Labor & Immigration

Labor and Immigration Reform Efforts

Dairy farming is a labor-intensive endeavor, as cows need to be milked two or three times per day, every single day of the year. Because of this, many dairy farms choose to hire foreign-workers after trying and failing to find an adequate American-born workforce. In recent years, the availability of all sources of labor has dwindled, making this issue a top concern for NMPF and its members.

In the fall of 2014, NMPF commissioned a survey through Texas AgriLife Research at Texas A&M University to look into immigrant labor on dairy farms, and the impact should that labor disappear. Among other data, the report, The Economic Impacts of Immigrant Labor on U.S. Dairy Farms, found that if the U.S. dairy industry lost its foreign-born workforce, it would nearly double retail milk prices and cost the total U.S. economy more than $32 billion.

Immigration Reform Legislation

NMPF has worked with other farm and agriculture groups through its leadership role in the Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC) to present a legislative framework that provides actionable solutions for agriculture’s labor needs. This visa program needs to be market-based and have the flexibility to meet the needs of producers with year-round labor needs.

This solution includes:

  • An opportunity to obtain legal status
  • A program to ensure an adequate, productive, and competitive farm workforce in the future