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  • Farmers harness manure's gases to generate power
    • Date: Monday, February 16, 2009. By Scott Canon, McClatchy Newspapers

      Long before President Barack Obama promised the country that "we will harness the sun and the winds and the soil," Kluthe already had yoked the power of pig poop.
      The real beauty comes in the methane fumes that rise off the muck. They are funneled to a tractor engine and used to power a generator. Suddenly his electrical utility is writing checks to him. More>>

  • Wealthy continue to get farm subsidies, GAO finds
    • Date: Monday, November 24, 2008. By Michael Doyle, McClatchy Newspapers

      Investigators found that at least 2,700 farmers received subsidies they were not supposed to get.
      At least 2,702 farmers nationwide received subsidies between 2003 and 2006 even though they were making more than the $2.5 million gross income cutoff. The unwarranted payments totaled $49 million and exposed enduring Agriculture Department management problems, investigators concluded.. More>>

  • When the soybean champ speaks, thousands listen
    • Date: Friday, August 7, 2008. By Christopher Leonard, AP Business

      More than 2,000 farmers came to tour Cullers' farm this week, to learn from the master. Cullers has taken the soybean crown for two years in a row in a highly competitive market. But it isn't just a contest. In a world where there are more mouths than ever to feed, boosting crop yields is big business.
      Cullers waters his soybeans daily to cool and nourish the plants, a move that surprised some farmers who wait until leaves droop to turn on irrigation faucets. He uses the irrigation spray to apply fungicides late in the season so soybeans can fatten their pods instead of fighting infection. More>>

  • Farm Bureau adds youngest to Honor Hall
    • Date: Sunday, June 22, 2008. By Rebecca Dellagloria , The Miami Herald

      Katie Edwards, who was recently inducted into the Dade County Farm Bureau's Hall of Honor, is celebrating five years with the county's largest farming organization, as she prepares to begin law school.
      At the age of 27, Edwards was the youngest person and first woman to be inducted in the bureau's Hall of Honor -- a prestigious category traditionally reserved for the area's biggest farmers. More>>

  • Squash blossoms putting bloom on farm's income
    • Date: Wednesday, April 9, 2008. By Kimberly Miller, Palm Beach Post

      There seems to be no blooming way to figure out what's going to be trendy. Would you have thought it would be squash blossoms?
      For years, squash blossoms were just a pretty byproduct of farmer Nancy Roe's harvest, allowed to melt away after a few hours in the afternoon sun. But now she sells the blooms for as much as $1.25 each, and University of Florida researchers are helping her maximize a crop that has become a popular item in haute cuisine. More>>

  • USDA bets on soy, but farmers like corn
    • Date: Tuesday, April 8, 2008. By David Mercer, Associated Press

      American farmers planted 93.6 million acres of corn last year, more than any year since 1944, because of high prices.
      The USDA said Monday that it expects American farmers to cut back on corn this year in favor of soybeans. But soybean prices dropped sharply in the days before the projection was released. More>>

  • Few NAFTA labels for farm chemicals
    • Date: Tuesday, March 25, 2008. By Blake Nicholson, Associated Press

      Farmers have long pushed for chemical "harmonization," saying prices for the same product often differ in Canada and the United States.
      A 2005 North Dakota State University study determined that American farmers could save $178 million each year through access to pesticides north of the border that are similar in composition to those on the U.S. side. More>>

  • Guided tour offers a taste of farm life
    • Date: Sunday, February 17, 2008. By Jessica Kirschner, The Miami Herald

      The AGRI-Council Farm Tour will bring attendees to two fish farms, two ornamental nurseries and on a tomato-picking. A luncheon will honor the Finocchiaro and Talarico families.
      This year, the guided tour on Feb. 27 will take participants to two fish farms and two ornamental nurseries. The day will end with a tomato-picking. More>>

  • South Dade avacado grower to be awarded for work
    • Date: Sunday, February 10, 2008. By Risa Berrin, The Miami Herald

      Avocado grower medora krome is being honored for her shrewd business sense -- and for being a woman of distinction in farming.
      On Friday, the Women's Committee of the Dade County Farm Bureau will honor Krome as its Woman of Distinction in Agriculture during the third annual Women in Agriculture Luncheon 11 a.m. Friday at Schnebly Redland's Winery, 30205 SW 217 Ave. More>>

  • Senator proposes farmer tax credits
    • Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2007. By Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

      Money has been tight for the farm bill, a politically popular piece of legislation that expires this year.
      The Finance Committee's proposals include a trust fund that would pay for weather-related disaster assistance - a priority in Baucus's home state. That could set up a fight with Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who would rather use extra money for conservation programs that protect environmentally sensitive farmland, nutrition programs and other agricultural needs. More>>

  • Farmers struggling with insurance costs
    • Date: Friday, September 7, 2007. By Amy Lorentzen, Associated Press

      Many complained of high premiums, and more than a quarter said high out-of-pocket insurance costs were creating financial problems.
      The cost of health care in the U.S. is putting a pinch on many family farmers and ranchers who struggle to pay high premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. More>>

