Growers asked to tax themselves

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

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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 [...]

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 [...]

Fruit region is electric vehicle hub

  • December 1st, 2010

The days of 30-cents-per-gallon gasoline are long gone, but new electric vehicles can run on the equivalent of that in areas of the country where power rates are low.

North central Washington State, with its cheap hydropower and emerging wind and solar projects, has become a hub for efforts to [...]

  • Farming THE SUN

Farming THE SUN

  • December 1st, 2010

Sol Orchard installed this one-megawatt solar panel project for California’s Victor Valley College.

Imagine a crop without worries of labor, pests, rain during harvest, and rising fertilizer costs. In the near future, there’s potential for such a crop, and it’s one that most growers could produce with little impact on [...]

  • How do platforms impact workers?

How do platforms impact workers?

  • December 1st, 2010

Kit Galvin of the University of Washington explains how she is studying the health impacts of platform work. Rolf Luehs (on the platform), research assistant with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, demonstrates how workers wear monitors to measure their body movements and heart rate.

University of Washington scientists are [...]

  • 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 [...]