Proposed Legislation Would Help Dairy Labor Issues

Two bills introduced recently would modify the existing H-2A agricultural visa program to make it easier for dairy farmers to hire the foreign labor they need to run their operations. Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Chris Collins (R-NY) co-authored the Farm Family Relief Act in January. Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R-WI) introduced the Defending the Agricultural Industry’s Requirements Year-round (DAIRY) Act this month.
The Family Farm Relief Act of 2017 bill directs the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a process for receiving H-2A non-immigrant visas (temporary agricultural workers) which shall ensure that that petitioners may file such petitions over the Internet or in paper form. Administration of the H-2A program is transferred from the Department of Labor to USDA. The bill includes year-round livestock workers, including dairy workers, in the H-2A category with a maximum three-year period of admissions, which may be renewed three months after the end of each such period and revises H-2A certification provisions.
The Defending the Agricultural Industry’s Requirements Year-round Act of 2017 (DAIRY Act), expands the H-2A worker program to benefit dairy farmers. Currently, agricultural guest worker programs do not work well for dairy because the industry is not seasonal. 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.

Combo Labor Compliance Posters Are Easiest Way To Stay Legal

This week I had a question concerning the labor compliance posters that are needed for dairymen with employees. I asked Farm and Agribusiness Management Specialist Melissa R. O’Rourke to share a definitive answer for the question. Her response:

The poster problem is that for the myriad of different employment-related laws (both state and federal) some require posting if you have one employee, for other laws it is ten employees; and for others, the employer may not be required to post a notice until reaching 50 employees (such as FMLA). That is why the “combo” posters are handy – they cover all the required notices for a variety of laws whether the particular employer needs it or not.

Continue reading “Combo Labor Compliance Posters Are Easiest Way To Stay Legal”

Proposed Legislation Would Benefit Dairymen

American Dairy Coalition (ADC) reports U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), co-chair of the Congressional Dairy Farm Caucus, introduced a new immigration reform policy for dairy operations.
The new legislation — known as 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.
ADC highly supports the efforts of Rep. Duffy in his work to allow the dairy industry to utilize the H2-A visa program. 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.