The March issue of Specialty Crop Industry Magazine highlights Georgia specialty crop producer Drew Echols. Diversification is the key to his success. He produces peaches, strawberries, apples, pumpkins, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes and other vegetables on more than 600 acres. He discusses how Jaemor Farms has increased in size and stature in North Georgia.
Fruit and vegetable farmers face a plethora of challenges every year. Labor leads the list of grower concerns, according to Zhengfei Guan and Kuan-Ming Huang, researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). A lack of domestic workers is a reason producers have to use the H-2A program, creating a huge dependency on foreign workers.
UF/IFAS has started a new commercial vegetable production website for the state of Florida. Elise Schuchman, sponsored projects coordinator with UF/IFAS, and Craig Frey, UF/IFAS multi-county commercial vegetable Extension agent for Southwest Florida, discuss how growers can benefit from the information offered on the website, which includes pest and disease activity and upcoming events.
There is also a new weevil pest of celery and related crops. Julien Beuzelin and Anna Meszaros, both with UF/IFAS, put Listronotus sparsus, a widespread species, under the microscope and discuss its potential impact.
Nutsedge control requires growers to implement a year-round management system. Stanley Culpepper, University of Georgia Extension weed specialist, emphasizes to growers the value of controlling nutsedge 365 days a year.
Producers and industry experts can also register for the upcoming Florida Grower Citrus Show, scheduled for April 13. This year, the UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory will co-host the event in Fort Pierce, Florida.