The National Pork Producers Council Wednesday renewed its call for government help to prevent a severe labor shortage from becoming a crisis. 

The decision by the U.S. State Department to suspend visa processing in Mexico threatens to worsen the labor shortage in the pork industry and across U.S. agriculture, according to the organization. 

Mexico is an important source of labor for U.S. hog farmers and packing plants. 

NPPC President Howard “A.V.” Roth says, “we are very concerned” about the State Department’s action and its implications on the U.S. pork industry. 

The pork industry, a farm sector that operates year-round, uses the H-2A visa program for specialized work, but cannot use the program for most labor needs because of its seasonal limitation. 

Hog farmers are major users of the TN visa program, which taps labor from Mexico. 

NPPC also seeks clarifications from the U.S. Department of Transportation that farms are part of the critical domestic infrastructure needed to produce the food that feeds America and the world.