Locus Traxx and Oppy form strategic partnership

Locus Traxx Worldwide, based in Jupiter, FL, has entered into a strategic partnership with The Oppenheimer Group that will enable Oppenheimer’s customers to track and monitor in real-time the temperature, location and security of their products as they transit the world.

“Efficiency and quality are very important to us at Oppy, and Locus Traxx makes it easier to achieve both,” Steve Roosdahl, executive director of supply chain at Oppy, said in a press release. “Locus Traxx provides cost-effective real-time temperature and truck location updates through EDI, visible in our in-house ERP systems. Every order requires good communication between Oppy transportation, sales and quality assurance staff and the customer. Previously, a single order could require five to 10 calls. Multiply that by over 80,000 orders shipped in a year, and our call volume could be as high as 800,000 conversations. By giving everyone involved in the transaction access to location and temperature details, knowledge is shared much more efficiently, allowing for out-of-temperature loads to be corrected and alternate solutions to be considered long before arrival.”

“We are excited to partner with Oppy, one of the leading companies in the produce industry,” David Benjamin, president and CEO of Locus Traxx Worldwide, added in the press release. “Our job is to provide Oppy with the opportunity to enhance productivity and efficiency, develop new services and improve real-time decision making.

“Our IoT (Internet of Things) and EDI platforms made this an easy and fast integration between our respective systems,” Benjamin added in the press release. “Oppy is now using our original SmartTraxx GO products on their shipments in North America and our new GO XL (Ocean) product on shipments out of Peru. That’s worldwide control.”

New Mexico onion producers address ongoing water shortages

Onion producers in southern New Mexico are addressing water shortages with changing agricultural practices. “Because the drought has forced a big curtailment in water allotments to farmers in southern New Mexico’s Mesilla Valley, they’ve had to make up that shortfall with groundwater,” said Katie Goetz, public information officer for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. “That’s intensified the soil’s available salt. More broadly, growers continue refining their cultural practices, switching to drip, etc., in order to maintain/increase yields.”oncroOfficials from New Mexico State University inspect clipped onions. Conditions during the 2015 production season were mild, and the shipping season began early. (Photo courtesy of New Mexico State University)

Production is primarily concentrated in Doña Ana, Luna, and Sierra counties. “New Mexico growers are working to meet the growing demand for reds and whites, in addition to providing the yellow onions that are mostly grown here,” she stated. “Researchers and seed producers continue working to develop new varieties, particularly reds and whites.”

Goetz said conditions during the current season have been mild. “It's been a warm spring,” she continued. “The shipping season started [in early June] and will run through late August for the most part, although some sheds usually ship through mid-September.”

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is home to a fruit and vegetable inspection program, which Goetz said promotes product quality while easing the movement of New Mexico onions into domestic markets as well as export destinations in Mexico and Canada. “Also, NMDA works with the New Mexico Dry Onion Commission to promote the state’s crop during events like the Produce Marketing Association trade show in October,” Goetz added.

Onions are among New Mexico’s top 10 cash-producing crops. Last year, New Mexico produced approximately 306 million pounds of onions.

On June 12, the National Potato & Onion Report provided data about the 2015 New Mexico onion crop movement. The report stated that demand was moderate, and the red market was slightly lower while others were about steady.

Pricing for yellow Grano 50-pound sacks of super colossals was $17-18; colossals were $16-17; jumbos were $15-16, with a few reported at $14; and mediums were $10-11.

Fifty-pound sacks of jumbo white onions sold for $15-16, and mediums sold for $14-15. Twenty-five pound sacks of Red globe jumbos sold for $13-14, and mediums sold for $11-12.

On June 12, the National Potato & Onion Report showed a total of 1,268 truck movements for the onion season to date. That number was ahead of movements for the same time last season.

This past January, the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture NASS issued its report, Vegetables 2014 Summary. According to the report, growers planted a total of 5,200 acres to summer non-storage onions in 2014, and harvested 5,100 acres. Yield per acre was set at 600 hundredweight, and production level for 2014 was set at approximately 3 million hundredweight. The price per hundredweight in 2014 was set at $18.70, and the value of production was $57.2 million.

