Grower Shares Personal Impact of Labor Shortage

Phil Glaize of Glaize Apples in Winchester, VA, explains how picking bags work to Darrel Doss, a member of Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) staff. (Photo: USApple)

USApple leader Phil Glaize of Glaize Apples in Winchester, VA, told key U.S. House of Representatives staffers in Washington, D.C. during a Congressional briefing hosted by the Agriculture Workforce Coalition titled, “Agriculture’s Labor Crisis.”

Attended by 40 staffers, Glaize shared his personal experience and challenges securing labor, both in and out of the H-2A program. He called on Congress to address labor reform and pass a new guest worker program that provides reliable access to a legal workforce.

“When my grandfather founded the business in 1921, apple growing was very different from what it is today,” said Glaize. “However, nothing has changed the fundamental fact that apples still need to be manually pruned and hand-picked. Many of our new growing practices have been driven by the need to facilitate picking and pruning. The work is physically demanding and it is temporary. It is also highly skilled. If each apple is not picked correctly, the fruit can become bruised, damaged, and less marketable.”

“My experience is typical for apple growers across the country,” he said. “This issue more than anything else, unites East and West, large and small operations. From growers in New England who may only need 10 harvest workers to those in Washington state that need 1,000-plus at peak, the fear that there will not be an adequate labor force is what keeps me and my fellow growers up at night.”

Glaize went on to discuss the delays and limitations in the H-2A program. “The infrastructure is not there to support the current program, let alone the five to 10-fold increase that would occur if everyone were to shift to H-2A at once. That is why it is imperative that Congress reform — or better yet replace — the program before enacting enforcement legislation such as mandatory e-verify.”

Closing his remarks with concerns about the future of his business, Glaize said, “It is an exciting time to be an apple grower and I am proud that my sons, Philip and David, the fourth generation, have returned home and are working with me. But we have to get the labor situation figured out. If we don’t I won’t have a business to pass to the next generation and the many people we employ year-round will be forced to look for work elsewhere.”

 

 

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Grower Shares Personal Impact of Labor Shortage

  1. In the late 60s we had professional pickers who could easily pick 200+ bushels a day on old standard trees. Proper training would go a long way toward solving the problem.

  2. Make e-Verify mandatory for all employment in the US.

    It is high time that we stop allowing farmers and other employers to exploit illegal immigrants that do not have authorization to work in the USA.

    Enough of the excuses. Hire those legally able to work, even if they means raising wages to $25 per hour and passing those costs on to consumers.

    Enough with the exploitation.

