Chicago (August 24, 2018)—U.S. apple growers remain a united front in what has been a year of policy turmoil and a future of unknowns in the international marketplace, according to U.S. Apple Association Chair Mark Boyer. Speaking at the association’s 2018 Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference in Chicago, Boyer said it’s important apple growers continue their advocacy efforts on trade, labor and the farm bill—all issues that significantly impact growers’ livelihoods and rural America.

“In what has been one of the most challenging and unusual years in the 123-year history of the U.S. Apple Association, growers remain united,” said Boyer. “It is now more important than ever we stay diligent in our advocacy efforts, especially on the trade front.”

Apple growers export about $1 billion worth of apples annually, roughly one-third of the country’s crop. Due to retaliatory tariffs by the industry’s top markets, valuable trading relationships are in jeopardy.

“The White House has taken actions to restrict trade with Mexico, India and China—our first, second and sixth largest export markets,” Boyer told conference attendees. “That has us all unsettled as we kick off the new harvest.”

Not only is trade critical to agriculture, but also to rural communities where thousands of jobs are at risk, not just in growing and picking the crop but also in equipment, fuel and fertilizer sales, and in packing and transportation. USApple is hopeful that relationships with Mexico, China and India are repaired as quickly as possible.

Boyer highlighted other significant issues to growers, like securing a stable and reliable workforce and passing the farm bill, which includes important programs like crop insurance, research grants and the MAP program for promoting apples overseas.

“Whether the issue is trade, food safety or labor and immigration, USApple is an aggressive advocate for the industry,” concluded Boyer.

Boyer, a second-generation owner of Ridgetop Orchards in Fishertown, Pa., has been chair of USApple for the past year. Incoming chair Kaari Stannard, owner of New York Apple Sales and partner in Fish Creek Orchards, will take the reign at the end of the Outlook Conference.

USApple’s 2018 Apple Crop Outlook & Marketing Conference, held Aug. 23-24, is the annual event to preview, forecast and discuss the global impact of the upcoming apple harvest. The event features a strong line-up of experts covering domestic and international crop production estimates, the current legislative and regulatory climate and its impact on the industry, as well as the influence of consumer buying habits.

About USApple

U.S. Apple Association is the national trade association representing all segments of the apple industry. Members include 40 state and regional associations representing the 7,500 apple growers throughout the country, as well as more than 400 individual firms involved in the apple business. More information on the organization is available at USApple.org.

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