Good Fruit Grower

December 2015

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Page 78 of 95 Good Fruit Grower DECEMBER 2015 79 of the Washington Growers Clearing House board for ten years until the association merged into the Washington State Tree Fruit Association last year. He represented the association during the transition and is a board member of the new association. "In the whole consolidation process with the Clearing House, there was the concern that came up time and time again: Are the big guys going to take over?" he said. "I think the structure is there so that if small guys want to be involved, they can. We designed it that way and that's why I'm taking my turn. "If I wasn't willing to invest time and energy into it, what would I expect for my son and the next generation?" he asked. "I want to do my best to represent the smaller grower in a less favorable area so maybe there's a future." It also helps him understand the broader issues. "Whether you're working at a Fortune 100 company like Boeing, a big conglomerate like Gebbers Farms, Rainier Fruit, or Stemilt, or on my little farm, we're all fac- ing the same challenges and issues—global politics and currency valuations and all those things that are going on that decide who can afford to buy our product," he said. Consolidation Godwin thinks further industry consolidation is inevi- table, partly because new technology, such as robots, will require a certain economy of scale. But he is convinced there will be a place for the small grower, though it may mean having 250 acres of the right orchard instead of 100. "The way the economy and everything looks now, we're probably in for another few years of tumultuous ups and downs, depending on the crop year, which means it's even more important to choose wisely when you're doing these big investments," he said. "It's going to continue to put pressure on people who aren't willing to innovate and take that step forward. "Fruit growing is still a great lifestyle," he added, "But it's more business than ever." • GERALDINE WARNER/GOOD FRUIT GROWER This orchard at Ellisforde, just north of Tonasket, was established by the Ellis-Forde Company in 1917. Current owner Sam Godwin is replacing the Golden Delicious trees, some of which date back to the original planting, with new managed varieties. His apples are all organic, and he has a contract for his Goldens with a company in Pennsylvania that processes apples for baby foods. PHIL BROWN WELDING CORP. PHIL BROWN WELDING CORP. PHIL BROWN WELDING CORP. Phone (616) 784-3046 • Fax: (616) 784-5852 • 4689–8 Mile Rd NW, Conklin, Michigan 49403 Box Rotator Box Shuttle Double Fork Ground Hog Frost Fan Economy LIft 3-Point Forks 3-Point Hi Lift Conveyors Freight-Mate Durand Wayland Sprayers WE OFFER A FULL LINE OF FRUIT & VEGETABLE EQUIPMENT: Contact Vine Tech Equipment, your Northwest Phil Brown Dealer 509-788-0900 A properly planted tree produces like no other. • Adjustable tree depth. • Works on stony and tough ground. • Shoe swings for handling. • Electronic distance marker also available. • Two row tool bar available. Tree Planter Self-Propelled Work Platform Hydraulic Work Platform (sold separately) can be mounted on any available running gear. See us at NW HORT EXPO and at the GREAT LAKES EXPO

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