Immigration Reform Key To Profitable Future
It looks like we might be coming through a milk price valley, and that’s good news for dairy producers. That’s especially true in Wisconsin where, according to Wisconsin Department of Ag statistics, nearly 800 producers have gone out of business since the beginning of 2017.
One Wisconsin producer sees a bright future ahead.
“The next six months will probably be better than the last six months,” says John Vosters, a partner at Milk Source dairy. “But obviously we are still in very challenging times.”
Increased labor costs are one of the things that have attributed to tighter margins. Vosters says immigration reform will be critical to the future of their business, and of the industry as a whole.
“If Congress or our President can’t get anything done it’s going to be extremely challenging to have a workforce to do what we do,” he says. “We will have to adapt and do things differently.”
According to Vosters, the biggest impact will be on slowing the growth of their business. Workforce limitations could eventually hurt the ability of the U.S. to compete globally.
“If [the U.S. dairy industry] can’t continue to grow and evolve as a business, costs go up and it makes it tougher for us to compete on a world market,” Vosters says. “Labor is a big part of that and it’s going to be big going forward, so we need some help in that regard.”
At Milk Source, ensuring a stable workforce is the most important aspect of immigration reform.
“The people that are here need to be able to integrate into society,” he says. “They are good people and they do work that most people don’t want to do so they are important to our business and to society.”