Meet the 2017 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award Winner

2017 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Ed Pines
2017 Florida GrowerSM Citrus Achievement Award winner Ed Pines has uncovered an innovative approach to thrive in the era of greening.
Photo by Frank Giles

Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” The positive attitude of this year’s Florida GrowerSM Citrus Achievement Award winner is making a big difference in pioneering a new way to grow citrus in Florida.

Ed Pines has received the award for his work promoting growing citrus under protective screen (CUPS) to exclude the psyllid and therefore HLB. The practice is not new around the world, but it certainly is a departure from the norm for Florida’s citrus industry. His positive attitude as he takes the practice into reality on a commercial scale has garnered Pines multiple nominations for this year’s award.

While Pines says CUPS has potential benefits beyond excluding HLB, the current situation with the disease is not sustainable until a more permanent solution is uncovered by research or other means.

“The industry right now is shell shocked because we believe we are going to find a solution, but the reality is right now after 10 years, the trend of falling production has not changed,” Pines says. “So, we have to find our own solutions. There is no silver bullet. The silver bullet is changing your growing practices.”

Drone-aided photo of Ed Pines' CUPS
Ed Pines’ CUPS plot consists of two, 10-acre structures with ‘Tango’ and ‘Early Pride’ planted inside.
Photo courtesy of Ed Pines

No Man is an Island

With changing growing practices in mind, Pines began an extensive investigation with multiple stakeholders to learn more about CUPS. He says beyond growing practices, the collaboration among growers and industry stakeholders must grow stronger.

Pines’ collaboration — with UF/IFAS, who did the research on CUPS in Florida’s environment; Dundee Citrus Growers Association, where he is a board member; and Farm Credit of Central Florida, who helped finance his 20-acre CUPS planting — drove the project forward. ‘Tango’ and ‘Early Pride’ are planted on the farm in the soil, which Pines says helps ensure the superior Florida taste.

“When we first started looking at this CUPS project, I worked closely with collaborators and we all did our due diligence and studied all the data points to be sure the potential pitfalls didn’t outweigh the risk,” Pines says. “I am grateful to have been able to work with these people who are extremely smart, reliable, and honest through the very technical preplanning and engineering that was required to build this CUPS project on a commercial scale.”

The UF/IFAS research and data from other parts of the world suggest CUPS will work. Pines estimates (with his tree spacing) that by the fifth year, yields in the 800 boxes per acre range with very good packout should be possible.

“We expect to have a tree that is 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide,” he says. “You can hang two boxes on that tree. You go back to strong canopy growth. We have this information and we will be happy to share and work with folks on CUPS.”

The diligent planning for the project and ability to grow citrus without the looming threat of HLB was attractive to Farm Credit of Central Florida from a financing perspective.

“Farm Credit started working with Ed on the CUPS project in 2015,” says Chris Witmer, Agribusiness Relationship Manager with Farm Credit of Central Florida. “He came to the table with detailed plans through extensive research and a strong background in the citrus industry that spans 25 years. The project is strong conceptually and is utilized by citrus industry leaders around the world for fresh citrus production. While we understand CUPS is not a realistic solution for all growers, it is a unique approach to facing the challenges to the industry.”

Before and after comparison of CUPS planting
The growth of trees under the structure has been vigorous. The photo on top was taken November 2016, and the photo on the bottom was taken in April 2017.
Photos by Frank Giles

The Dundee Complex

Using the knowledge gained from building Pines’ CUPS facility, the Dundee Citrus Growers Association is now moving forward on a project in Polk County to establish a 150-acre CUPS complex comprised of individually owned structures that will be used to grow high-quality premium Florida citrus. The size of the structures will vary, but in general will be 10 acres each.

“The complex will provide a secure environment and economies of scale in construction, structure maintenance, grove care, harvesting, and marketing,” says Steven Callaham, CEO of Dundee Citrus Growers Association.

“I believe the future of our industry will evolve around specialized and-long-term relationships like what the Dundee Citrus Growers Association CUPS project represents,” Pines says. “With a larger CUPS planting, growers can benefit from the use of specialized equipment, growing procedures, food safety protocols, harvesting, and marketing — all of which Dundee Citrus Growers Association will provide.”

Weather station inside protected citrus planting
Weather stations and soil moisture probes inside Ed Pines’ protected citrus planting helps with irrigation efficiency and saves on costs.
Photo by Frank Giles

Water Savings and Other Benefits

Pines says growing citrus under protective screen offers more than the ability to grow in an HLB-free environment. With 1,000 people moving to Florida every day, water resources will continue to be challenged. Water evapotranspiration under the structure is about 30% less. That in conjunction with Pines’ weather station and soil moisture probes allows Pines to be very precise with his irrigation. Nine months after planting the trees, he had only used 13% of his annual water withdrawal permit from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

“UF/IFAS research proved we could use less water with this system, and now we are making it reality on a commercial scale,” Pines says.

