Organic Optimism

He says the state has kept pace with the rest of the country with about 20% growth, and believes the demographics of the state lend to continued growth.

“Florida has a very diverse population and large agricultural output,” says Hansen. “In recent years, people’s concern with fitness and health, as well as responsible consumerism in the form of organic or chemical-free foods and ‘local eating,’ has provided a very big market for these types of foods. Just walk into any supermarket in Florida and you’ll see an organic section, and farmers markets are becoming very popular because they offer a great outlet for organic produce. There has also been an impact for farmers, as they realize that they can dedicate some of their land to organic farming to fill this growing niche.”

Shaky Economy

With companies failing and jobs being lost, one wonders if the 20% annual growth in the organic market can sustain itself. Hansen believes that loyal organic consumers will not cut organic food items out of their budgets first. 

“At this point in the current economic crisis, it is difficult to say whether lower incomes or concerns with saving will have a large impact on organic purchases,” he says. “Those who purchase organic foods are aware that they pay a premium for the food they consume. They usually select organic foods because they believe that in the long term they will save more by staying healthier than those who don’t consume organic foods. My guess is that most people will continue to buy organic and cut down on other purchases or luxuries rather than give up their nutrition habits.”

Organic Ready

Luis Hansen has grown well acquainted with Florida’s organic market because several of the products BioSafe offers are registered for organic production. Two of the most widely used products in conventional farming are OxiDate and StorOx. Both OxiDate and StorOx are listed with the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for organic production.

OxiDate is engineered for foliar applications to control a wide range of plant pathogens and diseases, giving a contact kill of microorganisms in 30 seconds or less, and leaving no residuals. Some of its benefits are zero-hour REI, zero-days to harvest, and no mutational resistance. StorOx is engineered for postharvest application on the packing line to control bacteria and fungi that cause premature decay. Both products are exempt of pesticide residue by EPA. For irrigation or processing water treatment, there is SaniDate 12.0 MicroBiocide, another OMRI-listed product that kills bacteria, fungi, and algae to provide clean water. BioSafe Systems’ newest addition is SaniDate 5.0 which is a sanitizer/disinfectant labeled for human health pathogen control and is NOP (National Organic Program) compliant.

If transportation costs continue to rise, buying local shows promise as well, becoming more competitive.  

“In terms of ‘local eating,’ Florida still imports more organic foods than it produces, meaning that as prices rise (whether it be fuel, transportation costs, or a higher demand in local markets outside of Florida) consumers will turn to foods produced locally because they will be more readily available and probably equal in price,” he says. 

“As supermarkets and town stores began to add organic sections, it became clear that Florida was importing certain organic crops that were traditionally grown in the area. This prompted Florida farmers to start dedicating some of their land to organic production. As the market for these foods has grown, I’ve seen an increase in organically grown tomatoes, strawberries, yellow squash, lettuce, citrus, and herbs (such as rosemary and basil), just to name a few. In fact, production of these crops has become so successful that Florida is now exporting these to other states.”

Going Organic

For growers considering making the transition to organics, Hansen suggests they get educated first.

“Growing crops in Florida has great advantages due to its warm climate and sandy soils, but there is also high disease pressure due to the high humidity levels, which make crops more susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases,” he says. “My advice to growers considering organic production is it boils down to education. They should research crops and pick what they are going to grow carefully, take advantage of IFAS workshops, and contact the Florida Organic Farms organization for guidance at www.foginfo.org. Additionally, growers should decide which marketing channel they will focus on, as different types of markets have varied demands. Owning a ‘you-pick’ operation versus selling to a large supermarket chain will determine which crops the growers should target.”  

