YAKIMA, Wash. - Fruit growers around the state have suffered from tough immigration laws not allowing immigrants to work on their farms.
That was the hot topic at the final day of the Washington Horticultural Association's annual conference at the Yakima Convention Center.
Jeff Paton, a 5th generation grower has seen it all, from small to large work forces.
His family owns a small orchard, but they still feel the effects of immigration laws, limiting workers on their orchard.
"And what this country doesn't understand is that we are in a world economy and that we as growers need to be able to compete," he said.
However, good news for growers, as a labor law specialist at the conference said the Democrats' new control of Congress could make it easier for Washington farmers to hire workers.
The chances have now increased for immigration reform that would legalize some farm laborers.