Labor remains a concern for apple industry

Labor remains a top priority for apple growers as worker shortages in the agriculture industry continue.

Jim Bair is president and CEO of the U.S. Apple Association.

“It’s very difficult to find people that want to do these jobs, so most (apple) growers rely on the H2A visa program,” he says. “We feel like it’s better to import the labor than import the fruit.”

He says it’s critical that lawmakers understand the importance of the H2A program.

“That’s the only way we can continue as an industry, so we try to help policymakers understand our immigration issue of bringing in ag labor,” he says.

Bair says the apple industry is working with others in the industry including dairy, hogs, and specialty crops to urge the senate to pick up a comprehensive ag labor bill.

The U.S. Apple Association says apple the apple industry is heavily dependent on migrant labor, H2A, and H2B workers to grow, harvest, pack, and process apples and apple products.

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