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agriculture

Dave Chapman and dozens of other long-time organic farmers packed a meeting of the National Organic Standards board in Jacksonville.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting this year’s Florida citrus crop will be the smallest since the 1940s. The state is slated to produce 54 million boxes, down from nearly 300 million in the 2000s.

Irma's Agriculture Toll Tops $2.5 Billion

Oct 5, 2017

Hurricane Irma caused more than $2.5 billion in damage to Florida's agriculture industry, with citrus growers and nurseries suffering big losses, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

We're starting something new on Florida Matters. Once a month we're going to gather together some experienced reporters from around the state for perspective on the important news happening in Florida.

This week we're talking about the consequences of Hurricane Irma, and lessons learned from the storm.

With losses total in some areas of the state, Florida’s iconic citrus industry will need Congressional help to recover from Hurricane Irma, according to Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

A long wait may be ahead for broad federal relief for Florida's beleaguered citrus industry, “decimated” last week by a lethal hurricane that crossed the peninsula at the start of the growing season, state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Wednesday.

Hurricane Irma destroyed farms and groves all around Hendry County. An agriculture expert says 78 percent of the adult population in Hendry works in the ag industry.  Irma damages will affect everyone from growers to grocery stores.

As major Hurricane Irma makes its way to Florida, farmers across the state have to prepare their lands.

State lawmakers want to cut fees for the manufacturers of harmful pesticides. That could make it cheaper for chemical companies to sell their products in the state. But a critic of the measure is worried how the change could affect farmworkers’ health.

Scott Young

The disease called citrus greening has wreaked havoc on our state's most iconic industry. Florida is harvesting the smallest citrus crop in 52 years.

State and federal dollars have been pouring into frantic efforts to save groves. Some of the efforts seem to be paying off. But is it too late for the small family farms?


Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

A ceremonial seed planting will be part of today's official opening of the Veterans' Garden, 918 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa,  across from Lowry Park Zoo.

The event is set for 10:30 a.m. and will include recognition of USAA, which provided  a grant to expand the sustainable garden for veterans.

Robin Sussingham

You hear a lot of bad news about Florida's agriculture industry. Competition from foreign markets, labor shortages, insects, the loss of farmland to development. And most seriously, the disease of citrus greening, which has devastated Florida's signature crop.

But surprisingly, young people aren't shying away from agriculture education in their schools. In fact, participation is at record highs.

  A new study by University of Florida researchers finds Florida strawberry growers would benefit by starting the growing season just a few weeks earlier each year.  Doing so could help growers maximize their profits and help Florida’s strawberry industry to remain competitive in the global market. However, actually implementing the study’s findings is not that simple.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an update to its Agricultural Worker Protection Standard in late September.  The updates are intended to better protect against harmful pesticide exposure.  Farmworker advocates are celebrating the victory and what it will mean form the nation’s 2 million farmworkers, including nearly 300,000 in Florida.

Putnam Puts Miami-Dade Under Fruit Fly Emergency

Sep 16, 2015

A type of fruit fly led Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on Tuesday to declare a state of agricultural emergency in Miami-Dade County.

How Many Ways Can You Cook Kale? Sweetwater Knows

Dec 13, 2013
Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

What do freshly harvested salad greens, university accounting majors and weekly loads of manure from the local zoo have in common?

They are all integral parts of the community created around Sweetwater Organic Community Farm.

Nestled along the banks of Sweetwater Creek in Tampa’s Town & Country neighborhood, the main farm or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) was founded by Rick Martinez almost two decades ago.

Marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Buying fresh fruits and vegetables can be a real problem for lower income people. A lot of neighborhoods don't have stores that carry them, and for many people the price is too high. Farmer's markets could be a solution, but very few of them accept food stamps.

It’s happening slowly -- but Central Florida farmer’s markets are opening the door to SNAP. That’s the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that used to be known as food stamps. These days, recipients largely use an electronic benefits transfer, or EBT card that’s like a debit card.

Giant African land snails have invaded Florida and pose a "major threat" to the state's crops, according to Mark Fagan, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Agriculture. "We're producing food that the nation depends on ... [and this snail] eats 500 different plants, including pretty much everything that grows in Florida," Fagan said. Experts say the snails were likely smuggled into the United States as pets or for religious uses. They're thriving in Florida, where the hot, humid climate closely resembles that of their native Nigeria.

Wish Farms

Strawberry growers in California have been hit with unusual, freezing temperatures while Florida’s strawberry fields have been bathing in 80 degree temperatures.

Gary Wishnatzki is the owner of Wish Farms, the largest strawberry distributor in Florida. He said California growers are not equipped to handle freezing temperatures.

“They don’t have overhead irrigation to utilize to protect the crop and there’s usually some bloom and small berry damage,” Wishnatzki said.