I was gratified to finally read a clearly written, well-researched and factually accurate article on citrus marketing orders ("Growers Split Over Need to Control Flow" Nov. 3). As an independent orange grower, I would like to offer these observations:
- Marketing orders are self-imposed regulations with no funding from the U.S. Treasury. The marketing order system (including quotas) is favored by an overwhelming majority of Western citrus growers. In the last vote, 91% voted to retain the order for navel oranges. I don't see how that makes us a "split" industry.
- Agriculture, because of the vagaries of nature, is the only industry that cannot control its supply of raw material. Marketing orders take the uncertainties of our business into account, enabling us to manage crop supplies to cope with Mother Nature's vagaries.
A system that allows small farmers to stay in business, delivering ample quantities of fresh fruit to consumers at reasonable and stable prices, is worth defending. The alternative is an oligopoly of corporate giants controlling production and supply.
As a longtime subscriber to The Times, I feel I am getting my money's worth when I see reporting such as this.
FRED P. LoBUE Jr.
Partner, LoBue Bros. Inc.