New version of sustainability standard for crops available

SCS Standards recently announced the publication of the latest version of its sustainability standard, the Certification Standard for Sustainably Grown Agricultural Crops (SCS-001 Version 3.0), according to a news release. Third-party certification under this internationally recognized standard helps to ensure that producers are working diligently to provide a safe and healthy work environment, support farmworkers and communities, and protect vital environmental resources such as clean air, clean water and wildlife habitat while reducing energy consumption, carbon emissions and waste.

In the latest version, the standard, which has been used to certify a wide range of crops — from tree fruits, melons and berries to salad greens, nuts, herbs and olives — has been both streamlined and updated in several important ways. Under Version 3.0, in addition to earning the right to make the claim of being sustainably grown, producers whose crops are certified will be qualified to make complementary claims, either immediately or over a defined phase-in period, for areas including: farmworker protection, water conservation, soil conservation and biodiversity protection, as well as pollinator-friendly and climate-neutral categories.

Another important advance is the recognition of “trailblazers” in key performance categories, which include: living wage, regenerative agriculture, farmworker empowerment, community development and biodiversity champion.

“We’re very excited about these important new developments,” said Victoria Norman, executive director of SCS Standards. “These innovations help set the sustainably grown standard apart, giving producers valuable recognition for their sustainability accomplishments.”

Producers seeking to be certified or to renew their certifications under SCS-001 can begin using Version 3.0. Starting April 1, all audits will be conducted against Version 3.0. Existing certificate holders will transition to the new version of the standard at their next audit, at the latest starting July 1. To download a copy of the standard, go to:

Smart Apply updates spray control system

Agricultural technology company Smart Apply Inc. has released its second-generation Intelligent Spray Control System that upgrades operational toughness in the field and greatly expands precision data functionality, according to a news release.

First launched in 2019, Smart Apply’s Intelligent Spray Control System combines lidar-enabled precision spraying with the ability to automatically collect and store data in the cloud during each spray event. To date, specialty growers of tree fruits and nuts, grapes, hops and nurseries using the system have been able to reduce chemical and water use by an average of 50 percent while decreasing chemical runoff by up to 97 percent and airborne drift up to 83 percent. 

Smart Apply’s Gen2 exponentially improves the system by making it more impervious to the rigors of the field as well as easier to install and maintain. Among the biggest changes are a more sophisticated yet simple-to-use electrical system with 50 percent fewer electrical connectors, a single power harness with a circuit breaker to protect the battery and eliminate fuses, and a common ground that reduces the number of wires to the solenoids. The control board has been expanded to support 40 spray nozzles, a significant improvement for larger airblast sprayers. Additionally, the system’s new junction box is sealed for improved weather protection and wire and component management. 

“Today’s growers face rising costs; mandates on chemical and water use; verification requirements from government agencies, export partners and brands; and their own desire to be better stewards of the land,” said Jerry Johnson, the company’s CEO. “Smart Apply Gen2 is a transformational tool that enables corporate to privately owned growers alike to meet these challenges head on while making their operations simpler, more profitable and sustainable.”

The Smart Apply Intelligent Spray Control System is sold as a kit that can be retrofitted to any airblast sprayer. The system is the winner of the 2021 World Ag Expo Top 10 Award, 2021 SIMA Paris Gold Award and 2020 ASABE AE50 Outstanding Innovation Award. 

For more information, go to:

Certis Biologicals introduces new copper biofungicide

Certis Biologicals recently launched a new copper product, Kocide 50DF (copper hydroxide), according to a news release. Kocide 50DF enters the market with the same efficacy of previous Kocide biofungicides that growers have relied upon for generations, but in a high-load formulation.

Kocide 50DF is available now for use in integrated pest management programs for citrus and specialty crop growers in every U.S. state through major input distributors and retailers. The premium, high-load, copper biofungicide can serve as both a preventative and curative product to combat a variety of fungal plant diseases, including blight, anthracnose, crown, canker, phytophthora and rot.

