Miami-Dade County agricultural land retention study

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Title:
Miami-Dade County agricultural land retention study
Physical Description:
Book
Creator:
Degner, Robert L.
Stevens, Thomas J. III
Morgan, Kimberly L.
Publisher:
Florida Agricultural Market Research Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
2002

Notes

General Note:
Submitted to the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services in partial fulfillment of contract no. 5218, April 2002

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University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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AA00000395:00001


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Miami-Dade County Agricultural
Land Retention Study

Summary and Recommendations
(Volume one of six)


O01 0 AGR


'", UNIVERSITY OF
Z! FLORIDA
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences






















MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL LAND
RETENTION STUDY


SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
(Volume one of six)

Edited by

Robert L. Degner
Thomas J. Stevens, III.
and
Kimberly L. Morgan


Florida Agricultural Market Research Center
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611

Submitted to the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services
in Partial Fulfillment of Contract No. 5218, April 2002








































































MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY












Table of Contents


TABLE OF CONTENTS ..................................................................................................... I
LIST OF TABLES ........................................................................................................... V
LIST OF FIGURES ...................................................................................................... VII
PREFACE .............................................................................................................................. IX
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .............................................................................................. XI
OVERVIEW OF MAJOR ISSUES CONFRONTING MIAMI-DADE COUNTY
AGRICULTURE.......................................................................................................... XIII
INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................... 1
O B JE C T IV E S ........................................................................................................ ........... 1
R research A pp roach .................................................................................... .................... 2
O organization of the F indings..................................................................... .................... 5
F IN D IN G S ................................................. ........................................................... ........... 6
A Descriptive Overview ofAgriculture in Miami-Dade County.................................... 6
P o p u la tio n ..................................................................................................................... 6
L an d A rea ..................................................................................................... . ........... 6
Soils ................................................................. 6
C lim ate ......................................................................................................... . ........... 7
Irrig atio n ...................................................................................................... . ........... 8
N atu ral D disasters ................................................................................................... 8
D distribution of F arm Sizes ......................... ............................................... ............. 9
Types ofAgricultural and Aquacultural Enterprises................................................ 10
Historical Background ....................................................................... .............. 10
The Current Situation ....................................... ........................... .................... 11
Diversity ofAgricultural Production.............. ................................................ 17
Economic Importance ofAgriculture........................................................................ 18
Summary of Economic Impact Analysis.................................................................... 19
E conom ic Trends ...................................................................................... .................... 2 1
Comparison of Input-Output Estimates ................................................................ 21
Economic Trends for Specific Crops................... ................................................ 25
V eg eta ble Trends ...................................................... ............................ .................... 2 6
S n a p b e a n s ................................................................................................................ .. 2 8
T o m ato e s ...................................................................................................... ........... 3 0
P o tato e s ....................................................................................................... . ........... 3 2
Squash .................................................... ................. 35
Sweet corn ........................................................ .................. 37
O their T traditional V vegetables ....................................... ........................ .............. 39
F ruit Trends ................................................................. .................... 39
A v o cad o s..................................................................................................... ............ 4 0

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M a n g o s ........................................................................................................................ 4 3
Limes ............................................................... 45
Carambola ................................................. ................. 47
Lychee .............................................................. 47
Papaya ..................................................... ..... .............. 47
L o n g a n ........................................................................................................................ 4 7
M am ey Sapote ............................................................................................................ 47
B a n an a (all ty p e s) ....................................................................................................... 4 8
Guava................................ .. ..................... ..................... 48
M miscellaneous species ............................................................................................... 48
Ornamental Horticulture ............................. ............................... 49
A q u a cu ltu re ..................................................................................................................... 4 9
MAJOR FACTORS AFFECTING PROFITABILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY OF MIAMI-DADE
A G R IC U L T U R E ...................................................................................................................... 5 0
Structure ofM iami-Dade County Agriculture................................................................... 51
International Trade......................................................................................................... 53
Current Situation and Outlook .................................................................................. 53
R ecom m endations ....................................................................................................... 56
P hy tosanitary Issues ....................................................................................................... 5 7
Current Situation and Outlook .................................................................................. 57
R ecom m endations ..................................................................................................... 58
Environmental Impacts and Regulations...................................................................... 59
W ater Issues: Current Situation and Outlook ........................................................... 59
R ecom m endations ....................................................................................................... 60
TRENDS IN PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY ............................................................... .............. 61
D development ofNew Cultivars.................... ........................................................... 61
Current Situation and Outlook .................................................................................. 61
R ecom m endations ....................................................................................................... 64
Fertilizer M anagem ent ................................................................................................... 64
Current Situation and Outlook .................................................................................. 64
R ecom m endations ....................................................................................................... 65
Irrigation M anagem ent................................................................................................... 65
Current Situation and Outlook .................................................................................. 65
R ecom m endations ....................................................................................................... 67
Cultural Practices........................................................................................................... 67
Current Situation and Outlook .................................................................................. 67
R ecom m endations ....................................................................................................... 68
M echanization and Robotics ......................................................................................... 69
Current Situation and Outlook .................................................................................. 69
R ecom m endations ....................................................................................................... 70
P estic id es ........................................................................................................................ 7 1
Current Situation and Outlook ..................................................................................71
R ecom m endations ....................................................................................................... 73
P ost-H arvest H handling ................................................................................................... 74


