The American Dairy Coalition welcomed many dairy producers and allied industry businesses from several Midwestern states to an informative seminar held at last week’s Central Plains Dairy Expo in Sioux Falls, S.D. Presenters discussed important tools to help producers continue to sustain and grow their businesses well into the future.
This seminar, presented in partnership with South Dakota State Dairy Producers and Western Iowa Dairy Alliance, provided a unique opportunity for producers to ask questions and learn how a new bill will ensure a reliable workforce, as well as if the Margin Protection Program (MPP) can be salvaged.
Stephanie Gadbois, senior counsel forRep. Bob Goodlatte, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee provided an overview of a new legislative bill, called the AG Act. This is a guestworker visa program that is growing support from members in the House of Representatives. The AG Act replaces the current H-2A Visa program with a new H-2C Visa, and provides a much-needed visa program. It allows for foreign nationals currently working, as well as additional new workers, to work under an H-2C Visa. Currently, many dairy producers are not able to find the employees they need to take care of their animals and very few domestic workers are applying for these types of jobs.
This new H2-C category, overseen by the USDA, provides a modern and streamlined agricultural guestworker program that will allow registered agricultural employers access to labor when their efforts to recruit U.S. workers do not yield the help they need. Under this program, existing workers already within our country filling vital roles and additional new workers not yet in our country, will have access to legal status, a driver’s license, and confidence to come out of the shadows with their renewable H-2C Visa.
In another presentation, Marin Bozic an assistant professor in Dairy Foods Marketing Economics in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota, provided an overview to attendees explaining what happened with the Margin Protection Program (MPP) and why it was not the risk management tool dairy producers had hoped for, as well as recent new policy reform that was written to improve MPP for the future. His presentation also covered what the removal of subsidy caps in the Livestock Gross Margin Insurance Program for Dairy Cattle (LGM) may mean for future dairy operation economic protection.
Bozic also discussed a new dairy revenue protection program called “Dairy-RP,” which was approved in February. More details to come as this important tool is brought forward in the months ahead.
To learn more about Dairy R-RP, click here.