July 2, 2021
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has introduced a campaign, â€œYear-Round Pork Needs Year-Round Workers,â€ highlighting the vital role of foreign-born workers across the U.S. pork industry and the critical need for comprehensive labor reform to address a labor shortage.
â€œThe U.S. pork industry is highly dependent on foreign-born workers who make tremendous contributions in their jobs and communities,â€ said NPPC President Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa. â€œUnfortunately, current visa programs donâ€™t provide access to enough workers to meet our labor needs on farms and in plants.â€
The â€œYear-Round Pork Needs Year-Round Workersâ€ campaign features the stories of four foreign-born workers and their employers, highlighting the essential contributions of these workers and the opportunities created by a position in the U.S. pork industry NPPC is urging Congress to address labor reform that both opens the H-2A visa program to year-round labor, without a cap, and provides legal status for agricultural workers already in the country.
â€œThere are not enough people that want to work in agriculture to fill the jobs that we have. If we're not able to provide people to raise these animals, we're going to have to raise less of them and that means that you're going to pay more for that protein source,â€ said Michael Springer, a hog farmer from Independence, Kan. â€œPeople want to eat 365 days a year. Our current seasonal visa program does not work for livestock production because it does not put people on our farm 365 days a year to take care of the animals,â€ he added.
Pork producers offer jobs with good pay and benefits, but most Americans do not live near hog farms or harvest facilities and rural populations continue to decline, causing the U.S. pork industry to be largely dependent on foreign-born workers.
To learn more about NPPCâ€™s campaign, click here.
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