E-Verify. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Fruit Grower Report.

We have been carrying on a conversation all week with Bruce Grim, Executive Director of the Washington State Horticultural Association about a number of issues affecting the tree fruit industry from the new specialty crop block grants to disaster relief and labor shortages. One last thing Grim brings up is the current immigration problems the U.S. is attempting to cope with and proposed fixes like E-Verify.

GRIM: The State of Georgia passed a mandatory E-Verify. Right now E-Verify is not a mandatory program, you can use it if you want but Georgia passed it as a mandatory program and it went into effect just prior to the fruit and vegetable harvest that were taking place just this last year. I received from the Executive Director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association, a report that the University of Georgia had done; took the data information and tried to figure out what had transpired there.

Grim says the report is fairly shocking and eye-opening.

GRIM: They were clearly short of labor in the field. Fully $170-million dollars in farmgate product was lost - could not be picked as a result of not having workers to do it. That’s about 24% of the value of their fruit and vegetable crops so this was a big, big hit that they took and that is really a major, major concern to the rest of the country as you see states moving in that direction. It has real impact in fruit and vegetable growers lives

These issues and more will surely be topics of discussion at the upcoming NW Hort Expo/Trade Show, December 5-7 in Wenatchee. For more information be sure and visit their website at www.wahort.org.

That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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