“We know that growers have trusted Kocide for generations to protect their crops and their livelihoods,” said Amy O’Shea, Certis president and CEO. “Because of the addition of Kocide 50DF as a high-load copper, our Kocide portfolio is now the comprehensive set of copper tools that any grower needs to protect their crops and the environments in which they grow.”

For more information, go to:

BioSafe Systems celebrates 25 years in business

Lauren Crane
Lauren Crane

BioSafe Systems is celebrating 25 years in business and its mission to manufacture effective chemistry that protects crops, people and the planet, according to a news release. Founded in 1998, the company’s brand is built on a creative and collaborative effort to change mindsets about sustainable chemistry’s successful work in the field, according to the release.

“It has been a unique privilege to watch BioSafe Systems develop from our humble beginnings in my dad’s basement to the company we are today,” said Lauren Crane, president and CEO. “We strive to develop sustainable products that have a positive impact on the earth and benefit future generations. It may not always be the easy way, but it’s the right way. We continue building relationships and helping people when they need it, including our customers, partners and employees. I am grateful for all we’ve accomplished in the past 25 years; I’m honored to lead the company and excited for the next 25 years.”

For more information, visit:

Balchem’s new biostimulant designed to protect plants

Balchem Plant Nutrition recently released Metalosate StimPlus, a new biostimulant product that can increase yields and help plants to be healthier and stronger when resisting environmental stressors, according to a news release. The natural mode of action in Metalosate StimPlus, a proprietary blend of amino acid chelated minerals and seaweed extract, also contributes to healthier ecological sustainability practices, such as soil microbiome enhancement, encouraging plant health, higher yields and less impact from minerals leaching into the water table. 

“Our team developed Metalosate StimPlus as a solution to growing concerns about maximizing plant growth potential, increasing tolerance to abiotic and oxidative stress, and increasing sustainable agriculture solutions,” said Jeremy O’Brien, Balchem’s global sales director. “We found a way to do all those things with one formula. It is ultimately a tool for farmers to increase yields, quality and financial productivity.” 

Metalosate StimPlus is approved for foliar and ground application for encouraging growth at the leaf and root levels. It is now available at select agricultural retailers in California. For more information, go to:

Category Partners adds fresh foods marketing veteran

Eric Le Blanc
Eric Le Blanc

Category Partners recently announced it has added industry veteran Eric Le Blanc to its growing team of fresh foods industry experts, according to a news release. Le Blanc joins Category Partners following 19 years of leading deli marketing, consumer research and data analytics at Tyson Foods.

“We’re delighted to have a pro of Eric’s caliber join us,” said Tom Barnes, CEO of Category Partners. “We’ve known Eric for many years, and we know he brings experience, passion and expertise in fresh foods marketing and performance analysis that is second to none. Tyson Foods is one of the most successful marketing organizations in the food business. Bringing in Eric’s experience is a great addition to our team and should be a terrific asset to our clients.”

In recent years, Category Partners has continued to expand its reach to include consumer research, marketing support, sales analysis and data visualization across all fresh food departments. 

“I’m thrilled to join the team at Category Partners,” said Le Blanc. “I’ve seen the results of Category Partners’ consumer research and data analytics work in the industry for years, so I know they set the bar high. I’m looking forward to adding my many years of experience in fresh food marketing and research to the team.”

Eric resides in western New York where he has a small farm. 

For more information, visit:

Grafting Systems updates website

Grafting Systems recently announced it has updated and completely revamped its website to make it fully compatible with e-commerce, according to a news release. While the new website looks the same, the former website required customers to make separate order and payment transactions. The upgrade now allows customers to place orders directly on the website and pay online in one visit. Grafting Systems’ complete line of Scionon tools and other products can now be purchased quickly and more efficiently.

The web address is still the same:

Grafting Systems is a division of Moser Fruit Tree Sales Inc. in Coloma, Michigan, and is a family-owned company that has served the orchard and fruit tree industry for over 70 years.