  • Robots may become essential on US farms
    • Date: Thursday, September 6, 2007. By Jacob Adelman, Associated Press

      Last year, amid heightened immigration enforcement, California's seasonal migration was marked by spot worker shortages, and some fruit was left to rot in the fields.
      With authorities promising tighter borders, some farmers who rely on immigrant labor are eyeing an emerging generation of fruit-picking robots and high-tech tractors to do everything from pluck premium wine grapes to clean and core lettuce. More>>

  • Farmers fear illegal immigrant crackdown
    • Date: Thursday, August 16, 2007. By Juliana Barbassa, Associated Press

      With fruit rotting in fields, unmilked cows suffering in barns and shuttered farmhouses, growers are painting a bleak picture of their industry under new federal immigration policies.
      Following the Bush administration announcement that employers who knowingly keep undocumented workers will be held liable under a new enforcement push, many growers said their businesses would be hardest hit. More>>

  • Immigration crackdown worries employers
    • Date: Friday, August 10, 2007. By Juliana Barbassa, Associated Press

      The Bush administration's plans to crack down on workers whose Social Security numbers do not match their names, and businesses that hire them.
      The industry group, which represents 75 percent of U.S. farmers, estimates at least half the nation's 1 million farm workers do not have valid Social Security numbers. Losing them would devastate the industry, particularly fruit and vegetable growers, which rely heavily on manual labor, farmers said. More>>

  • Immigration ID rule rankles Florida industries
    • Date: Wednesday, August 8, 2007. By Casey Woods and Niala Boodhoo, The Miami Herald

      The federal government is about to require companies to fire employees with discrepancies in their tax records or face penalties -- part of a crackdown on illegal immigration.
      Business people and immigration advocates say the new measure would wreak havoc on South Florida's construction, agriculture and hospitality industries, as well as snare millions of U.S. citizens because of inconsistencies in their Social Security records. More>>

  • Employers brace for immigration rules
    • Date: Friday, August 3, 2007. By Suzanne Gamboa and Anabelle Garay, Associated Press

      Employers who don't comply could face fines of $250 to $10,000 per illegal worker and incident.
      Employers across the country may have to fire workers with questionable Social Security numbers to avoid getting snagged in a Bush administration crackdown on illegal immigrants. More>>

  • Fruits of labor
    • Date: Sunday, July 29, 2007. By Kyle Bailey, The Miami Herald

      Local growers are scouring the earth in search of new fruits in an effort to keep agriculture alive in south miami-dade.
      South Miami-Dade farmer Roger Washington was visiting Costa Rica about eight years ago when he first saw it: a red, spine-pocked fruit surrounded by feathery white petals that bore an uncanny resemblance to the mythical creature from which it got its name -- dragon fruit. More>>

  • Florida farmers may receive windfall
    • Date: Thursday, July 19, 2007. By Phil Davis, Associated Press

      Farmers would benefit from a bill that includes a boost for the kind of crops that are plentiful in Florida.
      The fruit and vegetable crops that make up the bulk of Florida's nearly $7 billion agriculture industry could get a significant boost under the federal farm bill now being hashed out in the House, a beaming group of Florida lobbyists told the state's congressional delegation. More>>

  • Another pest worries citrus farmers
    • Date: Thursday, July 12, 2007. By Phil Long, The Miami Herald

      Inspectors found a lone male fruit fly in a trap in a sweet-orange tree in Valrico, east of Tampa.
      Already facing citrus greening disease and a longstanding fight with citrus canker, Florida's agriculture officials are dealing with another pest, this one with an appetite for more than a hundred kinds of fruit. More>>

  • Florida citrus farmers find new cash crops to diversify business
    • Date: Monday, May 14, 2007. By Kelly Griffith, Orlando Sentinel

      Florida's top crop? Citrus? Try ferns. Greenhouse and nursery plants top the agricultural charts these days.
      Never before have Florida's growers and ranchers needed innovation, creativity and smart business sense to thrive under increasing pressures from development and mounting competition from imports, say agriculture experts and diehard farmers who would rather change what they grow or how they raise it than leave a way of life they love. More>>

  • Couple pushes agrotourism with wine made from tropical fruit
    • Date: Sunday, May 6, 2007. By David Fischer, Associated Press

      One couple is using wine made from tropical fruit to lure visitors away from the beach to experience other aspects of South Florida's natural beauty.
      Instead of using grapes, Peter and Denisse Schnebly are embracing Florida's agricultural strengths by making wine from fruits such as carambola and lychee that won't grow in cooler climates. More>>

  • Heavy crop losses reported in Southeast
    • Date: Thursday, April 12, 2007. By Katrina A. Goggins, Associated Press

      Heavy crop losses have been reported throughout the Southeast after last weekend's frigid temperatures, and farmers are bracing for another expected cold snap next week.
      In South Carolina, at least 90 percent of the peach crop was destroyed and officials said Wednesday they would seek federal aid. In Georgia, farmers and agriculture officials were still assessing the damage, but the weekend freeze may have wiped out more than half the state's peach crop. More>>

