Increased Legislation Leaves Vegetable Growers Feeling Micromanaged

Rosemary Gordon

How many people enjoy being micromanaged or bogged down with numerous rules and regulations to follow? I’m going to guess not too many. Don’t get me wrong, for obvious reasons it is important to have set procedures in place to keep a business, or virtually any part of life, running smoothly.

When time-consuming procedures — that in some cases create more busy work — are added to anyone’s workload, however, stress is created. In the case of growers, additional government rules and regulations often get equated to additional costs — and additional man hours — that take away from the bottom line. They can hinder growers’ ability to produce crops and jeopardize livelihoods.

In fact, a recent survey of participants in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program showed that burdensome government regulations, and having enough land, are tied for the top concerns of young growers today.  

The Farm Bureau survey also asked the young producers for the top three steps the government should take to ease the burdens growers face. About 20% of the respondents said that cutting government spending was the most important. Sixteen percent responded by saying that government should offer financial assistance to young farmers, and 12% indicated the first order of business should be the reformation of environmental regulations.
 
Easing The Burden

The young growers aren’t the only ones concerned about the government creating red tape. In California, the issue of regulation is a big one — and getting larger — for many growers.

Recently I was conversing with one of the authors of AVG’s “View From The West” column, Steve Koike, University of California Cooperative Extension plant pathology farm advisor, about some of the top concerns for growers in the Golden State. As to be expected, he mentioned new rules and regulations. Specifically, he said the critical issues in coastal California are the upcoming changes in regulations regarding nitrates, fertilizer use, and water runoff and quality issues — just to name a few.

In a recent column, Koike said that in addition to California being viewed as a model for developing agricultural practices, it also serves as “a model and example of the struggle for agricultural survival in the face of change.” The change he is referring to is restrictions for pre-plant fumigants.

For example, he mentioned the impending total loss of methyl bromide by 2015 and the restriction on other fumigants to control soil-borne pests. The end result, he said, is growers will have a much more difficult time producing high-value crops.

The Future Of Fumigants

As growers look to develop new programs to replace methyl bromide, EPA is adding new requirements such as new recordkeeping rules, buffer zones, residential requirements, and applicator safety actions for other important fumigant tools. (To read more on the requirements, go to www.growingproduce.com/article/24883/fumigant-management-primers.)

Obviously safety is priority Number 1 and finding new and cost-efficient production practices are critical to the future of the industry, but there has to be a point where the government simplifies its “requirements” for growers.

Just look at California. The state produces more than half the nation’s fruits and vegetables, but according to Koike, it is an “example of the struggle for agricultural survival.” That can’t go on if we expect to continue to feed the nation.

What is your take on the situation? Send me an e-mail at [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Food Safety Modernization Act moving at snail's pace
Food Safety
February 21, 2017
Food Safety Modernization Act Creeping Forward
Massive regulatory overhaul unfolds as the specialty crop industry hopes to ensure common-sense food safety rules and inspection. Read More
Apples & Pears
February 21, 2017
Snow Doesn’t Stop Day 1 of IFTA Conference
While the Wenatchee, WA, area has experienced higher-than expected snowfall, tour-goers trudge on to learn the latest about advanced production systems and high-value apple varieties. Read More
Grapes
February 18, 2017
Sustainability Is a Growing Factor in Wine Purchasing
California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance updates certification program, shows sustainability is important part of wine trade. Read More
citrus psyllid closeup
Insect & Disease Update
February 18, 2017
The War on Citrus Psyllids Still Raging
Despite control challenges, keeping the pest in check remains the best approach to managing HLB. Read More
IMPAC.org screenshot
Citrus
February 17, 2017
How Precision Agriculture Is Helping Farmers Win Over Consumers
New Florida-based organization is seeking to break down barriers between farmers and shoppers by providing a platform to not only show what is grown, but how it's grown. Read More
Grapes
February 17, 2017
Washington Organization Rebrands Itself
Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers unveils new identity at convention, now known as Washington Winegrowers Association. Read More
Registration area at the 2017 Florida Blueberry Growers Association Spring Meeting
Berries
February 17, 2017
Florida Blueberry Growers Counting on a Comeback
With last season's disaster in the rear view, all eyes are searching for bluer skies. Read More
Agras MG-1 agriculture drone
Equipment
February 17, 2017
Wanted: Tech Innovators for Drone Challenge
Land O'Lakes Prize offers up $150,000 to help make drones more useable for farmers Read More
Fruits
February 17, 2017
Are Drones the Future of Pollination?
Researchers in Japan have turned drones into robot bees as artificial pollinators. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 16, 2017
Young Start-Up Hort Tech Companies Honored
Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology Scholarships promote sustainability. Read More
The Latest
Food Safety
February 21, 2017
Food Safety Modernization Act Creeping F…
Massive regulatory overhaul unfolds as the specialty crop industry hopes to ensure common-sense food safety rules and inspection. Read More
Apples & Pears
February 21, 2017
Snow Doesn’t Stop Day 1 of IFTA Conferen…
While the Wenatchee, WA, area has experienced higher-than expected snowfall, tour-goers trudge on to learn the latest about advanced production systems and high-value apple varieties. Read More
Grapes
February 18, 2017
Sustainability Is a Growing Factor in Wi…
California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance updates certification program, shows sustainability is important part of wine trade. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
February 18, 2017
The War on Citrus Psyllids Still Raging
Despite control challenges, keeping the pest in check remains the best approach to managing HLB. Read More
Citrus
February 17, 2017
How Precision Agriculture Is Helping Far…
New Florida-based organization is seeking to break down barriers between farmers and shoppers by providing a platform to not only show what is grown, but how it's grown. Read More
Grapes
February 17, 2017
Washington Organization Rebrands Itself
Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers unveils new identity at convention, now known as Washington Winegrowers Association. Read More
Berries
February 17, 2017
Florida Blueberry Growers Counting on a …
With last season's disaster in the rear view, all eyes are searching for bluer skies. Read More
Equipment
February 17, 2017
Wanted: Tech Innovators for Drone Challe…
Land O'Lakes Prize offers up $150,000 to help make drones more useable for farmers Read More
Fruits
February 17, 2017
Are Drones the Future of Pollination?
Researchers in Japan have turned drones into robot bees as artificial pollinators. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 16, 2017
Young Start-Up Hort Tech Companies Honor…
Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology Scholarships promote sustainability. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 16, 2017
Young Farmer Success Act Reintroduced to…
Bill to add young growers to Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Read More
Fruits
February 16, 2017
New App Helps Fruit Growers Calculate Ch…
App helps growers calculate chill hours based on locations and models and assess physiological needs of fruit crops. Read More
Citrus
February 16, 2017
Food Trends Driving Growth Opportunities…
More niche markets emerging for growers to give consumers what they want and need. Read More
Vegetables
February 15, 2017
Tanimura & Antle Will Now Be Partial…
The third-generation farming company takes employee commitment to the next level Read More
Business Planning
February 15, 2017
Are Retailers Your New Competition?
Target will be following a trend that is already under way in Germany and China: offering shoppers greens that are grown right there in the store. Read More
Citrus
February 15, 2017
Florida Citrus Community Loses Longtime …
John Merritt, known as an innovative grower and staunch industry advocate, was 60. Read More
Farm Management
February 14, 2017
Californians Holding Breath as More Stor…
Nearly 200,000 people evacuated below nation’s tallest dam; even growers have had enough for now. Read More
Stone Fruit
February 14, 2017
Georgia Peach Growers Brace for Low Chil…
Last year trees netted almost 700 chill hours; however, Extension agent expects that figure to drop to 600 hours this year. Read More