Apples & Pears Stories
Apples & Pears
June 29, 2017
Integrating Control Methods to Tackle Fire Blight
Fire blight is a damaging disease, no matter the location. Most production areas of the Pacific Northwest and California experience Read More
Apples & Pears
June 28, 2017
Apple Tree Insurance Program Being Developed
U.S. Apple Association working with AgriLogic Consulting, LLC and USDA Risk Management Agency to offer new risk management option which takes into effect weather damage and fire blight loses. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 26, 2017
Cosmic Changes Coming in Apple Production [Opinion]
‘Cosmic Crisp’ is an apt moniker for Washington’s new apple, because the changes coming to the industry are immense Read More
Apples & Pears
June 23, 2017
Take Advantage of Technology to Help Manage Diseases, Pest Pressure
Expert farm advisers provide several options for apple orchard management decisions. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 19, 2017
Bee-ware: New Resources Released for National Pollinator Week
New videos, webinars available during week-long observance. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 13, 2017
Two Bookkeepers and Family Charged With Stealing $1M from Zirkle Fruit
Payroll-scheme printed checks for phantom employees on payroll, but not working for the operation. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 9, 2017
Northwest Pear Crop Down Slightly
Washington and Oregon growers estimate the crop will be down 2% from 2016, 10% off the five-year average. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 9, 2017
San Jose Scale Control Strategies
It’s time to start scouting and treat trees when trapping indicates. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 5, 2017
Ease Bitter Pit by Boosting Calcium
Promising research shows the link between transpiration and calcium uptake and how abscisic acid may help reduce calcium disorders in ‘Honeycrisp.’ Read More
Apples & Pears
June 2, 2017
Pruning Goes High-Tech
Researchers moving toward robotics that shift dormant pruning from an art to a science. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 2, 2017
Learning Pruning, by Doing
A firsthand account of using four pruning rules. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 23, 2017
Grower Shares Personal Impact of Labor Shortage
USApple leader Phil Glaize of Virginia stresses need for reform with current labor regulations, programs at Congressional briefing on agriculture labor crisis. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 15, 2017
U.S. Apple Board Member Stresses Labor Reform At Senate Farm Bill Hearing
Michigan apple grower says agriculture’s future depends on Farm Bill funding. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 8, 2017
Abundant Robotics Gets $10M Investment for an Apple Harvester
The goal is to pick apples with the same, if not better, fruit quality than traditional harvesting. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 2, 2017
Washington Apple Industry Giants Merge
Chelan Fresh and Borton Fruit combine; total sales volume increases by nearly half. Read More
The Latest
Apples & Pears
July 25, 2017
Tips to Transition to an Apple Fruiting …
Follow these suggestions to make the move from a 3-D spindle-shaped canopy to a 2-D system using mechanical pruning. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 6, 2017
International Fruit Tree Association See…
Deadline for proposals is July 31. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 30, 2017
Tackling the Challenges of Organic Apple…
Researchers at Michigan State University test organic controls for fire blight. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 29, 2017
Integrating Control Methods to Tackle Fi…
Fire blight is a damaging disease, no matter the location. Most production areas of the Pacific Northwest and California experience Read More
Apples & Pears
June 28, 2017
Apple Tree Insurance Program Being Devel…
U.S. Apple Association working with AgriLogic Consulting, LLC and USDA Risk Management Agency to offer new risk management option which takes into effect weather damage and fire blight loses. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 26, 2017
Cosmic Changes Coming in Apple Productio…
‘Cosmic Crisp’ is an apt moniker for Washington’s new apple, because the changes coming to the industry are immense Read More
Apples & Pears
June 23, 2017
Take Advantage of Technology to Help Man…
Expert farm advisers provide several options for apple orchard management decisions. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 19, 2017
Bee-ware: New Resources Released for Nat…
New videos, webinars available during week-long observance. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 13, 2017
Two Bookkeepers and Family Charged With …
Payroll-scheme printed checks for phantom employees on payroll, but not working for the operation. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 9, 2017
Northwest Pear Crop Down Slightly
Washington and Oregon growers estimate the crop will be down 2% from 2016, 10% off the five-year average. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 9, 2017
San Jose Scale Control Strategies
It’s time to start scouting and treat trees when trapping indicates. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 5, 2017
Ease Bitter Pit by Boosting Calcium
Promising research shows the link between transpiration and calcium uptake and how abscisic acid may help reduce calcium disorders in ‘Honeycrisp.’ Read More
Apples & Pears
June 2, 2017
Pruning Goes High-Tech
Researchers moving toward robotics that shift dormant pruning from an art to a science. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 2, 2017
Learning Pruning, by Doing
A firsthand account of using four pruning rules. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 23, 2017
Grower Shares Personal Impact of Labor S…
USApple leader Phil Glaize of Virginia stresses need for reform with current labor regulations, programs at Congressional briefing on agriculture labor crisis. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 15, 2017
U.S. Apple Board Member Stresses Labor R…
Michigan apple grower says agriculture’s future depends on Farm Bill funding. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 8, 2017
Abundant Robotics Gets $10M Investment f…
The goal is to pick apples with the same, if not better, fruit quality than traditional harvesting. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 2, 2017
Washington Apple Industry Giants Merge
Chelan Fresh and Borton Fruit combine; total sales volume increases by nearly half. Read More