Glass half full: your biggest worries for 2014

07/01/2014 02:36:00 PM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstThe biggest immediate worry I had today was whether there would still be a well-stocked dessert table in the break room 30 minutes after our heavily-attended company barbecue party. I rolled the dice and, viola, a return trip to the break room found it still sagging from plenty of sweet treats.

That was my “first world” problem today, which wasn’t a problem at all.

 But life is not all strawberry shortcake, contrary to my experience today. I asked the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group this question, and I want your response, too:

What are the top three produce industry worries for the balance of 2014?

Some responses so far include traceability, ability to minimize recalls, soaring fuel prices, the fear of another market crash and a long and protracted fight over amnesty/immigration reform.

 There are plenty of reasons to be discouraged about the prospects for immigration reform, based on the recent comments of President Obama. House Republicans say they don’t trust President Obama, and that reality apparently can’t be altered, no matter persistent industry lobbying efforts and the cross-country fly-ins to D.C. by growers of every type.

President Obama promises executive action, but will these moves be favorable for the industry?

And this economy isn’t inspiring a lot of confidence. The most recent National Restaurant Association poll of foodservice operators said that only 28% of those surveyed believe economic conditions will improve in the next six months. Fifteen percent said they expect the economy to shrink and 57% said they expect economic conditions to stay about the same.

Many growers likely are worried about the long term effects of the Western drought. In this piece on Waterline.com, federal meteorologist Brad Rippey said that at currrent usage rates, California has less than two years of water remaining. While the drought may not have a huge impact this year, growers and their buyers can spend plenty worrying about what the future will look like.

This NPR feature follows water well drillers in their search for shrinking groundwater supplies. 


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