  • Growers wait for frost damage estimates
    • Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2007. By Katrina A. Goggins, Associated Press

      The weekend cold snap damaged crops across the Southeast and parts of the Midwest, and was especially devastating for fruit growers.
      Growers from West Virginia to North Carolina to Texas spent the weekend trying to save their crops as temperatures fell into the 20s, including a record low of 21 in North Carolina. More>>

  • Here He Stands: Development pressures don't budge the man behind Robert is Here
    • Date: Thursday, March 22, 2007. By Lydia Martin, The Miami Herald

      A smell overwhelms your car, jogging old memories. What is that -- freshly tilled soil?
      A strange thing happens as you approach Robert is Here, the famed Florida City produce stand where sun-baked tourists line up for tropical-fruit milk shakes in flavors most have never heard of and can't pronounce. More>>

  • Cost of fertilizer fueling manure sales
    • Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2007. By James Hannah, Associated Press

      A growing number of farmers and entrepreneurs are turning dung into dollars.
      Manure sales are up, as more grain and vegetable farmers turn to animal waste as an alternative to higher-priced commercial fertilizer, say state agriculture regulators. The market also has grown because of the emergence of large livestock farms which generate an abundant supply of manure. More>>

  • More women farmers sprout up
    • Date: Wednesday, March 7, 2007. By Kathleen McGrory, The Miami Herald

      Female farmers are growing in numbers -- and growing everything from beans to sapodilla. They also have their own social networks and websites.
      Despite a decline in the number of farms nationwide, the number of women involved in running those farms is on the rise. Based on current trends, the Department of Agriculture predicts that as many as 75 percent of U.S. farmland will be owned or co-owned by women by 2014. More>>

  • Warm weather gives South Florida farmers chills
    • Date: Thursday, March 1, 2007. By Andres Oppenheimer, The Miami Herald

      Hot winter weather is breeding hard times for local farmers, particularly growers of tropical fruit.
      It may seem counterintuitive for a farmer to hope for cold weather, and too-cold conditions do bring their own frosty peril. But crops like mangoes and litchis need a burst of chilly air to prod them into producing the flowers that grow into the fruits farmers sell later in the year. More>>

  • Calif. lawmakers seek aid for citrus freeze, other disasters
    • Date: Wednesday, February 7, 2007. By Michael Doyle, McClatchy Newspapers

      Business groups prepare to fight for U.S. approval of free-trade agreements with the Americas.
      As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged the business group to gird up for the fight, battle lines are already being drawn in Washington over trade. The new Democratic majorities in both houses have raised questions about when and in what form the trade agreements can be passed. More>>

  • California farmers receive federal relief for freeze-damaged crops
    • Date: Friday, February 2, 2007. By Michael Doyle, McClatchy Newspapers

      The bill would authorize more than $1.3 billion in aid for citrus and other specialty crop farmers hurt in various natural disasters over the past three years.
      Dairy farmers in disaster areas could secure up to $230 million in emergency aid under the draft bill. Ranchers could get up to $80 million, small businesses could get grants and migrant farm workers could get mortgage assistance and relief checks. More>>

  • Farmers see growing market in ethnic vegetables
    • Date: Sunday, January 28, 2007. By Janet Frankston Lorin, Associated Press

      A staple in several ethnic communities, cilantro is on it's way to becoming mainstream. It's a key ingredient in salsa, which has surpassed ketchup sales, and now makes up 10 percent of the farm's income.
      The explosion of immigrant populations is fueling the growth of ethnic vegetables like cilantro and bok choy, giving farmers new, and potentially more profitable, revenue streams to add to their American staples of corn, sweet peppers and tomatoes. More>>

  • Congress may favor guest-worker plan this year
    • Date: Thursday, January 11, 2007. By Michael Doyle, The Miami Herald

      As many as 1.5 million farmworkers and their relatives now in this country illegally could gain legal status under the bill.
      The legislation would grant ''blue cards'' to illegal immigrants who could prove they had worked in agriculture for at least 150 days in the past two years. They must continue working in agriculture for several years before attaining permanent legal status. More>>

  • Vegetable king recognized for charitable efforts
    • Date: Thursday, January 11, 2007. By Rebecca Dellagloria, The Miami Herald

      Homestead farmer Paul DiMare will be named Miami's Humanitarian of the Year by the American Red Cross.
      He is one of the biggest producers of tomatoes in the country, but to those who know him best, Paul DiMare is regarded for something much grander: his generous spirit. More>>

  • Newcomers, farmers make odd neighbors in South Dade
    • Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2007. By Tere Figueras Negrete, The Miami Herald

      Some homeowners lured to South Miami-Dade have discovered living near farmland can be far from peaceful.
      Complaints about farming activities -- some legitimate, some not -- are increasing as more people move in, prompting the county's agricultural director to draft brochures that will outline the sometimes unpleasant particulars of living close to a bustling, billion-dollar industry. More>>

  • El Niño could make 2007 the hottest year
    • Date: Friday, January 5, 2007. By Raphael G. Satter, Associated Press

