Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control [Opinion]

I’ve been on the road quite a bit this past month for future stories. It’s the nature of the beast — I’ve got to come to your farms when the fruit is on the trees. One thing I’m hearing a lot about is how the weather is impacting your season.

Although you do your best to mitigate risk, risk is just part of the bargain when you go into business with Mother Nature.

Not too long ago I was in Northern Michigan, where growers were hit with damaging hail two years in a row – this time coming a month earlier than last year and impacting both cherry crops – sweet and tart – as well as hitting some growers’ apple crops.

At one orchard I visited, the apples looked like golf balls, with all the dimples. Although the grower did his best to stay upbeat, you could see the disappointment on his face.
Many of you are dealing with high heat – some of you in places not known for droughts. On the other extreme, many peach growers in the Northeast are seeking other sources for peaches in their farm markets, because their crops were wiped out by sub-zero freezes in February.

An Extension agent recently told me about the experiences of a young grower the past three years in Northern Michigan. The first two years, freezes hit his apple crops. – It was his first two years in production, so there wasn’t any historical income to draw crop insurance. And this year, of course, his orchard was hit by the hail storm that rolled through.

At another farm I visited, the grower sustained serious injury to his berry plants from the 17-year cicadas that emerged in parts of the country this year. Yields were definitely diminished, and the pests also pruned next year’s growth as well. So, this grower suspects his 2017 yields will be down slightly, too.

So, what are you to to do when, despite your best efforts, you’re handed the wrong end of the deal by Mother Nature?Crop insurance offers some padding. For some growers, the answer is diversification and being vertically integrated – that way when disaster strikes one commodity, you’re not completely sunk. Perhaps now is a time to consider hail netting or even a hail cannon, if the return on investment is there. It also might be time to install shade cloth, especially as water woes out West continue.

I’m always impressed with how well you face the challenges of farming, when the cards are stacked against you. I guess blueberry grower Bob McConnell of Morgantown, VA, says it best.

“The weather you can’t control, so there’s no sense in worrying about it.”

