Adam loves living out in the country, he says it is peaceful here. He grew up in a small town in the mountains of the state of Veracruz in Mexico. When he grew up, he was accustomed to caring for pigs, rabbits, hens, and goats. “We would use a lot of the resources around us for food, to eat. For example, we started off buying a couple rabbits so we could have more of them.” The work that Adam’s family did in the fields growing up involved using working animals to till instead of tractors like they use here. Working with animals comes easily to him. He has fond memories of working in the fields when he was younger and earning his own money. “I felt so happy when I could take my coins to the store and get myself a treat.”
He loves farm work and is grateful for the opportunity he has to work with cows here in Wisconsin. “There is something beautiful about taking care of cows. I love when a cow comes into the parlor really happy. I don’t like when I see a cow that is stressed out, I feel sad and want to help her get better.” He says he is grateful for the cows because they are the reason he and his co-workers can earn a living. “We like having work every day and being able to support ourselves and our family, we are used to this work; it’s not tiring.” I want to make sure I am milking the cows well so they keep being healthy and it is nice that my co-workers and I work together as a team.”
A view from Adam’s hometown, where he grew up working with animals and enjoying a rural lifestyle.
He says things are different now where he grew up, not as many people are planting corn because there is more extreme weather than before and the rains can be so heavy now that the corn gets extremely damaged. Because of this, many people are leaving his village and going to work elsewhere. The harvest they are getting is so small now that the corn is not making them any money. Instead of planting, many people are either going to Mexico City to work in construction, or coming here to work on farms, in the fields, in a restaurant, or in construction. “I don’t really see another solution,” he says, “because the economic situation is really difficult. I miss the family and the food, but there isn’t a good way to earn a living there so I am here.”
Adam graduated from high school and wanted to go to the University, but says that he wouldn’t have been able to afford it. If he went to work, there would be no way for him to go to school so that is when he made the decision to come here to the states. When he first got here, it seemed harder for him to find fresh food than it did back home. He was used to getting fresh vegetables and recently butchered meats on a regular basis from people that he knew. It was an adjustment to buy meats from the grocery store. However, he has been able to connect with some local farmers here that have fresh produce stands. He and his co-workers try to make their own little garden. It reminds him of home when they find the time to cook with fresh foods.
“We have a mechanic here in town who is our friend. He is a really nice guy; he trusts us to pay him when we can and we trust him. Mostly though, he tells us not to worry about all the bad things coming out in the news. He knows we are working hard here and he appreciates us. Most people in the town where I live are nice.” For him, he feels that one of the best things about living in rural Western Wisconsin is the security and safety that a person has here. Like many small towns experiencing a rise in petty crime, his town back in Mexico has been less peaceful in recent years than it was in the past.
Adam in the parlor of the dairy where he currently works.
Those of us that come here to work on farms are hard workers. A lot of us come from the same village and we are used to work like this, we like it. I think when I go back, I want to start some type of little business in my village. I’ll sell things that people need and that way, I can have work and hopefully give jobs to a few other people. That would be nice.”
Although Adam doesn’t know exactly what his future looks like, he is hopeful and grateful for the opportunity he has gotten to work here and create a future with his family that he can be proud of.