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C current Situation and O outlook ....................................... ....................... .............. 74
R e co m m en d atio n s ....................................................................................................... 7 6
OTHER ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL FACTORS ................................................................... 76
Theft and Vandalism .................................................... .............................................. 76
C current Situation and O outlook ....................................... ....................... .............. 76
R ecom m endations ........................ .... ........... .... .......................... .............. 77
F arm L a bor............ .................................................................................................... 77
C current Situation and O outlook ....................................... ....................... .............. 77
R ecom m endations ... .. ..... ............... ................................................ ...... ....... .. 77
C rop Insuran ce ..................................................................................... .................... 78
C current Situation and O outlook ....................................... ....................... .............. 78
R ecom m endations ........................ .... ........... .... .......................... .............. 79
M marketing ....................................... ................................................ .................... 79
C current Situation and O outlook ....................................... ....................... .............. 79
R ecom m endations ... .. ..... ............... ................................................ ...... ....... .. 80
A g ritourism .............................................................................. ................................. 8 3
C current Situation and O outlook ....................................... ....................... .............. 83
R ecom m endations ... .. ..... ............... ................................................ ...... ....... .. 84
Infrastructure N eeds ................................................... .............................................. 84
C current Situation and O outlook ....................................... ....................... .............. 84
R ecom m endations ... .. ..... ............... ................................................ ...... ....... .. 85
Urbanization and Land Values................................................................................... 86
C current Situation and O outlook ....................................... ....................... .............. 86
R ecom m endations ... .. ..... ............... ................................................ ...... ....... .. 88

























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List of Tables


Table 1. The University of Florida Research Task Force, Miami-Dade County Agricultural
L and R detention Study ................................. ..................... ................... .. ..... .... .............. 2
Table 2. Future Technology W workshop Participants. .......................................... ............... 4
Table 3. Monthly Temperatures for Miami-Dade County, Average, Maximum and Minimum
A v e ra g e ................................................. . . ............................... .................. .................... 7
Table 4. Farm Size Distribution in Miami-Dade County, 1997. ...................................... 10
Table 5. Acres of Agricultural Activities in Miami-Dade County. ................................. 12
Table 6. Acres of Agricultural Activity Types South of the Tamiami Trail....................... 17
Table 7. Fruits and Vegetables Produced in Miami-Dade County................................... 18
Table 8. Economic Impacts of Agriculture by Subsector for Miami-Dade County, 1997-98.20
Table 9. Agriculture's Economic Output Impact on Miami-Dade County by Subsector, 1988-
89, 1995-96 and 1997-98 (1998 dollars)................................................. ................ 21
Table 10. Agriculture's Earnings Impact on Miami-Dade County by Subsector, 1988-89,
1995-96 and 1997-98 (1998 dollars)............................................... ........... .............. 22
Table 11. Agriculture's Employment Impact on Miami-Dade County by Subsector, 1988-89,
1995-96 and 1997-98 (1998 dollars)........................................................... .............. 22
Table 12. Acreage and Revenue Trends for Major Vegetable and Fruit Crops, Miami-Dade
C county ............................................................................................................ . . . 27
a
Table 13. Summary of Miami-Dade County Tropical Fruit Acreage, 1990-2001 ............ 40


