The National Milk Producers Federation has expressed strong support for the evolving bipartisan effort to develop a comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S. Senate.  NMPF has sent a letter to Senators urging them to support and deal swiftly with Senate Bill 1348, the immigration package currently under consideration.

“This legislation contains the core principles of AgJOBS, a bill that NMPF has long supported that deals with the broad range of immigration issues facing agriculture,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF.  “As it currently stands, S. 1348 would provide a comprehensive and workable guest worker program that would meet the unique labor needs of dairy producers.”

If enacted, this legislation would:

  • Establish a more realistic and feasible guest worker program than the current, less practical H2A program for temporary agricultural workers.  Notably, this program would include a special provision for dairy workers that takes into account the year-round nature of dairy farming and the need for a skilled, stable workforce.
  • Provide a method to allow those currently employed in agriculture but who may not possess the appropriate legal documents to remain and work in the U.S. legally.  This will allow many dairy farmers to legally continue to employ long-standing, trusted employees.
  • Provide for relatively reasonable employer enforcement mechanisms that would eliminate the uncertainty with hiring certain immigrants currently and reduce the prospects of interrupted farm operation that dairy farms across the country have experienced in the recent federal immigration enforcement efforts.

Kozak said that members of NMPF’s Board of Directors, and its Young Cooperator program, would be on Capitol Hill the first week of June to urge elected officials to approve the Senate immigration bill.

Kozak went on to say that “Cows need to be milked at least twice a day, 365 days a year, holidays and weekends included.  This means that our industry needs access to a reliable and stable workforce throughout the year.  Increasing numbers of dairy farms throughout this country rely on immigrant labor to help supply these much-needed workers.  Because of this, we need to see Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform this year to finally deal with this pressing issue.”

NMPF press release