The new year is upon us, and I, for one, am looking forward with optimism.
Sure, one of the most intense hurricanes in Florida history cleaved a path across the state just three months ago. Many of our farmers and ranchers are still reeling from the damage and subsequent fallout of that disaster.
Sure, the citrus industry is in an epic struggle that has turned grove owners across the state into naysayers. For many, the oxytetracycline injections feel like the last Hail Mary, but I think we are counting ourselves short.
Oh, and Florida has its share of challenges when it comes to water resources and labor, too. I get all that; I don’t have my head in the clouds. But still I feel optimistic.
Every day that goes by is one more day the hurricane is behind us and one more day of recovery. Some of my citrus farmer friends may think I’m delusional, but optimism is almost as important for the industry as a cure for greening is.
We’re starting a new year with renewed hope buoyed by new Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson. Upon his swearing-in, he reiterated his belief in Florida’s agriculture industry. He called agriculture “the quiet, and often overlooked, giant of our economy,” and that it deserves his undivided attention.
A farmer himself, he says he “will bring an optimistic, common-sense, and problem-solving approach” to the position.
See. There’s that word again. The O word. We have to believe we can recover before we actually do recover. And I, for one, am optimistic Florida’s ag industry can do that.