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Wafler apple harvester
Apple Grower of the Year
August 27, 2016
Rock Steady U.S. Apple Crop Forecast
USApple predicts 2016 output will be just slightly higher than in 2015. Read More
UC Cooperative Extension Viticulture Advisor Lindsay Jordan installs a solar “Paso Panel.” (Photo Credit: Matthew Fidelibus)
Grapes
August 27, 2016
Managing Water In California Vineyards
National viticulture symposium provides insights into estimating vineyard irrigation requirements. Read More
A Concord model grape vineyard with a two-tier cordon system. (Photo credit: Tom Zabadel)
Grapes
August 26, 2016
Model Vineyard Looks To Maximize Concord Production
Watching Michigan ‘‘Concord’’ grape growers struggle with stagnant and sometimes declining prices, a team of researchers at Michigan State University Read More
Organic potato grower staring at his crops
Crop Protection
August 25, 2016
Better Biocontrol Options Becoming Available To Organic Growers
New bio-based solutions to effectively control weeds and pests are cropping up. Read More
Marty McKenna and Mark Wheeler grab a photo together at the Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference
Citrus Achievement Award
August 25, 2016
Working Together For A Common Cause Key To Citrus Success
Cirus Achievement Award winner Marty McKenna says the industry is sustained by strength in numbers. Read More
New citrus grove in Florida
Citrus
August 24, 2016
Florida Citrus Granted New Incentive To Grow On
A state-backed $5.5 million grove renovation/re-establishment program is now available and accepting applications. Read More
Judi Whitson, 2016 Florida Woman of the Year in Agriculture
Citrus
August 24, 2016
Meet Florida’s 2016 Woman Of The Year In Agriculture
Dedication to fostering the state’s farming future defines the latest winner of longtime honor. Read More
University of New Hampshire scientists constructed a linkage map of the seven chromosomes of the diploid Fragaria iinumae, which allows them to fill in a piece of the genetic puzzle about the eight sets of chromosomes of the cultivated strawberry.
Berries
August 24, 2016
Researchers Unravel Genetic Ancestry Of Cultivated Strawberry
A genetic analysis conducted by New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station researchers aims to improve modern cultivation efforts of strawberry growers. Read More
Justin Clements, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center working in the Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the recipient of NPC's 2016-2017 Academic Scholarship.
Potatoes
August 24, 2016
Fifth-Year Doctoral Student Receives NPC’s Scholarship For Potato Research
The National Potato Council (NPC) has announced that Justin Clements, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Read More
2011 WA IFTA Tour
Fruits
August 24, 2016
Don’t Underestimate The Value Of Production Bus Tours For Your Business [Opinion]
Sure, you can see and talk with virtually anyone in the world through your smart phone, but you can’t shake their hand. Read More
The Latest
Apple Grower of the Year
August 27, 2016
Rock Steady U.S. Apple Crop Forecast
USApple predicts 2016 output will be just slightly higher than in 2015. Read More
Grapes
August 27, 2016
Managing Water In California Vineyards
National viticulture symposium provides insights into estimating vineyard irrigation requirements. Read More
Grapes
August 26, 2016
Model Vineyard Looks To Maximize Concord…
Watching Michigan ‘‘Concord’’ grape growers struggle with stagnant and sometimes declining prices, a team of researchers at Michigan State University Read More
Crop Protection
August 25, 2016
Better Biocontrol Options Becoming Avail…
New bio-based solutions to effectively control weeds and pests are cropping up. Read More
Citrus Achievement Award
August 25, 2016
Working Together For A Common Cause Key …
Cirus Achievement Award winner Marty McKenna says the industry is sustained by strength in numbers. Read More
Citrus
August 24, 2016
Florida Citrus Granted New Incentive To …
A state-backed $5.5 million grove renovation/re-establishment program is now available and accepting applications. Read More
Citrus
August 24, 2016
Meet Florida’s 2016 Woman Of The Year In…
Dedication to fostering the state’s farming future defines the latest winner of longtime honor. Read More
Berries
August 24, 2016
Researchers Unravel Genetic Ancestry Of …
A genetic analysis conducted by New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station researchers aims to improve modern cultivation efforts of strawberry growers. Read More
Potatoes
August 24, 2016
Fifth-Year Doctoral Student Receives NPC…
The National Potato Council (NPC) has announced that Justin Clements, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Read More
Fruits
August 24, 2016
Don’t Underestimate The Value Of P…
Sure, you can see and talk with virtually anyone in the world through your smart phone, but you can’t shake their hand. Read More
Farm Management
August 24, 2016
Swaying Views On GMO Foods No Easy Task
Featured speaker for the upcoming FFVA Annual Convention says tides are slowly turning in how people digest the concept of genetic modification. Read More
Grapes
August 23, 2016
Deeper Irrigation Method Showing Promise…
A new subsurface irrigation system is showing promise for slashing water usage in vineyards. Many vineyards use drip lines that Read More
Disease Control
August 23, 2016
Florida Sweet Corn Has New Deadly Stalke…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
Fruits
August 23, 2016
New Insecticides Geared To Give Growers …
Check out three unique chemistries from several of the industry's leading crop protection suppliers. Read More
Apple Grower of the Year
August 22, 2016
Apple Crop Forecasts Live On Twitter
You'll be able to get up-to-the-minute reports of not only the various regions of the U.S., but key production regions around the world. Read More
Oranges
August 22, 2016
Major OJ Purchase Promises Relief For Fl…
$30 million planned acquisition from USDA to be used for surplus removal. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
August 22, 2016
Florida Citrus Breeders Squeezed For Tim…
The pressure is on to develop a more HLB-tolerant orange. Read More
Pest Control
August 21, 2016
Spotted Wing Drosophila: For Michigan, …
Why the pest can be so much more destructive for Eastern cherry growers might be due to what they’re not farming. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]