Dairy Industry Faces Labor Shortage

Cindy Zimmerman

A coalition of organizations representing farm labor, dairy business, cooperatives, and the food industry held a press event this week at World Dairy Expo to draw attention to the labor shortage being faced by dairy farmers.

The American Business Immigration Coalition Action (ABIC Action), Edge Dairy/Wisconsin Dairy Business Association, National Milk Producers Federation, the American Dairy Coalition, Indiana Dairy Producers, the Cooperative Network, AmericanHort, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and Midwest Food Products Association hosted the event entitled “Lower Food Prices, Keep Shelves Stocked: Common Sense Solutions to Wisconsin’s Farm Labor Shortage.”

With Senate negotiations ongoing, the event called attention to the urgency of fixing Wisconsin’s and the nation’s farm labor shortage by passing new Senate agriculture workforce solutions.

“Dairy is a unique industry with a different set of challenges than any other sector of the ag economy,” said Brody Stapel, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative Board President and a member of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. “Our cows must be milked at least twice a day, every day, and our raw product is extremely perishable. So a steady workforce is all the more important. Farms cannot function if they aren’t fully staffed to harvest crops, and feed and care for the animals. And that creates a risk to a safe, nutritious and affordable food supply. The severity of the issue cannot be overstated. Congress needs to act to provide farms with meaningful access to a visa program for year-round workers.”

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Dairy, labor, World Dairy Expo