‘Day without Latinos’ on Dane County dairy farm

‘Day without Latinos’ on Dane County dairy farm

A family dairy farm in Dane lived the realities of “A Day without Latinos” Thursday as thousands of protesters descended on the state Capitol to protest two immigration bills.

“Right now I have nine Latinos working for me,” Chuck Ripp said.

Ripp’s family has owned and operated Ripp’s Dairy Valley since the 1950s through three generations.

“With the family and with milking 900 cows a day, three times a day, it takes more than our family members to keep the farm going,” Ripp said.

He said his employees, who are all working in the U.S. legally, are very dedicated and responsible. They help to run a dairy operation that functions essentially 24/7. Some have worked on the farm for as many as seven years.

“Obviously the Latino workforce is very important to our dairy. They are filling jobs that others don’t care to do,” Ripp said.

So when the Latino employees approached Ripp and expressed a desire to support the “Day without Latinos” march and rally at the state Capitol, he worked with them to make it happen.

“We’re pro for wanting them to go to the rally. We understand what they are asking for and what their needs are, so we’re trying to support them in any way we can,” Ripp said.

The Latino workers, not wishing to hurt the dairy farm, came to work earlier than normal to help Ripp. At 10 a.m. Ripp thanked them for their help and told them to go support the rally at the Capitol.

Ripp and his brother ran the dairy farm for the remainder of the day with an understanding of what “A Day without Latinos” would mean if a day became something more.

“We would probably have to go into a little bit of a crisis mode,” Ripp said.