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TACOMA, Wash. -- Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire says the shortage of apple pickers in the nation's top apple-producing state is dire.

The News Tribune reports that in the Wenatchee Valley apple growers have posted help-wanted signs across the countryside. For the first time in years, growers have also launched a radio campaign, offering up to $120 to $150 dollars per day.

Gregoire says ads have attracted few takers. She criticized anti-illegal-immigration rhetoric prevalent in Washington, D.C., saying Congress should instead be focused on ways to get more foreign workers to help with harvesting.

The governor returned home Friday after leading a 15-member delegation of farm group representatives to the nation's capital.

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