Fruits and Veggies


Immigration and Labor Handbook

Topics in this section (click to go to each topic directly or simply scroll down to the appropriate topic):

>Insuring Diversified Fruit and Vegetable Farms by Jeffrey K. O’Hara
“>Insuring Diversified Fruit and Vegetable Farms by Jeffrey K. O’Hara
Understanding the Produce Industry
Insuring Diversified Fruit and Vegetable Farms by Jeffrey K. O’Hara
Fundamental Forces Affecting US Fresh Fruit Produce Growers and Marketers by Roberta L. Cook
Situation and Outlook Information

Vegetables and Melons Outlook is an electronic report, issued every other month by USDA/ERS in newsletter format, featuring current intelligence and forecasts of changing conditions in the U.S. vegetable and melon sectors. Topics include production, consumption, prices, trade and more.

USDA/ERS Briefing Room: Vegetables and Melons On this website, ERS provides analyses of the U.S. fresh, canned, frozen, and dehydrated vegetable industries.

Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook is an electronic report, issued every other month in newsletter format, featuring current intelligence and forecasts of changing conditions in the U.S. fruit and tree nut sectors. Topics include production, consumption, prices, trade, and more.

USDA/ERS Briefing Room: Fruit and Tree Nuts This briefing room presents economic analyses, data, and graphics about U.S. fruit and tree nuts, including data on harvested acreage, commercial production, crop value, trade, and per capita use

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Fruit and Vegetable Programs homepage is an essential source for answering questions related to this industry. Key links include Publications, Marketing Orders, Processed Product Grading and Quality Certification, Audit Verification Program, and Commodity Procurement for Domestic Food Assistance Programs. The USDA-AMS Market News website provides links to produce prices and movement data reports (new and archived) and directories for shipping point locations and terminal markets. Also, the AMS Quality Standards webpage links to the standards established by the USDA for fresh market fruits and vegetables, fruits and vegetables for processing, and nuts and specialty crops.

The Packer has long been referred to as the “Wall Street Journal” of the produce industry. The Crops & Markets section provides thorough and accurate assessments of them, anticipateing the changes that will affect the industry.The Handling & Distributing section reports on the products and services that increase the business efficiency, and topics like food safety, computer software, packaging, transportation, processing and labeling. Major receiving markets are profiled in frequent Know Your Market sections. Shipping Profiles and Marketing Profiles also appear throughout the year. The Packer also produces annual publications that are free with a subscription. Extra copies are available at an additional charge. Fresh Trends is a profile of the fresh produce consumer and is the only comprehensive consumer study in the industry. The survey covers attitudes and perceptions toward fresh produce and asks consumers about their produce consumption habits.

Fintrac conducts customized market and technical research on fresh produce, processed foods, flowers, spices and other agribusiness products worldwide, with an emphasis on entering the North American, major Asian, Middle Eastern, and European markets.
References on Produce Marketing

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Marketing and Trade Information – a website developed by Roberta Cook of the University of California-Davis. This site provides a plethora of articles and links related to all facets of the fruits and vegetable industry. Specific topics include WTO, NAFTA, US-Mexico Bi-lateral Trade, International Trade Information, and a comprehensive marketing section related to both international and domestic issues.

Urban Influence and the U.S. Vegetable Industry analyzes Census population and acreage data to examine the complex relationship between population growth and vegetable production. Findings indicate that although urbanization has caused shifts in land use, overall vegetable area has not diminished in metropolitan counties over the past several decades. Given its high production intensity/high net return characteristics, vegetable production may be one of the last agricultural enterprises to disappear from urbanizing areas.

The Produce Marketing Association is a marketing organization focusing on fresh fruits, vegetables and other related products worldwide. The website is a good source for industry related issues including industry consolidation, technology, and global trade practices.

Sustainable Vegetable Production from Start-Up to Market, NRAES-104 ($42.00 plus S&H/sales tax, 280 pages, August 1999). Successful vegetable farmers do much more than produce vegetables; they also manage money, people, and natural resources effectively. A new book from NRAES, the Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service, can broaden the knowledge and guide the planning of those who grow vegetables or are considering beginning a vegetable production business.
Fruit and Vegetable Crop Budgets. The following links will provide the user with technical information pertaining to enterprise budgets for vegetables.

