Changing Patterns of Fruit and Vegetable Production in New York State, 1970-94

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The objectives of this report are to coordinate and summarize available data and provide an overview of relevant fruit and vegetable production levels and changes over approximately the last twenty-four years. The report reviews 1) the current and historic U.S. fruit and vegetable production levels, 2) the current and historic New York State fruit and vegetable production levels, and 3) the patterns of fruit and vegetable production within specific regions ofNew York State. The information compiled in this report clearly shows that over the past twenty-four years, the fruit and vegetable industry in New York is losing ground to its competitors in other states. New York has witnessed a decline in its number of fruit and vegetable farms, acreage, production and, importantly, its share of U.S. production and value ofthat production over the past twenty-four years. Reasons for these shifting comparative advantages enhancing production in the top five states are not entirely clear and require considerable further research. Some of the factors often cited to explain these shifting advantages include: favorable growing conditions in western and southern states

new technologieslhybrids more suitable to western and southern climates

marketing orientation of larger grower/shippers

water availability and relatively cheap cost in western U.S.

easier access to Pacific Rim export and import markets from western states

lack of urban development pressures in certain western and southern production regions

developments in transportation and refrigeration, and

economies of scale in packing, shipping, selling. In order to compete with other leading producers offruits and vegetables, New York must understand the forces that are driving these production and marketing changes both in New York and its competitors. Some initial evidence suggests that competing states have been able to better meet changing buying requirements and therefore have flourished at the expense of New York State under this new environment.

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E.B. 97-01


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Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University



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