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
GrapesWashington Winegrape Harvest Earlier Than Ever
September 3, 2015
  This year’s juice and winegrape harvest in Washington is historic. Michelle Moyer, Washington State University assistant professor, Dept. of Read More
FruitsBeaudry, Watkins, And Davenport Named Fellows Of American Society for Horticultural Science
September 3, 2015
Randolph Beaudry of Michigan State University (MSU), Joan Davenport of Washington State University (WSU), and Christopher Watkins of Cornell University Read More
GrapesWildfires Raise Fears Of Grape Smoke Taint
September 3, 2015
 The current wildfires in Washington have left many growers wondering if smoke taint could impact the flavor of their winegrapes. Read More
FruitsOrganic Industry Unites To “Bust Myths” Throughout September
September 2, 2015
Organic Trade Association members join forces in social media blitz to address misconceptions about organic production. Read More
CitrusResearchers Use Wasps To Protect Citrus Trees From Greening
September 2, 2015
A recent story in the Los Angeles Times highlights some of the new research being conducted in the fight against Read More
Apples & PearsHard Cider Organization Offers Accredited Program
September 1, 2015
United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) introduces Sicera, the first-ever hard Cider Certification Program. This accreditation program is designed Read More
Apples & PearsProducts To Help Prevent Preharvest Drop In Apple Orchards
September 1, 2015
In the latest Extension bulletin from Penn State University, James Schupp associate professor of pomology suggests several products to apply Read More
Apples & PearsMarvin Sundquist Dies At 89
September 1, 2015
Marvin Sundquist, the retired owner of Sundquist Fruit and Cold Storage, died on Aug. 29 at the age of 89, Read More
Apples & PearsSyngenta Receives EPA Registration For Solatenol  Fungicide
September 1, 2015
The fungicide is available in four product offerings, pending state registrations. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardPero Family Farms Is The 2015 Grower Achievement Award Recipient
September 1, 2015
The farm family that runs this Delray Beach-FL based operation develops, produces, packages, and markets its fresh-cut products while continuing to think outside the box. Read More
The Latest
GrapesWashington Winegrape Harvest Earlier Than Ever
September 3, 2015
  This year’s juice and winegrape harvest in Washington is historic. Michelle Moyer, Washington State University assistant professor, Dept. of Read More
FruitsBeaudry, Watkins, And Davenport Named Fellows Of Ameri…
September 3, 2015
Randolph Beaudry of Michigan State University (MSU), Joan Davenport of Washington State University (WSU), and Christopher Watkins of Cornell University Read More
GrapesWildfires Raise Fears Of Grape Smoke Taint
September 3, 2015
 The current wildfires in Washington have left many growers wondering if smoke taint could impact the flavor of their winegrapes. Read More
FruitsOrganic Industry Unites To “Bust Myths” Thr…
September 2, 2015
Organic Trade Association members join forces in social media blitz to address misconceptions about organic production. Read More
CitrusResearchers Use Wasps To Protect Citrus Trees From Gree…
September 2, 2015
A recent story in the Los Angeles Times highlights some of the new research being conducted in the fight against Read More
Apples & PearsHard Cider Organization Offers Accredited Program
September 1, 2015
United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) introduces Sicera, the first-ever hard Cider Certification Program. This accreditation program is designed Read More
Apples & PearsProducts To Help Prevent Preharvest Drop In Apple Orcha…
September 1, 2015
In the latest Extension bulletin from Penn State University, James Schupp associate professor of pomology suggests several products to apply Read More
Apples & PearsMarvin Sundquist Dies At 89
September 1, 2015
Marvin Sundquist, the retired owner of Sundquist Fruit and Cold Storage, died on Aug. 29 at the age of 89, Read More
Apples & PearsSyngenta Receives EPA Registration For Solatenol  Fungi…
September 1, 2015
The fungicide is available in four product offerings, pending state registrations. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardPero Family Farms Is The 2015 Grower Achievement Award …
September 1, 2015
The farm family that runs this Delray Beach-FL based operation develops, produces, packages, and markets its fresh-cut products while continuing to think outside the box. Read More
Dennis P. Broadaway
CitrusFlorida Citrus Packers Bestows Association’s Highest Ho…
September 1, 2015
For his dedication to the Sunshine State’s fresh citrus sector, Dennis Broadaway receives John T. Lesley Award for Excellence. Read More
Citrus Achievement AwardSaving Citrus A Perpetual Task
September 1, 2015
Orie Lee, the 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner, talks about how growing citrus has changed in his lifetime and how it hasn't. Read More
Florida Ag Expo10th Annual Florida Ag Expo Field Tours To Tackle Produ…
September 1, 2015
There will be plenty to see and learn during the milestone event's exclusive field trials. Read More
Apples & PearsPennsylvania Congressman Supports CIDER Act
August 31, 2015
Freshman Congressman Ryan Costello (PA-06) spent a recent afternoon at Frecon Farms in Boyertown, PA, to tout the CIDER Act, Read More
Oriental Fruit fly
CitrusExotic Fruit Flies Invade South Florida
August 31, 2015
Efforts are under way to eradicate pest that attacks more than 230 different fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Read More
Business PlanningBe Food Safety Recall-Ready [Opinion]
August 31, 2015
No one ever wants to make someone sick after consuming fresh produce, but in spite of the protocols in place, recallls happen and you must be prepared. Read More
Crop ProtectionSustainable Options For Controlling Brown Marmorated St…
August 31, 2015
A researcher from Rutgers University offers pointers to help you control this pest of fruits and vegetables. Read More
CitrusNominations Open For Next Class Of Florida Citrus Hall …
August 31, 2015
Inductees to be honored during the 54th annual Citrus Celebration Luncheon. Read More