Producer "Code of Ethics" and Quality Standards
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Tracy Schimpf
Posted on: December 20, 1999

Thanks so much for your picks. We would love to have your input and I agree that the marketing info is always important. Our growers are SLOWLY becoming more tuned into the marketing requirements but it is still a struggle for some of them. The current project for the new board of directors is to develop grading standards for herb crops which we feel will help many of the growers with their marketing approaches. We also just put through a code of ethics for our members and directors so that companies can have some assurance when buying from BCHGA members.

The downturn in echinacea has hit our growers quite hard. Natural Factors is keeping many of them going with fresh purpurea flower contracts but all the rest are diversifying like crazy. We have seen the writing on the wall for angustifolia root as well.

Thanks for the nice comments and your interest in my work. I think you are to be lauded for your efforts in establishing a "code of ethics" for your group. It is my opinion that this is the single most import aspect for this industry’s growth. I have spoken out at the Richters Conference last year on this. Would you like a copy of that talk?

Your current project for the new board of directors to develop grading standards for herb crops is also critical and important now. I would be happy to offer my inputs to help get things started. If you would like, have specific growers send me samples of their crops. I’ve been doing this for almost 28 years, and my marketing inputs might lead toward those grading systems.

I will give my frank opinion on the "good, the bad, and the ugly." "Cosmetics," or how the "final product" appears is often as important as delivered chemistry. This is especially true with produce, something I am less familiar. Cottage industries often cover mistakes, but can add further labor - what rural farms have most to offer.

Sampling is also a very important aspect of all protocols. If not done correctly, C/As become meaningless and damage the credibility of the industry even further. Most of my background has been learned over the years by making my own mistakes. I can at least show you "what not to do".... ha ha I’ve got that part down good by now.

What I want each grower to do is send me their samples "as if" I am a buyer. I will then send them back a written review of what I see from them, and how it might be received in the real marketplace. I would be happy to do this for your group. Overall, Canadians do a better job than the U.S. (more informed), and North American products are still "the best buy there is" in the world.

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