GETTYSBURG, Pa. - Farmers have been growing apples here since before the
Civil War, and as times have changed, they have changed with them, planting
smaller trees to speed up harvests and growing popular new varieties to satisfy
Like farmers in the bigger apple-producing states, they are
becoming increasingly anxious about the prospect of China flooding the U.S.
market with their fresh apples — an event many believe is inevitable, even if it
could be years away.
With the Farm Bill up for renewal this year for the
first time since 2002, apple growers are pressing for an unprecedented amount of
federal funding to develop technologies to make harvesting less costly, and aid
to develop overseas markets.
"We‘re facing a threat that we‘ve never faced
before in terms of their ability to come in and essentially replace every apple
that we produce in this country numerically and at a much lower cost," said John
Rice, a seventh-generation grower whose grandfather made money in the Depression
era by gathering apples from area growers and shipping them to England in
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4 years ago