Idaho dairies launch new Farm Workforce Modernization Act

The Idaho Dairymen’s Association welcomed the introduction of The Farm Workforce Modernization Act in the U.S. House of Representatives today.

“This bipartisan bill would provide a great deal of certainty and stability on one of the most challenging aspects of milk production in the state — the availability of trained, experienced workers to care for the cows,” IDA CEO Rick Naerebout said. “The Idaho Dairymen’s Association thanks Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) and his colleagues Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and the many other supporters of this legislation in the U.S. House for their courage and leadership on an issue so critical to the economic health of rural America.”

According to Naerebout, the bill advances two priorities IDA has long worked for in Washington, D.C.

“First, dairy farmers in the state will be able to retain their current workers,” Naerebout said. “The bill offers workers the chance to earn legal status and continue to be an integral part of our farms and our communities. The bill also offers dairy producers and other employers with year-round labor needs, for the first time ever, access to the program that offers jobs to temporary workers from other countries when no local workers are available to fill those positions. Lastly, the bill enhances national security with a requirement that employers who hire workers through the program must use the online E-Verify system to confirm the eligibility of new applicants.”

IDA president Pete Wiersma concurs.

“This legislation is long overdue,” Wiersma said. “I join other dairy producers in the state in thanking Congressman Mike Simpson for his role in making this happen. The bill is good step forward for farmers, our families, our workers and their families and for the communities in rural Idaho. I also want to thank all of Idaho agriculture and our allies for their support for this bill. More than 35 organizations in the state joined a national outpouring of support that has delivered the message to Congress that the time has come to address the farm labor crisis and enhance national security and economic stability for everyone.”

The Idaho Dairymen’s Association was founded in 1924 to develop and sustain an economically viable dairy industry in the Gem State. Its board of directors and staff work tirelessly at the local, state, regional and federal levels to protect and promote the legislative, regulatory and legal interests of its members. It works with the Idaho Dairy Environmental Action League and IDEAL Foundation to help the Idaho dairy industry and its broader communities realize the many social and economic benefits of successful livestock operations while working to protect and enhance important air, water, and soil resources. Visit IdahoDairymens.org for more details about the organization.

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