A Great Way to Better Your Blueberry Farm

Pretty much everyone in the Florida Blueberry Industry knows what a challenging year it was. Remember Hurricane Ian, the December holiday freezes, huge crop input inflation, labor cost escalation and labor regulation, overall lower grower prices for our fruit, even increasingly serious insect pressure despite our best efforts. 

These and other economic factors have taken a toll on some of our fellow growers. Though this is a guestimate and not comprehensive, I am aware of more than 500 acres of Florida production recently sold, for sale, likely for sale or closing. Some Florida ag land is becoming too valuable to farm as real estate development encroaches. Although a few mostly larger farms are adding acreage, it is not enough to offset most of the shrinkage.

I have been fortunate to network with a good number of progressive growers and hear their stories of how they are managing through all the challenges they face. I must say, there are some really good growers in Florida, a lot more experienced than I am and quite astute businesspeople. Most are tackling their business issues head-on by employing years of experience and by trying new approaches to adapt to today’s farming environment. Growers appear to have a good Florida blueberry crop coming out of summer 2023 and ready to form the buds of a successful 2024 harvest.

These same top-notch growers have a great deal in common with most Florida blueberry growers. One surefire way to tap into their experience base is to convene with them and other industry participants to share problems, ideas, and knowledge. The most targeted venue for Florida growers that brings most of us together happens this October 25 in Lakeland. It is a full day of networking, seminars, and trade show — all dedicated to blueberry growing in Florida. It’s our Florida Blueberry Growers Association Fall Conference.

Growers are there you can talk to. Blueberry grower suppliers are there with products and ideas. The UF blueberry brain trust is there with the latest research findings to help you fine-tune your cultural efforts. Plus, an all-star grower panel will delve into how E-verify and regulations are impacting their operations and what they are doing to manage through this critical time. And we have arranged for David Magana, a senior analyst at Rabobank, to come over from California to present his latest comprehensive summary of the worldwide blueberry market. His presentation will clarify the big picture of where blueberries are grown and sold and how Florida will fit into an increasingly global industry.  

So, growers don’t miss this key gathering and learning event at Bonnet Springs Park in Lakeland this October. I’ll be there, and I’m bringing several Frogmore Farm staff to help make them better growers, too. 

People you need to meet are there, too.

Leonard Park


Florida Blueberry Growers Association  

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