This marked the sixth year for the US Apple Association’s “Young Apple Leader” Program (YAL), and once again, it was a success.

Sixteen individuals from seven states joined together with US Apple Directors and other apple industry leaders for the 2015 Capitol Hill Day on March 19 in Washington, D.C. Together we had the pleasure of meeting with our states' Senators and Representatives to discuss the critical issues that are currently facing the apply industry, as well as being invited to US Apple's annual Committee Meetings.

The weight of Thursday's upcoming meetings was lessened as US Apple welcomed us with a casual dinner at Capitol Lounge on Wednesday evening. This was a wonderful time to get to know the other individuals who had been selected for the 2015 YAL class in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Thursday both began and ended on high notes with Washington State Representative Suzan DelBene speaking at our Issues Briefing Breakfast and Washington State Senator Dan Newhouse at the evening's US Apple PAC Reception. Both brought pleasant and positive attitudes and wise words to the podium, sparking interesting conversations among my peers.

The day's legislative meetings went well as we discussed current and ongoing topics such as Labor Reform, International Trade and Waters of the United States (WOTUS) with our elected officials, asking for their support. We were also sure to thank them for the continued funding for our many research projects and for the Federal Nutrition Programs that they support.

Friday began with another delicious breakfast accompanied by a very interesting immigration presentation given by Mark Hugo Lopez, Director of Hispanic Research at Pew Research Center. US Apple's Committee Meetings commenced post breakfast, citing many exciting things planned for the upcoming 2015 calendar year and including an update on the recent Listeria outbreak by the FDA CORE Team. We were also privileged to get to hear from Doug McKalip, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture, during our lunch which forged a pleasant Segway into the remainder of the day's meetings. Friday evening concluded with relaxing fun, conversation and BBQ at Hill Country.

We would like to extend sincere thanks to the US Apple Association Staff and seasoned members of the apple industry for their knowledge and kindness and their willingness to continue the YAL Program, as it was such a wonderful learning and networking experience for us all. On behalf of myself, David Benner (El Vista Orchards0, Patrick O'Hara (OHF Orchards) and Peter Wolfe (Rice Fruit Company), we extend a special thanks to Ken Guise and Knouse Foods Cooperative for their sponsorship of the Pennsylvania YALs as our time in Washington D.C. would not have been possible without your support!

PA Fruit News, April, 2015

Karen Druschel, Dawson's Orchards, Enon Valley, PA

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Donald Seifrit
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