SWFREC Recognizes Growers During Farm-City Week

Ernie NeffAgriculture

SWFREC

Nov. 18-25 is National Farm-City Week, a time to recognize and honor the contributions of the country’s agriculturalists and to strengthen the bond between urban and rural citizens. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) took the opportunity to recognize the agriculturists in its area. Some of its statements regarding the agriculture community follow:

The agricultural and natural resources industries of the five counties of Southwest Florida (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee) contribute more than $9 billion annually to the economy. More than 40 percent of the land in the five-county region is in agriculture, totaling more than 1.3 million acres. In addition to the economic contribution, agriculture in the area contributes immensely to the region’s water recharge, wildlife habitat, ecotourism and other intangible benefits. 

The farmers of Southwest Florida, assisted by cutting-edge research generated by UF/IFAS, have adopted agricultural best management practices (BMPs) proving that they have been good stewards of the land for generations. 

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The dollars and jobs generated in the rural, agricultural areas of Southwest Florida counties are spent in the urban cities, adding to the total prosperity of the region. The faculty and staff at SWFREC join with all Floridians to celebrate the 65th anniversary of National Farm-City Week and recognize the contributions of local farmers, farmworkers, growers and ranchers.

The following are a few of the numerous projects underway by SWFREC personnel — both on property and in cooperative grower vegetable fields and citrus groves:

  • Utilization of drones and artificial intelligence in citrus groves to count tree numbers and size as well as conduct nutrient analysis
  • Research to improve nutrient and water use management for BMPs in citrus and vegetables to reduce environmental impact
  • Research on growing citrus under protective screens
  • Development of a COVID-19 training program for farm labor supervisors to educate their workers about staying safe during the pandemic
  • Improved HLB control methods through application of compounds and nutrients
  • Assessment of organic matter and cover crops to improve soil health and sustainability
  • Improved efficiency in application of insecticides and herbicides
  • Improved disease management of tomatoes and watermelon
  • Identification of weed, insect and plant disease samples at the SWFREC Plant Diagnostic Clinic
  • Assistance in the design of a demonstration grove at the Edison/Ford Estates in Fort Myers to educate visitors and residents about the impact of citrus to Southwest Florida’s economy.

Learn more about SWFREC here.

Source: UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center

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