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
Berries
May 26, 2017
Jury Sides with University in Strawberry Breeding Lawsuit
Decision says former breeders infringed on UC patents to develop material for corporate breeding firm. Read More
Managed bee hive boxes around a blueberry field
Nuts
May 25, 2017
Stolen Hives Recovered in Nearly $1M Heist
Man likely stole hives from across the state of California in the last three years. Read More
Panama Canal Expansion opening celebration
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Plight of Trade Policy Grounding Many U.S. Growers
Much-needed investments in labor-saving technology could be key to long-term survival. Read More
Cannabis plant closeup
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Florida Farm Winning Case for Medicinal Cannabis License
Judge rules in favor of 3 Boys Farm in the quest to expand its crop/business portfolio. Read More
hands holding a globe
Citrus
May 25, 2017
Are We Overstating the World’s Overpopulation Problem?
If growers can’t achieve a fair return on investment and stay in business, it won’t matter what the population is in 2050. We all will be trouble. Read More
Falcon-takes-flight-at-Duncan-Family-Farms
Citrus
May 24, 2017
Falcons Scare off Other Birds at Duncan Family Farms
It collaborates with a firm that uses trained falcons to intimidate and scare off nuisance birds such as the horned larks and pigeons that frequent the area. Read More
Organic
May 24, 2017
Organic Growers in Turmoil (Opinion)
Although consumers are demanding, and getting more organic produce options, growers are grappling with fundamental questions. Read More
Corn leaf aphids on sweet corn
Sweet Corn
May 24, 2017
Stay on Your A Game to Conquer Corn Leaf Aphid
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable pest. Read More
Florida Ag Hall of Famer William Cook
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Search is on For Next Crop of Florida Agriculture Hall of Famers
Nomination period now open for longtime industry honor. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 23, 2017
Grower Shares Personal Impact of Labor Shortage
USApple leader Phil Glaize of Virginia stresses need for reform with current labor regulations, programs at Congressional briefing on agriculture labor crisis. Read More
Stone Fruit
May 23, 2017
Northeast Peach Crop Rebounds
After a mild winter and relatively uneventful bloom time, the crop is setting up nicely for the region. Read More
Berries
May 23, 2017
Researchers Examining Potential for Longer Berry Season in Northeast
Team at Penn State University using low and high tunnels and plastic coverings to extend raspberry and strawberry seasons. Read More
honeybees
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Webinar Series Highlights New Research on Honeybee Health
National Pollinator Week webinar showcases research to improve honeybee colony health by 2020. Read More
stack of lemons
Citrus
May 23, 2017
California Lemon Growers Sue USDA
Lemon industry files suit against rule allowing importation of Argentine lemons. Read More
Bee Vectoring Technologies experimental hives
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Insects (Bad and Good) Make for Interesting Field Trips
Disease-fighting bees and the deadly citrus psyllid were at the center of two recent, research-fueled out-of-office adventures. Read More
The Latest
Berries
May 26, 2017
Jury Sides with University in Strawberry…
Decision says former breeders infringed on UC patents to develop material for corporate breeding firm. Read More
Nuts
May 25, 2017
Stolen Hives Recovered in Nearly $1M Hei…
Man likely stole hives from across the state of California in the last three years. Read More
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Plight of Trade Policy Grounding Many U.…
Much-needed investments in labor-saving technology could be key to long-term survival. Read More
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Florida Farm Winning Case for Medicinal …
Judge rules in favor of 3 Boys Farm in the quest to expand its crop/business portfolio. Read More
Citrus
May 25, 2017
Are We Overstating the World’s Ove…
If growers can’t achieve a fair return on investment and stay in business, it won’t matter what the population is in 2050. We all will be trouble. Read More
Citrus
May 24, 2017
Falcons Scare off Other Birds at Duncan …
It collaborates with a firm that uses trained falcons to intimidate and scare off nuisance birds such as the horned larks and pigeons that frequent the area. Read More
Organic
May 24, 2017
Organic Growers in Turmoil (Opinion)
Although consumers are demanding, and getting more organic produce options, growers are grappling with fundamental questions. Read More
Sweet Corn
May 24, 2017
Stay on Your A Game to Conquer Corn Leaf…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable pest. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Search is on For Next Crop of Florida Ag…
Nomination period now open for longtime industry honor. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 23, 2017
Grower Shares Personal Impact of Labor S…
USApple leader Phil Glaize of Virginia stresses need for reform with current labor regulations, programs at Congressional briefing on agriculture labor crisis. Read More
Stone Fruit
May 23, 2017
Northeast Peach Crop Rebounds
After a mild winter and relatively uneventful bloom time, the crop is setting up nicely for the region. Read More
Berries
May 23, 2017
Researchers Examining Potential for Long…
Team at Penn State University using low and high tunnels and plastic coverings to extend raspberry and strawberry seasons. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Webinar Series Highlights New Research o…
National Pollinator Week webinar showcases research to improve honeybee colony health by 2020. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
California Lemon Growers Sue USDA
Lemon industry files suit against rule allowing importation of Argentine lemons. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Insects (Bad and Good) Make for Interest…
Disease-fighting bees and the deadly citrus psyllid were at the center of two recent, research-fueled out-of-office adventures. Read More
Crop Protection
May 23, 2017
Valent Grants Organic Farming Scholarshi…
University of Florida Doctor of Plant Medicine student receives $1,500 toward the development of training materials. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
May 23, 2017
In Quest for Low-Seeded Citrus, It Takes…
Momentum for viable mandarin hybrids for Florida reaching a peak in the land down under. Read More
GenNext Growers
May 22, 2017
How to Make Dollars and Sense of Today&#…
Despite current challenges impacting the future of the North American fruit and vegetable industry, there are opportunities to be had. Read More