PA and NY Congressmen want to help dairy farmers get a break with staffing issues

Local News

Many American dairy farmers are struggling because they can’t find workers to fill their jobs. So, a Democratic lawmaker from New York and a Republican from Pennsylvania are working together to try to solve the problem.

First, low milk prices, then trade wars, battered dairy farmers… Now, it’s finding people to work the farms. There’s no question that dairy farmers have had a rough go of it in our modern trading industry.

New York Congressman Anthony Brindisi tells us, “If they can’t find workers, these farms will go out of business.”

Brindisi says dairy is one of New York’s most important industries. “Our dairy farmers will tell you they rely on a lot of workers that come from central and South America.”

But currently, foreign dairy workers cannot receive temporary seasonal work permits – because the industry is not considered seasonal. 

Brindisi says as it stands, “You’re milking cows all year ’round and a seasonal program is not going to work for dairy.”

But, Brindisi wants to change that to provide relief to struggling dairy farmers. He’s partnered with Republican Congressman John Joyce of Pennsylvania on legislation to add dairy workers to the list of those eligible for a temporary work permit. 

Congressman John Joyce of PA says, “Traditionally, they come in very short periods of time but allowing the dairy farmers to have access to these workers through H-2A visas to work for up to three years and if that’s successful to stay and work for an additional three years.”

Their legislation is called the ‘Dairy and Sheep H-2A Visa Enhancement Act’.

Joyce says this allows them to create a stronger workforce. 

Both congressmen say Congress must act to create a reliable worker visa program or America’s dairy farmers will be out of luck and America’s dairy supply could run dry.

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