A monthly update from farmer Brooke about apple happenings, tractor talk, and the everyday encounters of managing an apple orchard.
Thank goodness for Ben’s late night affair with episodes from “House of Cards”, otherwise we wouldn’t have known our way around Capitol Hill last week. I started collecting dollars for every time I heard someone say “House of Cards” during our visit and I’m pretty sure I picked up a bar tab by the end of our trip. The news release below gives a great overview of what the heck these two apple farmers were doing in blazers at our Nation’s Capitol.
Huron, Ohio – Ben and Brooke Gammie, ex-corporate Professional Engineers, now current third generation apple farmers from Quarry Hill Orchards (Erie County), were selected by the U.S. Apple Association (USApple) for the 2015 Class of Young Apple Leaders to represent their state at the national level.
The young leaders joined forces with apple leaders from coast-to-coast for USApple’s Capitol Hill Day, an annual event hosted by USApple. They brought a unified message to Capitol Hill; hot topics included: agricultural labor reform, full funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) to retain international trade, support of strong child nutrition re-authorization, improvement of procurement process to maintain the integrity of the fresh fruit & vegetable program, continuation of funding for USDA pesticide data program, and a “thank you” for passing the farm bill and support of Specialty Crop Research Initiatives (SCRI). Gammies met with the offices of Senators Sherrod Brown (D) and Rob Portman (R), as well as Representatives Jim Jordan (R-4th) and March Kaptur (D-9th).
The apple industry is heavily dependent on migrant labor, H-2A, and H-2B workers to grow, harvest, pack and process apples and apple products. For a perishable crop like apples, a delay in the arrival of harvest workers can impact the quality and value of the apples. Growers also emphasized the economic impact they have on the local community and the jobs that harvest workers support. Securing a legal, stable and reliable workforce will continue to be USApple’s top legislative priority.
In its sixth year, USApple’s Young Apple Leaders Program mentors the next generation of American apple growers and leaders. The program provides orientation, understanding and encouragement on public policy issues affecting the apple business. It is designed to foster fellowship and cooperative working relationships across U.S. apple growing regions through discussions about key apple industry issues, trends, research and other activities. “These young people will be the future decision-makers in their businesses, communities, and at USApple,” said USApple Chairman Mark Nicholson.
This year, 16 young growers were selected from across the country, representing seven states. Ohio represents the smallest acreage in the community of growers across the country. For example, the total amount of apple trees growing the state of Ohio is less than or equal to the apple trees within one township in Pennsylvania. Ohio’s apple consumption is also greater than the amount of apples grown in-state. So, make sure to reach for an Ohio apple while they’re still around.