      Scientists predicted that the global temperature this year will likely surpass the long-term average by the widest margin in recorded history.
      El Niño also can do some good. It tends to take the punch out of the Atlantic hurricane season by generating crosswinds that can rip the storms apart -- good news for orange growers and others in Florida. More>>

  • Fresh Profit
    • Date: Wednesday, January 3, 2007. By Susan Salisbury, Palm Beach Post

      South florida farmers see a boom in demand for organic products.
      While no statewide records are kept on organic production, Florida farms devote an estimated 12,000 acres to organic cultivation of rice, citrus, watercress, blueberries, mangoes and avocados. More>>

  • Ban on caviar partially lifted
    • Date: Wednesday, January 3, 2007. By Mike Schneider, Associated Press

      A move by a U.N.- sponsored organization lets Caspian Sea nations legally sell limited amounts of caviar.
      The move by a U.N.-sponsored conservation organization means that Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan can legally sell limited amounts of the gourmet delicacy on the world market in 2007. More>>

  • Year 2006
  • State urged to reverse decline
    • Date: Thursday, December 21, 2006. By Christina Hoag, The Miami Herald

      Tourism leaders move to boost the state's marketing budget after a recent drop in visitors to Florida.
      Although Florida is the number two destination in the United States, the Sunshine State has lagged behind Hawaii, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia for public funding of tourism marketing. More>>

  • Learn benefits of farm tourism
    • Date: Sunday, December 3, 2006. By The Miami Herald

      The Miami-Dade County/University of Florida Cooperative Extension is offering a workshop on the topic from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 13 in Homestead.
      There is growing evidence of the benefits from agritourism, and many states are beginning to exploit these potential opportunities. A recent UF study estimated the potential impact from agritourism activities for the farming community in Miami-Dade County to be $139 million. More>>

  • Simpler is better with ideas to save agriculture
    • Date: Thursday, November 30, 2006. By Katie A. Edwards, The Miami Herald

      Farmer has to determine how government regulations and uncertainty in the markets will impact his bottom line.
      Many, if not all, of government policies and regulations focus on one factor of production: land. For example, Miami-Dade County's strategic plan has a benchmark of ''no net loss of agricultural lands.'' It's a noble intention, but it fails to recognize that land is but one part of the equation. More>>

  • High corn prices mean boost, risk for farmers
    • Date: Tuesday, November 28, 2006. By Rick Callahan, Associated Press

      Farmers who plant more corn in 2007, however, will be betting that the nation's burgeoning ethanol industry won't go bust and oil prices stay high.
      The ethanol industry's growing appetite for corn has pushed prices for the grain to their highest levels in a decade amid a surge that agricultural experts say could lead farmers next spring to plant their largest corn crop in 60 years. More>>

  • Permits not required to spray waters with pesticide
    • Date: Tuesday, November 28, 2006. By Michael Doyle, The Miami Herald

      Ruling on a hotly disputed issue, the Bush administration decided that there is no need for special permits for pesticide spraying in or over waters.
      EPA officials concluded that a pesticide, when it's deliberately applied, isn't a ''pollutant'' under the terms of the 1972 Clean Water Act. Consequently, after considering nearly 700 public comments, officials ruled that federal ''discharge'' permits aren't necessary when using pesticides to control waterborne pests. More>>

  • Redland Tropical Trail pushes agrotourism
    • Date: Friday, November 24, 2006. By Daniel Shoer-Roth, The Miami Herald

      Tourists in South Florida have a new destination -- the Redland Tropical Trail -- where they can experience South Florida's unique agricultural legacy.
      A group of farmers and farm-related businesses in the Redland and Florida City are trying to bring a different kind of tourism to South Florida: agrotourism. They have created the Historic Redland Tropical Trail, a route of nine attractions in Miami-Dade's agricultural zone that officially opens next month. More>>

  • Florida farmers could see caviar dreams come true
    • Date: Monday, November 6, 2006. By Susan Salisbury, The Palm Beach Post

      Dining on caviar is nothing new in a state that boasts some of the richest municipalities -- and palettes -- in the nation.
      Because the U.S. government has shut down foreign imports of the delectable, yet pricey, eggs of the endangered Caspian Sea beluga sturgeon, patrons of the region's finer restaurants will be forced to dine more on farm-raised caviar from California and yes, Florida. More>>

  • Forecasters: El Niño could deliver winter to Florida
    • Date: Wednesday, November 1, 2006. By Martin Merzer, The Miami Herald

      Moderate El Niño conditions -- the same events that helped suppress hurricane activity this season -- are expected to propel waves of wintry weather to the region during the next few months.
      During the summer and fall, El Niños can produce crosswinds that inhibit hurricane development. During the winter, El Niños can cause the jet stream to shift farther south, allowing northern cold fronts to dip into South Florida. More>>

  • Farmers cry foul over wetlands penalties
    • Date: Thursday, October 26 2006. By Rebecca Dellagloria, The Miami Herald

      South Miami-Dade farmers expressed outrage at sky-high mitigation fees on land designated as wetlands during an agribusiness forum.
      Several nursery owners said they have received notices from DERM that land they bought for farming is on wetlands inside what is known as the 8 ½ Square Mile Area, and inside the East Glade, an area east of U.S. 1 and south of Cutler Bay. DERM has told some farmers in those areas that they either have to shut down their farming operations or pay a mitigation fee, some as high as $180,000. More>>

