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

VegetablesSeminis Hosts Growers For Its 2014 Southeastern Field Day
December 19, 2014
Seed company showcases new varieties available now and in the pipeline. Read More
CitrusFeed The People With Food And Food For Thought [Opinion]
December 19, 2014
Educating the general public about agriculture is a daunting task that can be accomplished one bite at a time. Read More
CucurbitsNew Product Takes Aim At Nematodes
December 19, 2014
NIMITZ receives EPA and Florida registrations. Read More
Crop ProtectionSuccess Sans Methyl Bromide Could Prove Costly
December 19, 2014
Economic factors must be accounted for when seeking a suitable replacement. Read More
VegetablesEnza Zaden Cuts Ribbon For New Florida Vegetable Research Facility
December 18, 2014
Seed company shows off new digs and new varieties at its Myakka City field station. Read More
VegetablesRispens Seeds Highlights Their Latest Vegetable Varieties
December 18, 2014
For more information, contact: Rispens Seeds 1357 Dutch American Way, P.O. Box 310, Beecher, IL 60401 708-946-6560; 888-874-0241; fax: 708-946-6115 Read More
Protected Agriculture2014 Marks The 50th Anniversary Of The Double-Poly Greenhouse [sponsor content]
December 18, 2014
Double-poly greenhouses revolutionized the greenhouse industry back in the 1960s, opening the way for developments that still impact the industry 50 years later. Read More
CitrusSouthwest Florida Citrus Bus Tour Yields Learning Opportunity
December 18, 2014
Find out what Florida Grower editor Frank Giles saw and heard during Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association's annual outing. Read More
Fruits6 Food Trends For 2015
December 17, 2014
University of Florida experts predict what will be cooking for the upcoming year. Read More
VegetablesReed’s Seeds Showcases Their Latest Vegetable Variety Offerings
December 17, 2014
For more information, contact: Reed’s Seeds 3334 NYS 215 Cortland, NY 13045 607-753-9095; fax: 607-753-9511 rsjackie@twcny.rr.com Read More

The Latest

VegetablesSeminis Hosts Growers For Its 2014 Southeastern Field D…
December 19, 2014
Seed company showcases new varieties available now and in the pipeline. Read More
CitrusFeed The People With Food And Food For Thought [Opinion…
December 19, 2014
Educating the general public about agriculture is a daunting task that can be accomplished one bite at a time. Read More
CucurbitsNew Product Takes Aim At Nematodes
December 19, 2014
NIMITZ receives EPA and Florida registrations. Read More
Crop ProtectionSuccess Sans Methyl Bromide Could Prove Costly
December 19, 2014
Economic factors must be accounted for when seeking a suitable replacement. Read More
VegetablesEnza Zaden Cuts Ribbon For New Florida Vegetable Resear…
December 18, 2014
Seed company shows off new digs and new varieties at its Myakka City field station. Read More
VegetablesRispens Seeds Highlights Their Latest Vegetable Varieti…
December 18, 2014
For more information, contact: Rispens Seeds 1357 Dutch American Way, P.O. Box 310, Beecher, IL 60401 708-946-6560; 888-874-0241; fax: 708-946-6115 Read More
Protected Agriculture2014 Marks The 50th Anniversary Of The Double-Poly Gree…
December 18, 2014
Double-poly greenhouses revolutionized the greenhouse industry back in the 1960s, opening the way for developments that still impact the industry 50 years later. Read More
CitrusSouthwest Florida Citrus Bus Tour Yields Learning Oppor…
December 18, 2014
Find out what Florida Grower editor Frank Giles saw and heard during Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association's annual outing. Read More
Fruits6 Food Trends For 2015
December 17, 2014
University of Florida experts predict what will be cooking for the upcoming year. Read More
VegetablesReed’s Seeds Showcases Their Latest Vegetable Var…
December 17, 2014
For more information, contact: Reed’s Seeds 3334 NYS 215 Cortland, NY 13045 607-753-9095; fax: 607-753-9511 rsjackie@twcny.rr.com Read More
CitrusStudy: Florida Citrus Valued At More Than $10 Billion
December 17, 2014
Industry continues to have large impact on the state’s economy. Read More
Apples & PearsNovember Cold May Hurt Washington Orchards
December 17, 2014
But it’s too early to tell if well-below-normal temperatures will increase tree mortality. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers Lose Trees In Storm
December 17, 2014
Last week’s welcome rains in California knocked down trees, especially older ones. Read More
NutsAlmond Conference Draws Record Attendance
December 17, 2014
Nearly 3,000 industry professionals attend 42nd annual event in Sacramento, CA. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateManage HLB From The Bottom Up
December 17, 2014
Finding the right balance between the roots and shoots is critical to disease mitigation. Read More
VegetablesVariety Trials 2014: Seedway
December 17, 2014
As part of American Vegetable Grower’s (AVG) 2014 variety trial coverage, we visited Seedway’s seed trial at Spiral Path Organic Farm in Loysville, Read More
OrganicUSDA Proposes Expansion Of Organic Assessment Exemption
December 17, 2014
Action would increase the entities exempt from paying assessments for promotion programs on products certified as “organic” or “100% organic.” Read More
MarketingThe U.S. Potato Board Receives $5 Million In Funding To…
December 17, 2014
The funds will be used to help increase consumption of frozen, dehydrated, chip stock, table stock and seed potatoes around the world. Read More