Agriculture

A field of hemp plants
P. Solomon Banda / AP Photo

State officials have heralded hemp as a new wonder crop.  But the plant’s recent legalization is complicating efforts to prosecute marijuana-related charges, and has left police and prosecutors alike scrambling for a solution.

A green iguana lies in the grass
Brynn Anderson / AP

Florida has an iguana problem. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has declared an open season on the lizards, which it says are an invasive, non-native species. But the animals are still for sale in stores throughout the state. So, why not stop selling them? 

Fried speaks at podium
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Florida is edging closer to a legal hemp industry. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) wrapped its final rulemaking workshop Monday.

A field of hemp plants
jessicahyde / Adobe Stock

The Florida Agriculture Department has released its first draft of proposed rules for a state hemp program. This comes ahead of hemp rulemaking workshops beginning later this week.

Tomato plants
Dusan Kostic / Adobe Stock

Florida farmers are struggling to compete with cheaper, foreign imports from countries such as Mexico. Farmers worry unfair trade practices endanger the state's agriculture industry.

Scott Goodwill / Unsplash

A bill to provide zero-interest loans to farmers whose crops are impacted by natural disasters is advancing through the Florida Senate. Backed by Republican Senator Ben Albritton, the measure is intended to help farmers whose livelihoods have been threatened by Hurricane Michael. Ahead of its first committee stop, Ryan Dailey spoke with the Florida Farm Bureau’s head of legislative affairs Adam Basford, and a Holmes County farmer whose crop was decimated by the hurricane.

Agricultural Research Service / United States Department of Agriculture

A research facility used to study hay production systems, small fruits and medical plants, among other things could receive a one-time lump sum of 1.7 million to help purchase necessary tools thanks to an appropriations bill that passed a committee today. 

A bee pollinating a flower.
Jason Leung / Unsplash

A new law goes into effect October 1st which will create stricter penalties for stealing beehives, that’s good news for Florida farmers experiencing decreased profits and honey bee die-offs.

https://twitter.com/adamputnam
Adam Putnam via flickr / Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Florida’s projected orange crop is continuing to dwindle. The forecasted yield is down 80% from the record high of 244 million boxes 20 years ago. 

Citrus greening (Huanglongbing) is reeking havoc on Florida's citrus industry.
A. Barra via Wikimedia commons

A cold snap is bringing freezing temperatures to Florida this weekend. But one citrus scientist says the state’s embattled growers shouldn’t see much damage. 

Stuart Rankin via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/24354425@N03/14576820330/

55,000 agriculture-related jobs are in danger in the wake of Hurricane Irma, according to a recent University of Florida analysis. Economist and study author Alan Hodges says the storms’ impacts to Florida’s growers are unprecedented. Because the state's second largest industry depends on so many other suppliers and distributors, and fuels so many local economies, Hodges says the ripple effects are not limited to growers alone. 

https://twitter.com/adamputnam
Adam Putnam via flickr / Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Automation. Development. Citrus Greening. Florida’s agriculture industry is hurting, and Hurricane Irma is only the most recent blow. During this year's legislative session, lawmakers will be considering how to support the industry, which is second only to tourism.

Kate Payne

Observant and lucky Floridians may have spotted grapevines growing wild in the parks and backyards of the Panhandle. WFSU brings us this report on wild muscadines. We teamed up with the Miccosukee Root Cellar to look at what they are, how to find them, and what to do with them.

Peter via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/augustusoz/

Vandals tampered with oyster aquaculture equipment in Wakulla County this weekend, which investigators say is a felony offense. WFSU spoke with one of the farmers, who says the incident is derailing this year’s crop.