  • The fuss over farm labor
    • Date: Sunday, September 10, 2006. By Monica Hatcher and Alfonso Chardy, The Miami Herald

      Florida farmers and farmworker advocates worry about a chronic shortage of laborers if Congress fails to pass legislation legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants.
      In fact, several South Florida growers and farmworker advocates said last week that a farmworker shortage in the region's vital farm economy is probable -- if the federal government fails to implement a guest worker program and steps up an already heightened crackdown on unauthorized immigration along the border. More>>

  • Farms look to grow tourism trade
    • Date: Sunday, May 7, 2006. By Associated Press

      With the potential to earn extra money from tourists and school tours, farmers and leaders, are calling on farms to catch the rising tide of agritourism.
      Washington Farms in Oconee County first began as a "pick your own" strawberry farm. But it's since grown to include pick-your-own pumpkins, a petting zoo, hay rides and a corn maze. Thousands of children and adults visit annually to pick their own fruit, get lost in the maze or visit the farm's petting zoo. More>>

  • Defending a way of life
    • Date: Saturday, April 22, 2006. By Tere Figueras Negrete and Matthew Haggman, The Miami Herald

      As more homes and businesses go up, farmers fight to hold on to their heritage.
      Encroaching suburban development is the latest foe that farmers have had to battle. Mostly, they've dealt with the weather and fluctuating markets. More>>

  • Last residential developer pulls out before UDB vote
    • Date: Tuesday, April 18, 2006. By Tere Figueras Negrete and Matthew Haggman, The Miami Herald

      On the day before Miami-Dade county commissioners begin deciding whether to open more land for development, another in a series of proposals was withdrawn.
      Another developer has pulled out of the fight to open hundreds of acres of land to intensive development -- less than 24 hours before the Miami-Dade County Commission begins its final hearings on the proposed expansion today. More>>

  • 'Rent-a-cow' racket still alive and well
    • Date: Thursday, March 23, 2006. By The Miami Herald

      Developers and land speculators take advantage the law's flaws in order to get six-figure tax reductions.
      The goal of the Greenbelt law is to help farmers stay in business by reducing their property taxes. Fair enough, but the law is written loosely enough to allow plenty of abuse. More>>

  • Coalition seeks to protect rights of tomato workers
    • Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2006. By Laura Wides-Munos, Associated Press

      The Alliance for Fair Food will be created to get retail food corporations to buy from sellers that ensure laborers' wages and employment rights.
      Farmworkers picking tomatoes from most of Florida suppliers earn about 40 cents to 45 cents for every 32 pound bucket, nearly the same amount they earned 30 years ago. More>>

  • Reform efforts target farm 'greenbelt' law
    • Date: Sunday, March 5, 2006. By Beth Reinhard, The Miami Herald

      Efforts to strengthen a farmland preservation law face resistance from the agricultural industry, which says changes to the 1959 'greenbelt' law could hurt struggling farmers.
      The law was intended to help farmers stay in business by reducing their property taxes. But many developers keep cows or crops on their land in order to win the same tax benefits. More>>

  • Developers, farmers facing off for land
    • Date: Sunday, February 26, 2006. By Jennifer Monney Piedra, The Miami Herald

      Valuable farmland is at the center of a battle between developers, who want to build massive residential communities, and environmentalists and farmers, who want to maintain the agricultural feel of the region.
      With development exploding in South Miami-Dade, members of the agricultural community are routinely faced with similar decisions. Some farmers are saying goodbye to the business they love to cash in on their land, while others are staying loyal to their industry -- a billion-dollar sector second only to tourism as the county's top money generator. More>>

  • Know who makes the decisions that shape your area
    • Date: Thursday, February 15, 2006. By Katie A. Edwards, The Miami Herald

      If you want a lesson in the ''not in my backyard'' politics, all you have to do is attend a community council meeting.
      Community councils were created in 1996 to make zoning and land-use decisions more accessible to the community, according to the Miami-Dade Department of Planning and Zoning. They double in size when you add the community zoning appeals boards, which make all zoning decisions in our unincorporated county. More>>

  • Freezing temperatures pummel vegetable farmers
    • Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2006. By Phil Long, The Miami Herald

      South Central Florida vegetable farmers will be scouring their fields today to see what if any of their corn and green bean crops survived Tuesday morning's freeze.
      Damage will be well into the millions, but it is still a day or two early to judge the impact of sub-freezing temperatures, growers and industry leaders said. More>>

  • Farmers to see incomes drop after two record years
    • Date: Friday, February 10, 2006. By Libby Quaid, Associated Press

      Rising energy costs and interest rates are gobbling up the bottom line for farmers.
      On average, net income for a farmer should be $48,600 in this year, down from $68,300 last year, according to forecasts from the department. The average was $52,500 from 2000 through 2005. More>>

  • Growers must remove debris piles
    • Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2006. By Charles Rabin, The Miami Herald

