Rep. Duffy introduces new immigration reform policy

Wisconsin State Farmer

WASHINGTON - Dairy farmers represented by the American Dairy Coalition (ADC) are applauding Rep. Sean Duffy for ensuring a workforce for dairy farmers.

U.S. Rep. Duffy (R-WI) is co-chair of the Congressional Dairy Farm Caucus, and introduced a new immigration reform policy for dairy operations titled Defending the Agricultural Industry’s Requirements Year-round Act of 2017 (DAIRY Act).

Rep. Sean Duffy

The legislation would expand the H-2A worker program.

"Currently, agricultural guest worker programs do not work well for dairy because the industry is not seasonal," Duffy said in a news release. "This bill modifies the existing visa program to allow dairy workers to hold a visa for 18 months, giving Wisconsin farmers certainty about the stability of their workforce."

ADC officials said the DAIRY Act will help to provide a reliable labor force, ensuring dairy producers have the workers necessary to care for their animals as well as provide healthy and affordable dairy products to our nation and across the globe.

"Previously, the dairy industry was excluded due to its 365-day-a-year need for labor. Dairy farmers have been waiting for a provision to utilize the H2-A visa category to legally employ immigrant workers to fill important roles that domestic workers continually pass up. The H2-A visa is a vital tool to provide year-round labor for dairy operations,".the coalition said in a news release.

The ADC says it has worked diligently on several immigration reform bills, which each representing various tools dairy farmers can utilize to access the labor so desperately needed to ensure they can successfully maintain their businesses. The group vows to work hard with Rep Duffy to move this bill over the finish line.