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.

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

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
cracked earth
Fruits
September 24, 2016
Water Woes Continue In Northeast
Hydrologist says this year’s conditions are bad but are part of a typical water cycle. Read More
Spring Valley Farms blueberries near Umatilla, FL
Berries
September 24, 2016
Time Is Now For Florida Blueberry Growers To Dig In
Coming off a challenging season, industry players must continue to adapt to curveballs thrown by Mother Nature and market forces. Read More
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Apples & Pears
September 23, 2016
USDA Approves Nonregulated Status For ‘Arctic Fuji’
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announces an extension of deregulation to a line of genetically engineered (GE) Read More
Some of Almar Orchard's organic apples were on display outside the farm market at the Scrumpy Skedaddle. After finishing the race, runners were offered their choice of several varieties of fresh apples. (Photo credit: Christina Herrick)
Apples & Pears
September 23, 2016
Growers Encouraged To Monitor Fruit Temperature Going Into Storage
With early harvests, Randy Beaudry of Michigan State University says temperature monitoring is a must. Read More
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS
Berries
September 23, 2016
What U.S. Consumers Think About Florida Blueberries
For growers, the good news is that shoppers like what you are serving up. But more can be done to whet appetites. Read More
Photo credit: USDA
Fruits
September 23, 2016
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Pressure Increasing
Scout and monitor your orchard to determine if control is needed, says Penn State University Extension. Read More
water droplet_generic
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Senate Committee Report Says WOTUS Reforms Needed
A report issued from the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee says federal agencies overreach their authority to regulate Read More
Spring Valley Farms in Umatilla, FL, from a drone
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Citrus Tax Incentive A Big Step Closer To Fruition
U.S. House vote ends in landslide of support for emergency legislation, which allows growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new trees. Read More
Action shot of an automated strawberry picker from Harvest CROO
Berries
September 22, 2016
Investors Clamoring For Automated Strawberry Picking Technology
Naturipe joins growing list of backers in the labor-saving vision and mission of ag-tech startup. Read More
Closeup of a managed bee hive next to a blueberry field
Berries
September 22, 2016
It Behooves Blueberry Growers To Protect Pollinators
Placing priority on bee care best practices will ensure sweet success for your crop. Read More
The Latest
Fruits
September 24, 2016
Water Woes Continue In Northeast
Hydrologist says this year’s conditions are bad but are part of a typical water cycle. Read More
Berries
September 24, 2016
Time Is Now For Florida Blueberry Grower…
Coming off a challenging season, industry players must continue to adapt to curveballs thrown by Mother Nature and market forces. Read More
Apples & Pears
September 23, 2016
USDA Approves Nonregulated Status For ‘A…
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announces an extension of deregulation to a line of genetically engineered (GE) Read More
Apples & Pears
September 23, 2016
Growers Encouraged To Monitor Fruit Temp…
With early harvests, Randy Beaudry of Michigan State University says temperature monitoring is a must. Read More
Berries
September 23, 2016
What U.S. Consumers Think About Florida …
For growers, the good news is that shoppers like what you are serving up. But more can be done to whet appetites. Read More
Fruits
September 23, 2016
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Pressure Incr…
Scout and monitor your orchard to determine if control is needed, says Penn State University Extension. Read More
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Senate Committee Report Says WOTUS Refor…
A report issued from the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee says federal agencies overreach their authority to regulate Read More
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Citrus Tax Incentive A Big Step Closer T…
U.S. House vote ends in landslide of support for emergency legislation, which allows growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new trees. Read More
Berries
September 22, 2016
Investors Clamoring For Automated Strawb…
Naturipe joins growing list of backers in the labor-saving vision and mission of ag-tech startup. Read More
Berries
September 22, 2016
It Behooves Blueberry Growers To Protect…
Placing priority on bee care best practices will ensure sweet success for your crop. Read More
Tomatoes
September 21, 2016
Noxious Weed Detected In Processing Toma…
The infested field was placed on hold and appropriate safeguards were implemented to prevent the movement of seeds on equipment and personnel leaving the field. Read More
Cucurbits
September 21, 2016
Don’t Let White Grubs Gobble Up Yo…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this pest. Read More
Berries
September 20, 2016
How To Track Irrigation: Keep Your Eye O…
Time-tested, color-appropriate method for following water movement in plasticulture veggie crops could prove fruitful in blueberries, too. Read More
Citrus
September 20, 2016
Preventative Control Rules Now In Effect…
Facilities employing 500 or more people must meet new standards. Read More
Citrus
September 20, 2016
EPA Says Glyphosate Not Likely To Cause …
Paper says herbicide not carcinogenic at doses relevant for human health risk assessment. Read More
Farm Management
September 20, 2016
Study Says Produce Imports Good For Texa…
Imports from Mexico would add jobs in the Lone Star State. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
September 20, 2016
Is Citrus Ready To Break Out Of The Bubb…
Opportunity for enhanced data collection process at variety display days could give breeding and research teams a leg up in vetting sensible selections. Read More
Farm Management
September 19, 2016
PMA, United Fresh Establish Joint Workin…
The joint effort will result in greater efficiency and a more meaningful impact within the fresh produce industry. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]