Pines adds that social media and the internet now help consumers to be more savvy about the food they buy and consume. They are demanding strong food safety and more sustainable production using less fertilizer, pesticides, and water — all of which CUPS allows.

“We will be able to market our growing practices under CUPS, while producing a high-quality and consistent product,” Pines says.

Industry Shout-Outs

“Ed has seen the devastating effects of greening, canker, and other challenges over the years. His investment in this project speaks to his determination and faith in the success of Florida citrus. Investing in a project of this magnitude takes the right individual. Someone who can look beyond today and recognize the potential for innovative solutions, makes Ed a worthy recipient of the Citrus Achievement Award.
– Reggie Holt, President and CEO, Farm Credit of Central Florida

“Ed’s participation, motivation, and excitement for UF/IFAS CUPS project was an inspiration for me to keep advancing the science of growing healthy, profitable trees with the legendary taste that made Florida citrus famous. Not surprising, it was citrus greening that brought us closer together, driven by our common goal to find solutions. I am delighted Ed will be honored with this special award.”
Arnold Schumann, Professor of soil fertility and water quality, UF/IFAS

“Ed reminds me of a quote from hockey-great Wayne Gretzky. When asked what gave him an edge over other players, he said: ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’ Ed is working on the here and now, but he has one eye on where the industry is moving or should move. He is open and willing to share all that he is working on, but equally willing to admit what didn’t work and those things that remain obstacles for him. He knows each step that we take in this fight against HLB and the defense of our livelihood depends on the collective wisdom and expertise of everyone. Ed wants to contribute what he can and make effort to add more pieces to the puzzle — whether they came from him, researchers, other growers, or from around the world.
Peter Chaires, Executive Director, New Varieties Development and Management Corp.

 

Arysta LifeScience Micromite logoWord From The Sponsor

Arysta LifeScience and MICROMITE Insect Growth Regulator are proud to recognize the recipient of the 2017 Citrus Achievement Award from Florida Grower® magazine, Ed Pines. Pines was chosen as this year’s winner not just for his infectiously positive, attitude but for his pioneering effort to grow citrus under protective screening (CUPS) in order to eliminate the threats posed by Asian citrus psyllid and HLB. His work with the CUPS system has the potential to transform the citrus world by offering growers more sustainable practices and a way to combat new pests and diseases that are introduced as Florida’s economy and volume of imports expand. We hope you’ll join us in congratulating Ed Pines on this much-deserved honor.

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Meet the 2017 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award Winner

