Growers asked to tax themselves

Michigan growers to vote in February on proposed Tree Fruit Commission.

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  • Rainfastness of pesticides varies

Rainfastness of pesticides varies

  • March 1st, 2011

John Wise carries out his rainfastness work on grapes and apples at Michigan State University’s Trevor Nichols Research Complex, where he is coordinator of research.

Folklore says that after a heavy rainfall, you might as well get your sprayer out and reapply your insecticides. For those old twentieth century ­wettable [...]

  • Old pesticides wanted

Old pesticides wanted

  • March 1st, 2011

Bins should not be used for storing pesticides. The Department of Agriculture can bring all the necessary equipment to the farm to dispose safely of old pesticides.

Mike McCormick wants your old pesticides. Cancelled insecticides? Great. Leaking containers? Even better.

Legal pesticides you no longer need? Those are fine, too, says [...]

New food safety law could swallow GAP programs

  • March 1st, 2011

When provisions of the new food safety law (the ­American Food Safety Modernization Act) are implemented, Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certification ­programs should wither away, no longer needed.

But that’s not likely to happen soon, according to Phil Tocco, a Michigan State University Extension educator who advises fruit growers and [...]

Buffers would make orchards vulnerable

  • March 1st, 2011

If no-spray buffers proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency go into effect, orchardists will be unable to use critical pesticides on a large proportion of their acreage, including products that will be necessary to control new, invasive pests.

The agency is proposing a 500-foot buffer alongside all flowing water [...]

Education for migrant families

  • February 15th, 2011

Coordinators of a migrant education program in Yakima, Washington, are hoping that fruit growers will encourage their employees and their families to take part.

The Ready by Five Center has received federal funding to provide an education program called Migrant Education Even Start, which will provide classes ­simultaneously for parents [...]

Good Point

  • February 1st, 2011

At this year’s Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers’s annual meeting, we have a special session called “Getting Paid: Tools for Grape Growers.” The session is funded by a grant from the USDA Risk Management Agency through the Washington Wine Industry Foundation. It will be presented three times with [...]

Fumigation improves productivity

  • January 15th, 2011

Published January 15, 2011
Over the past 25 years, 130,000 acres of orchards have been replanted in Washington State, requiring a total investment of $1.7 billion, estimates Tim Smith, Washington State University Extension educator in north central Washington.

Sometimes, the trees grew well and recouped the investment, but occasionally they [...]

Task force to tackle food safety

  • January 15th, 2011

Published January 15, 2011
The Pacific Northwest tree fruit industry is forming a special task force to draw up a food safety plan.

Chris Schlect, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, said the task force’s job will be to develop a science-based good agricultural practices plan that is as reasonable [...]

How to get paid for your grapes

  • January 1st, 2011

The down economy has had a ripple effect on the wine grape industry. Fewer restaurant meals and reduced entertaining budgets have slowed wine sales, backed up inventories, and bankrupted some wineries and distributors. All too often, growers who delivered grapes in good faith are being paid slowly, and, sometimes, [...]

Specialty crops will be on center stage

  • January 1st, 2011

David Schweikhardt predicts a lively specialty-crops– centered Farm Bill debate will start in Congress soon.

Specialty crops growers, who were pleased that they got “their own title” in the 2008 Farm Bill, will be even more the focus of attention as the new 112th Congress turns to composing a new [...]

Legislative outlook shifts for ag employers

  • December 1st, 2010

There is great concern and interest in what the outcome of the midterm elections means for agricultural employers.  We know there will be both opportunities and real concerns with the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives relative to issues such as immigration, AgJOBS, foreign trade, and farm [...]

  • Orchards designed for efficient harvest

Orchards designed for efficient harvest

  • December 1st, 2010

Michael Zingler stands next to a planting of SweeTango in its third leaf and describes the reasoning behind the design of the orchard: Efficient use of harvest labor.

Western New York apple grower Michael Zingler likes his harvest system well enough to design his orchards to fit it.

“This is kind [...]