Pear Bill Signed Into Law Pt 1

Pear Bill Signed Into Law Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Well finally! Pears have been added to the definition of “agricultural products” under the state Agricultural Marketing and Fair Practices Act.

That is thanks to a bill signed recently by Governor Inslee, and put forward this year by Representative Bruce Chandler of Sunnyside …

CHANDLER … “Essentially what it does is it provides a process for the pear growers of the state to join together and negotiate with food processors for one contract that would cover everybody rather than they each having to work their own deal.”

Chandler says it’s kind of a “what goes around, comes around” scenario …

CHANDLER … “This is actually, when I was first learning to grow pears up in North-Central Washington, it was a common practice, and actually both sides had an organization that selected people to negotiate on behalf of their side and it seemed to work quite well.”

Chandler says he’s not sure why it stopped operating that way other than the pear industry has shrunk …

CHANDLER … “I think there’s only two processors left too, maybe three, but the industry has really become a much smaller entity. It’s almost entirely focused in Washington. There’s a few pears being grown in Oregon still and there’s a process down in Hood River, but really the volume of the industry is a much smaller geographic area than it used to be.”

Chandler hopes it will change things so growers aren’t pitted against each other.

Tune in tomorrow for more.

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