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Edge is a consistent voice for policies that will help advance dairy farming throughout the U.S. We monitor economic, regulatory and legislative developments at the state and federal levels that could affect our farmers. We partner with other national and regional dairy advocacy groups so we can pool our influence for positive changes. Here are some of the issues on which we work:

 

Labor security


Dairy farms face a shortage of workers and our farms have come to rely more on immigrant labor. There needs to be a way for farmers to protect their existing workforce while also having opportunities to hire new foreign workers who are legally authorized to work. The current agriculture visa only permits seasonal employment. A new long-term agricultural worker visa is seriously needed. Ideally, this new visa would be an option to move all existing workers to a legal status and would allow for the easy recruitment of new foreign-born workers as needed.  

 
Better access to global markets


  It is no coincidence that record milk prices coincided with strong dairy exports and that a steep price decline followed the contraction of exports. One of the best things the dairy community can do to ensure higher and more stable pricing is to grow our place in the global market. Edge wants to safeguard the gains for agriculture made by agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and is looking forward to the ratification of its replacement, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). At the same time, we want to see the negotiation of new trade agreements with key partners like Japan and the United Kingdom.

A farm bill that works for dairy farmers


Federal dairy programs can greatly affect our farmers’ ability to earn a living. They want to utilize tools our government provides for success, but it is important these programs do not waste our farmers’ or the nation’s resources. Edge has pushed to re-evaluate dairy risk management programs to ensure they work well and are easy for all types of farmers to use. We also want to see how the dairy community can benefit from other parts of the bill. This includes properly funding trade promotion and incentivizing the purchase of healthy dairy products by people benefiting from the nutrition title.  

Partnering with EPA for sensible regulations


 

Since its creation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has helped to protect and improve the environment. But, it also has created some burdensome regulations. Edge has long fought for reasonable regulations and urged EPA and others to consider the increased burden that proposed rules could place on businesses like our farms. The current agency leadership seems more willing to see agriculture as a partner rather than the enemy. One example of how this partnership could work is EPA helping farmers to afford additional manure treatment and anaerobic digestion because of the role farms could play in providing clean energy.


Stop the mislabeling of plant-based dairy imitations


   Plant-based products that are wrongly labeled as milk, cheese or ice cream are increasingly common. There may be room for everyone in the marketplace, but it is wrong to mislead customers. The dairy community should ensure that the public understands how these new items are nutritionally inferior. Some of these non-dairy imitations already violate existing labeling laws. Edge wants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to enforce the law so customers are protected and dairy foods are not unfairly disadvantaged. The good news is that FDA has a renewed interest in this issue and positive changes may be coming. 
 

Improving water quality


Dairy farmers, like everyone else, value clean and safe ground and surface water. We rely on a quality supply of groundwater for our farms and our families. We appreciate our streams, rivers and lakes for their beauty, economic importance, and the recreational opportunities they provide. Our team helps farmers provide their input on policies that affects their farms. Edge also promotes how modern farming practices and technology have evolved and will continue to evolve to address water quality concerns. We will work to ensure any new rules are manageable, practical, and will be effective. We know farmers are willing to do their part to address real concerns, but they cannot shoulder the entire effort alone.


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