Dairy farmers still waiting for full-time labor solution


Dairy farmers still waiting for full-time labor solution

The Trump administration extended emergency rules last week for H-2A seasonal farmworkers, but dairy farmers with year-round labor needs are still waiting for a labor solution. 

Aaron Stauffacher is the Associate Director of Government Affairs with the Dairy Business Association.  He says, “Our dairy farmers have had to compete with other and sometimes higher-paying jobs. Farm work isn’t always a desirable job. It’s dirty, and there can be some long hours, sometimes.”

He says there were discussions in Washington about a solution that would work for dairy farms early this year. “The House passed a bill to kick off negotiations that the Senate started conversations in early 2020, but then those conversations and efforts were consumed by the coronavirus.”

Stauffacher says meaningful labor reform hasn’t been accomplished since the H-2A program was created during the Reagan administration and with members of Congress focused on funding the government, coronavirus relief, and the November elections, it is unlikely Congress will restart talks about non-seasonal foreign labor rules. Laurie Fischer is with the American Dairy Coalition.  She agrees, saying dairy farmers need a statute change, and being so close to the Presidential election, no one in Washington is interested in taking this up.