The US-based cooperative laid out five key legislative focus areas during its annual meeting with members.
The areas are a reliable workforce, better access to global markets, farm policy that works for dairy farmers, farmer-led environmental innovation, and accurate representation of dairy products.
“Edge’s priorities and objectives reflect a broad range of tangible changes that would boost critical support for our dairy farmers,” Edge president Brody Stapel said.
“This is a critical time for the dairy community. Ongoing issues, like the worker shortage, have only grown more challenging and call for bold action. And, we need the tools to meet emerging challenges as well.
“Edge is bringing solutions to the table along with a commitment to work together with Congress to get things done. It is important that our elected leaders understand what it’s going to take to ensure that America’s dairy farmers have the ability to meet the growing need for nutritious food while also supporting rural economies throughout the country.”
Edge said dairy farmers need access to a practical agricultural workforce visa to address critical workforce shortages. It said there currently is no way for farmers to protect their existing workforce or any practical process to hire new foreign workers who are legally authorized to work.
The coop said federal dairy programs can greatly affect farmers’ ability to earn a living. Dairy risk management programs need to be effective and be feasible for all types of farmers.
On the environment, Edge said it believes environmentally-focused policies affecting agriculture should be guided by farmers, grounded in science, driven by the market and flexible, to allow for innovation at the farm level.