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List of Figures


Figure 1. Agricultural Land Areas in Miami-Dade County.............................................. 13
Figure 2. Fruit Groves in M iam i-D ade County .................................................. .............. 14
Figure 3. Vegetable Crop Land in Miami-Dade County. ................................................. 15
Figure 4. N urseries in M iam i-D ade County ....................................................... .............. 16
Figure 5. Economic Output Impacts for Agriculture in Miami-Dade County Florida, 1988-
89, 199 5-96 an d 1997-9 8 .................................................... ..... ........... .... .. .... ............... 2 3
Figure 6. Economic Earnings Impacts for Agriculture in Miami-Dade County Florida, 1988-
89 19 9 5-9 6 an d 19 9 7 -9 8 ................................ .. .... .. .... .... .... .. ........ ...................... 2 3
Figure 7. Economic Employment Impacts for Agriculture in Miami-Dade County Florida,
1988-89, 1995-96 and 1997-98 ....................................................................................... 24
Figure 8. Snap B ean A creage: 1980 2000. ........................................ .............. .............. 28
Figure 9. Snap Bean Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2000.................................... 29
Figure 10. Estimated Profit Per Acre, Snap Beans, 1995-96 through 1999-00 Seasons........ 29
Figure 11. Tom ato A creage: 1980 2000 ......................................................... .............. 31
Figure 12. Tomato Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2000................................. 31
Figure 13. Tomatoes: Estimated Net Profit per Acre, 1995-96 to 1999-00......................... 32
Figure 14. Potato A creage: 1981 2000 ................................................. .......... .............. 33
Figure 15. Potato Production, Prices and Revenues: 1981 2000................ .............. 34
Figure 16 Potatoes: Estimated Net Profit per Acre, 1995-96 to 1999-00.......................... 34
Figure 17. Squash A creage: 1980 2000 ......................................................... .............. 35
Figure 18. Squash Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2000.................................. 36
Figure 19. Squash: Estimated Net Profit per Acre, 1995-96 to 1999-00................................ 36
Figure 20. Sw eet Corn A creage: 1980 2000.................................................... .............. 37
Figure 21. Sweet Corn Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2000. ............................ 38
Figure 22. A vocado A creage: 1987 2001 ...................................................... .............. 42
Figure 23. Avocado Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2000............................... 42
Figure 24. M ango A creage: 1980 2000 .......................................................... .............. 44
Figure 25. Mango Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2000.................................. 44
Figure 26. Lim e A creage: 1980 2002 ........................................ .................... .............. 46
Figure 27. Lime Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2001..................................... 46













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SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Preface
This study was conducted at the request of several government agencies at the
federal, state and local level. It was conducted with financial support from the Florida
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The opinions and conclusions expressed
in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the grantors.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
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Acknowledgements
This study would have not been possible without the cooperation of the many
organizations and individuals interested in the future of agriculture in Miami-Dade County.
Special thanks go to the USDA Farm Service Agency in Homestead, the Florida Agricultural
Statistics Service, and the South Florida Water Management District.
We are also indebted to Miami-Dade County's Agricultural Practices Study Advisory
Board and the County's Citizens' Advisory Committee (to the Agricultural Land Retention
Study) for their valuable input. We are also grateful to the Florida Department of Agriculture
and Consumer Services for the financial support to conduct this study and to John Folks of
that organization for his administrative support and supervision.
We also appreciate the skills and dedication shown by Ms. Lahoma Lemanski in
editing and formatting the final manuscript and designing the cover artwork for this summary
and each of the five appendices. We also thank Pal Brooks of Brooks Tropicals for
permission to use his firm's photographs of tropical fruits on the report covers.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
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Overview of Major Issues Confronting Miami-Dade
County Agriculture

Economic globalization and trade liberalization will continue. It is unlikely that U.S.
trade policy will be altered to any appreciable degree in the foreseeable future to
protect domestic fruit and vegetable industries. In order to successfully compete in
global commodity markets, agricultural producers and agribusiness firms will have to
engage in multi-national product/supply and marketing strategies that will transcend
international boundaries. Depending on quality and prices, imports may capture
increasingly larger shares of the U.S. market. As a result, some U.S. growers and
shippers may be unable to survive.

The Miami-Dade agricultural community and other affected segments of American
agriculture should collaborate to find ways to "level the international playing field".
Concurrency among countries with respect to trade policies, environmental regulations,
food safety and phytosanitary policies, and farm worker protection will be a
continuing, although challenging, goal.

