During the 2011 Florida Ag Expo, John VanSickle, University of Florida Food and Resource Economics Department professor and Florida Grower contributor, conducted a presentation on how growers can make money in a challenging environment. What was a growth industry has turned into a risky venture for growers in the last 10 years, VanSickle said. This is due in most part to declining produce consumption trends and profit that’s influenced more by competition.
VanSickle stressed the importance of planning and organization to help fruit and vegetable growers thwart the outside pressures driving up the prices of produce, which are resulting not only in shrinking market shares in the food diet, but also contributing to diminishing margins. In addition, there are lessons to be learned from the investment world, VanSickle noted. “Like football, there are times for defense and times for offense,” he said to attendees. “In challenging markets, you play defense.”