FFVA On The Line: A Road Trip Worth Taking

Lisa Lochridge is the director of public affairs for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association.

Along with pollen, school vacation, and Easter egg hunts, a traditional rite of spring at FFVA is the five-day Spring Regulatory Tour. Each year, FFVA and several major sponsors invite representatives from various state and federal regulatory agencies to visit a variety of agriculture operations.
This year’s tour hosted about two dozen guests from the EPA, Florida’s Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, and three of the state’s water management districts. FFVA Vice President of Industry Resources Dan Botts organized this tour, the 25th, which took place in late March.

On Tour
The 2011 Spring Regulatory Tour stops included:
– Old Collier Golf Course, Fort Myers (golf course pest management)
– Syngenta Flowers and Keepsake Plants, Lee County (ornamentals, azaleas, and chrysanthemums)
– Six L’s Farm, Estero
(sandland vegetables)
– Barron Collier/Silver Strand, northern Collier County (citrus)
– Sugar Cane Growers Coop.,
Belle Glade (sugar cane)
– King Ranch, western Palm Beach County (sod)
– Duda Farm Fresh Foods,
Belle Glade (muck vegetables)
– American Farms, Naples
(ornamental nursery production)
– Lee County Mosquito Control District (mosquito control in South Florida).

Over the five days, the group travels from Fort Myers to Belle Glade, and back to Naples. It gives the participants, who are responsible for regulating many aspects of agriculture from water quality to pesticide use, a firsthand look at ag production. For some, it is the first time they have been on a farm.

It’s a rigorous schedule and a major commitment of time for the visitors, who come from Washington, DC, Atlanta, Tallahassee, and other parts of Florida. In addition, several FFVA members devote hours of their time participating as hosts at stops along the way.

Seeing Is Believing

Before they hit the road, participants get a comprehensive overview of water management and regulation in South Florida by Terrie Bates of the South Florida Water Management District. Each host explains production practices, integrated pest management programs, water use and monitoring, market conditions, and other topics. The format encourages conversation and question-and-answer exchanges so participants can gain insight into how the regulations they write affect producers.
 
Year after year, the tour gets high marks from attendees. Dr. Donna Judkins, a biologist with EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, said of this year’s tour, “I think this kind of learning is extremely valuable for EPA employees tasked with assessing the risk to the environment and human health from pesticide use. It promotes understanding of pesticide use. A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Educational Experience

The participants also come away with a better understanding of the myriad challenges Florida producers face, whether it is weather, competition from low-cost imports, plant pests and diseases, food safety, and labor issues.
For example, during the stop at Barron Collier/Silver Strand, farm manager John Hoffman provided an overview of the citrus industry and the company’s citrus operations. Participants saw demonstrations of mechanical harvesting, precision pesticide application, and tree topping. UF/IFAS researcher Dr. Bob Rouse spoke to the group about citrus canker, citrus greening, and citrus black spot. He also outlined ongoing research efforts where trees are being treated with combinations of nutrients and a systemic acquired resistance program [learn about this by].
One of FFVA’s strengths, members say, is its strong working relationships with lawmakers and regulatory agencies. The tour is a prime example of how FFVA continues to make a difference for its members.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

CitrusNew Partnership To Expand ‘Fresh From Florida’ Footprint In Taiwan
November 26, 2014
Latest deal puts exclamation point on successful Asia marketing campaign. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateCalifornia OKs Asian Citrus Psyllid Insecticide
November 26, 2014
Agriphar Crop Solutions’ Micromite 80WGS is also effective on several other citrus pests. Read More
VegetablesAmerican Takii Presents Its Latest Vegetable Varieties
November 26, 2014
For more information, contact: American Takii 301 Natividad Rd. Salinas, CA 93906 831-443-4901; fax: 831-443-3976 takii.com Read More
FruitsWet December Predicted For Parched California
November 25, 2014
National Weather Service says above-normal precipitation expected; it may continue through the winter in central and southern parts of the Golden State. Read More
Apples & PearsEPA Approves Three New Moth Mating Disruption Products
November 25, 2014
Codling moth and oriental fruit moth are targeted by apple and pear growers. Read More
VegetablesSakata Hosts Annual Fall Field Trials
November 25, 2014
Growers and dealer partners gather to see new varieties at the company's South Florida field station. Read More
VegetablesStokes Seeds Presents Their Latest Vegetable Varieties
November 25, 2014
For more information, contact: Stokes Seeds P.O. Box 548 Buffalo, NY 14240-0548 800-263-7233; fax: 800-272-5560 stokesseeds.com Read More
VegetablesAbbott & Cobb Presents Their Latest Vegetable Varieties
November 25, 2014
For more information, contact: Abbott & Cobb P.O. Box 307 Feasterville, PA 19053 800-245-SEED; fax:215-245-9043 abbotcobb.com Read More
VegetablesVariety Trials 2014: Rupp Seeds
November 25, 2014
Check out new pumpkins weighing between 18 and 20 pounds as well as new powdery-mildew tolerant butternut squash hybrids. Read More
Food SafetyMultistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Bean Sprouts
November 25, 2014
FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with state and local officials continue to investigate the food-borne illness outbreak. Read More