There is a continuous barrage of exotic pests (plants, animals, insects and diseases)
infiltrating Miami-Dade County and the State of Florida. Excluding exotic pests is a
foremost infrastructure (border integrity) issue. The services of the USDA Animal
and Plant Health Inspection Services, the U.S. Customs Services, and the U.S. Border
and Coast Guard Patrols must be upgraded and coordinated. Proactive efforts should be
implemented to reduce the introduction of exotic pests at ports of origin.

Flood control and water management must be better understood and administered to
protect current and future agricultural interests. Flooding of agricultural areas resulting
from restoration efforts should be closely monitored and minimized. Better topographic
and hydrological data are essential. More efficient irrigation practices should be
researched and implemented by growers to minimize potential future conflicts with
consumer and conservation interests.

The only production technologies that will provide any long-term economic gains or
increased sustainability to Miami-Dade agriculture relative to international competitors
are those that can be patent protected, or so uniquely tied to the growing environment
of the County that they cannot be duplicated elsewhere in the world. Any innovation
not so protected can be readily acquired and quickly implemented by growers in
competing areas so that all gains from per unit cost reductions are offset by lower
product prices.

There appear to be few imminent technological developments that would give Miami-
Dade County agriculture significant competitive advantages. Scientific research is
essential to help Miami-Dade farmers meet the continuing barrage of environmental

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
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SUMMARY AND
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and labor regulations, and trade policies. Support and cooperation of the agricultural
community in obtaining funding and conducting scientific research is essential.

Weather and market information constitute public goods because it is too difficult to
control or restrict their use and there are strong incentives for private interests to
subvert these services to their individual ends. Accurate and timely information and
forecasts of weather events and commodity market information help farms protect their
investments and optimize their operating decisions. The agricultural community
should cooperate with and encourage Federal and State governmental agencies to
provide and improve these services.

Improvements in marketing and market development programs can help growers and
shippers rise above the fiercely competitive commodity type markets. Improved
product standards, branded product identities and market development strategies that
better target desired market segments may be able to compensate for limited economies
of scale and higher production costs. The challenge to Miami-Dade growers and
shippers is to develop equitable, cooperative marketing efforts that serve the diverse
needs of all concerned parties.

The great diversity of farm sizes and types of operations in Miami-Dade County has
serious implications for the overall well being of the agricultural industry. From
political and marketing perspectives, this diversity works to fragment the
cohesiveness required to create effective community action and organized marketing
programs. It is essential that the various, disparate elements of the agricultural
community identify major, common goals that can generate widespread support and
collaborative action.

Population growth and concomitant urban development appear inevitable for Miami-
Dade County. Based on the capitalization of relatively low financial returns to
agriculture in recent years, especially row crops, only about twenty-five percent of the
current land prices is justified by returns to land in agricultural uses. The remaining
seventy-five percent represents future anticipated value in non-agricultural or in
agricultural-residential use. Further, as the supply of developable land dwindles, prices
will undoubtedly increase. These price increases, if accompanied by chronically low
financial returns to agriculture, will motivate landowners to convert agricultural land to
higher-valued uses.

Outright purchase of agricultural land with low-cost or subsidized leasebacks to
farmers is one method that government agencies could use to preserve land for
agricultural uses, however it would be very costly. Another method would be the
purchase of conservation easements, but the ultimate outcome is far less certain if
financial losses on agricultural production occur and persist. Whatever method or
methods are chosen, every effort must be made to protect individual landowners'
property rights and to administer agricultural land preservation programs equitably.

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SUMMARY AND
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* The Agricultural Practices Study Advisory Board (commonly known as the "Ag
Practices Committee") should initiate a systematic review of existing local regulations,
permits and fees that reduce profitability for existing farmers or agribusinesses or
provide significant barriers to entry of farming or agribusiness ventures. Costs and
benefits should be examined to identify those regulations, permitting processes, or fees
that can be eliminated or modified to reduce negative impacts on agriculture.