Kentucky Commercial Vegetable Budgets and Decision Aids

Georgia Vegetable Budgets

Texas Vegetable Budgets

Pennsylvania Alternative Crop Factsheets & Budgets

South Carolina Vegetable and Melon Budgets

Alabama Vegetable Budgets

Virginia Fruit and Vegetable Budgets

Organic Fruit and Vegetable Budgets (Rutgers)

FAMOUS Software provides technology solutions to various types produce companies. Whether you are a grower, farm manager, packer, shipper, broker, distributor, or wholesaler, FAMOUS has a software system for you. Choose an entry-level, mid-range or fully featured system capable of helping you grow your business. You can add applications at any time and immediately link them into your current system.
Containers and Packaging

Container net weights – This list shows fruit and vegetable commodities and their most commonly used containers. The net weight signifies the conversion factor used to convert weight packages to pounds.

Containers and packaging of fruits and vegetables

Packaging requirements for fresh fruits and vegetables

Packaging requirements for fresh fruits and vegetables

The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks
Prices, on-line magazines and news sources are essential for gathering up to the minute information. The following links will provide timely information related to prices, classifieds, industry information, articles, and market trends.

Today’s Market Prices: Daily Herbs, Fruit & Vegetables Wholesale Market Prices

USDA Market News Service: Fruit and Vegetable Prices (FOB and wholesale price reports)

The Packer On-Line offers the latest produce news and Market Trends (weekly FOB prices)

The Vegetable Grower News
Credit Reporting Services:

Produce Reporter Company (publishers of the Blue Book) has been also provided current and accurate credit and marketing information to businesses involved in the wholesale fresh fruit and vegetable industry. They incorporate the latest technology into the reporting process— delivering information you need, when and how you want it. Learn about the following benefits of Blue Book Membership by visiting their website: The Hardbound Blue Book – Available in printed form, the Blue Book provides concise listing information on produce and transportation companies within the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and other International locations. The Electronic Blue Book – As a Blue Book Member, you can enjoy the time and money-saving power of the Electronic Blue Book (EBB) on CD-ROM. Quickly reference a current Blue Book listing or rating, perform a complex search, or keep a close “eye” on your customers and contacts, right from your desktop PC or laptop. Blue Book Online – The produce and transportation industries change rapidly, so you need up-to-the-minute information to make informed decisions and protect your bottom line. Blue Book Online delivers this timely, accurate, and reliable business information to your desktop in seconds.
Risk Management for Specialty Crops – Risk is an inherent factor in the production and marketing of specialty crops. The following resources provide excellent information regarding the proper management of production, marketing, financial, legal, environmental, and human resource risks.

USDA-Risk Management Agency (excellent overview information)

National Ag Risk Education Library (specialty crops section)

Risk Management Curriculum Guide (very extensive site at Texas A&M Univ.)
Crop Insurance Options for Horticultural Producers

Multiple Peril Crop Insurance (overview of MPCI provisions for nursery crops)
Commodity Specific Reports:
The Organic Market
2005 Price Premiums Hold on as U.S. Organic Produce Market Expands explores price premiums and market margins for carrots, broccoli, and mesclun mix. Fresh produce has long been an important component of the organic food sector, and a significant contributor to the organic industry’s growth over the last decade.
Georgia Organics Programs Resources

Organic Produce, Price Premiums, and Eco-Labeling in U.S. Farmers’ Markets by Amy Kremen, Catherine Greene, and Jim Hanson, Outlook Report No. (VGS-301-01) 12 pp, April 2004, The popularity of farmers’ markets in the United States has grown concurrently with organic production and consumer interest in locally and organically produced foods. This research describes the significance of farmers’ markets as market outlets for many organic farmers, and recent shifts in relationships between organic growers, market managers, and customers. Market managers in more than 20 States answered questions by phone pertaining to the 2002 market season. Their responses provide insight into recent grower, manager, and customer decisionmaking and attitudes about foods advertised and sold as organic at farmers’ markets.

Recent Growth Patterns in the U.S. Organic Foods Market by Carolyn Dimitri and Catherine Greene, ERS Agriculture Information Bulletin No. AIB777. 42 pp, September 2002. Economic research on recent growth patterns in the U.S. organic sector, by market category, and a description of the marketing channels for major organic commodity groups. A summary of various research, regulatory, and other ongoing programs on organic agriculture in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

ERS/USDA Briefing Room – Organic Farming and Marketing. Check this site often for the latest trends regarding organic agriculture including data, publications, and other resources

2002 Organic Food Industry Taps Growing American Market. American consumer interest in organically grown foods has opened new market opportunities, leading to a transformation in the organic foods industry. Organic food is currently sold in a wide variety of venues, including farmers’ markets, natural foods supermarkets, conventional supermarkets, and club stores. New national organic standards will facilitate the marketing of organic products to consumers.

