Good Fruit Grower

January 2014

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Page 24 of 47

Before returning to the family farming partnership, Chris Britton, chair of U.S. Apple Association, was a stockbroker, an occupation that well prepared him for risks that go with farming. "Right behind immigration is dealing with the new Food Safety Modernization Act. I don't know if all growers are aware of how ominous it may turn out to be," said Britton, adding that USApple has been very active on the issue and submitted detailed comments on the proposed regulations as part of the public comment process. The third legislative priority is getting a Farm Bill passed, he said. Previous Farm Bills have funded specialty crop research, national clean plant programs, and the Market Access Program designed to boost agricultural exports. "The MAP funding alone makes the Farm Bill a huge issue on our agenda. We need to expand and grow foreign markets and strengthen those that are already open." How does a national group effectively represent everyone? "USApple gives us the ability to speak with one voice on Capitol Hill," he said. "However, speaking with one voice requires a conscientious effort to suppress what your individual wants and needs are in working for the greater good. There are issues in Washington and California that East Coast growers may not have to deal with, but often their issues, like the brown marmorated stinkbug, become our issues. We all breathe the same air. Your problems are my problems. At times, you have to speak with one voice and suppress what might be right for you while working for the greater good. "I've never seen an organization more dedicated to industry unity. I believe that comes from leadership prior to me—Bill Dodd, Bruce Grim, and others dedicated to speaking with one voice." Are there similarities between the stock market and agriculture? "There's a great amount of risk and market fluctuations in both the stock market and agriculture. Both can be influenced by outside forces," Britton said, adding that in his first year as a stockbroker, he wanted to quit and return to the family farm. "I was new and had my own firm in Modesto. In that first year, things weren't going very well. In fact, I was starving. "When I told my dad I wanted to come back to the farm, he said, no, I couldn't come back right then, so I stuck it out for ten years, eventually enjoying what I was doing. When I did come back, it was on my terms. I'm so thankful that my dad made me wait before coming back." • GOOD FRUIT GROWER JANUARY 1, 2014 25

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