Lawmakers say allowing migrants to work on dairy farms could solve shortage problem

Local News

Many American dairy farmers are struggling because they can’t find workers to fill their jobs. So Democratic Congressman Anthony Brindisi has joined with a Republican lawmaker from Pennsylvania to try to solve the problem.  

They’ve introduced the Dairy and Sheep H-2A Visa Enhancement Act. It would add dairy workers to  the list of  foreign workers eligible for a temporary seasonal work permit.  

The law would allow workers on dairy farms to come to the US for a three-year period with an additional three-year extension.

New York Congressman Anthony 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.

“You’re milking cows all year round and a seasonal program is not going to work for dairy.”

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.

“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.

“This allows them to create a stronger work force.”

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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