New York Congressman John McHugh, with co-sponsors Reps. Michael Arcuri (N.Y.), Rob Bishop (Utah), Eric Massa (N.Y.) and Devin Nunes (Calif.), introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives this week entitled the Dairy and Sheep H-2A Visa Enhancement Act, HR. 1660, which would provide dairy farmers with access to the H-2A visa program and codify the longstanding practices that allow sheepherders such access.
If adopted, H.R. 1660 would allow the workers on dairy farms and sheep ranches to obtain an initial three-year visa, which could be extended for additional three-year periods without requiring intervening periods of absence outside of the United States.
"The nation's lamb- and wool-producing farm and ranch families strongly support the legislation to codify the sheepherder provisions of the H-2A program that have worked successfully for our industry for more than 60 years," stated Peter Orwick, executive director for the American Sheep Industry Association. "We appreciate the work the congressmen did to get this bill introduced."
ASI, along with the western state sheep associations, supported the introduction of this legislation.