Florida Growers Consider Bamboo Potential

Jim Rogers Alternative Crops

An event in Lake Placid, Florida, on the potential of bamboo as an alternative commercial crop drew a large turnout of growers. Citrus growers, in particular, are interested in crops that could go on marginal grove land until a more viable solution to HLB comes along. Bamboo might fill that need, according to Phillip Rucks, owner of Phillip Rucks Citrus …

Row Crop Farmers Starting to Grow Citrus

Jim Rogers Alternative Crops, Citrus, Florida, Georgia

Citrus acreage continues to increase across the North Florida, South Georgia and South Alabama regions. Interest has expanded to large row crop farmers, who see citrus as a viable alternative crop, said Kim Jones at the Feb. 17 Citrus Health Forum meeting at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences North Florida Research and Education Center. Jones …

Florida Hemp Program Setting the Bar High

Tacy Callies Alternative Crops, Citrus Expo

Holly Bell, director of cannabis for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), gave an update on Florida’s hemp program as part of the Citrus Expo virtual general session. “Florida is becoming the leader in the country — if not the world — on how we’re getting our hemp program rolled out and the standards that we’re setting,” …

Hemp: Finding Legal Seeds and Insurance

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

The Florida Hemp Association recently clarified which seeds can be legally grown under Florida law and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) rules. Growers must use either a seed approved by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) or a Pilot Project Hemp Seed approved though a university pilot project, the association reported. AOSCA is an organization …

hemp

20 Florida Farms to Conduct Hemp Research Trials

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

Twenty commercial farms in 12 Florida counties have been selected to conduct on-farm hemp trials. The trials will be part of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Industrial Hemp Pilot Project. The farms are in different agricultural regions to provide a variety of conditions to study the growth and success of the crop across the …

Florida Hemp Plan Approved; What’s Next

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) mid-April approval of Florida’s state hemp program cleared the way for Florida growers to begin cultivating the crop soon. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) will begin accepting applications to grow industrial hemp on April 27. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who governs FDACS, said, “After months of incorporating feedback from …

Hemp Cultivation Applications Begin April 27

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

On April 6, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) filed its hemp cultivation rule for adoption, with the rule slated to become effective April 27. “FDACS will start accepting applications for cultivation on Monday, April 27, 2020, via FDACS.gov,” the agency announced. According to FDACS, it will not issue permits until it has U.S. Department of Agriculture …

Hemp Grower Partners Wanted

Tacy Callies Alternative Crops

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) hemp program is seeking 20 qualified partners across Florida for on-farm trials. Zack Brym, agronomist at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead and research coordinator of the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project, says partner farms will conduct a coordinated field planting on 2 acres with variations in land …

Hemp Advice: Start Small, Be Cautious

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

There are numerous challenges facing potential growers of industrial hemp in Florida, said Jerry Fankhauser at the recent Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference. Fankhauser is assistant director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station and lead oversight manager of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Industrial Hemp Pilot Project. Researchers involved in the project are looking …

Hemp Production Has Risks

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

There are risks and significant costs in growing hemp, Tyler Mark warned about 50 attendees at the Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference 2020. The event, hosted by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Food and Resource Economics Department, took place Feb. 27 at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. Mark, a University of …

Research Addressing Industrial Hemp Production Challenges

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

Future growers of industrial hemp in Florida will have the advantage of research being conducted now by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Zach Brym, agronomist at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead and research coordinator of the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project, summarizes the work being done. “We’ve taken the last couple …

Hemp Plant Options and Advice

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

Adam Elend, CEO of Florigrown, LLC, addresses the four main options for starting industrial hemp plants in the field and offers some advice for choosing suppliers. Elend reports in-depth on the pros and cons of three types of hemp seed in an interview at the end of this article. The fourth option for planting is cuttings. “In an unpredictable world, …

Seeking Profits With Hemp

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

The fact that growers will be able to legally grow industrial hemp in Florida doesn’t necessarily mean the crop can be grown successfully, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) official says. “There is a huge interest in industrial hemp in the state of Florida,” says Jerry Fankhauser, assistant director of the UF/IFAS Florida Agricultural Experiment …

Certified Seed for Hemp Explained

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

Many farmers looking at hemp as a potential alternative crop in Florida have been confused by the requirement that the hemp come from certified seed. Adam Elend, CEO of Florigrown, LLC, explains what certified seed is and is not. “The idea of certified seed is creating a lot of consternation among farmers,” Elend says. “I think that the intention of …

Hemp Experiences Shared

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

Hemp officials from two states shared their experiences with the potential alternative crop at the recent Florida Ag Expo. Doris Hamilton, hemp program manager for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and Paul Adams, industrial hemp program manager for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, participated in a panel discussion. Hamilton reported Kentucky had almost 1,000 growers and nearly 27,000 acres …

Hemp Production Research Discussed

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

Brian Pearson, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences assistant professor, discusses diverse research into production practices for the future growth of industrial hemp in Florida. He addresses fertilization, irrigation, pests and the light needs of the plant. Pearson works at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka. Pearson says there is “a lack of information” …

Thinking Hemp? Have a Business Plan

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

Jeff Sharkey, executive director of the Florida Hemp Association, moderated a panel discussion on federal and state hemp policy at the recent Florida Industrial Hemp Conference and Exhibition in Orlando.  “Getting the (hemp) application and licensing is reasonably straightforward,” Sharkey says. “The Department of Ag (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) wants people to be successful.”  Sharkey says his …

Upbeat Hemp Update

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

Holly Bell, director of cannabis for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, provides an optimistic update on the future of hemp in Florida. Bell spoke at the first Florida Industrial Hemp Conference and Exhibition held Nov. 3–5 in Orlando. Following her presentation, she talked with Southeast AgNet’s Tacy Callies. According to Bell, growing hemp in Florida became legal …

‘Florida Farmers Are Going to Be the Best Hemp Growers in the Country’

Ernie Neff Alternative Crops

“Florida farmers will eventually overtake the rest of the country” in hemp production, predicts Holly Bell, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) director of cannabis. In an interview with Citrus Industry Editor Tacy Callies, Bell summarizes her talk at the general session of Citrus Expo. Bell says “Florida farmers are going to be the best hemp growers in …

The Possibility of Tea Production as a Citrus Alternative

Abbey Taylor Alternative Crops

By Breanna Kendrick Fourth-generation citrus grower James Orrock is a plant pathology graduate student at the University of Florida who is studying tea as a possible alternative crop to be grown on former citrus land. “The citrus industry is having to go through some changes, so one of the key aspects of Florida agriculture right now is diversification,” said Orrock. …