State of the Industry

Update on Regulatory and Legislative Priorities, USDA Purchases of Frozen Peaches, and More

 

Congressman Ralph Abraham (R-LA) is working to streamline a segment of the H-2A process that will reduce the wait time when applying for H-2A Labor.  

While an overhaul of the guest worker program would be ideal, that will take considerably more time. In the meantime, Congressman Abraham will be introducing legislation that will require Electronic Notification of H-2A and H-2B Visa Petitioners upon Receipt of the Petitions.  This action is a direct result of increased awareness of the challenges that face the industry every day.  

The proposed legislation is narrow and targeted to the specific issue of electronic notification versus the current use of traditional mail notifications that usually delay the process.  

The Electronic Notification Improvement Act makes two small, but very important changes.  

  • First, it replaces the Attorney General with the Secretary of Homeland Security, a needed technical correction.  
  • Second, it addresses one of the most common concerns of those utilizing H-2 labor by requiring prompt electronic notification by DHS to petitioners.  

 

Support is critical to move the proposed changes to the floor.  Contact your Congressional Representative to share your personal needs and impact, and encourage them to support the proposal.  

In other important industry developments, the National Peach Council continues to work on increasing USDA purchases of frozen peaches for use in the various federal nutrition programs.  The largest of the programs is the School Breakfast and Lunch accounts for the majority of the purchases.  In total, nearly 16 million pounds of frozen peaches were purchased in the 2016 fiscal year.  The 4.4-ounce size accounted for slightly more than 14.6 million of the total pounds purchased.  

In a recent peach market study, compiled by Nielsen Fresh, four key segments were addressed that include:

  1. The Competitive Landscape is Changing in the Retail Market;
  2. Grocery Must Adapt to Compete with the Changes;
  3. Peaches are Facing Headwinds in the Market; and
  4. Boosting Peach Sales at Retail.

 

The research provides insight and opportunities for the industry.  The complete presentation is available to council members on the National Peach Council website at nationalpeachcouncil.org.  

In 2017, the National Peach Council will be lead by the executive committee that includes the following members:

  • President: Charlie Talbott, CO
  • 1st Vice President: Lawton Pearson, GA
  • 2nd Vice President: Eric Gaarde, CA
  • 3rd Vice President: Sean Lennon, GA
  • Treasurer: Gary Van Sickle, CA
  • Immediate Past President: Chalmers Carr III, SC

 

For additional information on the topics covered in this column or other issues impacting the peach industry, contact the National Peach Council at (717) 329-8421 or email ksrentzel@aol.com.

 

CREDITS

story by KAY S. RENTZEL, managing director of the National Peach Council

photo by BRITT REINTS