The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.
The 30,000 farmers represented by the American Dairy Coalition are asking Congress to immediately pass the AG and Legal Workforce Act (HR 6417), introduced by Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). This legislation would establish a guest-worker program for the dairy industry and mandate use of the federal E-Verify system to ensure all temporary, non-immigrant workers are vetted by the Department of Homeland Security.
“The AG Act must be passed concurrently with employee verification tools. Passing mandatory E-verify without allowing for a method for our nation’s farmers to secure reliable labor would be devastating to the sustainability of the dairy industry . We must have a solution to resolve both issues in a parallel fashion,” said Laurie Fischer, CEO of the American Dairy Coalition.
Under the AG Act, agricultural guest-workers will undergo background checks and interviews to be certified by the Department of Homeland Security and granted a visa by the Department of State. Agriculture employers then will take one more step and verify all new hires’ documents via the E-Verify process. This process ensures guest-worker employees are not using fraudulent documents to secure agriculture jobs in the U.S.
“It’s important for agriculture employers to have a system in place they can use to assure the people they hire are who they say they are. The AG Act allows for certainty in the hiring process,” said Fischer.
Farmers across the nation are consistently seeing crucial roles on their farms go unfilled despite rising wages and benefits. One thing is clear -- domestic workers do not want these jobs. Without the reliable workforce to fill crucial roles, these businesses are unable to grow or even sustain themselves. Importing labor is a necessary part of staying in business in the dairy, livestock and agriculture industries. Without an efficient, reliable guest-worker program that provides a clear system of verification to ensure applicants are who they claim to be, farmers are vulnerable to falling victim to identity fraudsters.
In order to pass this very important bill, all legislators must understand that mandating a verification process, in combination with a guest-worker program for dairy, livestock and the rest of agriculture is of extreme importance.
About The American Dairy Coalition:
The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) is a farmer-led national lobbying organization of progressive, modern dairy farmers. We focus on federal dairy policy. For more information, contact CEO Laurie Fischer at 920-965-6070.