Many Organizations Impact Specialty Crops

In the world of fruits and vegetables, a lot of attention is paid to a cultivar name. Sometimes the name is valued for historical or nostalgic reasons. Thomas Jefferson preferred the dessert apple cv Esopus Spitzenburg and Hewe’s Crab for cider. Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, or Mortgage Lifter evoke the aroma and taste of a freshly-picked heirloom tomato. Too bad they don’t yield as well as modern cultivars with nondescript names.

Red Delicious, once a proud banner for the Washington apple industry, now connotes a superficially attractive but potentially bland and mushy eating experience, while Honeycrisp suggests (and usually delivers) an explosive crispness. It seems that blueberries don’t need attractive cultivar names to drive sales. And of course, there are cases where even a terrific cultivar name doesn’t help (think the first President Bush and his aversion to any broccoli).

Name Changes

While cultivar names are still important at many points of sale, often those names, created to attract the commercial grower, are obscure at retail. However, Olympic gold for arcane names and acronyms goes to government and trade organizations, including the one I work for!

Nonetheless, some name changes are important because of their impact on specialty crops, and sometimes their acronyms are memorable. For example, the old Cooperative Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) is now the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), an organization of paramount importance representing our country’s investment in the Land Grant University system and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI). NIFA is a lot easier to say and signifies a meaningful acknowledgement of the national importance of agriculture and food.

Another acronym easy to remember is ICE. Most readers probably recognize Immigration and Customs Enforcement — the current version of the old INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services), maybe not in the most positive way, but we sure know who they are.

Another new acronym I hope all fruit growers recognize is IFTA. The International Fruit Tree Association is an old organization with a new name and exciting new identity. Most fruit growers will recognize the organization dropped the “Dwarf” to recognize that modern production systems have universally adopted dwarfing and precocity-inducing rootstocks. Quite an accomplishment and a tribute to the members who guided the IDFTA over the past 53 years. How many organizations actually accomplish their founding goals and change their name to represent that success?

IFTA’s Success

A recent example of that success was IFTA’s recent annual conference in Grand Rapids, MI, an event jam-packed with interesting and useful technical presentations, as well as a series of superbly organized field tours to commercial and research orchards, direct market operations, and an exciting glimpse of the future at Phil Brown Welding in Conklin, MI, where six bus loads saw practical, well-built equipment and a prototype mechanical assist apple harvester that may soon become a commercial reality.

The technical presentations included cultivar/rootstock considerations, apple, pear, and cherry training systems, plant growth regulators, chemical thinning, mechanization, orchard management, and postharvest practices. The organization that Michigan State University’s Phil Schwallier and his colleagues put into the conference paid off. I especially appreciated the smooth way everything ran — a tribute to the background logistics and support provided by new IFTA management.

The quantity and quality of the information was overwhelming, and more than one attendee had to spend time relaxing with a specialty crop product of their choice. I found the Michigan micro brews and white wines especially helpful.

Readers of this publication should also check out the Web version, featuring conference coverage and instantaneous access to troves of other information, at www.growingproduce.com. Also, go directly to the IFTA website at www.ifruittree.org. What a wonderful resource and history, documenting the tremendous changes our national tree fruit producers, working with dedicated research and Extension professionals, have incorporated into their operations.

