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
Crop ProtectionAt Paramount Farming, Mating Disruption Pays Off
February 10, 2015
To say Brad Higbee is an expert in mating disruption, the use of pheromones to confuse target pests and reduce Read More
Crop ProtectionGrower Experienced In Biocontrols Says: Be Patient
February 4, 2015
The use of biocontrols in all aspects of agriculture is becoming more widespread. But incorporating biocontrols in a vegetable farming Read More
PotatoesAn Education On Potatoes [Opinion]
March 5, 2015
What is often a no-brainer for someone entrenched in the business of agriculture has to be explained — in detail — to some industry outsiders. Case in point: look at the rollercoaster ride potatoes have been on for several years. Read More
Insect & Disease Update#CitrusMatters Campaign Aims To Raise Awareness Of HLB In California
March 5, 2015
Bayer CropScience pledges up to $25,000 in support of continued research on a cure for citrus greening. Read More
CitrusNew Marvel Comic Book Reveals Origin Of Captain Citrus
March 5, 2015
Second installment of the Avengers Assemble series sets the stage for a new hero to save an orange grove under attack. Read More
FertilizerValent BioSciences Acquires Mycorrhizal Applications Inc.
March 4, 2015
Transaction fueled by technology platform that promises to bolster biorational business. Read More
EquipmentVegetable Growers Highlight Success With Precision Ag Technology
March 4, 2015
From prescriptive applications of water and fertilizers to seeders, precision technology has a place in any size operation. Read More
FruitsWeed Identification Guide Now Available For Growers
March 4, 2015
New free guide from Ohio State University offers high-definition pictures to help growers identify weeds. Read More
Crop ProtectionSurvey Shows Growers Seek New Strategies To Control Thrips And Other Major Pests
March 4, 2015
Growers surveyed at the 2015 Southeast Regional Fruit And Vegetable Conference list thrips as major pest concern, and are looking for new technologies to combat pests. Read More
Sweet CornAbbott & Cobb Sweet On New Sweet Corn Technology
March 3, 2015
SuperSeedWare gene type to aid varieties through marker-assisted selection. Read More
FruitsWest Coast Ports To Open With New Contract
March 3, 2015
Western fruit, vegetable industries lost millions when unable to export produce at ports. Read More
FruitsWorkshop Set In Florida To Help Grow Local Food Movement
March 2, 2015
Meeting part of nationwide effort to train people how to attain grants for USDA’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion programs. Read More
The Latest
PotatoesAn Education On Potatoes [Opinion]
March 5, 2015
What is often a no-brainer for someone entrenched in the business of agriculture has to be explained — in detail — to some industry outsiders. Case in point: look at the rollercoaster ride potatoes have been on for several years. Read More
Insect & Disease Update#CitrusMatters Campaign Aims To Raise Awareness Of HLB …
March 5, 2015
Bayer CropScience pledges up to $25,000 in support of continued research on a cure for citrus greening. Read More
CitrusNew Marvel Comic Book Reveals Origin Of Captain Citrus
March 5, 2015
Second installment of the Avengers Assemble series sets the stage for a new hero to save an orange grove under attack. Read More
FertilizerValent BioSciences Acquires Mycorrhizal Applications In…
March 4, 2015
Transaction fueled by technology platform that promises to bolster biorational business. Read More
EquipmentVegetable Growers Highlight Success With Precision Ag T…
March 4, 2015
From prescriptive applications of water and fertilizers to seeders, precision technology has a place in any size operation. Read More
FruitsWeed Identification Guide Now Available For Growers
March 4, 2015
New free guide from Ohio State University offers high-definition pictures to help growers identify weeds. Read More
Crop ProtectionSurvey Shows Growers Seek New Strategies To Control Thr…
March 4, 2015
Growers surveyed at the 2015 Southeast Regional Fruit And Vegetable Conference list thrips as major pest concern, and are looking for new technologies to combat pests. Read More
Sweet CornAbbott & Cobb Sweet On New Sweet Corn Technology
March 3, 2015
SuperSeedWare gene type to aid varieties through marker-assisted selection. Read More
FruitsWest Coast Ports To Open With New Contract
March 3, 2015
Western fruit, vegetable industries lost millions when unable to export produce at ports. Read More
FruitsWorkshop Set In Florida To Help Grow Local Food Movemen…
March 2, 2015
Meeting part of nationwide effort to train people how to attain grants for USDA’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion programs. Read More
Citrus18 Must-Have Apps For GenNext Growers
March 1, 2015
We asked about your favorite mobile applications, and here's what you had to say. Read More
Florida Ag ExpoGrowers Get The Lowdown On Cooling Crops
March 1, 2015
Demonstration shows how hydrocooling can help get the most out of fruits and vegetables once harvested. Read More
FruitsDon’t Be Afraid To Charge More For Value Of Agrit…
February 28, 2015
A higher admission price helps to sets a level of expectation and helps offset the costs of running a successful farm marketing operation. Read More
Apples & PearsCompany Responsible For First GMO Apples Is Sold
February 27, 2015
Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the company behind the world's first non-browning apples, fetches $41 million. Read More
Stone FruitPeach Training Systems Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All
February 27, 2015
Although pedestrian, ladderless orchards are increasing in California, growers in Pennsylvania are opting for tall V-training systems. Read More
FruitsNo Federal Water For California’s Central Valley Grower…
February 27, 2015
Skimpy snowpack leads Bureau of Reclamation to make unprecedented announcement that there will be a zero initial allocation for the second year in a row. Read More
Apples & PearsThe Recession That Keeps On Taking
February 27, 2015
We’re still seeing the aftermath of the Great Recession on consumers’ purchasing habits seven years later. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardSubmit Your Nomination For The 2015 Grower Achievement …
February 27, 2015
American Vegetable Grower magazine's annual award is designed to recognize an innovative operation that represents the spirit of excellence. Read More