Cameron Skeen joins Murakami Produce

ONTARIO, OR — Two prominent names in the Idaho-Eastern Oregon onion industry have joined forces with the announcement of Cameron Skeen’s new position at Murakami Produce Co.

The formal announcement came from Murakami President Grant Kitamura, Vice President Chris Woo and Skeen on June 18, when Skeen officially assumed duties in operations and business development at the onion shipper’s Ontario facilities.murakami-skeen-photoMurakami Produce Vice President Chris Woo and President Grant Kitamura welcome Cameron Skeen to operations and business development for the Treasure Valley onion shipping operation. (Photo by Kathleen Thomas Gaspar)

Prior to joining Murakami, Skeen was with Keithly-Williams Seeds Inc. for six years, handling sales in the Pacific Northwest. He has additional background in land development and real estate, and his ties to the onion industry are lifelong. His father, Paul Skeen, and brother, Logan, are second- and third-generation growers in the Treasure Valley.

“I am very happy to be a part of Murakami Produce,” Skeen said. “Because of my work in the seed industry, I bring a very good network to this company, and I see the onion industry from a different perspective. And because I am also a grower, I bring that experience as well.”

Murakami Produce, one of the larger shippers in the region, was founded in 1969 by the late Sig Murakami as the packing and shipping division for a farming operation that had begun in the early 1950s. Ownership took on an added dimension in 2014 when David Murakami, son of the founder, retired and six growing entities formed Murakami Growers LLC and became partners in Murakami Produce Co. LLC.

Regarding the 2015 addition of Skeen to the team, Kitamura and Woo were equally pleased and looking forward to the experience and enthusiasm the new team member brings to the table.

“Our management team and new owner group are very excited to have Cameron with us,” Kitamura said. “We look forward to new ideas, and we believe Cameron will continue the momentum we’re building so that Murakami will be a viable company for a long, long time.”

Woo added, “Our growers want us to show them what we have for the future, and Cameron is able to do that.”

Skeen said of his new role, “Since I was a child, the Murakami name has been iconic to me. I am humbled and honored at the same time to be a part of this company.”

Millennials: the veggie generation

Despite an increased consumer interest in health and nutrition, Americans are still ignoring one of the easiest ways to live a healthier lifestyle: eating their vegetables. However, a recent survey showed hope, finding that millennials (age 18-34) consume more vegetables than any other generation.Subway VeggieInfograph-JPEG

While the average U.S. consumer only eats 2.3 servings of vegetables per day, millennials average almost a half serving more per day (2.7 servings). Further, the number of millennials who meet the minimum recommendation of four servings per day is the highest of any age group (22 percent).

The survey, commissioned by Subway Restaurants, found that the majority of Americans (84 percent) aren’t meeting the USDA recommended minimum number of daily vegetable servings.

“We commend Subway Restaurants’ efforts to encourage consumers to eat more vegetables and promote healthier eating,” Kristen Stevens, chief operating officer of Produce for Better Health Foundation, said in a press release. “The findings of the National Eat Your Vegetable’s Day survey further draws attention to the need for Americans to incorporate vegetables into their diet as disclosed in our annual 'State of the Plate' report. The first step in changing behaviors is creating awareness and driving discussion to help educate consumers on the various health benefits of eating more vegetables and how to eat more of them.”

According to the company, 47 percent of participants claimed that nothing prevents them from eating more vegetables, despite revealing that overall health benefits are their top motivation for vegetable consumption (70 percent), among those who ever eat vegetables.

So why are millennials eating more vegetables?  Survey results reveal personal appearance being a key motivator of vegetable consumption. Of millennial adults who ever eat vegetables, 45 percent who ever eat vegetables are more likely to eat vegetables so they can “look better” as compared to those over 35 (26 percent).  Millennials are also more likely to eat vegetables to lose weight (56 percent) than those over 35 (39 percent).

