The Packer’s Tom Karst spoke April 27 with Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association about the outlook for the coming season.
Hall said that a series of tornadoes did hurt some blueberry fields and spring rains have dogged other crops, but in general fruit and vegetable growers are optimistic as the season begins.
COVID-19 relief program for growers are appreciated but it remains to be seen how the Farmers to Families food box program will benefit Georgia, he said. In addition, he said certain provisions of direct payments to farmers will have to be adjusted to serve the needs of Georgia produce growers.
“We appreciate ..the possibility of direct payments, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done on those guidelines,” he said.
Georgia is one of the states that has begun to loosen its social distancing restrictions and Hall weighs in on that process.
For his part, Hall said social distancing has been tough to adjust to.
“I haven’t been to a meeting since March 16, and it really feels strange not being able to drive and go sit down with some growers,” he said.
Hall talks about the status of the fight for seasonal protection for domestic produce and also what the future of industry gatherings might look like.