At the 2017 Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference, Kay Rentzel, managing director for the National Peach Council, addressed the regulatory issues facing the peach industry. The frontrunner was labor. She explained the importance of labor in the peach industry and the legal struggle to have guest workers present in the field.
“Labor is critical to all of us in agriculture,” Rentzel explained. “The hardest thing we have to sell to anybody is the fact that we need specialized laborers.” She explained that the peach industry is in need of guest workers in the spring time when the trees start to grow, in the winter time when the trees need pruning and for harvesting of peaches.
“We are hoping that one of the things we could do is not necessarily affect immigration as a whole, but deal with our agriculture labor and guest worker programs,” said Rentzel. “That is one of the main functions and roles that we monitor in Washington, D.C.”
Rentzel said that the labor need is what brings all small trade associations together to stand on the issue. She stated that labor is the biggest issue that they are working on for the industry.
Rentzel has been the managing director for the National Peach Council since 2009.
Hear the full interview:
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