EXHIBITS

People of Spanish origin or Hispanic/Latino Population living in Cache Valley, Utah

Year

 TotalCache Valley Hispanic/Latino  Population

 Mexican Origin Cache  Valley Pop

1970

 339 (0.8% of total Cache Valley population)

 151

1980

 708 (1.2%)

 370

1990

 1,656 (2.4%)

 1,216

2000

 5,786 (6.3%)

 4,050

2010

 11,216 (10.1%)

 8,193

Early Utah Hispanic communities were located mainly in the Salt Lake City and Ogden areas of northern Utah, where members worked in the mines, for the railroad, as shepherds, or migrant fieldworkers. Later, large numbers of Hispanics relocated to Carbon County, where they found work in Utah’s coal mines (Solórzano 2010: 58-75). More recently, the Latino population has spread to other small and fairly homogenous areas of Utah, including Cache Valley.

Beginning in 1941, Cache Valley farmers who “relied on sugar beets as an important cash crop” heavily recruited and relied on Mexican agricultural workers, known as betabeleros, to do the tedious and backbreaking work of culling and harvesting sugar beets (Cole). Because of the poor economic situation in Mexico, the betabeleros labored for low wages and were often at the mercy of their employer because of the workforce’s undocumented, and therefore marginal, status in the community. This represented one of the first large scale immigration efforts of Hispanics in Cache Valley, lasting until 1981 (Ibid 2010).

During the last three decades, there has been a significant influx of workers from several parts of Mexico and Central America, who have historic connections with former braceros (Ibid). The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Mexican workers from La Huacana, a region in the Mexican State of Michoacán, who came to Cache Valley over a period of years, “many of them lured by job opportunities at various companies, including the Swift meatpacking plant in Hyrum. Swift provided steady jobs and good wages, but most immigrants,” the reporters allowed, “worked illegally under strangers’ names” (Sanchez and Harvey 2008). This information is reflected in the LVP when high school participant Maria R. explained that her father came to Cache Valley from Michoacán, Mexico, to work at the Hyrum meat processing plant, without papers, on the advice of his brother.

The possibility of working at the meatpacking plant in Hyrum convinced many to move to Cache Valley. The availability of other service sector jobs also encouraged Latinos to immigrate. Farm production, particularly the Valley’s active dairy industry, has been a draw to Latino families.  At present, most herdsmen in Cache Valley are Hispanic.