WA State Tree Fruit and Legislation Pt 2

WA State Tree Fruit and Legislation Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Legislators in Olympia are putting the finishing touches on this year’s short session, including proposals affecting Washington growers.

Yesterday, Washington State Tree Fruit Association President Jon DeVaney began with the good news like the bipartisan Senate bill dealing with soil health. But, he says, that’s not all …

DEVANEY … “Our industry also had a request for a bill dealing with how pear pricing is negotiated. There’s existing state law that lets crops that have a large share of their production going to processors have bonified and recognized grower groups to collectively negotiate pricing.”

DeVaney says that doesn’t mean the state would dictate what prices would be…

DEVANEY … “It just says that if growers want to collectively negotiate some of those prices, that those processors do need to communicate with them. They need to take their calls basically. Right now that bill deals with sweet corn and potatoes and we wanted to add pears because of the Bartlett pear industry that has a large share that does go to processing added to that list. And, that moved out of the House as well before the deadline on a 98-0 vote.”

But, DeVaney says there are bills to be concerned about …

DEVANEY … “There was one dealing with farm labor contractors that had a lot of language in there on potential retaliation against workers by employers if those employees were doing things to investigate or assert their legal rights.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on the legislation that will have an impact on agriculture and the last-minute tweaks that made them better.

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