The economics of farming in Florida is not adding up for some vegetable and specialty crop producers. With land prices continuing to increase across the Sunshine State and imports continuing to flood the U.S. markets, it has created a crossroads for some growers, explains Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried.
“When our growers can’t compete and they are seeing job losses, they’re seeing economic losses and the demand for land here in the state of Florida continue to increase. We have 1,000 people moving to the state of Florida every single day. With those types of increases, we need to build infrastructure and urban development in our state,” Fried said. “It’s become a crossroads for a lot of our farmers; whether to stay with their generational farms and continue trying to make ends meet while they’re seeing imports coming into Florida really devastate the marketplace.”
Fried testified on Thursday during the U.S. International Trade Commission hearing about the impact squash and cucumbers are having on the Southeast domestic industry. Some producers have already hinted that they see the end of their agricultural careers. Not because of choice but due to an inability to compete. It only continues to worsen.
“We are losing a lot of farms, just because they can’t compete, can’t keep their farms going and the price of land continues to increase. It’s a really hard crossroads,” Fried said. “I’ve spoken to hundreds of thousands of farmers across our state who have to make these tough decisions because agriculture and farming is just not making ends meet.”