New guest worker legislation expected soon
By Larry Lee, Brownfield
September 12, 2019
A dairy group leader says to watch for a new proposal in Washington to help farmers get year-round guest workers. Laurie Fischer with the American Dairy Coalition tells Brownfield, “We are hearing (about) a new bipartisan bill that is starting to move forward. We’re working with the author and also co-sponsors on that.”
Fischer says she’s expecting the introduction of a bill from Florida Congressman Ted Yoho as early as this week. “I know of about 50 different legislators that are interested and considering cosponsorship, so this is something that we knew for a while that was going to happen in September and it’s starting to get some traction.”
Even though many farmers need a year-round labor solution, Fischer says farmers should still comment on the proposed H-2A worker visa improvements now under consideration, so lawmakers understand their needs.
The American Dairy Coalition says this bill will establish a new guest worker program overseen by the USDA, rather than the Department of Labor — a department better suited to understand the unique labor needs of the dairy and agriculture industries. They also say Yoho’s bill has these features: