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

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

BerriesNew Fill-By-Weight Clamshell Filler For Blueberries
September 30, 2014
Lakewood Process Machinery's equipment offers a simplified user interface, minimized drop heights, a new dribble-gate system designed for an increased level of accuracy. Read More
Stone FruitLarge Cherry Crop Expected In Washington
September 30, 2014
Approximately 23.5 million boxes of cherries were sold during season. Read More
LaborWestern Growers President Speaks Out About Passage Of C…
September 29, 2014
California Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed a Senate Bill 25 and approved Assembly Bill 1897. Read More
BerriesDrought Could Impact Spring California Strawberry Crop
September 29, 2014
Ventura County expects reduction of acres planted as surface water availability takes a hit. Read More
Apples & PearsUnusual Weather Slows Michigan Apple Maturity
September 29, 2014
Fruit may have lower Brix levels, soluble solids lower than normal. Read More
BerriesFlorida Blueberry Growers Ready To Rise To The Occasion…
September 29, 2014
Florida Blueberry Growers Association president Dudley Calfee provides state of the industry insight. Read More
CitrusFlorida Announces Its 2014 Woman Of The Year In Agricul…
September 29, 2014
Longtime award recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to the state’s farming sector. Read More
FruitsNational Security May Depend On A Healthy Diet [Opinion…
September 29, 2014
Your bottom line as well as the future of our country will depend on promoting healthy eating to the next generation. Read More
CitrusFlorida Produce Industry Embracing Progress, Confrontin…
September 29, 2014
Production pressures and politics hot topics at FFVA’s 71st Annual Convention. Read More
BerriesDon’t Let Your Guard Slip When Taking On Thrips
September 27, 2014
Tiny insect pests can present big problems for blueberry growers. Read More
CitrusFlorida Farmers Finding Ways To Cultivate An Environmen…
September 26, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam salutes producers putting their best management practices forward. Read More
CitrusGrowers Should Partner Wisely To Stay Afloat Amid WOTUS…
September 26, 2014
According to Florida Grower editor Frank Giles, the Clean Water Act is muddying waters for farmers. Read More
GrapesCalifornia Winegrape Industry Leaders Adapt To Drought
September 26, 2014
State’s players stand in good stead despite numerous challenges, surveys show. Read More
GrapesGet Ready For Unified Symposium
September 26, 2014
Registration and housing slated for industry’s biggest event to open Oct. 28, and the hotel rooms go fast. Read More
BerriesIs The Diaprepes Root Weevil An Emerging Blueberry Pes…
September 26, 2014
Reports indicate longtime citrus nuisance might be tempted by the fruit of another. Read More
PotatoesIdaho Potato Commission Appoints New Commissioners
September 26, 2014
Hardy and Blanksma to serve three-year terms; Christensen reappointed. Read More
PotatoesNorthwest Potato Crop Value Up 2% From 2012
September 26, 2014
The Idaho, Washington, and Oregon combined potato crop is valued at $1.98 billion for 2013. Read More
Farm ManagementUSDA Takes Steps To Help Farmers Manage Risk
September 25, 2014
New programs offers farmers protection against price drops and additional unforeseen risks. Read More