Ag Workforce Solutions Remain Elusive

By Frank Giles Southeastern specialty crop growers have been seeking reform in farm labor policy for many years. Because of its nexus with immigration policy, meaningful solutions have been hard to come by. Proposals have been put forth, but partisan politics see those efforts stall. That has forced many growers to utilize the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) H-2A visa …

Support for Young, Beginning and Small Growers

By Frank Giles Last month, we celebrated National Farmers’ Day. The day was recognized with the expected expressions of gratitude on social media and other platforms. But I also noted that a few used the day to raise the topic of the aging population of growers. The graying of the audience (myself included) doesn’t go unnoticed at the farm meetings …

AI Set to Supercharge Ag Research

By Frank Giles In the past year, artificial intelligence (AI) has gained worldwide attention as breakthroughs like the large-language model ChatGPT wowed users with its capabilities and nearly humanlike feel when delivering results. As the technology rapidly advances, it also has set off alarm bells for some who believe that computer technology might outpace human ability to control it in …

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USDA to Provide More Than $3 Billion to Commodity and Specialty Crop Producers Impacted by 2022 Natural Disasters   

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide more than $3 billion to commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2022. Eligible impacted producers can apply for financial assistance through the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) 2022. The program will help offset the financial impacts of crop yield and value losses from qualifying disasters occurring in 2022. “2022 was …

Growers Hope for a Better Season in 2024

By Leonard Park The Florida blueberry season that began in the summer of 2022 culminated in one of the smallest spring harvests in years. The main culprit was Hurricane Ian. However, the lack of chill hours in December, followed by two harsh cold snaps over the holidays, affected other regions with damaged flower buds and crop delays. For most growers, …

Quality and Automation Key to Blueberry Sustainability

By Frank Giles Ryan Atwood, co-owner of Amber Brooke Farms, has become a leading voice in Florida’s blueberry industry. He’s been an advocate for trade protection and has encouraged growers to innovate to stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving market. We asked Atwood to provide some insights into the current blueberry environment. He says he’s hoping for …

GFVGA Leader: Information is Key When Managing Labor-Related Issues

By Clint Thompson The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) wants to help its specialty crop farmers stay compliant with H-2A and other federal regulations. The Georgia Ag Labor Relations Forum is designed to provide producers all the information they need to remain on the right side of compliance. The annual two-day event, scheduled for Nov. 14-15 at the …

How to Build a Strong Brand

By Tiffany Bailey Building a strong brand is essential for any business, including smaller organic farms that grow specialty and/or alternative crops. Here are some ways growers of specialty or alternative crops, often categorized as niche farming, can help their farms build a strong brand. UNIQUE IDENTITY AND STORYTELLINGNiche farming often involves cultivating unique crops that are not as common …

$40 Million Fund Will Support South Carolina Agribusinesses, Expand Opportunities for Farmers

COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the Growing Agribusiness Fund, a new incentive program for South Carolina agribusinesses. The South Carolina General Assembly appropriated $40 million to launch the initiative, which will help existing South Carolina businesses engaged in the processing, packaging, manufacturing, distribution, storage, and transportation of agricultural products, in turn providing more …