Safety and Tree Fruit Pt 4
Mark Powers, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council says keeping employees healthy is just the latest challenge created by COVID-19 …
POWERS … “The combination of slowdown at retail, drop off of the food service side, combined with slowdown in export, yeah, our inventories are not where we would like to see them, and right now it looks like we’re going to still have crop heading into the harvest which is not a place where we would like to be.”
But, Powers says everyone is doing all they can to navigate this series of challenges…
POWERS … “While I want to be positive, we also don’t want to be Pollyannaish, and I don’t think our industry is. I think they’re looking at solutions, they’re trying to find out ways to make it work. They’re trying to avail themselves of the assistance programs that are out there for growers. They’re looking to see if the purchase programs will work and help us move inventory. So, there are a number of different innovations and problem-solving endeavors underway and I think that’s all very positive.”
Powers says this situation is not going away anytime soon.
He says there are certainly fears and costs and other unexpected expenses for everyone, and agriculture is no exception. Powers says they’re still holding out hope the USDA will be able to make the necessary adjustments to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program to include more fruit growers.