The Latest

CitrusNew Partnership To Expand ‘Fresh From Florida’ Foot…
November 26, 2014
Latest deal puts exclamation point on successful Asia marketing campaign. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateCalifornia OKs Asian Citrus Psyllid Insecticide
November 26, 2014
Agriphar Crop Solutions’ Micromite 80WGS is also effective on several other citrus pests. Read More
VegetablesAmerican Takii Presents Its Latest Vegetable Varieties
November 26, 2014
For more information, contact: American Takii 301 Natividad Rd. Salinas, CA 93906 831-443-4901; fax: 831-443-3976 takii.com Read More
FruitsWet December Predicted For Parched California
November 25, 2014
National Weather Service says above-normal precipitation expected; it may continue through the winter in central and southern parts of the Golden State. Read More
Apples & PearsEPA Approves Three New Moth Mating Disruption Products
November 25, 2014
Codling moth and oriental fruit moth are targeted by apple and pear growers. Read More
VegetablesSakata Hosts Annual Fall Field Trials
November 25, 2014
Growers and dealer partners gather to see new varieties at the company's South Florida field station. Read More
VegetablesStokes Seeds Presents Their Latest Vegetable Varieties
November 25, 2014
For more information, contact: Stokes Seeds P.O. Box 548 Buffalo, NY 14240-0548 800-263-7233; fax: 800-272-5560 stokesseeds.com Read More
VegetablesAbbott & Cobb Presents Their Latest Vegetable Varie…
November 25, 2014
For more information, contact: Abbott & Cobb P.O. Box 307 Feasterville, PA 19053 800-245-SEED; fax:215-245-9043 abbotcobb.com Read More
VegetablesVariety Trials 2014: Rupp Seeds
November 25, 2014
Check out new pumpkins weighing between 18 and 20 pounds as well as new powdery-mildew tolerant butternut squash hybrids. Read More
Food SafetyMultistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Bean Sprouts
November 25, 2014
FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with state and local officials continue to investigate the food-borne illness outbreak. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateCitrus Survey: New Management Techniques Trending
November 25, 2014
Growers widen their tactical approach to survive HLB. Read More
FruitsFruitGrowerConnect Brings Buyers And Sellers Together […
November 25, 2014
Suppliers and growers got down to business in San Diego discussing current needs, solutions, and ways to increase efficiencies on the farm. Read More
Vegetables15 Must Have Carrot Varieties [Slideshow]
November 24, 2014
Browse the slideshow for information on 13 carrot varieties to add to your collection. 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
BerriesSuspected Borer Could Be Big Bother To Florida Blueberr…
November 24, 2014
Producers warned to be on the lookout as scientists probe samples. Read More
NutsWatch Your Almonds’ Salt Intake
November 24, 2014
Because of the current California drought, almond growers must pay extra attention to soil salinity. Read More
Varieties & RootstocksHelp On The Way Citrus Growers Can Truly Tap Into
November 24, 2014
Demand for inventory to rise as USDA’s Tree Assistance Program pushes new plantings. Read More
FruitsRegistration Opens Dec. 1 For NAFDMA 30th Annual Conven…
November 24, 2014
The five-day event includes bus tours, educational sessions, workshops, and a business exchange in Tennessee in February. Read More