USDA Announces May 2024 Lending Rates for Agricultural Producers

Clint ThompsonUSDA

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced loan interest rates for May 2024, which became effective May 1, 2024. USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans provide important access to capital to help agricultural producers start or expand their farming operation, purchase equipment and storage structures or meet cash flow needs.          “I encourage our lenders and borrowers alike to …

GFVGA Joins Lawsuit Against DOL

Clint ThompsonGeorgia

The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) has joined a coalition of producers and state attorneys general to file a lawsuit against the Department of Labor (DOL), challenging new rules proposed for the H-2A program. These new “Worker Protection Rules” are slated to go into effect in late June and will continue to make the H-2A process prohibitively expensive …

Mini Melon Harvests Underway in Georgia

Clint ThompsonGeorgia, Watermelon

By Clint Thompson Watermelon harvests are underway in Georgia. It’s not the big, seedless melons, which are still a few days away. Mini melons were being harvested last week. Jaime Patrick, Patrick Family Farms in Omega, Georgia, said his mini melons were being harvested, starting on Thursday, June 6. “We’ll do 15 buses a day, something like that. It isn’t …

Chilli Thrips Control: UF/IFAS Study Shows How Strawberry Growers Can Use Less Pesticides

Clint ThompsonFlorida, Strawberry

Florida strawberry growers can use less pesticide and save money as they attempt to control chilli thrips, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) research shows. An invasive pest in the southeastern United States, chilli thrips was introduced to the United States from Southeast Asia. The first report in Florida came in 1991 in Okeechobee County and …

Hot and Dry: Weather Conditions Favorable for Buildup of Whiteflies, Spider Mites

Clint ThompsonGeorgia, Pests

By Clint Thompson The current hot and dry weather conditions have one University of Georgia (UGA) entomologist concerned that whitefly and spider mite pressure will soon intensify in vegetable crops. Stormy Sparks, UGA Cooperative Extension vegetable entomologist, talked about both insects during a vegetable training with Extension agents last week. “Right now, we’re worried about whiteflies building up. They’re very, …

drought

Drought Monitor: Dry Conditions Worsening in Southern Florida

Dan CooperDrought, Weather

The lack of rainfall continues to be observed in the central and southern regions of Florida, while Georgia and Alabama are mostly enjoying sufficient moisture, according to Thursday’s release of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Moderate and severe drought conditions dominate the central and southern areas of Florida. Severe drought starts as far north as Hillsborough, Manatee, Hardee, Highlands, Osceola and …

Georgia Citrus Growers Pass Commodity Commission Market Order

Clint ThompsonCitrus, Georgia

Atlanta, Ga – Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper announced on Friday that Georgia citrus growers voted overwhelmingly in favor of the marketing order proposed by the Georgia Citrus Commodity Commission. Established in 2023 to support Georgia’s burgeoning citrus industry, the Citrus Commodity Commission will collect a two-tenths-of-cent-per-pound assessment on marketed Georgia citrus. It will be used to fund research, education …

hops yard

Figuring Out the Right Hops “Recipe” in Florida

Dan CooperFlorida, Hops, Specialty Crops, Varieties

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Gulf Coast Research and Education Center hosted a hops field day in early June. The event included a tour of the center’s hops yard and educational presentations on growing the crop. Much of the hops used in brewing beer is grown in Washington and Oregon. Shinsuke Agehara, UF/IFAS associate …

USTR, USDA Announce Appointments to Advisory Committee

Clint ThompsonFlorida, Georgia, USDA

WASHINGTON – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have announced appointments to the newly established Seasonal and Perishable Agricultural Products Advisory Committee.  Members from Georgia and Florida were selected to the committee, including Chris Butts, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and Mike Joyner, president of …