At the conclusion of the U.S. Apple Outlook Conference in Chicago on August 24, American growers clearly communicated worries about trade, labour and the upcoming Farm Bill.
“U.S. apple growers remain a united front in what has been a year of policy turmoil and a future of unknowns in the international marketplace,” said U.S. Apple Association chair Mark Boyer.
“In what has been one of the most challenging and unusual years in the 123-year history of the U.S. Apple Association, growers remain united,” said Boyer. “It is now more important than ever we stay diligent in our advocacy efforts, especially on the trade front.”
Apple growers export about $1 billion worth of apples annually, roughly one-third of the country’s crop. Due to retaliatory tariffs by the industry’s top markets, valuable trading relationships are in jeopardy.
“The White House has taken actions to restrict trade with Mexico, India and China—our first, second and sixth largest export markets,” Boyer told conference attendees. “That has us all unsettled as we kick off the new harvest.”
Not only is trade critical to agriculture, but also to rural communities where thousands of jobs are at risk, not just in growing and picking the crop but also in equipment, fuel and fertilizer sales, and in packing and transportation. USApple is hopeful that relationships with Mexico, China and India are repaired as quickly as possible.
Boyer highlighted other significant issues to growers, such as securing a stable and reliable workforce and passing the Farm Bill, which includes important programs such as crop insurance, research grants and a program for promoting apples overseas.
Boyer, a second-generation owner of Ridgetop Orchards in Fishertown, Pennsylvania, has been chair of USApple for the past year. Incoming chair Kaari Stannard, owner of New York Apple Sales and partner in Fish Creek Orchards, will take the reins at the end of the Outlook Conference.
Source: U.S. Apple Outlook Conference August 24, 2018 news release