Opinion: Play To Win

Paul Rusnak

It has often been said that the best defense is a good offense. While this age-old adage is mostly associated with sports themes or warfare strategy, the saying certainly has applicability on today’s farms. If it seems like Florida growers are constantly on the defensive fighting off pest and diseases, encroaching competition, increased regulations, and more, it’s because they are. However, the only way you all have been able to survive and succeed is because of your proactive nature. Advancements in technology, breakthroughs in science, and good old fashioned trial and error have been and are giving growers the tools to move down the field.

At the 2011 Florida Ag Expo in November, State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam praised industry professionals for doing their best work in challenging times. “We’re the strongest builder in this economy,” he said during his keynote address. He pointed out specific examples of how Florida ag has gone on the offensive to raise the bar on industry standards in areas such as water conservation, freeze protection, new market penetration (think blueberries and peaches), and variety innovation, which has yielded plenty of dining table staples, including the latest hit, the new UF/IFAS-bred Tasti-Lee tomato. 

The fore-mentioned home-grown accomplishments may have never materialized without the teaming of forward thinking, scientific minds with the gumption of growers.

Putting On A Show

The latest body of work from researchers and stakeholders will be front and center at the 2012 Florida Citrus Show. Scheduled for later this month in Ft. Pierce, the annual gathering presented by Florida Grower, UF/IFAS, and the Indian River Citrus League, showcases a program that defines the best in what collaborative efforts between the research community and growers can offer. The fruits of this ongoing labor have awarded citrus growers new life and spawned a renewed vigor and commitment to an industry that’s most valuable to the state’s well being. 

Institution Evolution

This month, Florida Grower shines the light on the land grant system. Land grant institutions, like UF/IFAS, have helped pave the way for American farmers to learn, grow, and prosper. The land grant system is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. “We have a proud history,” said Jack Payne, senior VP, UF/IFAS, at the Florida Ag Expo. “It’s the next 150 years that are going to be important.”

The current state of modern agriculture puts that figure in perspective. Just think about all the new ideas and opportunities that will emerge from what’s to be the future’s agriculture trailblazers. Score one for the home team. That ingenuity will come in handy as global food and energy demand put on the pressure.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Opinion: Play To Win

  1. I have ALWAYS believed in the preemptive strike. It has worked successfully for me in ALL walks of life. Whether it’s when I’m bidding on something at a auction, to handling insects BEFORE they handle me. As growers we MUST stay ahead of the game.

Featured Stories
Fruits
February 27, 2017
Warm February Concerning, But Fruit Growers Shouldn’t Panic
While maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey do show spring appears to be arriving early, Extension experts don’t expect a repeat of 2012. Read More
Nuts
February 27, 2017
Using Drones To Scout Almonds From Above
At California State University, Fresno, scientists are studying how drones can save almond growers water — and help them use less labor too. Read More
UF/IFAS researcher Cristina Pisani examines ailing avocado tree
Crop Protection
February 27, 2017
New Discovery Smells Like Victory for Florida Avocado Growers
Scientists find naturally occurring repellent that could keep disease-carrying beetles at bay. Read More
Mycelial fans armillaria root rot
Nuts
February 27, 2017
Getting to the Root of Devastating Stone Fruit Fungus
Armillaria root rot is a death sentence for trees and replant sites; however, researchers are looking to breed fungus-resistant rootstocks to make replanting economically feasible. Read More
Berries
February 26, 2017
Advantages to Growing Southern Highbush Blueberries
Growers in some regions where temperatures don’t get too low could consider the benefits of Southern highbush varieties. Read More
Grapes
February 26, 2017
Winegrowers See Total Sustainability in Their Sights
Sonoma County Winegrowers eyes 2019 to become the U.S.’s first completely sustainable wine region. Read More
Fruits
February 25, 2017
Let’s Stand Up for Science
Yes, there’s an art to agriculture, but its very definition is the science of farming, so you have a deeply rooted connection to scientists. Read More
Florida citrus grove
Citrus
February 25, 2017
Citrus Research Investments Yielding Positive Results
Despite still having mounds of wood to chop, grower, federal, and state programs collectively are making a dent. Read More
Fruits
February 25, 2017
Major Challenges to the Fruit Industry Are Closer than You Think
Don’t underestimate the need for research, as innovation is becoming an urgent necessity for our future. Read More
iphone close-up
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
New Mobile Apps for Farmers to Grow on the Go
Thanks to the latest in software technology, real-time decisions can be made with one swipe of your finger. Read More
The Latest
Fruits
February 27, 2017
Warm February Concerning, But Fruit Grow…
While maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey do show spring appears to be arriving early, Extension experts don’t expect a repeat of 2012. Read More
Nuts
February 27, 2017
Using Drones To Scout Almonds From Above
At California State University, Fresno, scientists are studying how drones can save almond growers water — and help them use less labor too. Read More
Crop Protection
February 27, 2017
New Discovery Smells Like Victory for Fl…
Scientists find naturally occurring repellent that could keep disease-carrying beetles at bay. Read More
Nuts
February 27, 2017
Getting to the Root of Devastating Stone…
Armillaria root rot is a death sentence for trees and replant sites; however, researchers are looking to breed fungus-resistant rootstocks to make replanting economically feasible. Read More
Berries
February 26, 2017
Advantages to Growing Southern Highbush …
Growers in some regions where temperatures don’t get too low could consider the benefits of Southern highbush varieties. Read More
Grapes
February 26, 2017
Winegrowers See Total Sustainability in …
Sonoma County Winegrowers eyes 2019 to become the U.S.’s first completely sustainable wine region. Read More
Fruits
February 25, 2017
Let’s Stand Up for Science
Yes, there’s an art to agriculture, but its very definition is the science of farming, so you have a deeply rooted connection to scientists. Read More
Citrus
February 25, 2017
Citrus Research Investments Yielding Pos…
Despite still having mounds of wood to chop, grower, federal, and state programs collectively are making a dent. Read More
Fruits
February 25, 2017
Major Challenges to the Fruit Industry A…
Don’t underestimate the need for research, as innovation is becoming an urgent necessity for our future. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
New Mobile Apps for Farmers to Grow on t…
Thanks to the latest in software technology, real-time decisions can be made with one swipe of your finger. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
In-The-Field Learning Invaluable for Gen…
Annual tour allows Florida's future farming leaders the chance to have open and honest discussions with CEOs and managers and tap into their knowledge. Read More
Grower Achievement Award
February 24, 2017
Know a Vegetable Grower Who’s Innovative…
Then nomination him or her for American Vegetable Grower magazine’s 2017 Grower Achievement Award. Read More
Apples & Pears
February 24, 2017
Don’t Underestimate the Importance…
Trellising study helps growers understand the basics of setting up an orchard infrastructure properly. Read More
Berries
February 23, 2017
Primocane: A Major Innovation in Berry P…
I’ve witnessed the rise of primocane-fruiting blackberries, from first selections to integration in the market. Read More
Fruits
February 23, 2017
First California Ag Innovation Showcase …
University of California, Davis will be the setting for a ground-breaking conference on emerging technology for food and high-value agriculture. Read More
Disease Control
February 23, 2017
Spot Sclerotinia Before It Stops Your Ve…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this malady that goes by many names. Read More
Berries
February 22, 2017
Florida Strawberry Picking Contest a Big…
Fourth-annual fundraising event brings in more than $100,000 to benefit children of local farmworkers. Read More
Citrus
February 22, 2017
New Insecticide Available to Combat Suck…
Minecto Pro from Syngenta has received EPA approval for use in specialty and vegetable crops to control lepidopteran and other pests. Read More