Farmscape for June 18, 2018
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 labor shortage facing the U.S. 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.
Clip-Jen Sorenson-National Pork Producer's Council:
When you look domestically I think that you always have to look at yourself and say 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 the labor and recruiting labor and connecting with people that might now have roots in agriculture but might be interested in a profession in livestock production.
But we also have to be smart and look at options of bringing immigrants into our country.
When I talk about that, right now we have a TM Visa program that was derived out of NAFTA that's been very helpful for U.S. pork producers because they can provide solutions to filling specialty roles on our farms.
For instance that would be like a breeder or a breed lead or a day one care specialist.
There's other programs, 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 specializations tied to them.
Sorenson says if growth in the pork sector is stymied by not having access to enough labor, the entire U.S. economy is affected.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork