This Q&A is the fifth of six installments featuring Florida Grower’s Citrus Achievement Award winner Maury Boyd addressing issues of the day. This month, the president of Winter Garden-based McKinnon Corporation discusses pending labor laws and new technology.
Q: With legislation on the move to mandate E-Verify, are you doing anything at your business to improve chances of sourcing labor for the coming year?
A: Generally, this must be weighing on most growers of both vegetables and fruits. Besides extremism, there is a hostile environment, one which I watched develop by various talk show hosts in the past years. Additionally, facts are distorted and not clearly reported to the public. For agriculture, we need a worker program that recognizes them as guests and documents them. They do not become citizens and return home when their work is completed. But, they will know that they have a return job in the future as a guest. Now just what shall occur in 2012 is an unknown — how do you run a business?
Q: How have new technologies impacted how you do business?
A: Without the Internet, Email, and my iPhone, I would not have been able to get much information out regarding HLB and our progress. I believe without these capabilities another program would be in progress today.
Q: What is the one thing the citrus industry and/or growers can be doing better in this fight to survive HLB?
A: Controlling the psyllid is critical in surviving HLB. We should aim for 100% control or as close to 100% as we can get. Today, I feel confident if one does this he can grow citrus, though it is costly.
Special thanks to Chemtura AgroSolutions for sponsoring the Citrus Achievement Award program.