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
Vegetables
January 23, 2017
The Northwest Has the Most Growers Under 55 Years Old
Survey respondents in the Northwest are more likely to grow organically, avoid genetically modified crops [GMOs], and more likely to Read More
Insect & Disease Update
January 23, 2017
California Lands $5 Million for Citrus Greening Research
The USDA grant will be used to create and identify possible solutions for a cure. Read More
Postbloom Fruit Drop symptoms on Florida ctirus
Insect & Disease Update
January 23, 2017
Florida Citrus Growers on Alert for Postbloom Fruit Drop
After the worst outbreak in years, growers should be wary of this disorder. Read More
More Vegetables
January 23, 2017
California Garlic Grower to Raise Minimum Wage by 30% by Next Year
Christopher Ranch commits to $15 per hour minimum wages for all employees by 2018. Read More
a trio of peaches
Fruits
January 20, 2017
Insecticide Label Expanded to Many Specialty Crops
Sivanto Prime from Bayer can now be used in foliar form on stone fruit and caneberries, and for soil use on leafy and brassica vegetables. Read More
Cucurbits
January 20, 2017
Renowned Researcher Margaret McGrath Receives Cornell’s Excellence in IPM Award 
A plant pathologist, McGrath’s expertise has helped both organic and conventional growers fight late blight, downy mildew, and others.  Read More
Grapes
January 20, 2017
Live Reports on the State of the Wine Industry
The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, by far the nation’s largest winegrape conference, is happening this week in Sacramento, CA. Read More
Jones Potato Farm field in Parrish, FL
Citrus
January 20, 2017
Farming Will Always Have a Place in Florida [Opinion]
Growers are resilient and agriculture will survive in our state and elsewhere. It has to, if we want food on our plates. Read More
Stemphylium leaf spot of spinach
Disease Control
January 20, 2017
Don’t Let Stemphylium Leaf Spot Stump Your Spinach Crop
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable disease. Read More
The Latest
Vegetables
January 23, 2017
The Northwest Has the Most Growers Under…
Survey respondents in the Northwest are more likely to grow organically, avoid genetically modified crops [GMOs], and more likely to Read More
Insect & Disease Update
January 23, 2017
California Lands $5 Million for Citrus G…
The USDA grant will be used to create and identify possible solutions for a cure. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
January 23, 2017
Florida Citrus Growers on Alert for Post…
After the worst outbreak in years, growers should be wary of this disorder. Read More
More Vegetables
January 23, 2017
California Garlic Grower to Raise Minimu…
Christopher Ranch commits to $15 per hour minimum wages for all employees by 2018. Read More
Fruits
January 20, 2017
Insecticide Label Expanded to Many Speci…
Sivanto Prime from Bayer can now be used in foliar form on stone fruit and caneberries, and for soil use on leafy and brassica vegetables. Read More
Cucurbits
January 20, 2017
Renowned Researcher Margaret McGrath Rec…
A plant pathologist, McGrath’s expertise has helped both organic and conventional growers fight late blight, downy mildew, and others.  Read More
Grapes
January 20, 2017
Live Reports on the State of the Wine In…
The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, by far the nation’s largest winegrape conference, is happening this week in Sacramento, CA. Read More
Farm Marketing
January 20, 2017
Direct Marketing Revenue Topped $8 Billi…
USDA has released its first-ever survey on direct marketing, and it shows that the local food industry is huge. Read More
Citrus
January 20, 2017
Farming Will Always Have a Place in Flor…
Growers are resilient and agriculture will survive in our state and elsewhere. It has to, if we want food on our plates. Read More
Disease Control
January 20, 2017
Don’t Let Stemphylium Leaf Spot St…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable disease. Read More
Disease Control
January 19, 2017
Clues Found to Block Late Blight’s…
With food security at stake, breakthrough in genetic research could help prevent more strains of the deadly pathogen from entering the U.S. Read More
Grapes
January 19, 2017
U.S. Challenges Canadian Trade Measures …
Trade enforcement action challenges British Columbia regulations that unfairly exclude U.S. wine from grocery store shelves. Read More
Citrus
January 19, 2017
Trump Taps Sonny Perdue for Secretary of…
Ag leaders applaud pick to head up USDA. Read More
Citrus
January 19, 2017
New York Representatives Introduce Bill …
Legislators say the move aligns the program in the department to better fit the needs of agriculture businesses. Read More
Citrus
January 19, 2017
New Technology Could Take Weather Intel …
Scientists aiming to make difficult climate-based production decisions easier for growers. Read More
Fruits
January 19, 2017
Funding Available to Improve Ag, Food Sc…
USDA announces $18.9 million for ag education at 1890s land-grant colleges and universities. Read More
Citrus
January 18, 2017
NASA, NOAA Concur 2016 Was World’s Warme…
For the third time in three years, the heat gets turned up on surface temperature statistics. Read More
Vegetables
January 18, 2017
Southwest Growers Are Best Prepared for …
Almost half of all Southwest operations are grooming its next generation of leadership — an alarmingly low statistic, but one that is the highest in the country, according to American Vegetable Grower magazine's 2017 State of the Vegetable Industry survey. Read More