"The American diet has traditionally lagged in prioritizing vegetables as a staple of their diet; however, it is encouraging that the youngest generation is slowly bucking the trend,” Lanette Kovachi, MS, RD, Global Dietitian, SUBWAY, said in a press release.  “The millennial generation is more self-aware than previous generations due to their social, photo-driven culture, so looking better is a natural motivator. But the truth is nutrient-rich vegetable consumption truly does have positive physiological effects, including a healthier-looking complexion, assisting in weight control, enhancing the immune system and prevention of chronic disease.”

Although nothing prevents nearly half of Americans from eating more vegetables (47 percent), the survey also revealed other excuses for not eating more vegetables, highlighted by being too expensive (14 percent); a dislike of the flavor (11 percent); and preparation time (10 percent).

Men (12 percent) are more likely than women (7 percent) to cite preparation time as a reason that they don’t eat more vegetables.  Further inhibiting their consumption, men who ever eat vegetables (39 percent) are more likely than women (28 percent) to prefer their vegetables cooked.

While consumers in the study said their preferred vegetables are lettuce and tomatoes (both 65 percent), the survey revealed that millennials were less married to these vegetable staples than other generations. Further, women demonstrated a greater affinity for variety, highly ranking cucumbers (60 percent), spinach (58 percent) and avocados (49 percent) amongst their vegetable favorites as compared to their male counterparts (cucumbers: 50 percent, spinach 44 percent, avocados 38 percent).

The survey examined the current state of vegetable consumption by U.S. consumers, including number of servings eaten daily, favorite vegetables, excuses, motivations and consumption meal time. The national survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Subway Restaurants June 4-8 among 2,019 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

Lineage names new CEO

Lineage Logistics LLC, a temperature-controlled warehousing and logistics company backed by Bay Grove Capital LLC, announced June 18 that logistics and transportation veteran W. Gregory Lehmkuhl will become its new chief executive officer, effective mid-July. Current CEO Bill Hendricksen will transition into the role of vice chairman at that time.

During the last six years, Colton, CA-based Lineage has grown into one of the largest temperature-controlled logistics companies globally. Lehmkuhl becomes CEO as the company moves into its next phase of growth and works to further expand its comprehensive cold chain solutions for customers.

“Greg is a skilled leader with a stellar reputation in the logistics industry for driving growth,” Adam Forste, co-chairman of Lineage Logistics and managing director of Bay Grove, said in a statement. “He has the energy and the experience to fulfill our vision of becoming the world’s most dynamic temperature-controlled logistics company.”

Lehmkuhl comes to Lineage from Con-way Inc., where he was corporate executive vice president and president of Con-Way Freight Inc., Con-Way’s less-than-truckload motor carrier and largest subsidiary. In those roles, he had responsibility for overall company operating and financial performance, strategic planning and business plan development, and direction of the company’s continuous improvement processes.

“I’m thrilled to join Lineage, to work with a talented team of supply chain professionals and to partner with Bay Grove,” Lehmkuhl said in a press release. “We have an exciting opportunity to leverage our vast warehouse network and broad value-added services in combination with new technologies to create something truly differentiated in the temperature-controlled logistics industry for customers.”

After more than 35 years as an entrepreneur and leader in the cold chain industry, Hendricksen, as vice chairman of Lineage, will continue to help support key customer relationships, ongoing strategy development and Lineage’s participation in industry groups and boards.

“On behalf of the board, we thank Bill for his immeasurable contributions to Lineage,” Kevin Marchetti, co-chairman of Lineage and managing director of Bay Grove. “We are pleased that the company will continue to benefit from his expertise and wisdom in his new role.”

“My decision to step down earlier this year was based on finding the right person to take Lineage into the future,” said Hendricksen. “Every company has different stages of growth, and each stage requires a CEO with specific skill sets. Greg is an exceptional leader who has expertise integrating and transforming growing companies and possesses the character to inspire our team. I’m excited to help support Greg and Lineage for many years to come.”