3 years ago

Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan


APPENDIX D: INDUSTRY PRACTICES are some important caveats. Notably, apples, peaches and grapes have seen a decline in fresh consumption in the last 10 years. During the 1989-98 period, the per capita consumption of apples dropped 10%, peaches 17% and grapes 8%. The reason for this drop in the more traditional fruits is that consumers have a greater choice of fresh products to pick from. For example, the per capita consumption for the same period of pineapples increased 43%, avocados 29% and strawberries 26%. While there are no guarantees that the trends of the past will continue into the future, it seems likely that consumer preferences for fresh fruit and vegetables will likely persist as the U.S. population ages. Older Americans are becoming "healthy eaters" because they tend shift to foods, which may prevent heart disease and cancer. In fact, people in the 55- 64 year old age group consume 39% more fresh fruit and vegetables than the national average. Therefore, as the proportion of the U.S. population grows older, the trend of higher fresh fruit and vegetable consumption should continue. Traditional retailers are responding by expanding the size of their produce departments. Between 1987 and 1997, the share of produce moving through merchant wholesalers, including wholesale produce markets, declined while the share of shipments to large selfdistributing grocery retailers increased. As a result there was a major trend in wholesaler consolidation and today there are approximately 50% fewer wholesalers on the markets. Merchant wholesalers have survived by becoming larger, performing more functions and consumer services, and handling a larger array of specialty produce items. As food retailers consolidate and expend to take advantage of economies of size, more firms are introducing supply chain management practices such as firm wide purchasing and the use of information technologies to provide the continuous inventory replenishment and individual store oversight. These practices may lower marketing and distribution costs of produce as well. Industry consolidation, the introduction of new technologies, changing consumption patterns, and new marketing and trade practices are important dynamic forces that are likely to continue to shape produce markets and market channels in the future. The super chain stores with their own independent warehousing, cold storage, and food distribution centers have professional staff that includes buyers, who encourage growers to ship direct. Growers who provided consistent volume, packaging and grading, to the chain stores, received improved prices and long term relationships. With improved technology in the field, harvesting, packaging, refrigeration, and transportation, growers from all over the country and world can reach markets that were once not accessible in a matter of one or two days. Along with the increase in restaurants and fast food came the increased demand and cost for labor. As a result, this increased the demand for value added, fresh cut, and ready to eat prepared foods. The past 10 years has seen a major increase in value added processed foods not only at the wholesale level, but at the retail level as well. Copyright©, 2000: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia MD 12

APPENDIX D: INDUSTRY PRACTICES The health conscious more educated consumer has also increased the demand for local community retail farmers markets. The past 10-15 years, there has been a phenomenal growth in retail markets. This is a place where not only are they purchasing directly from the farmer, but it puts them more in touch with their heritage that they have lost touch with to a great degree. They are able to receive a high quality product and at the same time be able to ask questions about the crop and how it was produced. The more progressive farmers are now providing home recipes for their crops, providing that additional service. These markets for the most part are not expensive structures, but strategically located, heavily advertise, temporary markets. Consumers may visit a market once, maybe twice a week. The markets are organized where each day of the week, certified farmers will congregate at a particular location. Each day of the week the market will be located in a different suburb to take advantage of the entire retail demand and their buying patterns. The community than shops that day and most farmers are sold out by midday. “Every week, spring through fall, several sites throughout Fairfax County become bustling marketplaces for farmers, residents and employees of our communities. Mere paved surfaces spring alive with the abundant sights, sounds, smells, and colors of an open air produce market. The markets are a return to a way of life once commonplace for many of our parents and grandparents.” ( Those markets that conduct seasonal festivities, advertise and promote have generated strong retail trade. The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 has had the most profound impact on the production practices of fruits and vegetables than any other piece of legislation. Simply put, the reregistration process with the new tolerance levels and reduction in benefits will and has reduced the number and types of pest management tools for the agricultural community. Some of the more traditional farm chemicals like the organophosphates will no longer be available for use. For example, a majority of the apple growers on the east cost have not expanded their production, but are just maintaining what they already have. With the foreseen loss of some of their primary pest management tools, apple growers which have previously gone to the dwarf tree root stock in the past are now reverting back to the mid size trees. The primary reason, the pest management tolls for blight that the dwarf trees are very susceptible to, are being lost. So the apple growers are going to the more disease resistant trees. In addition to the FQPA of 1996, the use of methyl bromide, a soil fumigant, has to be completely phased out by 2005. Methyl Bromide is used in the production of tobacco, and fruits and vegetables. Methyl Bromide is very efficient and effective in the control of soil nematodes and other soil pests, especially in hot moist climates like Florida. To date, there are no similar comprehensive alternatives. For example, methyl bromide is a must for strawberry growers in Florida. If no alternatives are developed, this could create opportunities for growers farther to the north where the cold winter climates destroy potential pests. Copyright©, 2000: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia MD 13

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