Finally, become more familiar with IFTA. Check out the website and get ready for this summer’s tour in New York July 28-30 and next year’s annual conference in Pasco, WA, from Feb. 26-March 2, 2011. I can guarantee the information will be useful, the company engaging, and the relaxing specialty crop products of the highest quality at both venues.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
orange juice in a glass
Citrus
October 20, 2017
Is Your Orange Juice Glass Half Empty or Half Full?
There is strong-willed — some might even say stubborn — blood flowing through the veins of Florida growers. Read More
Events
October 20, 2017
Agriculture’s Big Data is Coming to You [Opinion]
It’s an opportunity to fine-tune your operation and maximize profits, but it also brings obligations. Read More
Blue Heron Nurseries greenhouses post-Irma
Varieties & Rootstocks
October 20, 2017
Taking Stock of Florida Citrus After the Storm
Extraordinary times call for industrywide cooperation and partnerships. Read More
Citrus stew courtesy of Irma
Citrus
October 19, 2017
Disaster Relief: Ways Florida Growers Can Find Farm Aid
With billions of dollars lost to Irma, financial assistance will be crucial for many. Read More
Fruits
October 19, 2017
New Online Tool Helps Growers Determine Need for Groundwater Recharge
California Land Use Viewer can help growers determine if they can adopt groundwater recharge practices on their own operations. Read More
subirrigation implementation
Irrigation
October 19, 2017
Northeast Florida Farmers Stepping up to Save Water
Green light given to nine agricultural projects steeped in stewardship. Read More
Vegetables
October 18, 2017
The 2018 State of the Vegetable Industry Survey Is Now Open!
How has this year performed for you? Share how things have gone this year – and your expectations for 2018 – in our shorter, more focused survey. Read More
Citrus
October 18, 2017
How to Keep Track of Climate Change
Use cool tools to find out how your production methods may change in the future, how much your area is at risk, and how to limit your own impact on the climate. Read More
Vegetables
October 18, 2017
Stop Viewing Fellow Growers as the Enemy [Opinion]
Instead, growers should focus on issues that benefit everyone, from gaining a stronger voice when negotiating with retailers, to finding a way to share ideas and costs on precision agriculture tools. Read More
Citrus
October 17, 2017
USDA Issues Disaster Declaration for Hurricane-Stricken Florida Farmers
Operators in designated counties eligible for emergency assistance. Read More
Fruits
October 17, 2017
Hirst Named American Society of Horticultural Science Fellow
Honor was presented during society’s annual meeting. Read More
Crop Protection
October 17, 2017
EPA Takes Steps to Reduce Risk of Drift-Related Herbicide Injury
With reports of dicamba injuries in tomatoes, peaches, grapes, and other crops, the agency works to reduce the impact of spray drift on vulnerable crops. Read More
Fruits
October 16, 2017
New Broad-Spectrum Herbicide Released by Nufarm
Grapple herbicide works on pre- and post-emergent weeds in orchards and vineyards. Read More
Flooded peach and grape groves from Irma at UF/IFAS HAEC
Citrus
October 16, 2017
Wrath of Hurricane Irma’s Rainfall Measured by the Trillions
Report says storm dropped enough gallons of water on Florida’s St. Johns River Water Management District to swamp 6.7 million football fields. Read More
Checking hop cones at UF/IFAS MREC
Fruits
October 14, 2017
USDA Seeks Applications for Next Round of Specialty Crop Research Grants
SCRI grants to total $48 million for 2018 fiscal year. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
October 20, 2017
Is Your Orange Juice Glass Half Empty or…
There is strong-willed — some might even say stubborn — blood flowing through the veins of Florida growers. Read More
Events
October 20, 2017
Agriculture’s Big Data is Coming t…
It’s an opportunity to fine-tune your operation and maximize profits, but it also brings obligations. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
October 20, 2017
Taking Stock of Florida Citrus After the…
Extraordinary times call for industrywide cooperation and partnerships. Read More
Citrus
October 19, 2017
Disaster Relief: Ways Florida Growers Ca…
With billions of dollars lost to Irma, financial assistance will be crucial for many. Read More
Fruits
October 19, 2017
New Online Tool Helps Growers Determine …
California Land Use Viewer can help growers determine if they can adopt groundwater recharge practices on their own operations. Read More
Irrigation
October 19, 2017
Northeast Florida Farmers Stepping up to…
Green light given to nine agricultural projects steeped in stewardship. Read More
Vegetables
October 18, 2017
The 2018 State of the Vegetable Industry…
How has this year performed for you? Share how things have gone this year – and your expectations for 2018 – in our shorter, more focused survey. Read More
Citrus
October 18, 2017
How to Keep Track of Climate Change
Use cool tools to find out how your production methods may change in the future, how much your area is at risk, and how to limit your own impact on the climate. Read More
Vegetables
October 18, 2017
Stop Viewing Fellow Growers as the Enemy…
Instead, growers should focus on issues that benefit everyone, from gaining a stronger voice when negotiating with retailers, to finding a way to share ideas and costs on precision agriculture tools. Read More
Citrus
October 17, 2017
USDA Issues Disaster Declaration for Hur…
Operators in designated counties eligible for emergency assistance. Read More
Fruits
October 17, 2017
Hirst Named American Society of Horticul…
Honor was presented during society’s annual meeting. Read More
Crop Protection
October 17, 2017
EPA Takes Steps to Reduce Risk of Drift-…
With reports of dicamba injuries in tomatoes, peaches, grapes, and other crops, the agency works to reduce the impact of spray drift on vulnerable crops. Read More
Fruits
October 16, 2017
New Broad-Spectrum Herbicide Released by…
Grapple herbicide works on pre- and post-emergent weeds in orchards and vineyards. Read More
Citrus
October 16, 2017
Wrath of Hurricane Irma’s Rainfall…
Report says storm dropped enough gallons of water on Florida’s St. Johns River Water Management District to swamp 6.7 million football fields. Read More
Fruits
October 14, 2017
USDA Seeks Applications for Next Round o…
SCRI grants to total $48 million for 2018 fiscal year. Read More
Grapes
October 13, 2017
Fairgrounds Host California Fire Evacuee…
Gallo will contribute $1 million to fire recovery effort and will match employee donations two-for-one. Read More
Citrus
October 12, 2017
Irma Rains Down on Florida Citrus Crop E…
Initial USDA forecast reflects the fruits of what was left behind by monster storm. Read More
Grapes
October 10, 2017
Wildfires Hit California Wine Country
California Gov. Jerry Brown declares state of emergency for northern counties impacted by flames. Read More