Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., says he will introduce legislation to address the Labor Department's new rules that exclude the dairy industry from eligibility for certification in the seasonal agricultural worker program.
"This rule falls short, leaving dairy farms in the lurch," Leahy said. "The final rule continues to exclude the dairy industry from lawfully hiring seasonal foreign workers when needed. The agency claims that because dairy workers are needed year-round, they do not fit the 'temporary or seasonal' definition of an H-2A worker."
In its new rules on seasonal agricultural workers, the Labor Department said it has no legal authority to include the entire dairy industry in the H-2A visa program. The program allows farmers to lawfully hire foreign workers when needed, to help keep American farms productive. Dairy farmers have been unable to take advantage of the H-2A visa program due to the year-round nature of dairy farming.
Leahy says the law he is proposing will make explicit in law that dairy farms can use the H-2A program, ensuring that dairy farmers throughout the nation can find the labor they need to stay in business, meeting the needs of their communities and the nation's families.