Regulators learn of south-state farming issues through FFVA tour

06/06/2014 06:04:00 PM
Lisa Lochridge

click image to zoomregulatory group examines peppersCourtesy FFVARegulators check out one of Lipman’s pepper fields and learn about pest-management and production practices.An impressive roster of scientists, economists and other leaders representing regulatory fields in chemistry, toxicology, engineering and more participated in FFVA's Florida Spring Regulatory Tour in late March. The participants, many from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, toured farming operations and other facilities that are directly affected by the regulators’ decisions.

The tour provides an overview of environmental and regulatory issues important in South Florida. Participants saw the unique and challenging aspects of pest and nutrient management in a high-rainfall, subtropical environment. They also came away with an awareness of the diversity of production practices, pest management and land-use issues in the region.

Some of the stops on the packed schedule included Lipman Produce, Old Collier Golf Course, Southern Gardens Citrus, Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative, Florida Crystals Corp., King Ranch and Duda Farm Fresh Foods.

Discussions and demonstrations focused on a variety of topics, including water quality, citrus greening, spray-drift issues, pollinator protection, fumigation challenges and the Worker Protection Standard program.

FFVA’s Environmental and Pest Management Division organized the tour with the help of hosts and sponsors including the Florida Tomato Exchange, Florida Citrus Mutual, Florida Fertilizer & Agrichemical Association, and the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association, among others.

 

Leadership program growing

FFVA’s Emerging Leader Development Program continues to gain momentum. The association is working on selecting its next class of young, up-and-coming leaders.

The year-long program is open to individuals ages 25 to 40 from within members' organizations or families. Applicants must be working in or pursuing a career in Florida’s specialty crop industry. A class of eight to 10 members will be selected.

The program is designed to develop leaders to be effective advocates for Florida’s specialty crop industry. The leadership class attends seminars that help them become familiar with the many issues facing agriculture. Ultimately, graduates of the class are expected to be engaged and involved in FFVA and other industry organizations.

Class members travel to Tallahassee to meet with legislators, attend seminars provided by FFVA staff members and other experts on current issues, and visit growing regions to study production practices, environmental issues and water management. Applications are available on FFVA's website at ffva.com/Leaders.

The class joined several FFVA board members in March to visit lawmakers during the legislative session in Tallahassee. The group is now gearing up for an intensive trip in June to California farming and processing operations in Salinas, Watsonville, Castroville, Soledad, Gonzales, Spreckles and Gilroy.

 

TV ads showcase sweet corn

The Florida Sweet Corn grower-shippers are running a TV campaign in three northern states. Corresponding with Florida's peak harvest season, the ads are being seen in Buffalo, N.Y., Indianapolis, and Raleigh, N.C.; through the middle of this month. The ads are part of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ “recipes” TV campaign to showcase easy recipes with Sunshine Sweet-branded corn and other Florida produce.

Lisa Lochridge is the director of public affairs for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association in Maitland. She can be reached at 321-214-5206 or lisa.lochridge@ffva.com.



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