly the dairy industry, it’s much higher.
At SouthWind Dairy in Hagerman, for example, about half of the company’s nearly 50 employees are immigrants, said co-owner Al Squire. The family-run operation milks about 4,000 cows a day.