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 rogordon@meistermedia.com

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Florida Ag ExpoMore Farmers Plugging Into Social Media
February 1, 2015
UF Ag Econ students give tips on engaging consumers where they congregate online. Read More
Citrus4 Angles To Cover If Considering An Agritainment Alternative
February 1, 2015
Along with the pros of adding another extension to your business also come risks. Read More
CitrusWith Big Data Comes Big Concerns For Agriculture [Opinion]
January 30, 2015
Many believe technologies like UAVs and precision ag represent the second Green Revolution, but it only will happen if farmers feel safe using them. Read More
Apples & PearsNew Bactericide Now Registered in Top Apple Growing States
January 30, 2015
KASUMIN is active on a wide array of plant pathogenic bacteria, including resistant strains. Read More
FruitsCalifornia Drought Meeting Called
January 30, 2015
State and federal officials will discuss potential actions for the coming year. Read More
GrapesRecord Crowds Flock To California Winegrape Show
January 30, 2015
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium attracts 14,000 industry professionals. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateResearchers Develop Electronic Citrus Greening Detector
January 30, 2015
New, easy-to-use technology could help growers get a leg up on the disease. Read More
VegetablesSakata Seed Highlights Specialty Golden Beet
January 29, 2015
The company highlights specialty golden beet, Touchstone Gold. Read More
FruitsUse The Off-Season To Focus On Farm Safety
January 29, 2015
Prevention, planning, and preparedness are essential for all agritainment operations. Read More
Protected AgricultureHow To Successfully Produce Vegetables In Controlled Environments
January 28, 2015
Greenhouse expert Merle Jensen offers pointers on growing systems, pest control, plant nutrition, harvesting, and more. Read More
The Latest
Florida Ag ExpoMore Farmers Plugging Into Social Media
February 1, 2015
UF Ag Econ students give tips on engaging consumers where they congregate online. Read More
Citrus4 Angles To Cover If Considering An Agritainment Altern…
February 1, 2015
Along with the pros of adding another extension to your business also come risks. Read More
CitrusWith Big Data Comes Big Concerns For Agriculture [Opini…
January 30, 2015
Many believe technologies like UAVs and precision ag represent the second Green Revolution, but it only will happen if farmers feel safe using them. Read More
Apples & PearsNew Bactericide Now Registered in Top Apple Growing Sta…
January 30, 2015
KASUMIN is active on a wide array of plant pathogenic bacteria, including resistant strains. Read More
FruitsCalifornia Drought Meeting Called
January 30, 2015
State and federal officials will discuss potential actions for the coming year. Read More
GrapesRecord Crowds Flock To California Winegrape Show
January 30, 2015
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium attracts 14,000 industry professionals. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateResearchers Develop Electronic Citrus Greening Detector
January 30, 2015
New, easy-to-use technology could help growers get a leg up on the disease. Read More
VegetablesSakata Seed Highlights Specialty Golden Beet
January 29, 2015
The company highlights specialty golden beet, Touchstone Gold. Read More
FruitsUse The Off-Season To Focus On Farm Safety
January 29, 2015
Prevention, planning, and preparedness are essential for all agritainment operations. Read More
Protected AgricultureHow To Successfully Produce Vegetables In Controlled En…
January 28, 2015
Greenhouse expert Merle Jensen offers pointers on growing systems, pest control, plant nutrition, harvesting, and more. Read More
IPMWhat You Need To Know To Maintain An Effective IPM Prog…
January 28, 2015
Greenhouse expert Karin Tifft discusses the importance of scouting, pest identification, control options, and the importance of sanitation. Read More
Apples & PearsPears Get A Hefty Shout-Out From Rapper
January 28, 2015
The pome fruit is on mainstream media's radar thanks to a rapper's quote and ensuing social media blitz. Read More
FruitsHighlights From The Mid-Atlantic Fruit And Vegetable Co…
January 28, 2015
Bio-control use, media literacy, and disease control were just a few of the topics discussed at the convention held in Hershey, PA. Read More
GrapesCalifornia Table Grape Growers Offer Agricultural Schol…
January 28, 2015
The application deadline for the agricultural scholarships is 5 p.m., Feb. 13. Read More
GrapesNew Wine Hybrid Establishment Cost Resource Available
January 28, 2015
Research from Cornell University breaks down the cost of producing hybrid winegrapes. Read More
FertilizerEasy Access To Fertilization Guidelines
January 28, 2015
New, easy-to-follow brochures take the guesswork out of almond and walnut fertilization. Read More
BerriesDormant Pruning Tips For Your Berries
January 28, 2015
Proper dormant pruning increases berry size and improves overall health of blackberry and raspberry plants. Read More
NutsHow Freezing Temperature Affect Bearing and New Trees
January 28, 2015
Key points before and after the critical bloom period make exposure to freezing temperatures relevant. Read More