I am a news junkie by nature. I enjoy keeping up with politics, the economy, and world events. I say enjoy, but the headlines these days are more than enough reason to frown.
We read of a global economy teetering on the edge, endless streams of conflict, and natural disasters. There is a saying in journalism: “If it bleeds, it leads.” There seems to be a lot of bleeding these days and it tends to create an undercurrent of foreboding about our very future. In fact, a cottage industry has sprung up from pundits preaching the end is near to hawkers of survival seed banks. Managing Editor Paul Rusnak took this up tongue-in-cheek in his “Up Front” column with his reference to the end of the Mayan calendar.
With so many negative headlines, it is easy to get down and caught up in the apocalyptic hype. I am guilty of it from time to time, and it’s even been reflected on this page. I am sure you’ve had that “what’s the world coming to?” feeling a few times yourself. But, we are not the only ones to feel this way. If you look throughout history, it seems just about every generation at some level was sure they were the last — or close to it.
But, for generation after generation, we’ve survived. A look beyond the headlines, even in this issue of Florida Grower, can give you reason to smile in the belief that we can overcome the challenges of the day.
I’ll first point out the story on KeyPlex building a new plant in Hardee County. The company’s owner Gerald O’Connor could have done what some businesses do when they expand — move abroad in hopes of pumping up the bottom line in a lower cost region of the world. But, he has stated the importance to him that KeyPlex remains in Florida and keeps jobs in this state. In fact, if you tour the facility, take note that the equipment and parts and pieces of the new plant also were manufactured in the USA.
For O’Connor, building this new facility and keeping it in Florida will cost him a little more on the front end, but he knows by doing so he ensures he is creating the highest quality products for customers in the U.S. and his growing international business. It is refreshing to interact with someone like O’Connor who is passionate about his work and the products that his company creates for his customers around the globe.
Secondly, I want to acknowledge the collaborative spirit of growers working with the research community, which is exemplified in this month’s cover story. The idea of advanced citrus production systems is something that is well “outside the box” when compared to traditional citrus plantings. But, will it work? That can’t be answered in a laboratory. So, researchers like Dr. Arnold Schumann need growers to be cooperative. He found that in Gapway Groves to put this innovative idea on trial in the real world. There are countless more examples of growers giving of their land and time to help advance the science of ag production.
These are but two examples of things that happen every day that make this country great. They won’t always make it above the fold in daily newspapers, but they are part and parcel of why I am not ready to join the doomsday parade. Sure, there is a lot of bad in this world, but there is a lot more good — you just have to look a little harder to find it.