* Proposed regulations that have potentially adverse financial effects on agriculture or
on owners of agricultural land should be carefully reviewed by the Ag Practices
Committee. Ideally, this committee should be involved in discussions of perceived
problems before solutions are proposed. Once potential courses of action are identified,
the Ag Practices Committee should have adequate time and resources to thoroughly
analyze the proposed actions' effects on various interests within the agricultural
community. The Ag Practices Committee should strive to base their recommendations
to the County Commission upon quantitative data whenever possible to enhance its
credibility.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
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MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
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SUMMARY AND
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Introduction

"No regulation, land use plan, import duty, tariff purchase of development right, or other
governmental policy will be able to sustain agriculture if it is not profitable for individual
operators and their suppliers- to remain in business."

Craig Evans
President, Florida Stewardship Foundation

It is the intention of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
(FDACS) and the University of Florida in the performance of this study to retain agriculture
and rural land in Miami-Dade County through the enhancement of the economic viability of
commercial agriculture. The main purpose of this study is the analysis of data concerning the
long-term economic outlook of the agricultural industry and the development of
recommendations to enhance the industry's economic well-being. It is also the intention of
FDACS, the Miami-Dade County Commission and the University of Florida that this study
and any potential resulting ordinances shall not have an adverse effect on the value or use of
property in the study area. The purpose of this study is to provide information and
recommendations to FDACS, Miami-Dade County government, and the citizens of Florida,
particularly the citizens of Miami-Dade County to improve current and future planning
(Adapted from the official Scope of Services).
OBJECTIVES
The objectives of this study were developed by members of the Miami-Dade County
Agricultural Practices Study Advisory Board over a period of several years. In September of
1999, the Board and other representatives of the agricultural community participated in a
workshop conducted by Mr. John Folks of FDACS to develop a final set of objectives for the
study. The objectives as specified by attendees of the workshop were varied and detailed.
However, the objectives can be organized into six major categories. These categories are:

1. To provide an overview of the natural and developed environment of the study
area (the South Dade Agricultural Area) and describe the agricultural practices
associated with each major crop or commodity group.

2. Document the economic importance of agriculture to Miami-Dade County.

3. Determine economic trends associated with major agricultural crops grown in
Miami-Dade County. Trends in acreage, revenues, and profitability were to be
examined whenever possible.

4. Identify major factors affecting the profitability and sustainability of Miami-Dade
County agriculture.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
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SUMMARY AND
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5. Identify and evaluate emerging technological changes that could help or harm
Miami-Dade County's competitive situation.

6. Offer recommendations to improve the economic sustainability of agriculture in
Miami-Dade County.
Research Approach
A task force of UF/IFAS scientists and extension agents with specialized knowledge
of Miami-Dade County agriculture was assembled and several organizational meetings held
in order to determine specific responsibilities of faculty and staff in meeting the study's
objectives. Task force members and their respective locations and affiliations are found in
Table 1.

Table 1. The University of Florida Research Task Force, Miami-Dade County Agricultural
Land Retention Study.


Faculty/Staff


Gainesville Campus
Dr. Robert L. Degner
Dr. Dean G. Fairchild
Dr. Alan W. Hodges
Mr. William A. Messina
Ms. Kimberly L. Morgan
Dr. W. David Mulkey
Dr. John Reynolds
Mr. Scott Smith
Dr. Thomas J. Stevens, III
Dr. Timothy G. Taylor

TREC Homestead
Dr. Herb Bryan
Dr. Jonathan Crane
Ms. Karen Eskelin
Dr. Waldemar Klassen
Dr. Yuncong Li
Dr. Robert T. McMillan
N s karcn NMinkoNwski
Dr. Stephen K. O'Hair
Dr. Bruce Schaffer
Dr. Min Zhang


Continued


Area of Expertise


Marketing
Communications
Business analysis, ornamental horticulture
International trade
Marketing
Regional economics
Land economics
Production economics
Production economics
International trade


Vegetables
Tropical fruits
Agricultural programs
Insect pest management
Plant nutrition
Subtropical fruits & vegetables
Gcog'laphic Infoillatiion S\ istcmS (IGIS)
Tropical vegetables/tubers
Plant physiology
Plant nutrition


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o LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
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Table 1 Continued.

