Florida ag commissioner honors three for conservation efforts

10/25/2013 11:35:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

Ferris FarmsCourtesy Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services(from left to right) Dudley and Angie Calfee of Ferris Farms Inc. were recognized for their environmental stewardship by Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam and Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick. Three Florida agricultural operations were recognized for their environmentally innovative practices at the recent Florida Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Ponte Verdra Beach.

They are Ferris Farms Inc., Floral City; The Farmton Tree Farm, Volusia and Brevard counties; and Kissimmee park Properties LLC, St. Cloud, according to a news release.

• Dudley Calfee of Ferris Farms Inc. has harvests the first commercial flats of strawberries in the state for the past six years and produces more than 200,000 flats of strwaberries and more than 250,000 pounds of blueberries annually.

At the same time, he has reduced his use of pesticides, plastic mulch and plastic drip tape, reusing 35 percent of these materials. In addition, he has reduced fungicide applications by 50 percent, increased crops yields and decreased production costs.

• Through the Farmton Local Plan, Barbra Goering of The Farm Tree Farm has placed nearly 80 percent of the firm's land into conservation. Part of that includes a regional wildlife corridor and environmentally significant habitat.

• Shane Platt of Kissimmee Park Properties works to keep the ranch going as an economic source as well as wildlife habitat and a regional ecological component.

The 135-year-old ranch includes a 250-head cow-calf operation.

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