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NPPC calls for expanded access to foreign workers

19 June 2018, at 12:00am

The National Pork Producer's Council is calling on government to expand options for filling vacant jobs in the pork sector with immigrant workers

The National Pork Producer's Council has been drawing attention to the chronic labour shortage facing the US pork sector today.

Jen Sorenson, a Member of the NPPC Board of Directors, says agriculture happens in rural America where there aren't big population centres to pull from and, with the unemployment rate its lowest in 18 years, it's difficult to find a quality work force.

Sorensen explains:

“Domestically, I think that you always have to look at yourself and ask: am I a good employer? Am I competitive in the market place? Am I offering benefits? Am I doing things right in terms of how we look at retaining labour and recruiting labour, and connecting with people that might now have roots in agriculture but might be interested in a profession in livestock production?

“We also have to be smart and look at options of bringing immigrants into our country.

“Right now we have a TM Visa programme, that was derived out of NAFTA, that's been very helpful for US pork producers because they can provide solutions to filling speciality roles on our farms. For instance, that would a breeder or a breed lead or a day one care specialist.

“There's other programmes, H-2A, H-2B programs that also help agriculture to some extent.

“The things we work on from an NPPC perspective is finding options for producers that are less cumbersome regulatory wise and can help fill more roles without having caveats or different specialisations tied to them”.

Sorenson says if growth in the pork sector is restricted by not having access to enough labour, the entire US economy is affected.

As reported by Bruce Cochrane, Farmscape

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