The Impact of Migrant Farmworkers on Michigan Agriculture


July 31, 2006 - William A Knudson


Immigration has become a major issue confronting U.S. society. Much of this discussion has focused on illegal immigration via the Mexican-U.S. border. Despite the level of debate at the national level, the economic impact of migrant workers, both documented and undocumented, on Michigan’s economy has not been analyzed for some time. This paper will focus on the role migrant farmworkers play in Michigan’s agriculture sector. Migrant workers are a critical component of the state’s agriculture, they are especially important in the fruit and vegetable industries.

This paper will discuss the following: the size and characteristics of Michigan’s migrant farmworker population, Michigan’s need for migrant farmworkers, the economic impact of selected crops that are dependent on farmworkers and policy implications with respect to migrant farmworkers.

Michigan is dependent on migrant farmworkers for a number of crops, especially fruits and vegetables. If these sectors are to remain healthy, an immigration policy that creates the means to keep a stable labor force is necessary. A policy that would reduce or eliminate migrant workers would lead to fewer crops produced, higher food prices, fewer jobs, and land diverted from farming to other uses.


Accessibility Questions:

For questions about accessibility and/or if you need additional accommodations for a specific document, please send an email to ANR Communications & Marketing at