      With USDA relief funding slow to arrive, the Redland is facing an ever-growing debris problem as local trash continues to pile up.
      They've issued a warning to Redland nursery growers in the past two weeks, telling them the USDA money is for reimbursement, and that the trash needs to be hauled away as soon as possible or they may face fines. More>>

  • '05 storms took a big bite out of crops
    • Date: Sunday, January 1, 2006. By Mike Schneider, Associated Press

      Hurricanes in 2005 caused $2.2 billion to Florida's crops and farm infrastructure, losses not seen since 1989's freeze.
      Vegetable pickers are harvesting only about half the volume of tomatoes and peppers that they normally would this time of year at the Six Ls farm in southwest Florida where Hurricane Wilma's destructive winds tore through fields in October. More>>

  • Year 2005
  • Farmers to divvy up $200M in storm aid
    • Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2005. By Phil Long, The Miami Herald

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide $200 million to Florida farmers and growers hit hard by storms.
      The $200 million is from emergency funds that will be administered by the Department of Agriculture. Recipients include almost every kind of grower who suffered damage, but no details were available Tuesday about how the money will be distributed. More>>

  • USDA: $200 million for Florida agriculture hurt by hurricanes
    • Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2005. By Associated Press

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated at least $200 million for Florida growers and farmers who suffered losses from the 2005 hurricanes.
      The funding, authorized under a portion of the Agricultural Adjustment Act known as "Section 32," gives the Department of Agriculture the discretion to pay agriculture producers compensation for losses from weather and reduced market prices. More>>

  • Dade farmers pawns in a political game
    • Date: Thursday, December 15, 2005. By Katie Edwards, The Miami Herald

      Can agriculture stay economically viable through land conservation programs and regulations?
      Miami-Dade County planners and commissioners must address this question before embarking on land conservation programs and considering further regulations to agriculture. More>>

  • Hurricanes damaged poinsettia crops in S. Fla.
    • Date: Friday, December 9, 2005. By Aldo Nahed, The Miami Herald

      It won't be such a merry Christmas this year for poinsettia florists and growers.
      An unusually active storm season has damaged half of the poinsettia crop produced in South Florida. The loss has ricocheted through the business, from nurseries to florists and even, to a small extent, to consumers. More>>

  • Senators push for federal money for farmers affected by storms
    • Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2005. By Frank Davies, The Miami Herald

      Florida agriculture, hit hard by three hurricanes, would benefit from a disaster relief package introduced by Republican U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.
      The relief bill is designed to make nurseries and tropical fruit producers eligible for assistance from the Department of Agriculture. Nurseries in South Miami-Dade were hit hard by Katrina, and nursery operations in the state suffered more than $1 billion in damages. More>>

  • Gov., agriculture chief call for federal farm relief
    • Date: Friday, November 11, 2005. By Andrea Robinson and Jane Bussey, The Miami Herald

      Statewide, agriculture industry losses caused by four hurricanes in Florida this year are estimated at $2.2 billion.
      More than two weeks after Hurricane Wilma tore through a large swath of South Florida, Bush and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson made their final stop on their tour of agricultural areas devastated by the storm. More>>

  • Farm damage reaches $2.2B for 2005 storms
    • Date: Saturday, November 5, 2005. By Susan Salisbury, Palm Beach Post

      Agricultural damage caused this year's spate of hurricanes exceeds the $2.1 billion in damages caused by last year's storms.
      Florida agriculture took a $2.2 billion hit from the four hurricanes of 2005, the state said Friday. That figure slightly exceeds the total of $2.1 billion in damage suffered by the state's agriculture sector in 2004's quartet of hurricanes, but for some industries -- nurseries, sugar cane and vegetables -- Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma have been worse this year. More>>

  • Farmworkers face uncertainty after Wilma
    • Date: Wednesday, November 2, 2005. By Mike Schneider, Associated Press

      Many migrant laborers in Florida have lost their homes as well as their jobs in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma. But some help is in the works.
      Many mobile homes where farmworkers lived were crushed. Farm laborers lost a week of work during one of the busiest times of the season, and the need to replant tomatoes and vegetables destroyed during the storm may create a lull that could last into February. Now growers are worried that laborers will search for jobs elsewhere. More>>

  • Farmers suffer another major blow
    • Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2005. By Christina Hoag, The Miami Herald

      Still reeling from Katrina, South Dade farmers have lost millions of dollars in devastated crops and damaged infrastructure.
      South Dade farmers are looking at nearly $250 million in lost crops and structural damage just two months after suffering hundreds of millions in destruction from Hurricane Katrina. More>>

  • S. Fla. farmers turn to niche markets
    • Date: Monday, October 17, 2005. By Jane Bussey, The Miami Herald

      Miami-Dade County is seeing a proliferation of small farms and nurseries, as farmers try niche strategies to survive.
      Today Homestead farmers no longer grow limes (squeezed out by disease) or potatoes (buried by advances in storage). They follow the demise of long-ago farming: cattle, dairy farms and poultry production, underscoring the dynamic changes that characterize agriculture. More>>