Citrus Achievement Award Stories
2017 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Ed Pines
Citrus Achievement Award
May 18, 2017
Meet the 2017 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award Winner
Cheers to Ed Pines for putting the positive back in citrus. Read More
Closeup on a citrus blossom in Florida
Citrus Achievement Award
September 26, 2016
Hope Growing Around Bactericides As A Citrus Greening Solution
Citrus Achievement Award winner Marty McKenna is optimistic about new approach to staving off HLB. Read More
Marty McKenna and Mark Wheeler grab a photo together at the Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference
Citrus Achievement Award
August 25, 2016
Working Together For A Common Cause Key To Citrus Success
Cirus Achievement Award winner Marty McKenna says the industry is sustained by strength in numbers. Read More
Marty McKenna presented with the 2016 Citrus Achievement Award
Citrus Achievement Award
July 25, 2016
Citrus Achievement Award Winner: Adapting To Challenges Has Its Rewards
Marty McKenna says hurdles like HLB force growers to step up their game, which is a good thing. Read More
Marty McKenna inspects a tree in his citrus grove
Citrus Achievement Award
June 28, 2016
2016 Citrus Achievement Award Winner Has High Hopes For A Crop Comeback
Marty McKenna says if bactericides can help maintain production of younger citrus trees, it could have a huge impact on the industry's future. Read More
Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference 2016 crowd
Citrus
June 20, 2016
Florida Citrus Community Rallies Around Promise Of Bactericides, Biotechnology
Industry stakeholders holding out hope for solutions to HLB through antimicrobials and even transgenics. Read More
2016 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Marty McKenna
Citrus Achievement Award
May 13, 2016
Florida Grower Magazine Reveals 2016 Citrus Achievement Award Winner
Marty McKenna is and has been a strong advocate during critical times for growers. Read More
OLL-4 juice orange variety
Citrus Achievement Award
December 1, 2015
Orie Lee Leaving A Strong Legacy In Citrus Variety Development
The 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner's contributions to the local sector are legend. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
November 1, 2015
Citrus Achievement Award Winner Proud To Pass Along Family Tradition
Orie Lee is imparting a lifetime of learning to his granddaughter-in-law who's ready to take on the challenge of leading the business into the future. Read More
Dedication stone for Orie Lee at Citrus Research and Education Center
Citrus Achievement Award
October 1, 2015
Colleagues Laud Orie Lee’s Countless Contributions To The Citrus Sector
The influence and impact of this year's Citrus Achievement Award winner hard to measure. Read More
inspecting a citrus leaf for HLB symptoms
Citrus Achievement Award
September 1, 2015
Saving Citrus A Perpetual Task
Orie Lee, the 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner, talks about how growing citrus has changed in his lifetime and how it hasn't. Read More
UFR-2 Vernia citrus rootstock
Citrus Achievement Award
August 1, 2015
Lessons Learned Via Citrus Variety Evaluation Never End
Orie Lee, the 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner, discusses his decades-long involvement with Vernia. Read More
healthy piece of citrus
Citrus Achievement Award
July 1, 2015
Neglected Research, Future Growers Top Of Mind For 2015 Citrus Achievement Award Winner
Orie Lee advises young up-and-comers to supplement production knowledge with business acumen; calls for more focus on blight. Read More
2015 Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference crowd
Citrus
June 22, 2015
Florida Citrus Growers’ Resolve Put To The Test
During annual conference, industry leaders call for an ‘all in’ approach to survive current crisis. Read More
inspecting a citrus leaf for HLB symptoms
Citrus Achievement Award
May 14, 2015
Picking Up Citrus Research Torch Is A Challenge Worth Taking [Opinion]
Orie Lee, this year's Citrus Achievement Award winner, would like to see a qualified understudy come in and work with UF/IFAS breeders to ensure not a beat is missed when they retire. Read More
The Latest
Citrus Achievement Award
July 12, 2017
Encourage New Citrus Growth by Getting B…
2017 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Ed Pines says producing crops under protective screen is a way to farm more and stress less. Read More
Citrus
June 27, 2017
Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conferenc…
Education program focuses on managing the disease with available tools and tactics. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
June 19, 2017
How to Get the Most out of Growing Citru…
2017 Citrus Achievement Award winner Ed Pines provides insider information on unique production method. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
May 18, 2017
Meet the 2017 Florida Grower Citrus Achi…
Cheers to Ed Pines for putting the positive back in citrus. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
September 26, 2016
Hope Growing Around Bactericides As A Ci…
Citrus Achievement Award winner Marty McKenna is optimistic about new approach to staving off HLB. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
August 25, 2016
Working Together For A Common Cause Key …
Cirus Achievement Award winner Marty McKenna says the industry is sustained by strength in numbers. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
July 25, 2016
Citrus Achievement Award Winner: Adaptin…
Marty McKenna says hurdles like HLB force growers to step up their game, which is a good thing. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
June 28, 2016
2016 Citrus Achievement Award Winner Has…
Marty McKenna says if bactericides can help maintain production of younger citrus trees, it could have a huge impact on the industry's future. Read More
Citrus
June 20, 2016
Florida Citrus Community Rallies Around …
Industry stakeholders holding out hope for solutions to HLB through antimicrobials and even transgenics. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
May 13, 2016
Florida Grower Magazine Reveals 2016 Cit…
Marty McKenna is and has been a strong advocate during critical times for growers. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
December 1, 2015
Orie Lee Leaving A Strong Legacy In Citr…
The 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner's contributions to the local sector are legend. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
November 1, 2015
Citrus Achievement Award Winner Proud To…
Orie Lee is imparting a lifetime of learning to his granddaughter-in-law who's ready to take on the challenge of leading the business into the future. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
October 1, 2015
Colleagues Laud Orie Lee’s Countle…
The influence and impact of this year's Citrus Achievement Award winner hard to measure. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
September 1, 2015
Saving Citrus A Perpetual Task
Orie Lee, the 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner, talks about how growing citrus has changed in his lifetime and how it hasn't. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
August 1, 2015
Lessons Learned Via Citrus Variety Evalu…
Orie Lee, the 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner, discusses his decades-long involvement with Vernia. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
July 1, 2015
Neglected Research, Future Growers Top O…
Orie Lee advises young up-and-comers to supplement production knowledge with business acumen; calls for more focus on blight. Read More
Citrus
June 22, 2015
Florida Citrus Growers’ Resolve Put To T…
During annual conference, industry leaders call for an ‘all in’ approach to survive current crisis. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
May 14, 2015
Picking Up Citrus Research Torch Is A Ch…
Orie Lee, this year's Citrus Achievement Award winner, would like to see a qualified understudy come in and work with UF/IFAS breeders to ensure not a beat is missed when they retire. Read More