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Apple growers head to U.S. Capitol to address labor shortage

Contact: Denise Yockey
(800) 456-2753

A group of Michigan apple growers is in Washington D.C. this week to voice concern about the tightening ag labor supply which they say is creating dramatic worker shortages in the industry, and – if left unchanged -could have a devastating impact on fruit and vegetable production in Michigan.

The growers plan to speak to every Michigan Congressional member urging them to revamp the H-2A program and offer agriculture a way to retain the pool of skilled workers which is vital to the industry. Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act of 2006 (AgJOBS) was recently reintroduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and is expected to be the catalyst of discussions on immigration reform.

“The labor shortage crisis is the number-one concern of apple growers,” said Denise Yockey, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee. “Our growers want to ensure there is an effective guest worker program in place so when the fruit is ready, it can be harvested and sold in its peak condition.”

The group of Michigan apple growers and representatives traveling to the nation's Capitol consists of Julia Hersey of Grand Rapids, Brian Bixby of Berrien Springs, Bob Colgren of Lawrence, Dawn Drake of Paw Paw, Al Dietrich of Conklin, Mike Rothwell of Belding and Chris Kropf of Lowell.

The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit MichiganApples.com.