Fair Trade Berries Pt 2
Competition is a good thing, when everyone's playing by the same rules. That's at the heart of the rapidly growing disparity Washington berry growers are facing as foreign imports of raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are undercutting local growers thanks to lower wages and fewer regulations.
Whatcom Family Farmers' Marty Maberry says we have to be able to compete ...
MABERRY ... "What we're attempting to do is draw some attention to the, I would say, obvious end-result that if we continue to legislate higher and higher minimum wages and more and more benefits and those kind of things, that's fine, well, and good. We want our farm workers to make as much money as possible, maybe more than the consumers do. I mean, they may not believe that, but we work side by side with these guys all the time."
Maberry says bottom line, we could lose it all ..
MABERRY ... "But, the end result is going to be when you compete against $10, $11, $12 a day labor, and you have wide open borders with no consideration of protecting, at all, domestic supply it's going to go away. And, we'll wake up at some point and all of the sudden realize that we've lost a significant part of our agricultural commodities and infrastructure, and it will be too late because it won't, won't come back."
Maberry says the question consumers need to ask themselves is, 'do they want food grown in the USA?' If so, they need to read the labels and make sure they're buying domestic berries and other foods.