There is no doubt Wisconsinites love their dairy products — and they should! Study after study has shown these tasty products deliver serious health benefits, yet the industry is at the brink of collapse.
The Wisconsin dairy industry provides $43.4 billion to the state’s economy and is being called upon to feed more mouths than ever before. However, farmers cannot find workers to milk their cows. Our domestic labor sources, time and time again, pass up this type of employment and the current immigrant labor pool is running dry. Currently, 51 percent of dairy farm workers are immigrants, but the industry must grow in order to keep up with the global demand for worldwide dairy products. So what are dairy producers to do?
Many producers and processors across the state are trying to increase their wages dramatically to draw in domestic workers. It’s not that these jobs currently offer unreasonable pay, but with a recent push from liberal states to raise their minimum wage requirements, domestic workers expect an increase in wage. Even with this increase, many domestic laborers opt for other types of employment opportunities. Farming is labor-intense work, and it requires an all-hands- on-deck effort to get the job done.
The American Dairy Coalition has been actively working on a solution to fix our broken immigration system. The State-Based Visa Program, an idea developed as a collaboration between a Washington D.C. think-tank and ADC members across the nation, puts Wisconsin back at the helm of directing our state’s labor needs.
This federally overseen program allows each state that voluntarily participates the opportunity to determine what labor needs exist and how immigrant labor will fill this demand.
Law-abiding workers and their families, already living and working within the United States, would be provided the opportunity to obtain a visa to legally continue to work in the state where they have made their home. The program also provides participating states a quota of new visas to be filled by ready, willing and able workers waiting to build a better future in our country.
The American Dairy Coalition refuses to idly stand by and watch the dairy state become a thing of the past. We refuse to watch as farmers struggle to find people to milk their cows. Members of our industry must stand up with ADC and work towards a solution before it’s too late. Learn more about the State Based Visa Program and the ADC by visiting www.americandairycoalitioninc.com or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.