American Mushroom Institute President Rachel Roberts Releases Statement on U.S. Mushroom Availability
AVONDALE, PA - As retailers begin to face shortages of fresh mushrooms as producers across the country work to find adequate labor for their operations, American Mushroom Institute President Rachel Roberts recently issued a statement on mushroom availability in the United States.
“Today’s acute labor shortages means many growers are struggling to harvest all of their mushrooms, which usually produce three harvest cycles,” said Roberts. “Many farms are currently not harvesting the third cycle, and the impact is lower crop yield. In addition, the costs of labor, inputs, and raw materials are increasing rapidly, so mushroom growing continues to become much more expensive.”
This nationwide shortage is a reflection of the need for a competitive and comprehensive national labor strategy to alleviate the shortage of workers, according to a company release.
“Demand for mushrooms isn’t waning—in fact, consumer demand is steadily increasing, especially as more restaurants and foodservice businesses begin to open and increase capacity,” Roberts continued. “Now more than ever we need our national labor strategy to be competitive.”
For a long time, The American Mushroom Institute has pushed for legislation and policies that allow a legal and reliable workforce. This past March, H.R. 1603, more commonly known as the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, passed the House, and is now awaiting introduction in the Senate.
“Among other provisions, the bill would establish a Certified Agricultural Worker status and open the H-2A temporary worker program to include the mushroom industry, which, unlike other produce, currently has no visa program for workers, since it is a year-round crop,” explained Roberts. “We urge the Senate to quickly take up and pass the legislation to help align labor supply with consumer demand.”
For updates on the future of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and other potential national labor strategies, keep a tab open for AndNowUKnow.