Farm Bill provision cuts costly inspection procedures for apples

Posted 25 February 2014 at 12:00 am

Gillibrand: New York exporters to save $450K annually

File photo by Tom Rivers – Some RubyFrost apples are displayed at Brown’s Berry Patch in Waterport last fall.  Orleans County is the state’s second-leading apple producer, behind only Wayne County.

Press release
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a push by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Bill Owens of northern New York, 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 crossed the border without incident. Gillibrand and 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 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.”

New York is the country’s second-leading apple producing state with an annual crop of about 30 million bushels, behind only Washington. The New York crop generates about $330 million annually for the state’s economy.

“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.

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.

“We are very grateful for the Sen. Gillibrand and Congressman Owens for listening to our concerns and acting on our behalf,” Allen said. “Because of their diligence, NY 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.”