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Fruits Stories
Citrus
September 21, 2017
Hurricane Relief Fund Launched for Florida Farmworkers
Money raised will benefit Redlands Christian Migrant Association’s efforts to aid families in need. Read More
Picking fresh Florida blueberries
Berries
September 21, 2017
Ways Florida Blueberry Growers Can Elevate Their Message
Promotional efforts seek to harness power that drives the Sunshine State's ‘little blue dynamos.’ Read More
Inside the Horticulture field tour wagon at the 2016 Florida Ag Expo
Florida Ag Expo
September 21, 2017
Everything You Need to Know About the 2017 Florida Ag Expo
More education choices, flexible field tours, and networking opportunities to provide an enhanced attendee experience. Read More
Bacterial wilt symptoms on blueberry leaves
Berries
September 20, 2017
Getting to the Bottom of Bacterial Wilt in Blueberries
Prolific plant pathogen now presenting a new challenge for Florida producers and researchers. Read More
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Precision in Specialty Crops Gains Momentum
Here are some of the key drivers that may transform your farm in the years ahead. Read More
Fruits
September 19, 2017
EPA Mulls Restricting Dicamba Use
Proposal is a part of agency’s focus on reducing herbicide injury in vulnerable crops. Read More
Fruits
September 19, 2017
Washington State University Creates BMSB Management Resource Page
As populations grow in the state, university offers growers pest management advice. Read More
Berries
September 19, 2017
UC Davis Strawberry Lawuit Settled
Former university breeders to return any crosses that used unpatented varieties and agree the school owns rights to them. Read More
Neo 1 hops at UF/IFAS MREC
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Hopes High for Hops Fresh From Florida
When it comes to alternative crop solutions, something good is brewing in the Sunshine State. Do you have what it takes to tap in? Read More
Apples & Pears
September 16, 2017
Researcher Finds Bacteria Can Stop Blue Mold on Apples
The natural bacterium found in soil can survive in cold storage; this promising biocontrol offers an alternative to chemical treatments. Read More
Laurel wilt-damaged avocado tree leaves
Disease Control
September 15, 2017
Scientist Uncovers Chilling Side of Deadly Avocado Disease
Lab tests indicate laurel wilt pathogen grows faster in the fall and winter. Read More
Winter melon damage from Hurricane Irma in Elkton, FL
Citrus
September 15, 2017
Help Extended to Hurricane-Weary Farmers Dealing With Disaster
USDA chief grants extra time and special procedures to document and file claims. Read More
raindrops in standing water
Citrus
September 13, 2017
New Guidance on FSMA Ag Water Compliance, Water Testing, and Farm Inspections Announced
FDA issued a rule to extend compliance dates for agricultural water and announced a start date for farm inspections. Read More
Packinghouse damage from Irma at SWFREC in Immokalee
Citrus
September 13, 2017
Florida Farmers Digging out From Impacts of Irma
Damage reports starting to flood in from the field following monster storm, and it's not pretty. Read More
Berries
September 12, 2017
Longtime American Fruit Grower Columnist Charlie O’Dell Dies
“The Ole Crow,” as he called himself, passed away unexpectedly at home in Virginia at the age of 82. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
September 22, 2017
Water Management Concerns Flowing in Flo…
Efforts mounted and executed to move gallons by the billion to protect property. Read More
Citrus
September 22, 2017
When it Comes to Growing, Florida Farmer…
Let's raise a toast to the bold producers and researchers who are taking our industry beyond previously perceived crop viability boundaries to places once figured forbidden. Read More
Citrus
September 21, 2017
Hurricane Relief Fund Launched for Flori…
Money raised will benefit Redlands Christian Migrant Association’s efforts to aid families in need. Read More
Florida Ag Expo
September 21, 2017
Everything You Need to Know About the 20…
More education choices, flexible field tours, and networking opportunities to provide an enhanced attendee experience. Read More
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Precision in Specialty Crops Gains Momen…
Here are some of the key drivers that may transform your farm in the years ahead. Read More
Fruits
September 19, 2017
EPA Mulls Restricting Dicamba Use
Proposal is a part of agency’s focus on reducing herbicide injury in vulnerable crops. Read More
Fruits
September 19, 2017
Washington State University Creates BMSB…
As populations grow in the state, university offers growers pest management advice. Read More
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Hopes High for Hops Fresh From Florida
When it comes to alternative crop solutions, something good is brewing in the Sunshine State. Do you have what it takes to tap in? Read More
Disease Control
September 15, 2017
Scientist Uncovers Chilling Side of Dead…
Lab tests indicate laurel wilt pathogen grows faster in the fall and winter. Read More
Citrus
September 15, 2017
Help Extended to Hurricane-Weary Farmers…
USDA chief grants extra time and special procedures to document and file claims. Read More
Citrus
September 13, 2017
New Guidance on FSMA Ag Water Compliance…
FDA issued a rule to extend compliance dates for agricultural water and announced a start date for farm inspections. Read More
Citrus
September 13, 2017
Florida Farmers Digging out From Impacts…
Damage reports starting to flood in from the field following monster storm, and it's not pretty. Read More
Farm Management
September 10, 2017
$3 Million Available to Train Future Agr…
There are a lot more jobs being created than there are graduates with bachelor’s or higher degrees who can fill them. Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Summer News Stories that Have Growers Ta…
Farming has been in the media spotlight this year. I asked each of this month’s columnists and contributors for their Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Whose Sustainable Standard Wins?
Retailers’ race to win the most sustainable produce prize leaves growers trying to keep up with fast-developing demands. Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Improving Water Management: Can Silicon …
Though very much-needed, technological solutions must be cost-effective and industry appropriate. Read More
Fruits
September 5, 2017
Organic Fruit Sales Surge 12%
Organic vegetable sales rose 6%, as consumer demand is still going strong. Read More
Fruits
September 3, 2017
California Table Olive Forecast Up 9%
Like many other Golden State growers, olive farmers benefitted from a wet winter, but concerns remain over recent hot weather. Read More