Expanding the Olive Footprint in Florida

By Michael Garcia Citrus growers have been fighting HLB for more than a decade. The disease has taken a large toll on the industry, reducing production and threatening infrastructure. The impacts of Hurricane Ian will certainly make production more difficult. Prudence suggests exploring alternative crops, particularly those that benefit from the use of existing citrus infrastructure, are compatible with Florida …

Promotion and Marketing Critical to Florida Blueberry Industry’s Success

By Frank Giles The Florida Blueberry Growers Association hosted its annual short course in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida, in October. The meeting featured educational sessions ranging from optimizing pollination and marketing to chilli thrips control and new varieties. Growers were in good spirits at the meeting, despite impacts from Hurricane Ian. While some growers further south in the state took a hard …

New Date Set for Ag Labor Relations Forum

The 48th annual Agricultural Labor Relations Forum has been rescheduled following the postponement from Hurricane Ian. The labor relations forum will now be presented in a virtual format over a four-week period, beginning Tuesday, Oct. 25. The Florida Specialty Crop Foundation presents the forum. It educates agricultural employers, including growers, shippers, farm labor contractors and other employers, on compliance with Ag labor laws …

Agricultural Losses to Hurricane Ian Could Top $1.5 Billion in Florida

The combination of seasonal crops, livestock, nursery and aquaculture products potentially lost as a result of category 4 Hurricane Ian will likely be valued between $787 million and $1.56 billion, University of Florida economists predict. The estimate was released as part of a new document, “Preliminary Assessment of Agricultural Losses and Damages resulting from Hurricane Ian,” from the UF/IFAS Economic Impact …

H-2A Guidance After Hurricane Ian

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Foreign Labor Certification has provided Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) with general guidance regarding additional flexibilities for H-2A employers impacted by Hurricane Ian. Most Florida citrus is harvested by temporary H-2A workers. Following is a summary of the DOL answers to four questions about H-2A employer flexibilities due to the hurricane’s impact: …

Hurricane Ian Recovery Resources for Growers

Florida Citrus Mutual’s crop estimate luncheon on Oct. 12 included the live announcement of the citrus crop forecast. But the focus of the event was on resources growers can tap into for assistance after Hurricane Ian. Speakers from various agencies shared information that can aid grower recovery efforts. “After the storm, we knew whatever number (for the citrus crop estimate) …

Blueberry Plant Care After Hurricane Damage 

By Clint Thompson Hurricane Ian had varying effects on Florida’s blueberry acres. Some plants dodged the high winds and excessive rainfall while others were not as fortunate. Post-hurricane management is important for growers in preserving their crop for the following season. Doug Phillips, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) blueberry Extension coordinator, provides producers tips on how to manage …

Hurricane Ian Hits Florida Citrus Hard 

Although early assessment attempts were limited by cell phone and internet outages, Hurricane Ian likely caused extensive citrus fruit loss as it tore through Florida Sept. 28–29. The catastrophic hurricane churned through the Gulf and Peace River Valley citrus regions, then headed northeast to impact Highlands and southern Polk counties and the Indian River citrus region. REGIONAL REPORTS Ray Royce …