Blueberry Imports Decreased in 2023

Clint ThompsonBlueberries

Blueberry import volumes dropped in 2023, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service Situation and Outlook Report. Fresh blueberry import volumes decreased 15%, down to 559 million pounds in 2023 from 657 million pounds in 2022. It marks the first decline in volumes since 2017. Import volumes in the latter half of last year were down 29% …

Florida Peach Crop Early This Year

Clint ThompsonFlorida, Peaches

By Clint Thompson Florida’s peach crop was about 80% this year. It was also earlier than normal, explains Jose Chaparro, associate professor in the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). “The people that thinned on time are going to do well. I think we’ve had people picking since March. In north-central Florida, there’s been people picking …

Bacterial Leaf Spot Confirmed in North Florida Watermelon Crop

Clint ThompsonFlorida, Watermelon

Disease detection picked up over the previous week in North Florida watermelons. As observations of bacterial leaf spot and Alternaria leaf spot have been confirmed, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is advising growers to scout fields more closely as a result. “Based on field visits last week, I see the greater concern and recommendation to be …

Specialty Crop Grower Magazine: The Last Word

Clint ThompsonSpecialty Crop Grower Magazine

By Rob Gilbert The Science of Sustainability The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) provides the science of sustainability. For specialty crop growers, sustainability must mean profitability. Our innovations have to make economic sense. My predecessors as University of Florida senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources have held this view for generations. I’m honored …

Growing Matters: BeSure! Campaign on Keeping Treated Seeds Covered

Dan CooperBeSure!, Seeds

The BeSure! campaign from the Growing Matters Coalition helps growers protect bees and other wildlife. To learn more about what we can do, we’re talking with  Nick Tinsley, Seed Treatment Technical Field Representative with BASF, who says one important action is to keep treated seeds covered. About Growing Matters BeSure! Growing Matters is a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to scientific discourse on …

Mexican Tomato Industry Can’t Litigate Its Way Out of Dumping Charges

Clint ThompsonFlorida, Tomatoes

MAITLAND, FL – Last week, in response to a lawsuit by a large Mexican tomato exporter, the U.S. Court of International Trade remanded a 2019 decision to the Department of Commerce, which had determined Mexican tomatoes were being dumped in the U.S. market.  Importantly, this decision didn’t invalidate the fact that dumping took place but was a procedural decision that …

Disease Management for Georgia Grapes

Clint ThompsonGeorgia, Grapes

By Clint Thompson It is not quite time for grape producers to be wary of key diseases for the upcoming production season. But the time is coming, believes Phil Brannen, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension fruit disease specialist. “We’re not as critical with disease management, though don’t discount, we need stuff on there for diseases. But the real critical phase …

AFVGA Executive Director Expresses Concerns with AEWR

Clint ThompsonAlabama

By Clint Thompson The lack of a farm bill is concerning for Alabama fruit and vegetable farmers. But at the forefront of their minds is the current labor situation, specifically the Adverse Effect Wage Rate, tied to the H-2A program. Blake Thaxton, executive director of the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (AFVGA), talked about the challenges his producers are …

UGA Studying Water Spinach as Potential Crop

Clint ThompsonGeorgia

By Clint Thompson University of Georgia is engaging in research that could lead to the production of a new crop for Georgia’s specialty crop producers. Tim Coolong, associate professor in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, describes the early process of researching water spinach, a crop that is produced throughout Southeast Asia. “We are looking at …

UF/IFAS Researchers Address Issues Facing Indoor Farms

Clint ThompsonFlorida

Across the globe, people are increasingly turning to greenhouses and indoor vertical farms to grow commodities. The systems use far less land than conventional farms, reducing some environmental impacts, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers say. They also require less transportation to move the food to consumers, because they tend to be in or near urban …