And We’re Off!

Whew! It seems like just yesterday that Floridians were picking up the pieces after Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, and now, just as the 2023 Hurricane Season starts to ramp up, our neighbors in the northern portion of the state fielded a blow from Hurricane Idalia. While towns in sparsely populated Taylor, Dixie, and Levy counties faced the most severe flooding, storm surge wreaked havoc all along the state’s west coast. We wish everyone a speedy recovery, as we know the devastating impact severe weather can have on crops. It’s a poignant reminder of how fragile agriculture can be.

As the fight against greening drags on and sinks citrus production, there’s been increased interest in pinpointing other promising crops that could prove to be lucrative for growers. On page 8 inside, we take a look at some of those emerging crops and discuss their outlooks.

September is a busy month for hurricanes and schools alike, with Polk County’s agriculture programs kicking off the school year. This year, students at two Polk County schools are getting the chance to learn about aquaponics firsthand, thanks to equipment from FDACS. The teachers are abuzz with fresh lessons they can’t wait to share with the students. Read more about it on page 10. 

You likely already know that youth in ag is a topic near and dear to our hearts, which is why we were so excited to speak with Bill Hill, who was recently inducted into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame for his decades of work with children throughout Hernando and Polk. Read more about his achievements and the impact he had on page 14.

Don’t forget to check out our Community Feature on page 17, where we talk to Lake Wales officials about their plans for the Grove Community Garden.

There’s a lot packed into this edition, and we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it!  

Accessibility Toolbar