In Focus: Three Questions With Sim Nifong
Editor’s Note: Organic production in Florida continues to grow based upon consumer demand for certified organic produce. Florida Grower asked a representative with BioSafe Systems, a manufacturer of organic disease control products, the status of organics in the state and the company’s focus on the Florida market.
Florida Grower: What is the current status of organics in Florida in terms of consumer acceptance and growth in organic farms?
Sim Nifong: We have noticed a trend over the past five years with consumers wanting at least a portion of their production organic certified. We believe this is a trend that will only continue to grow because of the demand by consumers. I have been involved in Florida’s agriculture industry for the past 30 years. In that time, I have seen organic farming start as a niche market only to grow as an integral player. There are organic growers with hundreds to thousands of acres of production of citrus and vegetables.
Florida Grower: What BioSafe Systems products are suited for organic production?
Nifong: BioSafe Systems is committed to having most of our products listed and reviewed by the Organic Material Review Institute (OMRI) and compliant with National Organic Standards. We currently have OxiDate Broad Spectrum Bactericide/Fungicide, StorOx Broad Spectrum Bactericide/Fungicide, and GreenClean Granular Algaecide that are OMRI listed for organic production. BioSafe Systems’ focus has always been on the commercial grower, who is typically growing for non-organic production. However, by having our product compliant for organic production, this has given us a good tool for selling to all growers both organic and conventional. Growers now have more tools in their arsenal to help with organic production.
In recent years, BioSafe Systems has worked in depth with “combinations.” An example would be OxiDate in combination with other fungicides. This has given growers — both organic and commercial — an extra tool in fighting diseases such as bacteria speck and spot, late blight, powdery and downy mildew, as well as many other diseases across all crops. Also, it is a huge plus that our products have a zero-hour restricted-entry interval and no pre-harvest interval.
In the packinghouse, StorOx is used for the prevention and control of plant pathogenic diseases on crops after harvest — both organic and commercial production. Another advantage of StorOx is that it does not have to be rinsed with water after treatment like many other products used in postharvest application.
BioSafe Systems is also working on a version of TerraClean that will have the organic label for treatment of soil diseases such as pythium, fusarium, phytophthora, and rhizoctonia. This product may be applied throughout the growing season, which will be a valuable tool for organic growers.
Florida Grower: How important is the Florida market to BioSafe?
Nifong: The Florida market is very important to BioSafe Systems, and we are committed to building strong relationships with our Florida customers. Although headquartered in Connecticut, BioSafe Systems has several technical sales representatives, like myself, located in Florida. By being available at anytime with our customers, we are able to put together programs to help get the most out of our products.
Our disease control products are used in application sites such as citrus, fruit, and vegetable production, and in packinghouses and processing facilities. We also are used in commercial greenhouses, nurseries, golf courses, and for water treatment and sanitation in canals, lakes, ponds, and agricultural irrigation systems.