Next to the cost of feeding their animals, the cost of labor on dairy farms will always take up a large share of the budget.
A Milk Business Dot Com article says labor costs will rise in the new year. As of January first, farmers in some of the largest dairy-producing states now face government-mandated higher minimum wages. California farmers with 26-or-more employees now have to pay $11 per hour. All Washington businesses now have to pay $11.50 per hour.
The pay increase isn’t the biggest concern for dairy farmers. Instead, it’s the lack of available people to work. The industry worked throughout 2017 to bring forward immigration reform that would work for dairy farmers because they don’t have access to the H-2A program as they aren’t seasonal employers.
Tonia Van Slyke is the executive director of the New York Dairy Association, who says her state and others that rank high in dairy production need a viable guest-worker program in order to find help on their operations.
President Trump and Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue have both said that immigration reform that works for farmers is a top priority.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.