From National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern:
“We greatly appreciate the work of Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) on behalf of America’s dairy producers to include year-round employees on farms in the H-2A farm worker visa program.
“The Cuellar-Newhouse amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill would allow farm employers to use the H-2A visa program to hire foreign workers, regardless of whether those employees are engaged in temporary or seasonal work. NMPF and members of its Immigration Task Force have worked on this proposal, which is similar to language offered in the past by Rep. Newhouse and supported by Rep. Cuellar, so that dairy farmers can better use the H-2A visa program to fill year-round needs for year-round workers.
“Dairy farmers have largely have not been able to use H-2A visas because the current program restricts them only to the temporary and seasonal labor needs of agricultural employers. The current H-2A program simply isn’t an option for a commodity that ‘harvests’ its product multiple times a day, every day.
“Creating an additional legal pathway for workers to connect with farm employers deserves bipartisan support, and the history of this legislation shows such support is readily available. It is critical that the government creates a system that provides secure, legal employment. We thank lawmakers for their efforts toward achieving this goal.
“The amendment was added to the House’s version of the Fiscal Year 2020 Homeland Security Appropriations measure. Once the House Appropriations Committee moves to adopt the bill later today, the measure will be considered on the House floor likely this month. The Senate will craft its own version of the bill. NMPF looks forward to working to preserve the amendment in any final House-Senate negotiated measure to be sent to the President.”
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. NMPF’s member cooperatives produce the majority of U.S. milk, making NMPF the voice of dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more, visit their website.