Organic Fruit and Vegetable Budgets (Rutgers).
Greenhouse Vegetables
2010 North American Greenhouse Tomatoes Emerge as a Major Market Force reviews the rapid growth of the greenhouse tomato industry in North American and its impact on the field tomato industry. Canada is the biggest producer, followed by the United States and Mexico. For the full report, see Greenhouse Tomatoes Change the Dynamics of the North American Fresh Tomato Industry.
Fruit-specific Reports:

Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium – this website contains cultural and marketing related information regarding small fruit production in the Southern Region. Results from the most current and innovative applied research projects conducted by land-grant university researchers are presented. If you are currently producing small fruit or are in the midst of your entrepreneurial investigation into small fruit production, you cannot afford to miss this site!
Tennessee Fruit and Nut Production is a UT website maintained by Dr. Dave Lockwood, Extension Specialist specializing in fruits, nuts, and wine.

The U.S. Blueberry Industry focuses on the 1980’s through the early 1990’s, with emphasis on leading sources of production, trends in output, demand for fresh and processed blueberry products, prices, and trade. It also includes a description of farm characteristics, cultivation and management practices, and state-level industry descriptions.
International Trade Related:

The U.S. Ag Trade Balance…More Than Just a Number explains why the value of U.S. agricultural imports has been increasing faster than exports, a trend closely tied to higher per capita consumption of fruits, vegetables, and wine. The article further discusses prospects for U.S. food imports and the agricultural trade balance as the size, diversity, and tastes of the U.S. population change through the decade.

Country-of-Origin Labeling: Theory and Observation examines the economic rationale behind the various claims about the effect of country-of-origin labeling and indicates that mandatory country-of-origin labeling would likely generate more costs than benefits. Voluntary country-of-origin labeling is an option, but food suppliers have generally discounted the U.S. label as a quality attribute that can attract sufficient consumer interest.

Regulatory Barriers in International Horticultural Markets examines the impact of multilateral trade rules on the use of sanitary and phytosanitary measures applied to fruit and vegetable imports. These rules have lowered many unnecessary barriers to horticultural trade, primarily through requirements that regulations be transparent and based on science.

Produce, Food Safety, and International Trade reviews the private and public responses to food safety problems of imported produce by examining three cases: Guatemalan raspberries, Mexican strawberries, and Mexican cantaloupe. Outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with imports affect U.S. consumers, growers of the contaminated product, and frequently U.S. producers. While the three cases focus on fruit, the lessons learned also apply to vegetables.

The Role of Exports in the U.S. Fruit and Vegetable Industry details the expansion of fruit and vegetable exports during the 1990’s. The article found that nearly 10 percent of fruit and vegetable supply was exported in 1997 and fruit crops were more export-dependent than vegetables.

Vegetable Policies in Japan by Kenzo Ito and John Dyck, ERS No. VGS293-01., November 2002. This publication provides a detailed description and analysis of policies used by Japan to support its vegetable producers and to regulate vegetable markets. Domestic policies include compensation to farmers when market prices fall below a moving average of historical prices, subsidies to make farms and processing more efficient, and subsidized hazard insurance for greenhouses and some field crops. The government has provided incentives to divert land from rice into vegetables. At the border, tariffs are less than 13 percent, except for a tariff-rate quota on dried beans. Phytosanitary rules prevent imports of some vegetables.

China Increases Exports of Fresh and Frozen Vegetables to Japan by Sophia S. Huang, ERS No. VGS292-01, August 2002. This report examines China’s sharply increased exports of fresh and frozen vegetables to Japan in the 1990s. The fast growth of Chinese frozen vegetable exports to Japan, however, does not yet pose a serious challenge to the position of U.S. frozen vegetables in Japan. Japan’s frozen vegetable imports from the United States, mainly prepared potatoes and sweet corn, meet with only a minimum challenge from China. In comparison, Chinese fresh vegetables pose more challenges to the United States because Japan’s imports from China have grown strongly in recent years across the board, including broccoli, onions, and asparagus–the three major categories of U.S. fresh vegetable exports to Japan.

Import Penetration in the U.S. Fruit and Vegetable Industry examines the extent to which imports have penetrated U.S. fruit and vegetable markets during the 1990s. The article found that 16 percent of all fruits and vegetables consumed domestically in 1996 came from imports.

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