Ag Highlights of 2014
I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
This past July a crash of the U.S. database for printing visas created a huge backlog of visas waiting to be printed just weeks prior to apple and pear harvest time here in the state. Washington Farm Labor Association's Dan Fazio commented on what was expected to be a possible two week delay.
FAZIO: That's unacceptable for a farmer who needs workers - growers can't afford to have twenty busloads of people sitting in hotels in Tijuana, or some other consulate in southern Mexico. The workers can't afford it either. They need to work in order to feed their families and if they're not working in the U.S., they need to work in Mexico.
Also in July The Partnership For A New American Economy launched a National Day of Action On Immigration Reform as part of a national effort across 20 states calling on Congress to act on immigration reform in 2014. Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association Executive Director, Jon DeVaney, who took part, spoke of how essential it is that Congress acts now to fix the country's broken immigration system.
DEVANEY: Predictability does matter a great deal in the immigration system for agriculture. Nationally about 80% of the hired workers on American farms are immigrants. Growers are already finding they can't always get the workers that they need. If growers aren't sure they're going to be able to get the harvest labor they need for perennial crops like tree fruit, which is of course apples and cherries being main crops here in our state, they're going to be cautious about planting trees and making that long-term investment decision.
Listen in tomorrow for more ag highlights of 2014 or visit www.aginfo.net.
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.