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
Up-close shot of a hops plant during the 2016 Florida Ag Expo
Farm Management
June 20, 2017
5 Alternative Crops Florida Farmers Should Consider
Here’s a look at new selections being vetted that might have a place in fields around the Sunshine State. Read More
school lunch tray full of Florida-grown blueberries and watermelon
Citrus
June 15, 2017
Florida Farm to School Initiative Makes New Strides
Connecting with local growers, communication, and flexibility are keys to a successful nutrition program. Read More
Business Planning
June 14, 2017
How Ready Pac Went from Near Bankruptcy to Innovation in 3 Years
The company's new CEO, Tony Sarsam, spoke at United Fresh's MKT Expo about how investing in staff, increasing communication, and reaching for the same goal can transform a business. Read More
FL Gov. Rick Scott signs a bill
Citrus
June 9, 2017
State Budget Cuts Threaten to Take Big Bite from UF/IFAS Programs
Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed plan includes trimming more than $6 million from research and education-based initiatives. Read More
Citrus
June 9, 2017
Agriculture Water Standards Compliance Dates Extended
FDA says the agency will extend the compliance dates after feedback from stakeholders. Read More
Forbes AgTech Summit speech
Farm Management
June 8, 2017
AgTech Summit Aiming High for Modern Farming Solutions
Third annual invite-only industry event to showcase game-changing ideas and innovations.  Read More
Flooded vegetable field in South Florida
Citrus
June 7, 2017
Super Soaker Deleting Drought Status in the Sunshine State
From famine to feast, Florida’s record-setting dry spell has given way to a wide-open wet season. Read More
Center pivot irrigation system at Florida research farm
Citrus
June 1, 2017
Big Bucks up for Grabs to Water-Wise Florida Farmers
St. Johns River Water Management District cost-share funding would support implementation of conservation-minded practices and technologies. Read More
Farm Management
May 31, 2017
It’s Time to Embrace Technology on Your Farm Operation
Find opportunities to adopt new innovations critical to the success of your operation — and maybe a lot more. Read More
Hurricane season photo collage
Citrus
May 29, 2017
NOAA Betting on Another Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season
Forecasters predict above-normal storm activity, depending on El Niño's naughtiness. Read More
Panama Canal Expansion opening celebration
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Plight of Trade Policy Grounding Many U.S. Growers
Much-needed investments in labor-saving technology could be key to long-term survival. Read More
Cannabis plant closeup
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Florida Farm Winning Case for Medicinal Cannabis License
Judge rules in favor of 3 Boys Farm in the quest to expand its crop/business portfolio. Read More
hands holding a globe
Citrus
May 25, 2017
Are We Overstating the World’s Overpopulation Problem?
If growers can’t achieve a fair return on investment and stay in business, it won’t matter what the population is in 2050. We all will be trouble. Read More
Florida Ag Hall of Famer William Cook
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Search is on For Next Crop of Florida Agriculture Hall of Famers
Nomination period now open for longtime industry honor. Read More
Online shopping graphic for GenNext Growers webcast
GenNext Growers
May 22, 2017
How to Make Dollars and Sense of Today’s Produce Marketplace Mayhem
Despite current challenges impacting the future of the North American fruit and vegetable industry, there are opportunities to be had. Read More
The Latest
Farm Management
June 20, 2017
5 Alternative Crops Florida Farmers Shou…
Here’s a look at new selections being vetted that might have a place in fields around the Sunshine State. Read More
Business Planning
June 14, 2017
How Ready Pac Went from Near Bankruptcy …
The company's new CEO, Tony Sarsam, spoke at United Fresh's MKT Expo about how investing in staff, increasing communication, and reaching for the same goal can transform a business. Read More
Citrus
June 9, 2017
State Budget Cuts Threaten to Take Big B…
Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed plan includes trimming more than $6 million from research and education-based initiatives. Read More
Farm Management
June 8, 2017
AgTech Summit Aiming High for Modern Far…
Third annual invite-only industry event to showcase game-changing ideas and innovations.  Read More
Citrus
June 7, 2017
Super Soaker Deleting Drought Status in …
From famine to feast, Florida’s record-setting dry spell has given way to a wide-open wet season. Read More
Citrus
June 1, 2017
Big Bucks up for Grabs to Water-Wise Flo…
St. Johns River Water Management District cost-share funding would support implementation of conservation-minded practices and technologies. Read More
Farm Management
May 31, 2017
It’s Time to Embrace Technology on…
Find opportunities to adopt new innovations critical to the success of your operation — and maybe a lot more. Read More
Citrus
May 29, 2017
NOAA Betting on Another Busy Atlantic Hu…
Forecasters predict above-normal storm activity, depending on El Niño's naughtiness. Read More
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Plight of Trade Policy Grounding Many U.…
Much-needed investments in labor-saving technology could be key to long-term survival. Read More
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Florida Farm Winning Case for Medicinal …
Judge rules in favor of 3 Boys Farm in the quest to expand its crop/business portfolio. Read More
Citrus
May 25, 2017
Are We Overstating the World’s Ove…
If growers can’t achieve a fair return on investment and stay in business, it won’t matter what the population is in 2050. We all will be trouble. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Search is on For Next Crop of Florida Ag…
Nomination period now open for longtime industry honor. Read More
Citrus
May 20, 2017
Short on Water, Florida Growers Know How…
Through drought, smoke and brush fires, it’s plain to see you farmers have been doing your part to conserve and preserve one of our most precious resources. Read More
Citrus
May 20, 2017
USDA Creates Undersecretary for Trade
Reorganization puts trade, farm production as top priorities for the agency. Read More
Citrus
May 15, 2017
Drought Conditions Deepen Across Central…
Water Shortage Warning Order expanded to all counties within St. Johns River Water Management District. Read More
Farm Management
May 9, 2017
Promote Efficiency by Taking Advantage o…
From animal housing to tillage, USDA's NRCS has you covered. Read More
Citrus
April 29, 2017
Florida Ag Commissioner Pushes for Probe…
With a focus on Mexico, letter sent by Adam Putnam to the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary stresses need for level playing field. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2017
Trump Creates Agricultural Task Force
Panel to examine issues facing today’s growers including labor, food safety, and regulations. Read More