PRO*ACT’s Quality Assurance program plays an integral part in our team effort to ensure PRO*ACT distributors and customers receive quality produce at competitive prices. Field monitoring is done weeks and days before harvests to keep abreast of supply and quality issues in the various growing regions. This diligent monitoring enables PRO*ACT to forecast supply volume and market trends and spot potential quality problems in upcoming stands.
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Ole Tyme would like to recommend an article titled, “From the Fields to Your Table” in the March 2019 issue of EatingWell, available at EatingWell (Digital Editions). The article explores the impact of labor shortages on the produce industry, from workers to American farm owners to U.S. consumers. The author, Barry Estabrook, provides a well-rounded look, running the gamut with interviews including farm owner and immigrant, Tony Serrano, industry lobbyist, John Hollay, vice president of a California-based union group, Erik Nicholson, and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Vincent Duvall.
Here’s a breakdown of the key takeaways:
A labor scarcity is causing farmers in the U.S. produce industry to hemorrhage profits in the billions. U.S. farmers are growing more crops than can be harvested, leaving sellable product to wither in the field. The result is higher prices for quality produce for American consumers, including “Ever single one of the nation’s 10 most popular fruits” and “seven out of the top 10 vegetables we eat.” California exemplifies a nation-wide problem. As Estabrook points out, “The vast majority of the state’s farm-workers are born in Mexico.” Citing the Pew Research Center, Estabrook notes that “close to 1 million Mexicans and their families left the United States and returned home between 2007 and 2016.” A rising cost of living, lower pay, and the threat of deportation are driving much-needed works back to Mexico, leaving U.S. farmers in increasingly dire straits. In the words of industry representative, John Hollay (United Fresh Produce Association), “American consumers have a choice. Do you want a system where we import workers or import our food?”
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