Weather, Markets, Labor And More Affecting The Tree Fruit Industry
A string of hot days won't affect Boeing or Microsoft production but when your main industry is fragile and perishable ag products, you have to be concerned and so we asked Jon Devaney, President of the Washington State Tree fruit association about how this record setting run of heat is affecting the state's tree fruit industry.
Devaney appeared on the KIT Morning News and said the some cherries nearer the top trees are vulnerable to this level of heat this early in the season. As a result growers are adjusting their picking schedules, but in general the crop looks good and Devaney says that consumers should enjoy finding a great product at the store.
Looking ahead a couple of months, Devaney says the apple harvest looks to be robust but not record setting at about 120+ million boxes..
As far as the marketing of of the state's ag products goes, Devaney says there is still some work to do in the area of tariffs and more. China and Asia are big consumers of our fruit and Devaney says there is bipartisan support in Congress for improved access to those important markets.
On the labor front, it's a tight squeeze with a labor shortage in play. Coming out of the pandemic there is a real competition for workers in many different sectors that are drawing some workers away from farm labor jobs.
Devaney says the pandemic increased Americans focus on health and healthy eating and Washington's fruit producers benefited as more people turned to fruit for snack and home packed lunches.