Dairy Farmers of America was one of the groups that took part in a USDA forum on comprehensive immigration reform held Friday in Kansas City.
“Because of America’s farmers, we enjoy abundant, safe and affordable food in this country,” Mooney said. “In order to ensure that continues, we need Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. For the dairy industry – an industry where there is no such thing as a day off – there is no viable visa program to provide a legal, stable and knowledgeable workforce that ensures milk and other dairy products get into the dairy case, our lunch programs and more.”
Mooney emphasized that the need for qualified workers is an issue bigger than dairy, pointing to specialty crops such as lettuce, strawberries and apples that also require labor that is not desirable to domestic workers. Similarly, a shortage of workers affects crop farmers, directly for their own farms and for farmers who buy their product.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was the keynote speaker at the event, hosted at the American Royal building in Kansas City’s historic West Bottoms district. Former Kansas City mayor and current Congressman Emanuel Cleaver also voiced support for immigration policy reform. Additional participants in the event included the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas city; Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform; and Kansas Business Coalition for Immigration Reform.
See Mooney’s remarks at the event below: