“What sort of employee can you help me find?”
I get this call all the time… and my answers are never what the dairy farmer wants to hear. The basic answer to that question, right now, is that there are no good ways to get reliable foreign help into the country. Yes, there are ways, ways that are tedious and difficult, and often lead to dead ends. Unlike the rest of agriculture, there is no good way to bring in foreign laborers to dairy farms under the current system.
However, right now, today, those with the power to change that are having discussions in Washington, DC. The American Dairy Coalition has been actively involved in this process, and the voices of dairy farm groups are finally being heard. (Read more at http://www.americandairycoalitioninc.com/)
The mainstream media talks about this legislation, because it offers a resolution of the legal status of the “dreamers”. The same pending legislation also includes the construction of the wall between the USA and Mexico, a key campaign promise from President Trump’s.
Happily for the US dairy industry, buried inside this “Keeping America Secure Act” is the “Ag Act”–which includes a new visa. This would allow for a legal way to bring in unskilled workers for dairies. Plus, there is a way to have current employees become legal workers.
If you want to see this pass, NOW is the time to reach out to your state’s representatives and senators. (Find their contact information: https://whoismyrepresentative.com/) They need to hear from you, in order to truly understand the labor constraints you face. The more dairy farmers who contact them, the better our chances for passing this legislation.
Global Cow (international agricultural training)
Coordinator for STEP & PAX (local international students)
611 Ames Hill, Brattleboro, VT 05301
Tel: (802) 254-2879; Tollfree: (866) 267-2879
Sharing the world!
Jill Stahl Tyler has worked with international trainees and employees for over 25 years through her business, Global Cow. Global Cow organizes training experiences in agriculture, both in the USA and abroad.