Growers asked to tax themselves

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

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  • Pox-resistant plum registered

Pox-resistant plum registered

  • July 1st, 2010

The HoneySweet plum is sweet and flavorful and highly resistant to the plum pox virus.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced its conditional registration of a plum pox virus resistance gene contained in a new plum variety called HoneySweet.

Dr. Ralph Scorza, research horticulturist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s [...]

  • Tracking labor costs

Tracking labor costs

  • June 1st, 2010

This labor tracking program uses a scanning device to read a worker’s bar coded identification.

Technology has brought sophisticated pest management computer models, weather stations, irrigation scheduling, sprayers with sensors, and more to the field. But one of the last holdouts is tracking labor, with many growers still hand-entering timesheets [...]

  • Do you know your labor costs?

Do you know your labor costs?

  • June 1st, 2010

Labor tracking programs help growers know their labor costs in near real-time, instead of after the pay period.

Specialty crop agriculture has unique aspects that make paying and tracking labor unlike any other industry. Few payroll and accounting software programs accommodate incentive pay; supervisors dealing with field labor typically are [...]

Tracking prevents favoritism

  • June 1st, 2010

The real advantage that University of California’s ­Gregorio Billikopf sees from labor tracking programs is improvement in productivity by strengthening the quality control and evaluation component.

Billikopf, UC farm labor Cooperative Extension advisor based in Stockton, California, said that he frequently receives calls from agricultural employers seeking information about labor [...]

Good Stuff

  • June 1st, 2010

Voliam label expansion
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has approved a label expansion for Voliam Xpress insectide, which allows its use on pome and stone fruits, and other crops. Voliam, developed by Syngenta Crop Protection, contains two active ingredients with different modes of action: the diamide insecticide chlorantraniliprole [...]

Good Point – Frank Gasperini, National Council of Agricultural Employers

  • June 1st, 2010

Fruit growers are challenged every season by weather, pests, and unpredictable input costs along with the need to compete with producers from other countries in our increasingly global marketplace. As challenging as these cultural and marketing pressures are, most growers will tell you this is what agriculture is all [...]

  • New rules govern Michigan irrigators

New rules govern Michigan irrigators

  • June 1st, 2010

Last July, new rules in Michigan required most would-be irrigators to get permission to withdraw water either from groundwater using wells or from flowing streams and rivers.

This was shocking in itself, for Michigan is a riparian state in which both surface and groundwater used to be freely available to [...]

  • NW questions cherry fruit fly quarantine

NW questions cherry fruit fly quarantine

  • June 1st, 2010

The western cherry fruit fly has not been found in California’s cherry-growing districts.

State officials in Oregon and Washington say ­California’s quarantine requirements for the Western cherry fruit fly are unjustified.

Helmuth Rogg, supervisor of the Oregon State Department of Agriculture’s Insect Pest Prevention and Management Program, said California has imposed [...]

Foremen learn to supervise

  • June 1st, 2010

The Washington Farm Bureau, through Dan Fazio, sponsored a couple of two-day foreman training seminars, one in Mt. Vernon, the other in Pasco. Topics covered included:

Interpersonal negotiation skills (learning how to confront disagreement without being disagreeable)
The importance of supervisory praise (how to give praise without employees thinking that [...]

Growers surveyed on pest practices

  • May 1st, 2010

Washington apple growers are adopting new pest ­management strategies and technologies including safer chemistries, in accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency phaseout of ­azinphos-methyl (AZM-Guthion) in tree fruits. Because the new chemistries require more precise timing and better spray coverage, use of predictive models and improved application delivery [...]

Fumigation rules delayed

  • April 15th, 2010

New regulations on the use of agricultural fumigants, due to go into effect at the beginning of this year, have been delayed, possibly until the fall, says Mike Conway, general manager for Trident Ag Products in Woodland, Washington.       The proposed regulations are designed to reduce the risks of [...]

  • Long wait for immigration reform

Long wait for immigration reform

  • February 15th, 2010

Every year, the Valicoff Fruit Company in the Yakima Valley dutifully sends off W-2 tax forms for its pickers. President Rob ­Valicoff says he requires legal identification from all his workers, but he knows IDs can be faked. Every year, his company expects some return mail from the Internal [...]