Weathering COVID Pt 2

Weathering COVID Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Whether it’s “weather” or COVID, we’ve all had storms to deal with for the past couple of years. Folks in the tree fruit industry have muddled through but know there are still challenges ahead.

NW Horticultural Council president, Mark Powers says some of the biggest challenges will be labor, the prevailing wage and the adverse effect wage rate which are, frankly, destructive …

POWERS … “We’re looking at $17.41 in Washington and Oregon and trying to find a way to reform H-2A and the wage rates which, right now, the option is the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. So, hopefully, the Senate can get that done and provide some relief and some planning on the labor side.”

But, Powers says that’s not all …

POWERS … “You know, we’re anticipating a new Water Rule. Actually, the proposed rule is out so we’re reading that and that’s going to effect how growers test and plan for the water that they’re using in the orchards, the systems that they have to follow.”

And then, Powers says there’s the international trade side …

POWERS … “That’s by a case-by-case basis, a country-by-country basis, but we’re certainly feeling the pain when it comes to China and India and their retaliatory tariffs.”

But, Powers says to get that changed, we have to change U.S. policy of putting tariffs on goods …

POWERS … “So far, the other stake holders have prevailed, and we have not.”

Powers says the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is the answer, which should have been done by now.

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