Lack Of Ag Labor Creates Challenges For NW Growers Says Newhouse

Photo: April Clayton

Expect conversations over Ag labor and meeting the needs of America producers to increase in the coming weeks. Last week, Florida Republican Ted Yoho introduced his Labor Certainty for Food Security Act, which in many ways is very different from the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act supported by Central Washington’s Dan Newhouse.

Newhouse recently spoke to the National Potato Council about the issue of an adequate workforce, and how that will become even more important with the Phase One trade deal with China being implemented. Under Phase One, China will permit U.S. chipping potatoes. And while Newhouse says he has no doubts that Washington producers will be able to meet growing demand, challenges remain.

“One of the things that holds them back, and this is something they are expressing to the senators, we need a labor force in order to be able to meet that demand in China.  So, it’s good news on one hand that we have expanded markets, but the bad news is we don’t have enough people to produce all of the products we could sell.”

Late last month, Newhouse addressed the National Potato Council in D.C. talking about Ag labor and a host of other issues.

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