After a push by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Bill Owens, apple exports from New York state to Canada are now moving at a swifter, more cost-effective pace because of a measure included in the Farm Bill. Last week, the first shipment of apples that were not subject to inspection because of the Farm Bill crossed the border without incident.
Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Owens worked to exempt bulk shipments of U.S. apples to Canada from inspection required under the Apple Export Act, saving apple growers up to $300 per truckload, and allowing growers to create their own distribution schedules, eliminating costly after-hours inspection procedures.
"New York state is home to some of the world's finest apples and hardest-working growers," said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. "But this costly inspection was hurting our growers and holding our economy back. Now our apples can reach markets faster, help New York's apple growers cut costs, and help our economy grow."
"Trade with Canada and agriculture are essential parts of New York's economy," Congressman Owens said. "Exempting bulk shipments of apples from inspection is now saving farmers money and streamlining the flow of goods and people at the border."
"After more than two years of hard work, we finally have succeeded, with the elimination of the inspection requirements of the Apple Export Act," New York Apple Association President Jim Allen said. "We are very grateful for Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Owens for listening to our concerns and acting on our behalf. Because of their diligence, New York apple growers will not be burdened with unnecessary costs and requirements to sell apples into Canada. So far this year, over 650 truckloads have already paid the price, but we anticipate another 800 this season will be exempt. This is a huge cost savings for our growers."
The Apple and Pear Export Act of 1933 requires that all exported apples are inspected. But pears have been excluded from the law since 1999. The elimination of apples from this antiquated law would enable apple farmers to have more control over their work schedules and eliminate expensive after-hours inspection procedures.
With nearly 1.5 million bushels of apples exported to Canada annually, this amendment to the current law could save U.S. apple growers more than $550,000 annually by allowing apple growers to distribute apple products on their own schedule, saving valuable time and resources by avoiding onerous after-hours inspection procedures.
New York is the second-highest producer of apples, behind only Washington state. On average, New York produces 30 million bushels of apples each year. That equals 1.26 billion pounds of apples and generates more than $330 million a year for the state's economy.