Ft. Lauderdale REC
Ms. Theodora Frohne Ornamental horticulture
Dr. Eva Worden Landscape horticulture

Miami-Dade Extension
Dr. Carlos Balerdi Tropical fruits
Mr. Chris Brooks Aquaculture
Di Joscpih Ciniofalo Omranicntal horticulture
Dr. Mary Lamberts Vegetables
Ms. Teresa Olczyk Commercial ag./vegetables
Mr. Donald Pybas County Extension Director
Dr. Charles Yurgalevitch Urban commercial horticulture

In order to provide an overview of the natural and developed environment of the
study area and to describe the agricultural practices associated with each major crop or
commodity group (Objective 1.), University of Florida (UF/IFAS) faculty and staff
developed a Geographic Information System (GIS) specifically for Miami-Dade County
agriculture. Members of the task force also provided detailed descriptions of a diverse array
of traditional and tropical vegetables, tropical fruits, and nursery crops. They also provided
details on cultural requirements for each of the crops.
The documentation of the economic importance of agriculture to Miami-Dade County
(Objective 2) was achieved by obtaining published data from the Agricultural Census, the
Florida Agricultural Statistics Service (FASS), and various publications authored by
UF/IFAS researchers and extension agents. In every case, the most recent published
estimates were used for economic analyses. Unfortunately, the Agricultural Census is
conducted only once every five years, and the most recently published was the 1997 census.
The Agricultural Census is the most comprehensive official agricultural database, and data
from the Census were used to estimate overall economic impacts using IMPLAN, an input-
output analytical technique.
In order to determine economic trends for the major crops grown in Miami-Dade
County (Objective 3), annual time series data were obtained from the FASS. These data were
more current than the Agricultural Census, but FASS only collects annual data for a limited
number of traditional vegetables and a few of the major tropical fruits. These data typically
include acreage, prices, and average yields, allowing average revenues to be calculated.
Trend analyses on acreage and revenues were performed, giving an indication of the overall
economic health of these enterprises. Data on costs of production and marketing (vegetable
and fruit "budgets") were obtained from commercial growers and shippers.
Major factors affecting the profitability and sustainability of Miami-Dade County
agriculture (Objective 4) were identified by soliciting input from the entire agricultural
community via mail surveys. The surveys were publicized through two news releases sent to
newspapers serving the South Dade area, and three waves of questionnaires were sent to all
known individuals and businesses identified as having a stake in Miami-Dade agriculture.

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SUMMARY AND
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Additional insights were provided by industry experts that participated in the Future
Technology workshop discussed below, and from discussions with local producers, shippers,
community leaders, and members of the UF/IFAS research task force.
Emerging technological developments (Objective 5) with the potential to affect
Miami-Dade County agriculture were explored during a two-day Future Technology
workshop organized by Dr. Stephen O'Hair and held at the Tropical Research and Education
Center (TREC) in Homestead in October, 2000. Over 20 participants from private industry,
trade associations, USDA-ARS and universities discussed technological developments in
plant breeding, genetic engineering, soils fertility, irrigation, pesticide availability and
application, robotics and post-harvest handling. Participants and their respective affiliations
are listed in Table 2.


Table 2. Future Technology Workshop Participants.


Aref Abdul Baki
Dan Botts
C. F. Brodel
Bill Bussey
David Clark
Jonathan Crane
Robert L. Degner

Stcephen Di Antoiio
Claire Erickson
D A Ficscllnanni
Dave Goff
Ernest J Hcwitt. III
Waldemar Klassen
Yuncong Li
Robert T. McMillan, Jr.
0 Normian Ncsh.c'im
Jack Norton
Stephen K (O)'Hail
Steve Sargent
Jay Scott
D. R. Seal
Bruce Schaffer
Wm. M. Stall
Thoinas J Stc\ en1. III
Min Zhang


USDA-ARS, Beltsville, MD
Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Orlando, FL
USDA/APHIS/PPQ Plant Inspection Station, Miami, FL
Novartis (Rogers Seeds Co., Syngenta Seeds)
University of Florida, Gainesville
University of Florida, TREC Homestead
University of Florida
Carncic MCllon Unix ersih. National Robotics Eni'ineerin,'l
ConsortiumLI1
Monsanto
L'SDA Aphis PPQ Center for Plant Hcalth Science. Raleigh. NC
Seminis Seed Company (Asgrow)
Ex ciuladc REC. Lini cirsit of Florida
University of Florida, TREC Homestead
University of Florida, TREC Homestead
University of Florida, TREC Homestead
Linii crsitr of Florida. Gaines\ illc
Technology Center of New Jersey, North Brunswick, NJ
Lini\ cisit\ of Florida. TREC Homestead
University of Florida, Gainesville
University of Florida, Gulf Coast REC Bradenton
University of Florida, TREC Homestead
University of Florida, TREC Homestead
University of Florida, Gainesville
Liii\ crsitr of Florida. Gaines\ illec
University of Florida, TREC Homestead


