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How do we prepare for an uncertain future? There are many programs available to the grower such as the EQUIP grant program that is currently supplying funds to the ECO-Apple project in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin growers have received EQUIP funds to assist them in their IPM programs for apples. I have the benefit if networking with these growers, yet in Illinois non of these EQUIP funds are available for IPM in Illinois. I would move to an even more low spray program if funds were available. There are EQUIP funds available for Irrigation or Land Management programs which we hope to take advantage of to possibly computerize our drip irrigation system to make it even more efficient. But the real environmental impact could be felt in the area of IPM where we could use such programs as mating disruption, which is currently more costly for us than spraying. We have already received a small grant for the use of cover crops in weed control and have even moved to the use of cover crops for apple replant disease. But we could produce better quality products if we had more financial assistance through Equip grant programs.
Based on the gentelman's question on Orange County, can this question please be asked of the panel:How can California, and any other state if the horror of Prop 2 occurs elsewhere, become a sustaining agricultural state if there is no livestock? If Prop 2 is implemented dairy and pork will leave, and any producer left will not be able to sustain that large of a population.
Food Alliance standards include safe and fair working conditions for food production and handling. Certification labels that go beyond organic to include issues such as "domestic fair trade" already exist. For more info visit: www.foodalliance.org