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Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Calls for Immigration Reform; Steve Bechel and John Umhoefer Comment

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Calls for Immigration Reform; Steve Bechel and John Umhoefer Comment


MADISON, WI
Thursday, November 10th, 2022

Spotlighting the crucial role that immigrants play in the supply chain and American dairy industry, the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) has issued a rally call prompting Congressional action to expand opportunities for legal immigration and to allow more immigrants to become permanent residents or citizens of the United States of America.

Steve Bechel, President, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association“The $753 billion American dairy industry relies on immigrants as vital members of its supply chain, from the farm to processing facilities and beyond,” said WCMA President Steve Bechel of Eau Galle Cheese in Durand, Wisconsin. “The nation’s labor crisis will worsen in the years ahead, and legislative action is needed now to provide the workforce that dairy businesses must have to meet the demands of a growing global population.”

According to the press release, WCMA’s immigration policy platform, endorsed by its 21-member Board of Directors, supports these key provisions:

  • The addition of dairy manufacturing, processing, and related supply chain jobs to the list of those eligible for an agricultural guestworker visa program
  • The elimination of “touchback” provisions requiring agricultural guestworkers to return to their home country periodically, disrupting their work in the United States
  • The provision of temporary legal status to the spouses and minor children of non-seasonal agricultural guestworkers
  • An extension in the length of agricultural guestworker visa terms
  • At-will employment flexibility in an agricultural guestworker program, allowing workers to accept any agricultural industry employment for the duration of their work authorization period
  • An expansion of opportunities for agricultural guestworkers to gain permanent residency
  • Strong legal safeguards for employers acting in good faith to determine an individual’s eligibility for employment with their organization

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association has issued a rally call prompting Congressional action to expand opportunities for legal immigration

WCMA members are currently encouraging Congress to act now before the start of the next legislative term to advance legislation to expand immigration opportunities.

John Umhoefer, Executive Director, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association“The U.S. dairy industry employs three million people in America today, and a trained, reliable—and sizable—workforce remains essential to its strength. Dairy manufacturers and processors look to legislative leaders to work together to deliver immigration reforms to support business growth,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA Executive Director.

Stick with DMN as we report on the latest in the dairy industry and beyond.

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association
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