[WENATCHEE, WASHINGTON, MARCH 26] – Seven Washington individuals travelled to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress on March 13, 2019 to advocate of behalf on the apple industry.
• Toni Lynn Adams – Washington Apple Commission
• Nicole Gordy – Sage Fruit Company
• Logan Janin – Taggares Fruit Company
• Garrett Joeckel – CMI Orchards
• Tyler Monson – Monson Fruit Company
• Aylin Moreno – McDougall and Sons, Inc.
• Marianne Plath – Washington Fruit and Produce
As part of the USApple Association annual fly-in, the group of young apple leaders were selected by the organization to meet one-on-one with Representative Dan Newhouse, Senator Maria Cantwell and six other congressional representatives to discuss hard-hitting issues affecting the future of U.S. agriculture. The focus for the Washington group centered around impacts of trade on the apple industry and agriculture labor issues.
“It was a privilege and honor to join with other young apple advocates across our state and the country to serve and represent the apple industry in USApple Association’s Capitol Hill day visits. It was a great experience to meet with our state’s representatives to educate them on challenges our industry faces and advocate for policy change to improve the economic climate for apple growers,” says Garrett Joeckel, CMI Orchards.
The Young Apple Leaders, alongside industry principals, outlined their concerns regarding retaliatory tariffs impacting apple exports and shortage of labor. They urged congressional leaders to support the passing of the United State-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and improvements to the H-2A guest worker program. The USMCA is beneficial to healthy trade between Washington and top export markets. The H-2A guest worker program is necessary to provide an adequate labor supply but also is costly and challenging to growers.
The visit provided an opportunity for those in the beginning of their career to learn more about the issues and take an active role in advocacy.
“2019 USApple Capitol Hill Day was an amazing experience. It is true what they say about collaborating with likeminded people, ‘plenty of energy and fire in the room’. Voicing our needs was an incredibly rewarding experience and encouraged me to become more involved in our industry,” says Aylin Moreno, McDougall & Sons.
“The Young Apple Leaders program provided a great opportunity for industry members across the United States to come to together and spread our message to our state representatives,” says Logan Janin, Taggares Fruit.
Apples are the largest agricultural product grown in the state. Washington apples account for 65% of U.S. apple production. Each year, the state exports one-third of its fresh apple crop which represents approximately 90% of all U.S. apple exports. The fertile land, arid climate and available water sources provide ideal growing conditions. There are 1,300 apple growers and 69 packers in Washington producing and supplying apples consumed across the nation and the world.
The Young Apple Leaders program is possible through the sponsorship and support of agriculture organizations and businesses. A special thanks to Domex Superfresh Growers, Columbia Fruit Packers, Yakima Fresh, Sage Fruit, Wilbur-Ellis, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit East, Knouse Foods, California Apples, Ohio Apples, Michigan Apples, New York Apples and Hudson River Fruit.
To learn more about the Young Apple Leaders Program, visit www.usapple.org.