Ringing In 2008

First, I would like to wish each and every one of you a Happy New Year! Like the year before, it seems like 2007 flew right by. Unfortunately, the high hopes most people had that labor and immigration would be reformed simply didn’t happen. On a more positive note, however, we just learned — as we are about to go to press — that the Senate passed the Food, Energy & Security Act of 2007, the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill.

This version of the bill contains unprecedented advances in funding and policy priorities for the fruit and vegetable industry. The hope now is that Congress can appoint a conference committee so differences between the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill can be ironed out quickly. Look for updates on the Farm Bill in our biweekly e-newsletter, VegWire Online. (To sign up for the e-newsletter, go to www.americanvegetablegrower.com and click on e-News.)

Food Safety Controls

In addition to labor and immigration and the Farm Bill, food safety also has been a major issue during the past year. Many large growers are implementing additional food safety measures and absorbing the cost instead of passing additional expenses on to the consumer (see Future Expectations on page 14). How long they can continue to do that and stay in business remains to be seen. 

As we begin 2008, USDA is considering uniform rules for leafy greens. These rules are in response to the E. coli outbreak in 2006 in bagged spinach. If implemented, these rules would apply to all growers — large and small. The guidelines would require all leafy green growers to follow specific guidelines in the fields and during postharvest handling.

These proposed rules would probably be similar to those already in place in California. Because the costs involved in implementing the rules for small and medium-size growers may be a huge financial burden, these growers will have to look for ways to offset these additional expenses. We will be following this story closely, as well.

News From The Great Lakes Expo

Again this year I had the opportunity to attend the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market Expo in Grand Rapids, MI, in December. This trade
show and conference is a great opportunity for me to meet with growers and others in the industry. Most of the growers I spoke with echoed what many throughout the country are saying: input costs continue to increase, creating an additional burden.

To combat increasing costs, some are saying they try to cut back in other areas to recoup profits. One grower, Sharon Kokx of Kokx Produce in Hickory Corners, MI, said she spends more time shopping around to get the best price for supplies than she did a few years ago. The bottom line, however, says Kokx, “is to offer quality produce to keep people coming back.”

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
iphone close-up
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
New Mobile Apps for Farmers to Grow on the Go
Thanks to the latest in software technology, real-time decisions can be made with one swipe of your finger. Read More
FFVA Emerging Leader Development Program Class 6 Farm Tour
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
In-The-Field Learning Invaluable for GenNext Growers
Annual tour allows Florida's future farming leaders the chance to have open and honest discussions with CEOs and managers and tap into their knowledge. Read More
Grower Achievement Award
February 24, 2017
Know a Vegetable Grower Who’s Innovative and Stands Above the Rest?
Then nomination him or her for American Vegetable Grower magazine’s 2017 Grower Achievement Award. Read More
Apples & Pears
February 24, 2017
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of a Solid Foundation in Your Orchard
Trellising study helps growers understand the basics of setting up an orchard infrastructure properly. Read More
Berries
February 23, 2017
Primocane: A Major Innovation in Berry Production
I’ve witnessed the rise of primocane-fruiting blackberries, from first selections to integration in the market. Read More
Fruits
February 23, 2017
First California Ag Innovation Showcase Announced
University of California, Davis will be the setting for a ground-breaking conference on emerging technology for food and high-value agriculture. Read More
sclerotinia
Disease Control
February 23, 2017
Spot Sclerotinia Before It Stops Your Vegetable Crop
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this malady that goes by many names. Read More
2017 Florida Strawberry Picking Challenge winners
Berries
February 22, 2017
Florida Strawberry Picking Contest a Big Winner for Charity
Fourth-annual fundraising event brings in more than $100,000 to benefit children of local farmworkers. Read More
Florida potato field in bloom.
Citrus
February 22, 2017
New Insecticide Available to Combat Sucking, Chewing Pests
Minecto Pro from Syngenta has received EPA approval for use in specialty and vegetable crops to control lepidopteran and other pests. Read More
Farm Management
February 22, 2017
Farms Get Bigger Even as the Number of Farms Decline
A new report from USDA shows long-term trends continuing: fewer farms and fewer acres used in farming even as individual operations get bigger on average. Read More
The Latest
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
New Mobile Apps for Farmers to Grow on t…
Thanks to the latest in software technology, real-time decisions can be made with one swipe of your finger. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
In-The-Field Learning Invaluable for Gen…
Annual tour allows Florida's future farming leaders the chance to have open and honest discussions with CEOs and managers and tap into their knowledge. Read More
Grower Achievement Award
February 24, 2017
Know a Vegetable Grower Who’s Innovative…
Then nomination him or her for American Vegetable Grower magazine’s 2017 Grower Achievement Award. Read More
Apples & Pears
February 24, 2017
Don’t Underestimate the Importance…
Trellising study helps growers understand the basics of setting up an orchard infrastructure properly. Read More
Berries
February 23, 2017
Primocane: A Major Innovation in Berry P…
I’ve witnessed the rise of primocane-fruiting blackberries, from first selections to integration in the market. Read More
Fruits
February 23, 2017
First California Ag Innovation Showcase …
University of California, Davis will be the setting for a ground-breaking conference on emerging technology for food and high-value agriculture. Read More
Disease Control
February 23, 2017
Spot Sclerotinia Before It Stops Your Ve…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this malady that goes by many names. Read More
Berries
February 22, 2017
Florida Strawberry Picking Contest a Big…
Fourth-annual fundraising event brings in more than $100,000 to benefit children of local farmworkers. Read More
Citrus
February 22, 2017
New Insecticide Available to Combat Suck…
Minecto Pro from Syngenta has received EPA approval for use in specialty and vegetable crops to control lepidopteran and other pests. Read More
Farm Management
February 22, 2017
Farms Get Bigger Even as the Number of F…
A new report from USDA shows long-term trends continuing: fewer farms and fewer acres used in farming even as individual operations get bigger on average. Read More
Farm Management
February 22, 2017
Wild Bee Populations Are out of Sync wit…
Some crops most dependent on pollinators, including pumpkins, watermelons, pears, peaches, plums, apples and blueberries, appeared to have the strongest pollination mismatch. Read More
Citrus
February 22, 2017
Skilled Labor Needed to Keep Agriculture…
Even with the challenge of feeding a growing global population at hand, has focus been lost on recruiting where jobs on the farm are need most? Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
February 22, 2017
Citrus Nurseries Analyze the Need for Se…
It seems many growers are more certain about their scion choices than they are about available rootstocks. Read More
Food Safety
February 21, 2017
Food Safety Modernization Act Creeping F…
Massive regulatory overhaul unfolds as the specialty crop industry hopes to ensure common-sense food safety rules and inspection. Read More
Apples & Pears
February 21, 2017
Snow Doesn’t Stop Day 1 of IFTA Conferen…
While the Wenatchee, WA, area has experienced higher-than expected snowfall, tour-goers trudge on to learn the latest about advanced production systems and high-value apple varieties. Read More
Grapes
February 18, 2017
Sustainability Is a Growing Factor in Wi…
California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance updates certification program, shows sustainability is important part of wine trade. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
February 18, 2017
The War on Citrus Psyllids Still Raging
Despite control challenges, keeping the pest in check remains the best approach to managing HLB. Read More
Citrus
February 17, 2017
How Precision Agriculture Is Helping Far…
New Florida-based organization is seeking to break down barriers between farmers and shoppers by providing a platform to not only show what is grown, but how it's grown. Read More