Recommendations to improve the economic sustainability of agriculture (Objective 6)
were synthesized from the findings associated with Objectives 4 and 5. Suggestions were
obtained via mail surveys, personal discussions with agricultural and business leaders,
findings of research conducted specifically for this study, and professional opinions voiced


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
A LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

by participants of the future technology workshop and other members of the UF/IFAS task
force.
Organization of the Findings
The Findings section is a condensed overview of information pertinent to the overall
objectives. More detailed information and supporting data are found in a series of five
Appendices. There are some redundancies in the Findings section and the Appendices, but
this has been done because it is anticipated that this overview may be distributed
independently of the voluminous appendices. The discussions found in the Findings section
below generally follow the order of the specific objectives discussed above.
The first major subsection provides a brief overview of the County's population, the
natural resources and climate and general descriptions of the various kinds of farming
enterprises that constitute the agricultural sector. Additional details are included in
supporting documents found in Appendices A and B-1. These appendices contains papers on
the Geographic Information System developed by faculty and staff at TREC located in
Homestead. They also contain information about natural resources and the environment, and
detailed cultural requirements and practices associated with the major agricultural crops
grown in the South Dade agricultural area.
The second major subsection under Findings describes the economic impact of
agriculture on Miami-Dade County. The economic contributions of the major agricultural
subsectors, i.e., fruit crops, traditional vegetables, tropical vegetables and herbs, nursery
crops, and aquaculture are discussed. A detailed supporting document which includes
statistics on the interactions of agriculture with other sectors of the economy is included in
Appendix B-1.
The third major subsection examines long-term trends for most of the agricultural
crops. Acreage, prices, and revenues are examined on a crop-by-crop basis where adequate
time series data are available. Detailed supporting documentation on trends is found in
Appendix B-2.
The fourth and last major subsection represents a synthesis of the findings from
Objectives 4 and 5. Factors that are currently affecting the economic viability of Miami-Dade
agriculture or may be likely to impact it in the future are identified, their current status and
potential effects discussed, and courses of action recommended.













MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
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SUMMARY AND
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FINDINGS
A Descriptive Overview of Agriculture in Miami-Dade County
Population
Miami-Dade County is the most populous county in the state. According to the 2000
Census of Population, Miami-Dade County had 2,253,362 permanent residents, slightly over
14 percent of the state's total population. The growth in Miami-Dade County's population
represents an increase of 16.3 percent from 1990 to 2000. As a result of the large numbers of
residents and the substantial proportion of land area with limited development potential, the
county is the fourth most densely populated county in the state.
A high proportion of the county's population is located along the Atlantic Coastal
Ridge, also known as the Miami Ridge. However, in recent decades, urban growth has been
inexorably moving toward and into the South Dade agricultural area. Additional statistics on
the County's population growth rates are included in a later section on urbanization.
Land Area
Based upon analyses of various GIS datasets assembled and developed for this study,
Miami-Dade County comprises 1,258,187 acres of land surface (Minkowski, Appendix A-1).
Approximately 60.8 %, or 764,583 acres lie in protected areas, including federal, state and
local parks, preserves, water conservation areas and recreation areas (statistics calculated by
K. Minkowski from the South Florida Water Management District's public lands coverage).
Agriculture accounts for 7.7% of the County's land surface, or 19.6% of the 493,604 acres of
non-protected land.
Soils
There are primarily two soil types in Miami-Dade County on which fruits,
vegetables, and nursery crops are grown: rocky (rock land) soils found in the Miami Ridge
area and marl soils located in former fresh water marsh areas primarily in the more
southeastern part of the county. Both soils have porous limestone bedrocks. The rock land
farming soils are extremely low in organic matter and nutrients. Both soil types are alkaline
with pH of 7.5 to 8.5. Crops raised on either type of soil depend on commercial fertilizer
applications for nutrients.
The consistencies of rock land and marl soils are quite different. The rock land soils
are generally well drained with a gravelly loam surface layer between 3 and 9 inches thick.
Below this is a hard but porous layer of limestone bedrock. Consequently, crops grown on
these soils require frequent irrigation. Marl soils are denser, finer textured soils, which can
be prone to flooding.
Most winter vegetables are grown on rock soils that are located inland on elevations
ranging from eight to fourteen feet above sea level. Preparation of rock soils for cultivation is
unique and expensive. The rock soils must be broken up with large bulldozers, pushing
specially designed plows to scarify the solid rock into small particles. Tractor clearing of
rock land started in 1920 in the area of Coral Gables. Until that time, rock land vegetable
farming was impractical, but since 1947, vegetable acreage on the rock land has increased

