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
storm clouds moving across a field
Citrus
February 12, 2016
There’s No Excuse For Farmers To Be Weather Unaware [Opinion]
Studies show if you're not watching the weather, you should be. Read More
John Lawson of Hyrdro Harvest Farms in Ruskin, FL
Berries
February 12, 2016
Central Florida Farm Goes Vertical To Capture ‘Buy Local’ Market
Hydro Harvest Farms in Ruskin has built a loyal following by serving and engaging the community. Read More
Lynn Long talks about what this 2015 UFO Benton on Gisela 3 planting needs to get established at Riveridge Land Company in Sparta, MI, during IFTA 2016.
Fruits
February 11, 2016
Attendees Brave The Cold To Vet Hot Topics At IFTA Conference
Multileader systems, V-trellis systems on tour stops throughout the Ridge growing region in Michigan. Read More
Summer Foley gets crowned Miss Florida Citrus 2015 by 2004 winner Nikki Upthegrove Matthews and reigning Miss Florida Vicotria Cowen
Citrus
February 10, 2016
Who Will Be Crowned Miss Florida Citrus 2016?
Contestants invited to carry on a time-old industry tradition. Read More
field USDA
Disease Control
February 10, 2016
Broad-Spectrum Fungicide Approved For Specialty Crops In California
Rhyme controls powdery mildew, brown rot blossom blight, and leaf rusts. Read More
A selection of Andean dry beans, Phaseolus vulgaris, from the Andean bean diversity panel.

 

Photo by Stephen Ausmus.
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Pulse Crops Top The List For Research
Scientists are making global contributions by participating in the Feed the Future Grain Legumes Project. Read More
The restoration of this secondary channel of the Napa River was made possible through the Rutherford Reach Restoration Project.
Photo: Gretchen Hayes
Grapes
February 10, 2016
Restoring The Napa River
The Napa River, which has helped create soil perfect for grape-growing in the Napa Valley, is in danger. Fortunately, conscientious Read More
Almond Board of Calif. logo
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Almond Board Working Toward Next-Generation Sustainability Solutions
New sustainability initiatives will bring the almond industry into the 22nd century. Read More
Photo Credit: David Eddy
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Incentives Available For Low-Emission Harvesters 
Almond and walnut growers who use lower-emission harvesting equipment may be eligible for financial incentives. Beginning this year, the USDA Read More
pile of potatoes
Potatoes
February 10, 2016
Potatoes Are More Than A Good Source Of Potassium
Researchers have been investigating the enhancement of oxidative qualities through breeding potato selections that are considerably higher in antioxidants than those currently available. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
February 12, 2016
There’s No Excuse For Farmers To B…
Studies show if you're not watching the weather, you should be. Read More
Berries
February 12, 2016
Central Florida Farm Goes Vertical To Ca…
Hydro Harvest Farms in Ruskin has built a loyal following by serving and engaging the community. Read More
Fruits
February 11, 2016
Attendees Brave The Cold To Vet Hot Topi…
Multileader systems, V-trellis systems on tour stops throughout the Ridge growing region in Michigan. Read More
Citrus
February 10, 2016
Who Will Be Crowned Miss Florida Citrus …
Contestants invited to carry on a time-old industry tradition. Read More
Disease Control
February 10, 2016
Broad-Spectrum Fungicide Approved For Sp…
Rhyme controls powdery mildew, brown rot blossom blight, and leaf rusts. Read More
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Pulse Crops Top The List For Research
Scientists are making global contributions by participating in the Feed the Future Grain Legumes Project. Read More
Grapes
February 10, 2016
Restoring The Napa River
The Napa River, which has helped create soil perfect for grape-growing in the Napa Valley, is in danger. Fortunately, conscientious Read More
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Almond Board Working Toward Next-Generat…
New sustainability initiatives will bring the almond industry into the 22nd century. Read More
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Incentives Available For Low-Emission Ha…
Almond and walnut growers who use lower-emission harvesting equipment may be eligible for financial incentives. Beginning this year, the USDA Read More
Potatoes
February 10, 2016
Potatoes Are More Than A Good Source Of …
Researchers have been investigating the enhancement of oxidative qualities through breeding potato selections that are considerably higher in antioxidants than those currently available. Read More
Equipment
February 10, 2016
Get Your Sprayer Ready For Spring
Cleaning equipment, checking for damages, and ensuring proper calibration should be standard procedure before the season begins. Read More
Crop Protection
February 10, 2016
Bayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Insecti…
Company seeks to stop agency’s proposed cancellation of flubendiamide. Read More
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Vegetable Production: A Lesson In Sustai…
Thanks to the efforts of those producing vegetables, we have an abundance of healthy food options. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
February 9, 2016
University Of Florida Research Receives …
A big chunk of the federal funding will focus on growing the bacterium in a lab. Read More
Citrus
February 9, 2016
Revised Forecast Yields Small Victory Fo…
Updated USDA estimate holds serve again; hasn’t dipped since December. Read More
Apples & Pears
February 9, 2016
State Of The Fruit Industry 2016 [VIDEO]
According to an national poll of fruit growers, fruit industry suppliers, and researchers, the market is poised for growth in Read More
Crop Protection
February 9, 2016
Biopesticides And IPM
Dr. Surendra Dara, Strawberry and Vegetable Crops Advisor and Affiliated IPM Advisor with University of California Cooperative Extension, has long Read More
Fruits
February 8, 2016
Precision Fruit Growing, Business Manage…
American Fruit Grower magazine managing editor Christina Herrick posts her updates from the 59th annual gathering. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]