The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) and our 30,000 producer members applaud Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA) on the introduction of the AG Act. This powerful leader of the GOP stepped up to the plate and has taken a huge step forward to resolve the desperate labor shortages the agriculture, dairy, livestock and allied industries are facing. After farmers have waited years for a legal immigration fix to ensure a reliable workforce, a bill has been introduced which will ensure a viable solution to end a 20-year labor shortage. The AG Act provides an avenue for a reliable labor force that the agriculture industry requires to provide safe, nutritious, affordable and abundant food to American consumers and throughout the world.
“We commend Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s dedication, understanding and ambition to provide a legal guest-worker program that will provide a legal guestworker status to those who have the work ethic to withstand labor intense jobs on the farm,” Laurie Fischer, CEO of the American Dairy Coalition said.
Adequate labor is essential for our industry to care for our animals and ensure our crops are harvested in a timely manner to yield the highest-quality food products for consumption around the world. Year after year, the domestic workforce continues to forego these labor intensive jobs in favor of more leisurely work, despite increased wages and employee benefit packages.
“Agriculture needs to unite in support of the AG Act to work with our country's leadership to pass this vital piece of legislation. Agriculture has a labor shortage and the AG Act will provide a critical legal guestworker program that agriculture and the dairy industry desperately needs.” Said John Jacobs, President of the American Dairy Coalition and farm owner.
The AG Act will create a new visa category, known as the H-2C, and effectively replace the previously impractical H-2A program. This act will provide an option to both seasonal and year-round labor needs, recognizing not all agriculture jobs are the same or require the same level of skill or experience. The H-2C visa program will be administered by the USDA, which better understands the unique needs of America’s farm and ranch operations, and the challenges of processing raw, perishable commodities. The AG Act will offer workers and employers more choices in their employment arrangements, with more flexibility and less bureaucratic red tape. Furthermore, employers will have to attest that their attempts to hire domestic workers did not yield the results necessary to keep their businesses viable. By ensuring American farmers have the labor they need to operate to their full potential, they will, in turn, create hundreds of thousands of jobs appealing to domestic workers.