Keeping Our LBAM Exemption

USDA Issues Exemption for California Cut Flowers and Greens

usda_logo-svgIt was great to have USDA recently announce that all California cut flowers and greens have been added to the exempted host list for the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM).

This provides much needed relief for our farms from any future threat of a federal quarantine, especially during the holiday season.

The request was made by the CCFC on behalf of our farms explaining how commercial flower farming’s best management practices in California basically ensure that the risk of LBAM being spread by shipments of cut flowers is essentially zero.

However, with this exemption secured, it is even more critical that our farms be extra vigilant with their post harvest quality controls.

The exemption does not apply to exporting. Flowers being exported to countries, such as Canada, will still require a phyto, etc.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions.

What I’m Reading:

“Keeping It American Made”

Supporting American Jobs This Holiday Season

The Certified American Grown Flowers campaign is not alone in encouraging people to think twice about their purchases this holiday season. I received an email from the Alliance For American Manufacturing (AFAM) with the subject line saying, “Keep it Made in America this Season with our 2016 Gift Guide.”

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I always appreciate seeing the other industry sectors waving the flag for American jobs.

AFAM also acknowledges what we know we face in the flower business and states in their email, “We know it isn’t always easy to find American-made items at the mall or the big box stores. But by making sure there are at least a few American-made things on your list, you’ll help create jobs and support American workers.

Shop small, buy local, buy American Grown Flowers. These are all just friendly reminder that I appreciate seeing this busy holiday season.

Look for the Certified American Grown flower label this holiday season and take pride in your flowers.

Will Drones Grow Flowers?

Can Drones Drive Efficiency For Growing Flowers?

How will drones help shape the future of flower farming?

So many of the conversations I’ve had with flower farmers have been walking through their fields. We talk about the issues, the business, the Commission, while they look at their plants and flowers. They would be doing that, even if we weren’t meeting. That’s what farmers do; every day, tending to their crop.

Drones in agriculture aren’t a new topic, but after watching Sun Valley’s drone video of their fields in Willow Creek, it does make you wonder. Could our flower farmers use drones to fly through their fields, through their greenhouse, checking on plants, mapping out problems, watching flowers grow?

That future is here. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds. Who uses what, for what and does it save money, improve quality, etc., etc. Do you drive the truck to go talk to the crew, or fly the drone? Can you identify bad bugs with a drone and send in the good ones? Measure productivity with a drone?

A study by Grandview Research found that the drone market for ag will reach $3,770.0 million by 2024, highlighting that, “Increasing automation in the agriculture process, owing to the labor crisis, such as lack of skilled farmers, aging farmers, is also expected to positively impact the market growth.”

Have you seen drones being used in agriculture? How would you see drones used most effectively for flower farming?

What I’m reading:

Bonus! Here is a fun video featuring our Field to Vase Dinner Tour using a drone:

Swag Bag Love. Who Knew?

Field to Vase Swag Bags Are A Hit

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Whole Foods sponsored the Field to Vase Dinner swag bags in Colorado at the Fresh Herb Company.

Half way through 2015’s Field to Vase Tour, we added the “swag bag” to help our guests carry our sponsor’s items and the flowers they receive.

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The Certified American Grown tulips from Stargazer Barn matched the Sunset Magazine’s sponsored swag bags at this year’s Cornerstone dinner.

People love them!

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Guests leaving from the Oregon Flowers’ Field to Vase Dinner in 2015.

I thought this was something practical for these dinners, but our guests really do light up when they receive their bag of goodies and flowers.

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Linda G’s niece made the swag bag come alive when she did this beautiful job of coloring it.

Some people have gone as far as coloring them in! Linda G. sent me this picture of her swag bag that was colored in by her niece. Very well done!

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Swag bags and flowers await the departing guests from our dinner at Holland America Flowers.

Needless to say, the swag bags for 2017 are on order.

If you weren’t able to attend one of our dinners this year, but would like one of these cool swag bags, let me know. I’ve got five extra here in my office I can send out to the first five people who email me.

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Is the Annual California Farm & Flower Guide Appreciated?

Each year we publish a new guide, but do people care?

field_position___advocating_for_america_s_flower_farmersThis fall, the Commission teamed up with Florists’ Review to take stock of our annual effort to publish a farm and flower guide for California. By all accounts, the effort appeared to be valuable, not only to our farms, but to readers. We would receive nice notes of appreciation each year. We would receive requests from wholesalers and teachers of floral design for extra copies.

Apparent success, right?

Well, we just couldn’t let well enough alone and decided to send a survey out to gather the impressions and opinions of Florists’ Review and SuperFloral readers regarding the guide.

I have to admit, the response we received surprised me.

Bottomline, we were clearly underestimating the appreciation for the the effort.

One person said, “I LOVE it -I keep it close to me when I have my Brides/wedding work to share the info -Use it with my students too.”

Another person said, “I love this guide! It’s so handy when explaining floral details to my customers.”

And, “It provides valuable information to the florist who can then educate the consumer. This is a great marketing tool and very informative. And beautiful!!”

I can share more and more of these great comments, but what was really telling was when we ask, “how often would you prefer to receive this kind of California Grown guide?”

You see, admittedly, I was wondering if we should start publishing this guide every other year. Let’s face it, it is hard to know if a print piece like this is really making a difference. So, I was surprised to see the majority (60%) of those surveyed saying that they would like to have receive it twice a year! When you add that to the “once a year” option, we’re looking at 93.7% of people wanting to receive the guide 1-2 times a year!

That’s pretty incredible, if you ask me.

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At the end of the survey we asked respondents to share with us their “love and appreciation” of the guide for their business. Here are a few of my favorite comments:

“I so appreciate that we have growers of our fresh flowers and greens in our country. I like the response I receive from my customers when I say these flowers come from our country. Thank you to them for all they do and the hard work it takes to provide products for us.”

