How Has 2018 Been for You and Your Farm Business?

How Has 2018 Been for You and Your Farm Business?

As I have now turned to the final page of my 2018 calendar, I am reflecting a bit on happenings in our world of agriculture, and society in general, this past year. It was a good one but, like always, it had its challenges. Let’s work to make 2019 even better.

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Is it me or is time speeding up? I know they say the years roll by faster as you get older, but I had no idea. One morning you hit the snooze button on your phone and it says January, and seemingly the next day it says December. I think this is enhanced by the pace of work these days. I am inundated with emails to the point where it’s hard to keep up. All we can do is be as organized as possible and hold on for the ride.

Fair trade in Florida is hard to come by. The much hoped for new NAFTA (so far) is a dud for Florida specialty crop growers, despite the yeoman’s effort on the part of our industry representatives and elected officials. We have to keep seeking a remedy for the dumping of cheap Mexican products into our market.

Labor is still a huge deal. Most growers will tell you it’s their No. 1 concern. With talk of caravans in the news and elections swinging on immigration, you would think politicians would come up with a solution to the age-old problem. I believe each side sees it as too good of a problem to solve, preferring to use it as a political weapon against their opponents. So, all growers really have is the H-2A visa, and it may soon be stretched beyond capacity.

Growers are amazingly resilient. My favorite part of this job is being able to talk with growers regularly. When you consider the challenges they face among weather, bugs, and weeds, and everything else, they are determined and remarkably positive. They love their job and it shows.

Politics can be nasty. The midterms are finally behind us. Unfortunately, politics these days are tinged with ugly rhetoric, negative ads, and bad vibes. From the highest levels on down to a local commissioner race, it seems like politicians don’t have too much good to say.

Turn off the cable news and go easy on social media. I think the main reason politics seems so nasty these days is the 24/7 news cycle we live in and the endless political banter on social media. The reason it seems politicians don’t have much good to say is because the media has no interest in covering it. They only cover and promote conflict. When you can tune into a particular news network and predict exactly what you will see and hear, it is no longer news — it is propaganda. Turn it off. And, go easy on social media usage, or at least avoid getting in political fights there.

Most people are good. Like the Luke Bryan song says, “Most people are good.” We might lose sight of that in these politically charged times we live in. I recently read a story about how we have become so tribal in our politics and how we associate with people. But, the people who are driving this dialogue are a very small percentage on the left and the right. They get the attention because they are the loudest and most annoying. Tune them out and look around. There are a lot of good people out there doing good things. Florida growers are among those good folks. I wish them a successful and prosperous 2019.