The FPAA, the Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have held meetings this week to discuss the ongoing grape season.  The ADA has approximately 100 licensed inspectors on staff this year to assist with inspections.  Additionally, the USDA has a full-time program manager on site to assist with the inspection program and rotating staff that is in Nogales.  The FPAA, ADA, and USDA will continue to have ongoing discussions throughout grape season to help make the inspections as efficient and effective as possible.

As volume increases over the next two weeks, please be aware of some steps to help make inspection efficient in your facilities.

  1. Give ADA Accurate Numbers of loads when requesting inspections, including the number of trucks in the warehouse, the number of trucks in the parking lot, and the number of trucks expected to cross that day.
  2. Please make sure all your paperwork is in good order.  That means listing the correct number of boxes in a load, the correct entry numbers, and other accurate information so that the load, the entry information, and the inspection request forms match up.
  3. Have a designated warehouse lead to answer questions from inspectors and help make the process move smoothly.
  4. Work with your grower to send as many straight loads of one variety and one pack style when possible as this cuts down on the number of inspections per truck.
  5. Stagger your breaks and lunch breaks for warehouse staff.  There have been several instances where warehouses are very efficient from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, and then things slow down from 1:00 to 4:00 or during later break times because most of the staff is gone for lunch.  By staggering breaks, you can have sample pullers and warehouse staff still staging loads and assisting with pulling samples consistently throughout the day.
  6. Have ample crushers in good working order.  Not having enough crushers or crushers that don’t work well will only slow the process down.
  7. Inspections will end this year at 12:00 am, as they did last year.  You can have loads staged and on the floor with Positive Lot Identification to have the loads ready for inspections at 8:00 am the following day.
  8. Have a plan B for warehouse space in case your facility starts to get too full for inspections.
  9. Have your pre-inspection visit with ADA before you want to start holding inspections in your warehouse.  If you have an overflow warehouse you are contracting with to send some of your grapes for inspections, please make sure they have had their pre-inspection visit from the ADA several days BEFORE you want grapes to be inspected there. 
  10. Please be aware of truck shortages and try to find steps to take that will help you obtain ample trucking.

If you have any questions or feedback during the season, please do not hesitate to reach out to the FPAA so we can coordinate with ADA and USDA on any issues.