New NIFA-Funded Research to Examine Cover Crops in Organic Vegetable Production Systems

Clint Thompson Florida, Organic, Top Posts

By: Kirsten Romaguera, 352-294-3313, kromaguera@ufl.edu The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture just announced funding for a project comprising an interdisciplinary team from the University of Florida. The three-year project, “Quantifying the nitrogen cycling benefits of different cover crops across different Florida organic vegetable production systems,” received a $496,271 grant as part of USDA-NIFA’s Organic Agriculture …

Georgia Pecan Producers Wary of Storm’s Impact

Clint Thompson Georgia, Top Posts, Weather

Georgia pecan farmers are once again vulnerable to a fall storm as Hurricane Sally slowly moves across the state this week. Its presence reminds growers of Hurricane Michael in 2018. While Hurricane Sally is not expected to bring similar damage, it still is a subtle reminder of the impact a storm can have on the state’s pecan crop, especially this …

Challenging Grape Season Nearing End for Georgia Producers

Clint Thompson Georgia, Grapes, Top Posts

A challenging season for Georgia grape producers is nearing an end as harvest is in full swing across the state. Grapes have been harvested for a month now with others maturing and ripening up. Phil Brannen, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Fruit Disease Specialist, said the excess rainfall has not impacted the quantity of the crop but the quality remains …

North Alabama Watermelons Winding Down

Clint Thompson Alabama, Top Posts, Watermelon

Watermelon season is winding down in Alabama this week. Just like its southern counterparts, north Alabama producers enjoyed a successful season, according Eric Schavey, Alabama Regional Extension agent in Northeast Alabama “Overall, watermelons in our area, in Northeast Alabama was good,” said Schavey, who serves Blount County, Cherokee County, Cullman County, DeKalb County, Etowah County, Jackson County, Madison County and …

South Carolina Farmers Can Now Apply Online for Produce Safety Rule Exemption

Clint Thompson South Carolina, Top Posts

COLUMBIA — There are about 2,700 produce farms in South Carolina – and many are potentially exempt from the Produce Safety Rule, meaning they would not have to undergo routine inspections by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Produce Safety team. But unless a farm has applied for an exemption and received a certificate from South Carolina Department of Agriculture …

As Organic Food Sales Soar, Growers Look to Essential Oils to Suppress Pests, Diseases

Clint Thompson Florida, Organic, Top Posts

By: Brad Buck, 813-757-2224, bradbuck@ufl.edu, 352-875-2641 (cell) Organic food sales topped $50 billion in the United States in 2018. Statistics from the Organic Trade Association tell part of the story of this growing market: Fruits, vegetables and other specialty crops combined to make up 36.3% of total organic sales —  up 5.6% from the previous year. Naturally, farmers want to …

Florida Farmers Overcome COVID-19 Impacts

Clint Thompson Coronavirus, Florida, Top Posts

By: Tory Moore, 352-273-3566, torymoore@ufl.edu More than 70% of Florida’s large farms sell to the service industry which includes theme parks, hotels, restaurants and cruise lines. When COVID-19 brought the tourism industry to a crashing halt this spring, farmers around the state quickly pivoted to sell the bounty of fruit and vegetables that were at peak harvest. In a recently …

Coming Soon: White Strawberries From the Wild

Ashley Robinson Berries, Florida, Fruit, Research, Strawberry, Technology, Top Posts, VSCNews magazine

By Seonghee Lee and Vance M. Whitaker The University of Florida will soon commercialize a new strawberry variety. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it is already drawing attention for a very unusual characteristic. When it is ripe and ready to eat, it is white inside and out, with a slight pink blush on the exterior and red seeds. …