Good Fruit Grower

January 2012

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GOOD TO GO For a complete listing of upcoming events, check the Calendar at January 11–13 Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism and Organic Conference, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Springfield, Illinois. For information, call (217) 244-2126 or e-mail January 13 Cherry Institute, Yakima Convention Center, Yakima, Washington. For information, call (509) 453-4837, e-mail, or visit January 15-18 JANUARY January 3–4, 2012 Pasco Real Ag Convention and Trade Show, TRAC Center, Tri-Cities, Washington. For information, visit www.pascorealag .com. January 5–6 Yakima Ag Expo, Yakima Valley Sundome, Yakima, Wash ing ton. Call (509) 248-2900 or visit January 5–6 Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference, Embassy Suites Hotel, Lexington, Kentucky. Contact John Strang, (859) 257- 5685 or e-mail January 8–11 International Fruit Tree Association Annual Conference, "High Density, High Profit, Competitiveness in the Southern Hemisphere," Grand Hyatt Santiago Hotel, Santiago, Chile. Field tours to southern Chile, Argentina, and Brazil offered January 12–22. For information, visit January 10–11 Minnesota Apple Growers Winter Conference, La Crosse, Wisconsin. Contact Ralph Yates, (507) 895-2388 or go to Northwest Food Manufacturing and Packaging Expo, Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon. For information, call (503) 327-2200, e-mail, or visit January 16 Lake Chelan Horticultural Day, Chelan High School, Chelan, Washington. Contact Tim Smith, (509) 667-6540 or e-mail January 16–18 Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association Congress, Sandusky, Ohio. For information, visit January 17 North Central Washington Apple Day, Wenatchee Convention Center, Wenatchee, Washington. Contact Tim Smith, (509) 667-6540 or e-mail January 17–19 Indiana Horticultural Congress and Trade Show, Wyndham Indianapolis West, Indianapolis, Indiana. For information, visit January 18 North Central Washington Pear Day, Wenatchee Convention Center, Wenatchee, Washington. Contact Tim Smith, (509) 667-6540 or e-mail January 19 North Central Washington Stone Fruit Day, Wenatchee Convention Center, Wenatchee, Washington. Contact Tim Smith, (509) 667-6540 or e-mail January 19-20 Upper Midwest Regional Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference, St. Cloud, Minnesota. For information, call (763) 434-0400 or e-mail January 24-25 Northwest Michigan Orchard and Machinery Show, Grand Traverse Resort, Acme, Michigan. For more information, call (231) 946-1510 or e-mail January 24–26 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium, Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento, California. For information, visit January 24–26 Apple/Apple Crop Protection Research Review, Red Lion Hotel, Pasco, Washington. Contact Kathy Schmidt, (509) 665- 8271, ext. 2, or e-mail January 24–26 Empire State Fruit and Vegetable Expo, Oncenter Convention Center, Syracuse, New York. For information, e-mail or go to expo/index.php. January 24–26 Northwest Ag Show, Portland Expo Center, Portland, Oregon. For information, call (503) 769-7120; January 27–28 Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers and Marketers Conference, Ankeny, Iowa. For information, call (515) 294-4430. January 31 Okanogan Horticultural Day, Okanogan County Agriplex, Okanogan, Washington. Contact Tim Smith, (509) 667-6540 or e-mail January 31 Tree Fruit Day, Olympia, Washington. Growers visit with state legislators. For more information, e-mail Lynette Smith, AgTools Academy Agricultural economists Karina Gallardo and Clark Seavert will present an AgTools Academy for the tree fruit industry in three locations in Washington State in February. AgTools is a suite of soft- ware programs designed to help agricultural producers make deci- sions to manage financial risk. The academy—a workshop focusing on financing orchard renewal—will be held on February 15 in Wenatchee, February 16 in Yakima, and February 17 in Pasco, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Participants will learn the impor- tance of developing orchard renewal strategies using AgTools. As a case study, they will develop renewal strategies for a representative farm in their area that creates the high- est level of success based on a ten- year forecast of the five most critical financial ratios. In panel discussions, lenders will inform growers of the options available for financing orchard renewal and what is expected from the grower. The academy is free, but as the number of participants is limited, registration is required. For information, e-mail Clark Seavert at or check the Web site http://ag NEW CHERRY BOARD proposed A The California cherry industry needs a unified voice, says Chris Zanobini. new marketing order is being pro- posed for California sweet cherries that encompasses all cherry varieties grown in the state. The existing California Cherry Advisory Board was formed in 1993 specifically to represent Bing, Rainier, Van, and Lambert cherries, which accounted for most of the state's cherry production at the time. Since then, Van and Lambert have fallen out of favor, and there's been tremendous growth of the cherry industry in the San Joaquin Valley where other varieties more suited to the hot climate are grown. Now, less than half of California's cherry production is in the varieties covered by the marketing order. The board has been somewhat ham- strung to communicate to the trade and media about California cherries as a whole, because the organization didn't represent all the cherries, said Jeff Colombini, an orchardist and grape grower in Stockton, who serves as chair of the Cherry Advisory Board. The existing marketing order would require a continuation referendum in order to operate beyond March 2012. The board is proposing to establish a new marketing order called the California Cherry Market and Research Program and let the old marketing order expire. The main benefit of the new marketing order is that it would represent all cherry pro- ducers in the state, Colombini said. "We're able to speak with one voice and be the author- itative voice for the entire industry. We had to be very cognizant about the fact that we were not representing all the industry, and we didn't want to open ourselves up to potential litigation by making statements about something we haven't any authority over." 32 JANUARY 1, 2012 GOOD FRUIT GROWER A group of cherry growers and packers has been meeting over the past few months to decide on the responsibilities, duties, and areas of focus for the proposed new marketing order. The existing board employed part-time field representatives to arrange promotions with retailers, but the group determined that domestic promotions for California cherries are best handled by the marketers rather than the advisory board. The proposed new marketing order will handle only export promotions, with partial funding from the federal Market Access Program, and, even in export markets, will focus on activities that make sense for the entire industry rather than direct retail promotion and merchandising. The new marketing order will also allocate funding for cherry research projects. Although domestic promotions have been eliminated, the board might do outreach or educational activities. With the board's reduced role, it was not economically feasible to maintain its office and full-time staff, Colombini said. Executive Manager Jim Culbertson was let go last year, the offices at Lodi were closed, and Chris Zanobini, president of Ag Association Manage- ment Services in Sacramento, took over the management. Ag Association Management Services represents about 25 agricultural groups, including the California Pear Advisory Board. The association has the staff to deal with a variety of issues on behalf of the organizations it represents. Zanobini said it is critically important that the California cherry industry is able to have a unified voice, particularly when dealing with issues such as invasive pests or trade matters. The California Department of Food and Agriculture held a public hearing in Novem- ber to gauge support for a new marketing order. The department was expected to announce by mid-December whether a grower referendum would be held in January. In order to pass, the referendum would require a favorable vote from either at least 50 per- cent of the growers representing at least 65 percent of the volume or 65 percent of the growers representing at least 50 percent of the acreage. At least 40 percent of the growers must vote for the measure to pass. If the referendum passes, the new marketing order will be certified by the beginning of March. The assessment growers pay to the marketing order has varied year by year but has averaged about 18 cents per 18-pound box of cherries, with packers paying another 18 cents, Colombini said. The assessment rate under the new marketing order will start out at 7.5 cents from the grower and 7.5 cents from the packer, Zanobini said. —G. Warner

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