Recognizing the dairy industry's critical need for immigration reform, Jackie Klippenstein represented Dairy Farmers of America at the National Council of Farmer Cooperative's (NCFC) immigration reform panel during their Washington Conference this week.
The panel, Our Nation's Immigration System Needs Work: Co-op Perspectives on the Need for Reform, gave attendees an understanding of what immigration reform means for a diverse range of agricultural producers across the country. Joining Klippenstein on the panel were Rich Hudgins of California Canning Peach Association and Bob Smith of Farm Credit East. The session was moderated by Chuck Conner, president and chief executive officer of NCFC.
The NCFC panel was especially timely, as the Senate voted on cloture this week, signaling their commitment to moving forward S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.
As a panelist, Klippenstein spoke in support of the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform proposal, which includes compromise language for the agriculture sector. S. 744 includes agricultural provisions that address current undocumented workers while creating two new types of farm worker visas - one for seasonal workers, and one that meets the needs of dairy producers for year-round help.
Klippenstein has served as vice president of industry and legislative affairs since joining DFA during 2008. In that capacity, she focuses on federal legislative and regulatory issues and plays an active role in member and Farm Services. She also serves on the boards of National Milk Producers Federation, the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program and the American Royal. Prior to joining DFA, Klippenstein spent nearly 15 years in Washington, D.C., as a lobbyist for agricultural interests and as a congressional aide, having worked for members of both the U.S. House and Senate.