Immigration Reform Essential to Dairy Industry
For American agriculture, our work force issue is both a food security and economic security issue.
While the dairy work force may not meet the statutory definition of “highly-skilled” in the context of immigration and work visa laws, they are certainly workers who have necessary skills and in whom we have invested money and time, in some cases years, to train in the detail and best practices of dairy operations. Regardless of their origin of birth, dairy employees’ ability to consistently apply best practices and protocols in the daily operation of our farms is the difference between increased productivity, animal health, and high quality milk.
The dairy operation work force is thoroughly trained in animal handling and wellness, all the best practices of a dairy operation; from responsible environmental practices to on farm disease prevention, and food security protocols. The reliable agriculture workforce, willing to work tough jobs, often in tough conditions, is essential and not easy to find. This makes comprehensive immigration reform that includes provisions for agriculture workers, critical to the production of milk in the U.S.
PDMP therefore supports legislative proposals that would replace the current and broken H-2A program, and would provide for year round workers for dairy operations. PDMP is engaged in the process. We are using our relationships to educate and advocate for federal immigration and essential agricultural worker policies that address the needs of American agriculture.
Using Most Current I-9 Form Will Help Prevent Legal Issues
Employers are required to complete a I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form to verify the identity and employment authorization of each employee hired in the United States. Using an old form can draw the attention to employers. The most current form (Rev. 03/08/13) should be used each and every time a new employee is hired.
The best way to ensure you are using the correct form is to go directly to the USCIS web page and download the form directly from there, rather than to keep a supply of old blank forms in a file.
PDMP has held webinars for members in which Immigration law expert; Ricky Palladino, Esq. has reviewed the new form on-line, answered questions and concerns about compliance and management practices to avoid costly audits and fines.