  • Nursery owners honored
    • Date: Thursday, September 29, 2005. By The Miami Herald

      The Dade County Farm Bureau named George (Jr.) and Myra Butler as the recipients of the 2005 Farm Family of the Year award.
      The couple began Butler's Foliage in 1961 on five acres as a part-time operation that specialized in Carissa Boxwood Beauty. Besides patenting plants, Butler identified two plant sports that only the Butlers' nursery sold: Butlerii Supreme and Butlerii Petite. More>>

  • South Dade growers ask for state, federal relief
    • Date: Wednesday, August 31, 2005. By Jane Bussey, The Miami Herald

      With more than $400 million in crop losses and job losses estimated at almost 3,000 workers, South Dade growers call for disaster relief and unemployment aid.
      Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson, who led the inspection tour, promised growers their voices would be heard: ''I'm going to be asking very loudly, I'm going to be asking the governor to be asking very loudly, and I'm sure other states are going to be doing the same thing. More>>

  • Farm plight: Tense times, millions in damages
    • Date: Sunday, August 28, 2005. By Tere Figueras Negrete, The Miami Herald

      After Hurricane Katrina, farmers, growers and laborers who depend on agriculture for their livelihood are reeling.
      As Miami-Dade's agricultural community reels, the farmers, growers and laborers who depend on the industry for their livelihood are tense with uncertainty. More>>

  • Crops take a hit; losses are tallied
    • Date: Saturday, August 27, 2005. By Jane Bussey and Georgia Tasker, The Miami Herald

      Floating plants, damaged shade houses, uprooted trees, and a devastated avocado harvest is Katrina's legacy in South Dade nurseries and groves.
      Hurricane Katrina's unexpected jog south caught South Miami-Dade nurseries and groves unprepared, and growers awoke Friday to find fallen shade houses, uprooted plants, a destroyed avocado crop and extensive damage to foliage and landscaping plants. More>>

  • Protect farmland, taxpayers' wallets
    • Date: Saturday, August 27, 2005. By The Miami Herald

      The practice encourages unrestrained growth by making it cheaper and more lucrative to pave over farmlands and pastures -- and it comes at taxpayer expense.
      State law requires them to grant tax breaks on land used for ''good-faith commercial agriculture'' but isn't clear about what that means. Developer-friendly court rulings have further slackened the rules, allowing corporate interests to seek farm subsidies even as they plan to bulldoze pastures and cornfields. More>>

  • Appraisers lax in tax-break scrutiny
    • Date: Tuesday, August 23, 2005. By Samuel P. Nitze and Beth Rinhard, The Miami Herald

      Miami-Dade and Broward property appraisers say they have no choice: Year after year, they give up millions of dollars to developers who seek property tax breaks meant to help farmers.
      State law requires them to grant tax breaks on land used for ''good-faith commercial agriculture'' but isn't clear about what that means. Developer-friendly court rulings have further slackened the rules, allowing corporate interests to seek farm subsidies even as they plan to bulldoze pastures and cornfields. More>>

  • Law fails to save Florida farmland
    • Date: Monday, August 22, 2005. By Beth Rinhard and Samuel P. Nitze, The Miami Herald

      Farmland-preservation experts say Florida's law granting agricultural tax breaks is one of the worst in the country.
      Florida's 1959 ''greenbelt'' law was among the nation's first to give property tax breaks to farmers. But half a century later, the state's pioneering law is one of the weakest in the country, largely unsuccessful in preserving farmland and easily exploited by developers. More>>

  • How developers cash in on 'farmland'
    • Date: Sunday, August 21, 2005. By Samuel P. Nitze and Beth Rinhard, The Miami Herald

      Here's what passes for farmland in South Florida: rocky, trash-strewn fields, lots crammed with melaleuca trees, even fledgling construction sites.
      Most states that offer agricultural tax breaks demand that landowners tend a certain number of acres, turn a profit, or promise not to build. Many collect back taxes once development begins. More>>

  • State senator pushes reforms to stop abuse of farmworkers
    • Date: Thursday, June 30, 2005. By Ronnie Greene, The Miami Herald

      As mounting civil lawsuits and criminal charges are filed alleging exploitation of farmworkers in North Florida, a state senator said it's time to change the way the industry does business.
      In North Florida, where the farm fields are often tainted with abuse, a state senator is pushing a series of reforms that could shake the quiet nook of agriculture country and reshape the treatment of workers who harvest its crops. More>>

  • New tactic used in labor case
    • Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2005. By Ronnie Greene, The Miami Herald

      In the newest crackdown on abuse against farmworkers, federal authorities are examining both environmental and exploitation issues.
      In recent years, a dozen Florida farm contractors, smugglers and henchmen have landed in prison for crimes against farmworkers, including indentured servitude. Yet none of the cases had an environmental angle. More>>

  • Farmworkers show their muscle
    • Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2005. By Mike Schneider, Associated Press

      Taco Bell joins the effort to convince the fast-food industry to push for better treatment of farmworkers.
      Taco Bell, a subsidiary of Louisville-based YUM! Brands, estimates it will pay the Florida tomato growers an extra $100,000, costs that won't be passed onto customers. More>>

