Producers in third-largest dairy state applaud Senate immigration reform bill

The Milk Producers of Idaho say reform will legitimize the efforts of hard-working employees necessary to sustain the $2.5 billion dairy industry, Idaho’s largest agriculture sector.

On Wednesday, the bipartisan Senate “Gang of Eight” introduced an 844-page reform bill, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.” A bipartisan House group including Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, promises a House version soon.

“Idaho agricultural in general and the Idaho dairy industry in particular have been struggling to find workers in the domestic market who are willing to perform the work needed to provide an abundant and safe food supply for our country” said Milk Producers of Idaho Director Brent Olmstead in a news release Thursday.

Tena Petter, chair of the group, also welcomed the Senate action.

“This will allow for a large segment of workers in Idaho to come out of the shadows,” Petter said in the release.

Idaho ranks behind California and Wisconsin in dairy production.

The full news release follows:

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                              CONTACT: Brent Olmstead

April 18, 2013                                                                                                                 208.871.1444

 

 

Boise:  The Milk Producers of Idaho (MPI) applauds the efforts of the “Gang of Eight” in the U.S. Senate and the bipartisan approach used in authoring the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.” The introduction of this legislation is a positive step toward assuring a legal and stable workforce for Idaho agriculture.

This legislation makes provisions for those experienced workers already in this country to earn legal residency by meeting certain listed requirements. It also creates a new agricultural visa program that will admit additional needed workers for Idaho’s agricultural community.

“Idaho agricultural in general and the Idaho dairy industry in particular have been struggling to find workers in the domestic market who are willing to perform the work needed to provide an abundant and safe food supply for our country” said MPI Director Brent Olmstead. “The efforts in the Senate are appreciated and we look forward to working with our Idaho delegation in the upcoming debate.”

“This will allow for a large segment of workers in Idaho to come out of the shadows” added MPI Chair Tena Petter.

MPI is grateful for the leadership shown by the “Gang of Eight” to take on a politically charged issue such as this. It is long overdue and the country will be better because of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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