Total revenue generated by the Washington apple, when all related services are included, comes to nearly $7 billion, the report compilations reveal.
But the industry faces many challenges, the writers add, including the embellishment of trade along with the effort to defeat trade barriers and unfair foreign regulations that act as blockades to expanded export sales.
Not to mention what the report labels a "wide array of international competitors."
Nevertheless, "growers, packers and marketers of Washington apples are optimistic," the report states.
One of the basic headaches mounting in apples and all orchard industries is the dwindling labor supply, one reason Washington State University researchers based in Wenatchee are working hard to develop mechanical harvesters and other reduced-labor devices such as thinning tools that cut work hours and manpower needs.
High regulatory costs for the industry are also listed as a challenging obstacle to expansion of the industry, noting that such rules "could restrict future business growth."
Supportive government policies, the report notes, "will be invaluable to keeping the Washington apple industry on an upward growth path."
Apples remain the state's No. 1 crop, leading the agricultural charge While labor availability problems remain, employee compensation from the apple machine is put at $1.95 billion a year, and the business in total posts a tax bill of nearly $500 million annually.
For more on this story, see the January issue of Western Farmer-Stockman.