Why not volume control in a potato marketing order?I am spending a day or two with my son in San Diego prior to the start of the United Fresh Produce Association. With a few hours to kick around today, I may be setting up camp in a coffee shop or perhaps riding the “Coaster” from Solana Beach to San Diego. Maybe I will find an upscale grocery retailer to visit in my travels and snap a few stealthy pics.

As I scan the headlines this morning, here is what I find of interest to the fruit and vegetable world.

The USDA cranberry marketing order may be preparing to again invoke volume control measures   to restore profitability to growers. A new proposal attempts to come up with an equitable way to compute sales history, taking into account the counterbalance of new acreage, in setting possible new grower allotments. The last time volume control was used in the cranberry marketing order was 2001-2002 season.

Considering the ongoing legal challenges to the United Potato Growers of America cooperative approach to market improvement, would it have been any “cleaner” to create a potato marketing order that could invoke volume control, rather than take the cooperative approach?

In news from the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group, find an interesting thread about whether a supplier has an ethical obligation to call foul if merchandise at the retail level is misbranded or worse.

What is the point of food aid? Is the point of it to facilitate purchases of U.S. agricultural goods to be delivered overseas to distressed people? Or is the point getting food aid to suffering people as efficiently and quickly as possible? Check out this opinion piece and you may see the wisdom in the latter approach.

Don’t look for that kind of total food aid reform in the farm bill. Here are documents that help clarify what is in the House and Senate versions:

House Farm bill summary 

Senate farm bill summary

Look for Senate and House farm bill hearings Tuesday and Wednesday on the farm bill.

While sequestration cutbacks are drawing a steady beat of media coverage(Sequestration could make us sicker and fatter) budgets are also being slashed in Canada. This news report  from the CBC describes the angst over pending cutbacks to research efforts in agriculture.

With industry hoping to ship more cartons to the foodservice market after May 15, size and grade requirements are relaxed for Florida late season oranges.

 Must read coverage from the New York Times on the troubles in the Florida citrus industry

 If Florida tomato growers are reducing their assessments, perhaps they are using the saved money to fight the Department of Commerce suspension agreement? 

On immigration, the political math doesn’t look easy.

Government reports of note:

Hong Kong retail report 

Advance report on retail sales 

Hong Kong foodservice 


Top Packer reads

USDA files PACA actions against five Liborio Markets companies

Arkansas tomatoes to ship by June 10