“Consumers want to know where their money is going and that they are supporting real people that they can connect with. This guide provides a connection from the consumer to the producer. Knowing more about the flowers they love makes repeat customers that are well informed! Better quality lasts longer, so we also focus on local product (we live in CA) so it lasts longer for our customers.”

“I have often used the flower guide with my customers to familiarize them with what flowers I plan to use in their arrangements. Using this method has landed me more than one client!”

“My customers love being shown these guides and it makes them more aware of California grown product. Many are surprised as to how many beautiful varieties of flowers and foliage are grown here.”

I am looking forward to sharing all of this great feedback with the Commission’s promotion committee. It should make for a good discussion going into next year’s planning.

Promote Your State!

Farms Can Feature State With Certified American Grown

The Certified American Grown Council recently approved an optional variation of the Certified American Grown logo that allows farms to feature the state of origin for their flowers.

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This variation is available immediately upon request and will be issued as an optional logo to all newly certified farms.

americangrown_statelogoThe decision to provide a state version of the logo is not designed to circumvent or replace an existing state campaign, but rather as an option for farms who would like to feature their state with the brand or for those farms where a state campaign may not exist.

Please contact Andrea@AmericanGrownFlowers.org to receive your optional state logo for your future use.  All newly Certified farms will receive the state version in their graphics file, provided by Certified, Inc, upon their initial certification.

Will Colombians Reach A Peace Deal with the FARC?

Rejected in October, New Efforts Towards Peace Emerge

The peaceful transition of presidential power in the United States has certainly been a focus of the media since the Nov. 8 elections.

Mario Tama/Getty Images Presidential guard soldiers keep watch during the referendum on a peace accord to end the five-decade-long guerrilla war between the FARC and the state on Sunday in Bogota, Colombia. Colombian voters rejected the peace deal in a very close vote.

Mario Tama/Getty Images Presidential guard soldiers keep watch during the referendum on a peace accord to end the five-decade-long guerrilla war between the FARC and the state on Sunday in Bogota, Colombia. Colombian voters rejected the peace deal in a very close vote.

However, in Colombia, they are still looking to establish peace from a 52 year civil war with FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) leftist rebels.

A peace agreement, brokered by Colombian President Juan Manual Santos, was recently rejected by a majority of Colombian voters in October.

This peace deal isn’t completely dead and with the majority of cut flowers sold in the U.S. coming from Colombia, it’s something for the U.S. floral industry to watch.

I had a chance to speak to a couple of my Colombian colleagues during this year’s Wholesale Florist & Floral Supply Association (WFFSA) convention in Miami and they shared how sharply divided their country is over any peace deal with the FARC.

While our country goes through the process of a changing administration, the issues and ideas of living in “peace” is certainly relative.

What I’m Reading:

Honoring Congresswoman Capps

Luncheon to recognize Capps for years of leadership for flower farmers

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Congresswoman Lois Capps

I remember our very first farm tour with Congresswoman Capps. It was a big deal and a great opportunity. I had been serving as CEO for the Cut Flower Commission for about two years and we were preparing for a meeting that would redefine the Congresswoman’s representation of the region.

Congresswoman Lois Capps meeting with Wilja Happé of Farmers' West in Carpinteria.

Congresswoman Lois Capps meeting with CCFC past chair Wilja Happé of Farmers’ West in Carpinteria in 2009.

 

CCFC past chair Hans Brand with Congresswoman Capps on the farm tour in 2009.

CCFC past chair Hans Brand with Congresswoman Capps on the farm tour in 2009.

Our flower farm tours in Carpinteria Valley would become that turning point and Congresswoman Capps would go on to not only raise the profile of the farms in her district, but would help lead the effort of addressing the issues and challenges for flower farmers throughout the United States. In a bipartisan effort, Congresswoman Capps helped to launch the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus. This caucus is a collection of members of Congress who understand the benefits and opportunities involved with cut flower and greens production here in the United States.

Congresswoman Capps was essential in the bipartisan effort to launch the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus in 2014.

Congresswoman Capps was essential in the bipartisan effort to launch the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus in 2014.

In 2015, Congresswoman Lois Capps announced her plans to retire at the end of her term. To recognize the Congresswoman for her commitment to the cut flower farming community, the Commission will be honoring her at a special luncheon on December 10th in Santa Barbara.

We’d love to have you join us, but seating is limited, so please register right away!

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The Tour Makes A Difference

2016 Field to Vase Dinner Tour Ends In Woodland

The only good thing about this year’s Field to Vase Dinner Tour ending is the anticipation for the 2017 tour to begin.

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The glow of the greenhouse lights after dark during the dinner in Woodland.

Our last American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Holland America Flowers in Woodland, Washington, was a wonderful way to

Waving the Flag at WFFSA

Certified American Grown promotes America's flower farmers at annual conference

This year’s annual Wholesale Florist & Floral Supply Association (WFFSA) conference was held at the Miami Airport Convention Center and Certified American Grown was there in a big way.

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Certified American Grown farms stand with the all American Grown American Flag during the WFFSA reception on Wednesday night. Pictured left to right Ben Dobbe of Holland America Flowers, Nicollete Wakefield of Holland America Flowers, John Donati of Ocean View Flowers, Jana Wilcox of Ocean View Flowers, David Register of Fern Trust, Eddie Espinoza of Green Valley Flowers, Kasey Cronquist of Certified American Grown, Misty Welborn of Mellano & Company, Mike M. Mellano of Mellano & Company and F.J. Trzuskowski of Continental Floral Greens.

The Certified American Grown farms rallied to promote the American Grown program to the nation’s