Michigan apple farmers desperate for pickers

Oct 5, 2013

The Michigan Farm Bureau is appealing across the eastern U.S. for help with finding workers to harvest the state's bumper crop of apples.

Apple harvest
Apple harvest
Credit MI Farm Bureau

The organization sent "help wanted" postcards this week to more than 300 registered farm labor contractors, mostly in Florida and Georgia.

Horticulture specialist Ken Nye says growers have about six more weeks to get their apples off the trees and shipped to processors, fresh market retailers or storage.

The shortage results largely from last year's bad weather, which ruined much of Michigan's orchard fruit crop. Seasonal workers got jobs elsewhere and few have returned this year.

Farmers also say the immigration debate and the crackdown on workers in the country illegally has slowed the traffic of migrant laborers to the state.