Workers needed for state’s second-largest apple crop

Washington state has a huge apple crop this year. The question is, do they have enough labor to harvest them?

Every Washington apple is removed from the tree by hand. And this year, there may not be enough hands for all the apples.

Though statewide hail damage cut into what had promised to be the state's largest apple crop, it is expected to be the state's second largest.

And most of the other apples still will be picked for processing -- if growers can find the workers.

"Indications are that everybody's on the edge and most people feel like they barely have enough people or they could use more," said Mike Gempler, executive director of the Yakima-based Washington Growers League.

And the height of apple season rapidly is approaching, he said.

Not having enough workers for earlier crops has caused delayed work to spill over into the next crop, creating what Gempler calls "a progressive labor shortage." Bellingham Herald

Read more of the story here.

Originally posted Thursday, Sep. 13, 2012

Tags: ag labor, apples