After returning from the United Fresh Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., last month, I was inspired to take on yet another national issue that has serious implications for the apple industry: the Mexican cross border trucking problem, which has now drawn apples onto the tariff list! While visiting with congressional leaders on the hill, we delivered the message loud and clear that the administration needs to resolve the stand off, which is supported by the Teamsters Union. Our office sent out 28 letters reaching every congressman in the state (except the one that resigned), and both senate offices asking for them to take action, NOW! Last week, Representative Mike Arcuri (D-NY, 24th District) authored and circulated a colleague letter to our upstate delegation, asking President Obama to resolve the issue. A total of nine New York congressman signed the letter.
At the same time, we are working with both senate offices, but have not had much success yet. What makes this letter special is the fact that New York has never shipped an apple to Mexico and we have no immediate plans to ship to Mexico. That fact was clearly understood by our elected leaders, yet we were still successful in convincing them that the tariff on U.S. apples is a serious threat to the U.S. apple industry! In addition they understood that much to our despair, the current U.S. policy that prohibits cross-border trucking to Mexico is in defiance of the NAFTA agreement.
Finally, harvest in New York is winding down in the east and central part of the state where the crop was smaller than expected. The far-western part of New York continues to pick strong. In August, the packers estimated 27 million loose, and we now see that number shrinking by 10 to 12%. On top of the smaller harvest, movement to date has been at a record pace. The entire eastern United States will pick less than estimated and will have less in storage than predicted. Got to love that homegrown craze that continues to spur on record movements!