Opinion: Part Of Being Sustainable Is To Be Transparent With Consumers

Rosemary GordonWhen the term “sustainability” became a part of everyday conversations, many of the growers I talked to provided specifics on what they were doing to be “sustainable” — whether it was using new technology, choosing varieties that better withstand environmental stressors, etc.

A few years ago, I visited the Michigan operation of a large potato grower, Black Gold Farms, and sustainability was one of the main topics discussed. The farm’s CEO Gregg Halverson told me that in order to be sustainable, crop protectants, fertilizers, etc. — which are necessary components to farming operations — must be used in ways that communicate to consumers that growers are being good stewards of the land.

Why? Because more and more consumers want to know that the food they purchase is safe and was produced in an environmentally friendly way.

So if you are conducting experiments to determine how to use less water by using more efficient delivery methods, implementing practices to increase efficiencies, or doing something else entirely, tell your story. Become transparent.

Sustainability is about preserving a livelihood. Recently I was speaking with a grower in Florida who also is striving to become more sustainable and is looking at ways to reduce crop inputs. Growers tackling this effort need to determine a viable course of action to cut costs while ensuring customers continue to receive a superior product. To achieve the desired outcome, that means conducting numerous trials using various products to figure out which ones will provide the necessary results.

Growers striving to be sustainable also must stay on top of the latest technology. For example, the Strawberry Advisory System (SAS) at the University of Florida was developed to help reduce yield losses as a result of weather-related fungal disease pressure. Instead of using the calendar to determine when to spray, the web-based SAS uses the duration of leaf wetness and temperatures during the wetness period in the field to predict conditions that would contribute to the spread of disease. In essence, the technology can help reduce crop losses and fungicide use, both efforts in sustainability.

What story do you need to tell? How are you being transparent with consumers? Send me an email or tweet and tell me about your efforts. Who knows, you may be on to something that may be critical to the future of sustainable vegetable production.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Farm Management Stories

Apples & PearsFour Highlights You May Have Missed At Great Lakes Expo
December 16, 2014
Record-setting crowd sat in on presentations featuring precision orchard management, mechanical berry harvesters, biocontrols, and more. Read More
CitrusUSDA Offers Crop Disaster Assistance For Fruit And Vegetable Growers
December 16, 2014
Free basic coverage plans and premium discounts available for new, underserved, and limited income farmers who had been ineligible for federal crop insurance. Read More
CitrusApplications Now Being Accepted For Florida Specialty Crop Block Grants
December 12, 2014
$4.5 million available to help fund industry-enhancing projects. Read More
Food SafetyDel Monte Recalls Fresh Cut Fruit With Apples Due To Possible Listeria Contamination
December 11, 2014
Voluntary recall enacted following the results of a random test by the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food Safety. Read More
CitrusSurvey Shows Food Safety, GMOs Among Public-Issue Concerns For Floridians
December 9, 2014
Need for education clear as confusion, misperception rampant among results. Read More
MarketingUse A Farm To Table Event To Acquire Valuable Feedback For Your Operation
December 9, 2014
Inviting guests to your operation to dine on your crops provides you with a built in focus group as well as additional income. Read More
Farm ManagementAPHIS Accepting Comments On Streamlining Vegetable And Fruit Imports
December 9, 2014
Move expands general phytosanitary measures and notice-based process for approval of new imports. Read More

The Latest

CitrusFeed The People With Food And Food For Thought [Opinion…
December 19, 2014
Educating the general public about agriculture is a daunting task that can be accomplished one bite at a time. Read More
Apples & PearsFour Highlights You May Have Missed At Great Lakes Expo
December 16, 2014
Record-setting crowd sat in on presentations featuring precision orchard management, mechanical berry harvesters, biocontrols, and more. Read More
CitrusUSDA Offers Crop Disaster Assistance For Fruit And Vege…
December 16, 2014
Free basic coverage plans and premium discounts available for new, underserved, and limited income farmers who had been ineligible for federal crop insurance. Read More
CitrusApplications Now Being Accepted For Florida Specialty C…
December 12, 2014
$4.5 million available to help fund industry-enhancing projects. Read More
Farm ManagementAPHIS Accepting Comments On Streamlining Vegetable And …
December 9, 2014
Move expands general phytosanitary measures and notice-based process for approval of new imports. Read More
CitrusDemand For Florida Farmland Exceeding Supply 
December 5, 2014
High prices and water shortages in other parts of the country have potential buyers looking to the Sunshine State. Read More
CitrusBe Willing To Take A ‘Wild Turkey’ Approach…
November 27, 2014
Editor Frank Giles says Florida Grower will be stepping up to the bully pulpit in 2015 addressing topics that impact the industry the most. Read More
CitrusReasons Aplenty Florida Growers Should Feel Good Going …
November 24, 2014
Thanks to recent industry achievements, the next 12-month period is shaping up to be a year to remember --- fondly. Read More
Farm ManagementVegetableGrowerConnect Delivers Results For Growers And…
November 19, 2014
Suppliers and growers got down to business in San Diego discussing current needs, solutions, and ways to increase efficiencies on the farm. Browse this slideshow for VegetableGrowerConnect highlights. Read More
CitrusWomen’s Impact On Agriculture Impressive [Opinion…
November 18, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says the long-term sustainability of farming depends on our youth. Read More
Farm ManagementGrowing Produce Without Risk Management Program Is A Ba…
November 14, 2014
Utilize available insurance tools to ensure opportunities for long-term survival and success. Read More
Farm ManagementSouth Florida Farmers Going Extra Mile For Everglades C…
November 12, 2014
Growers in one of the most unique and regulated areas in the world have exceeded benchmarks in the quest to restore the ‘River of Grass.’ Read More
Farm ManagementMake Your Voice Heard On The Issues Important To Your B…
November 4, 2014
Ag's voice is distressingly underrepresented on important issues for all of our businesses. Our GenNext Growers webcast series offers solutions to help you change that. Read More
CitrusUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
The funds will go toward helping growers implement conservation practices to improve honey bee health. Read More
CitrusNOAA’s Winter Weather Outlook Runs Hot And Cold
October 27, 2014
Repeat of last year’s extreme cold and snow events east of the Rockies unlikely. Read More
Farm ManagementBill Gates Uploading Lots Of Florida Farmland
October 22, 2014
Recent acquisition for the Microsoft icon involves more than 4,500 acres for nearly $28 million. Read More
Farm ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million To Stimulate Research And Devel…
October 22, 2014
The grants will provide resources to help small operations create breakthroughs, says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. Read More
CitrusMcCrometer Introduces New Ag Management Mobile App
October 22, 2014
The app displays data on weather, ET, soil moisture, water flow, and more. Read More