Although the U.S. Congress – rather than the Texas Legislature – influences most immigration policy, the Texas Association of Dairymen closely monitors all policy debate on the immigration issue.
TAD advocates immigration reform that takes the burden of policing workers’ eligibility off the shoulders of dairy farmers and does not restrict access to a much-needed labor pool.
Farmers – including dairy farmers – depend on immigrant national workers to fill labor-intensive farm jobs that American born-workers are unwilling to fill, no matter how bad the economy gets. About half of all workers on U.S. dairy farms are immigrants. Losing those immigrant workers would have the following impact, according to a 2015 study conducted by Texas A&M University AgriLife Research for the National Federation of Milk Producers:
• Increase retail milk prices by 90 percent
• Eliminate 208,208 jobs
• Cost the nation’s economy $32.1 billion
• Reduce the U.S. dairy herd by 2.1 million cows
• Cut milk production by 48.4 billion pounds (almost 5.9 billion gallons)
• Eliminate 7,011 farms
The current rigid immigration system that makes it difficult for agricultural employers to utilize the current guest worker program.
Texas dairymen need a legal, reliable source of labor to continue to operate at their full capacity to feed the growing population of our state, nation and world.