  • Forestry is now biggest segment of Florida agriculture
    • Date: Thursday, April 14, 2005. By Chuck Woods, UF/IFAS

      The forestry industry now has the biggest economic impact on the state - eclipsing citrus, vegetables and ornamentals in terms of output.
      Annual output or sales impacts in the forest products industry exceed $16.6 billion, creating 133,475 jobs, with $7.5 billion in value-added personal and business income, and generating more than $581 million in local, state and federal taxes (excluding income taxes). More>>

  • Bill promotes sprawl
    • Date: Monday, April 11, 2005. By The Miami Herald

      Our Opinion: State Senate Committee Should Reject SB 716.
      Last year, Gov. Jeb Bush gave the so-called ''Agricultural Enclave'' bill the fate it deserved: He vetoed it. Now it's back, having been approved by the House. Today the Agriculture and Economic Development Act comes before the Senate Environmental Preservation Committee. If approved it will move to the Senate floor. But it doesn't deserve approval this year any more than in 2004. More>>

  • State among top 10 for woman-operate farms
    • Date: Monday, March 28, 2005. By Susan Salibury, The Palm Beach Post

      Of the 44,081 farms in Florida, 8,116, or 18 percent, were run by women, according to the 2002 Census of Agriculture.
      Florida ranks in the top 10 states for farms that have a woman as principal operator, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. More>>

  • Bill would give farmers right to develop property
    • Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2005. By Mary Ellen Klas, The Miami Herald

      Legislators have proposed a measure that would allow some farmers to rezone their land for development, a move that has angered environmentalists.
      An aerial view of Teena Borek's 15-acre farm near Homestead looks like a lone green pea on a plate of rambling development. The vegetable farmer is surrounded by houses and streets, and when she wanted to sell her land for development, she was stymied by county growth laws. More>>

  • Sparking a child's interest in farms
    • Date: Sunday, March 20, 2005. By Elizabeth Caram, The Miami Herald

      In honor of Agriculture Literacy Day and on the first day of the Dade County Youth Fair, children listened to Homestead's vice mayor read a book about animals growing a garden.
      Sitting cross-legged, a group of about 20 children listened attentively to Homestead Vice Mayor Lynda Bell as she read a book called How Groundhog's Garden Grew at the Dade County Youth Fair on Thursday. More>>

  • Ag winner grows into farming life
    • Date: Sunday, February 27, 2005. By Elysa Batista, The Miami Herald

      Homestead farmer and agricultural pioneer Martina 'Teena' Borek was named Florida's 2004 'Woman of the Year in Agriculture.'
      Days after Hurricane Andrew blew out all the windows in her home and destroyed most of her farming equipment, Martina Borek was in Home Depot buying lumber to rebuild the barns at her farm. More>>

  • Save farmland by saving farmers first
    • Date: Sunday, February 27, 2005. By Katie Edwards, The Miami Herald

      When the question arose about whether or not to move the UDB, Farm Bureau put the question to the growers.
      Reporters, county commissioners and many others want to know how Miami-Dade County farmers feel about moving the urban development boundary (UDB) and the loss of farmland to development. More>>

  • Why farm subsidy cuts might actually stick
    • Date: Monday, February 21, 2005. By Lee Walczak, Business Week

      White House budgetcutters have stunned their farm friends, proposing to cut $1.2 billion in direct payments and to cap subsides to individual farmers at $250,000 in the fiscal 2006 budget.
      Studies indicate that about 10% of farmers collect nearly 70% of subsidies. Huge cotton and rice farms in Texas and California are big winners. And hefty payments flow to wheat, sugar, soybean, dairy, and corn producers. Left out: Family cattle and hog farms in the Midwest and fruit and vegetable growers throughout the nation. More>>

  • Urban Development Boundary: The Next Battle Line
    • Date: Monday, February 14, 2005. By Matthew Haggman, The Miami Herald

      Unlike Broward, MiamiDade's Urban Development Boundary has held development stretching to the edge of the Everglades at bay. Now that may change. More>>

  • Agri-tour a learning experience
    • Date: Sunday, February 13, 2005. By Elysa Batista, The Miami Herald

      A tour of farms and nurseries that comprise South MiamiDade's agricultural industry gave guests a look into how their fruits and vegetables are grown.
      When Mike Olon told coworkers he would be picking up some fresh vegetables, they thought he was heading to a Publix. None of them knew he would visit farm country in South MiamiDade County. More>>

  • Cultivating a heritage
    • Date: Saturday, January 29, 2005. By Monica Hatcher, The Miami Herald

      Although being squeezed from all sides, agriculture in and around Homestead remains a South Miami-Dade staple.
      More than cultivating the snap beans, squash, cucumbers and winter tomatoes that have built South Florida's reputation as the nation's ''salad bowl,'' Homestead farmers continue to cultivate the city's agricultural heritage.  Homestead and its surrounding areas, home to a significant portion of Miami-Dade County's agriculture production, are still ideal locales for vegetable growth and ornamental agriculture.  More>>


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