In this new economy, good business still works and attracts investors, but risky business keeps getting riskier.

Grower groups and lending organizations alike expect the fresh produce sector to find credit tougher to come by and at higher rates in 2010.

That will lead to tighter credit terms within the industry as well.

North American fruit and vegetable companies didn’t cause the world economic problems. But that doesn’t mean they won’t suffer a little due to bad decisions from financial institutions and the larger agriculture slump.

The industry lost some companies in 2009, and more will fall in 2010.

There is good news in all this.

Bankers say credit will still be available for profitable grower-shippers. More responsible lending practices will force produce buyers and sellers into more responsible buying and selling, which will ultimately be healthier for companies and good for consumers.

The industry has a strong resource in the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

And consumers haven’t ignored their stomachs during this recession.

The traditional business model of producing healthy, good quality products at competitive prices remains true, despite the global wreck of the economy.