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
Apple Grower of the YearBill Dodd Is An Apple Grower For Our Future
August 3, 2015
The judging for the Apple Grower Of The Year award is an interesting process that takes us through new twists Read More
GenNext GrowersPotato Industry Leadership Institute Program To Be Held In February
August 3, 2015
The application and scholarship deadline is Oct. 15, 2015. Read More
Vegetables13 Of The Latest Pepper Varieties
August 3, 2015
This month’s variety specs feature focuses on pepper varieties. Features highlighted include great disease resistance packages, excellent yield potential, and more. Be Read More
Apple Grower of the YearBill Dodd, The 2015 Apple Grower Of The Year
August 3, 2015
  Informed of his selection as the 2015 Apple Grower Of The Year by American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower™ Read More
Farm ManagementLocally Grown The Lipman Way
August 3, 2015
With Lipman Local, the Florida operation has developed a mutually beneficial program that sources local produce around the country and helps smaller growers raise their game. Read More
Farm ManagementCorrect Misconceptions About Farming [Opinion]
August 3, 2015
Misinformation about agriculture abounds. We need to put a stop to it and set the record straight. Read More
UFR-2 Vernia citrus rootstock
Citrus Achievement AwardLessons Learned Via Citrus Variety Evaluation Never End
August 1, 2015
Orie Lee, the 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner, discusses his decades-long involvement with Vernia. Read More
Florida Ag ExpoResearchers To Put 3 Major Crop Threats On Trial
August 1, 2015
Nematode, disease, and weed management on deck for the 10th annual Florida Ag Expo. Read More
woman smashing an alarm clock with a hammer
CitrusDon’t Become A Time Crunch Casualty
July 31, 2015
Finding the balance between work life and home life is easier said than done for GenNext Growers. Read More
PotatoesLate Blight Confirmed In Areas Of Idaho; Number Of Potato Psyllids Dips
July 31, 2015
The number of potato psyllids decline while additional fields are noted as having late blight. Read More
The Latest
Apple Grower of the YearBill Dodd Is An Apple Grower For Our Future
August 3, 2015
The judging for the Apple Grower Of The Year award is an interesting process that takes us through new twists Read More
GenNext GrowersPotato Industry Leadership Institute Program To Be Held…
August 3, 2015
The application and scholarship deadline is Oct. 15, 2015. Read More
Vegetables13 Of The Latest Pepper Varieties
August 3, 2015
This month’s variety specs feature focuses on pepper varieties. Features highlighted include great disease resistance packages, excellent yield potential, and more. Be Read More
Apple Grower of the YearBill Dodd, The 2015 Apple Grower Of The Year
August 3, 2015
  Informed of his selection as the 2015 Apple Grower Of The Year by American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower™ Read More
Farm ManagementLocally Grown The Lipman Way
August 3, 2015
With Lipman Local, the Florida operation has developed a mutually beneficial program that sources local produce around the country and helps smaller growers raise their game. Read More
Farm ManagementCorrect Misconceptions About Farming [Opinion]
August 3, 2015
Misinformation about agriculture abounds. We need to put a stop to it and set the record straight. Read More
UFR-2 Vernia citrus rootstock
Citrus Achievement AwardLessons Learned Via Citrus Variety Evaluation Never End
August 1, 2015
Orie Lee, the 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner, discusses his decades-long involvement with Vernia. Read More
Florida Ag ExpoResearchers To Put 3 Major Crop Threats On Trial
August 1, 2015
Nematode, disease, and weed management on deck for the 10th annual Florida Ag Expo. Read More
woman smashing an alarm clock with a hammer
CitrusDon’t Become A Time Crunch Casualty
July 31, 2015
Finding the balance between work life and home life is easier said than done for GenNext Growers. Read More
PotatoesLate Blight Confirmed In Areas Of Idaho; Number Of Pota…
July 31, 2015
The number of potato psyllids decline while additional fields are noted as having late blight. Read More
Apples & PearsReTain Now Registered For Double Application
July 31, 2015
ReTain plant growth regulator (PGR) has been registered by EPA with a new label use that allows pome fruit growers Read More
Crop ProtectionLettuce Disease Gives E. Coli A Boost
July 31, 2015
E. coli prefer cut, injured, and young lettuce leaves. Read More
Farm ManagementAn Excellent Industry Education [Opinion]
July 31, 2015
The end of one era, and the ushering in of another. Read More
Stone FruitThe Strong Staying Power Of The Redhaven Name In Peache…
July 31, 2015
People tend to be nostalgic about peach varieties, but the switch of varieties grown by a region happens for a Read More
Crop ProtectionResources For Knowing Your Soil
July 30, 2015
Getting to know your soil and learning other environmental and natural resources data can be downloaded and is available for use with many computer software platforms for general resource analysis and farm management. Read More
money
CitrusBankrupt Florida Farm To Yield Plenty Of Land, Equipmen…
July 30, 2015
As many as seven different buyers could be part of this Chapter 11 proceeding. Read More
Sanjay Shukla
ProductionGeometrically Speaking, Thinking Smaller Might Produce …
July 30, 2015
University of Florida scientist develops compact planting bed formula that cuts water, fertilizer, and pesticide use in half. Read More
GrapesDrought’s Impact On California Winegrapes
July 30, 2015
The impact is minimal this year, but the future is uncertain if the drought continues. Read More