Dairy farmers from the National Milk Producers Federation are in Washington, D.C., this week visiting with lawmakers. The visits are part of a fly-in calling for an agricultural labor bill that could be reconciled with a plan the House approved last year, providing the stable, secure labor force U.S. dairy producers need.
U.S. dairy producers face labor shortages that are more intense than those felt in agriculture as a whole because they cannot use the H-2A farm worker program, which only provides for seasonal labor rather than the year-round workers dairy needs. With domestic workers in short supply and foreign labor difficult to employ under current policies, dairy farmers are urging lawmakers to find solutions. of NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern says, “The situation is dire,” adding “uncertainty on the farm harms individuals and rural communities that rely on those farms to generate jobs.”
The House of Representatives in December passed bipartisan legislation allowing for year-round visas in dairy as part of the first ag-labor bill to pass that chamber since 1986.