PRESIDENTS LETTER – What’s Happening Now and How Your FBGA is Working for You 

We are in our winter growing season now and most of us are seeing the beginning of bloom show up on our bushes. Most growers I have talked to have reported significantly more chill this year than the past two seasons. This sounds good for bloom set and fruit production this season. We’ll see…

Supplemental pollinators should be in your fields now: Honey bees or bumbles, or both. Most of us are lucky enough to have an abundant supply of native pollinators, but it doesn’t hurt to give them a hand with the huge volume of bloom in our fields at this time of year.

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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: Continue reading

President’s Letter -Overcoming Challenges in the Industry 

We are entering our fall season now, and most of us are looking forward to some additional chill hours, sunlight, and better spring growing conditions overall than last season gave us. I won’t recap the challenges that we faced last year, but suffice it to say that we are all happy to start a new season this year.

A lot of good things are happening at the Florida Blueberry Growers Association (FBGA). By the generous efforts and cooperation of Michael Heard of the Florida Blueberry Festival and the city of Brooksville, located in Hernando County, we now have a furnished and equipped office and a part-time administrative assistant. These new assets will help us to be more responsive in our communication and offer us the opportunity to be of better service to our members. Continue reading

Florida Blueberry Growers Ready To Rise To The Occasion [Opinion]

Florida Blueberry growers harvested a reported 16.5 million pounds of blueberries this past season. This was down from 22 million pounds the previous year and far short of the 25 million pounds many were forecasting for this season. This year, Mother Nature seemed to have created a perfect storm for reduced production; giving us low chill hours, significantly less sunlight, and many cold days as we neared the start of our normal harvest time. These conditions, combined with the usual labor struggle near the end of the harvest season, left many local growers disappointed. Continue reading

President’s Letter: Investigating How We Can Better Forecast Our Crop

Well, another season is behind us.  The bushes are trimmed and we are into our summer spray and maintenance programs.  We have also had a chance to look at the numbers for this season and the results for most was somewhat disappointing.

We harvested about 16.5 Million pounds of blueberries in the state of Florida this season.  This is down 25 percent from last year’s harvest of 22 million pounds, and a far cry from the 26 million pounds some were forecasting at the beginning of the season.  Assuming that there are about 5,500 acres of blueberries in Florida (more about this acreage estimate later), this puts our state average at about 3,000 lbs. per acre.  The figures that I am hearing from most growers are that they harvested from 20-60 percent less fruit this year than they had planned.

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