Growers Build Business Beyond Crop Yields

What better way to vet ideas than to gather a group of peers and talk it out? With that in mind, a grower panel discussion kicked off the program at the 2014 Florida Ag Expo. Moderated by Sonia Tighe of FFVA, a noteworthy lineup consisting of Todd McClure, West Coast Tomatoes; Danny Johns, Blue Sky Farms; Dudley Calfee, Ferris Farms; and David Hill, Southern Hill Farms participated in a lively conversation focusing around finding fixes on the farm. Here are a few snippets from the featured participants:

Todd McClure on farm labor issues: “We’re no longer using paper checks to pay our farmworkers. We’re now using pre-paid debit cards. It’s been the best thing for us to reduce risk.”

David Hill on social media marketing: “Without Facebook and the website, we wouldn’t have done half of the business we have. (When it comes to social media) I’m an old-fashioned guy. I still put signs up on the street to let people know we’re here.”

Dudley Calfee on agritourism and farming’s next generation: “I’m selective with farm tours. I do tours with young kids because they think produce grows on the roof of Publix. Trying to recruit younger people into agriculture is very important. There is a lot of opportunity for them to get involved.”

Danny Johns on educating the public about agriculture: “Farming is much more sophisticated now. Of the people who tour our farm, 98% leave with a really positive attitude. We have a great story to tell. We need to get better at telling it.”