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
A LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

steadily. Prior to 1925, rock land vegetable farming in the South Dade pinelands was
confined to "pot hole" areas in the pines. Farmers confined winter vegetable growing to the
marl areas of the East Glade and the inland finger glades. Some growers followed these
practices through 1935 and even later.
Land with marl soils must be contoured and shaped to allow appropriate runoff and
drainage of excess water. The elevation of cultivated land with marl soils ranges from one or
two feet near the coastline, to eight feet near the coastal ridge and in the inland glades. As
long as flooding is controlled, almost anything will grow on the marl. Potatoes, other root
crops such as malanga and boniato, and large tree nurseries are currently found on marl
lands.
Salt-water intrusion from hurricane storm surge can severely pollute the East Glade
marl vegetable lands and tree farms. Due to the very slow leachability of marl soil, this form
of pollution may prevent land use for several years afterward. During the 1970s, a hurricane
dike was built to deter salt-water intrusion, hoping to protect farmland and residences located
near the coastline. Subsurface salt-water intrusion may also occur during severe droughts
when the fresh water table declines.
Climate
Miami-Dade County, Florida is located on the lower east coast of the state at the
southern end of a 400-mile long peninsula that is no more than 100 miles wide at its widest
point. The Tropic of Cancer, 23.4 degrees North latitude, is approximately 140 miles south
of Homestead. The county has a subtropical climate, wet and hot in the summer (May to
November) and cool and dry through the winter (December to April). Average temperatures
range from 65.30 F in January, steadily increasing to an average of 81.40 F in August, then
again decreasing to the mid to low 70s during the fall.


Table 3. Monthly Temperatures for Miami-Dade County, Average, Maximum and Minimum
Average.

Jan. Feb Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec

Avg. 65.3 66.1 69.7 72.9 76.8 79.7 81.1 81.4 80.6 76.8 71.4 67.0
Max 76.1 77.0 80.4 83.5 86.6 88.5 90.1 90.4 89.1 85.6 81.1 74.4

Min 54.5 55.1 58.9 61.9 66.9 70.8 72.0 72.4 72.1 69.1 61.7 56.5
National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, U.S. Department of
Commerce. Web site: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/


For Homestead, the average annual high temperature is 83.90 F and the average
annual low is 64.20 F. However, in the farming areas around Homestead, temperatures of
250 F and lower have been reported. Subfreezing temperatures may occur about every two
years with moderate to severe damage to agricultural commodities. Frosts are recorded


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
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SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

almost every winter. Droughts have influenced production practices and affect the area every
few years. There is occasional flooding during the wet season, which lasts from May
through October. The greatest amounts of rainfall generally occur in June and September.
Average annual rainfall is approximately 56 inches and annual rainfall sometimes exceeds 80
inches.
Irrigation
The combination of seasonally low rainfall between November and April and the
porous nature of rock soils in the growing area necessitates the use of irrigation in the
production of most outdoor agronomic crops in Miami-Dade County. Greenhouses and most
horticultural production use irrigation systems year-round. Portable high-pressure/volume
irrigation guns are commonly used to irrigate vegetables, while permanent solid-set sprinkler
or low-volume micro-sprinkler and drip irrigation systems are more the norm for fruits and
outdoor nursery crops. Irrigation systems can also provide some level of frost and freeze
protection for many crops during the winter months.
Natural Disasters
Although Miami-Dade County enjoys a highly productive sub-tropical growing
environment, the area is also susceptible to sometimes-disastrous extremes of weather, such
as hurricanes, floods, droughts and freezes.
Hurricanes
Hurricanes have had devastating effects on Miami-Dade County and on the
agricultural sector in particular. Hurricane Andrew, which struck the Homestead area on
August 24, 1992, was the most destructive hurricane to ever hit the U.S., causing an
estimated $25 billion in damage. Grove crops and ornamental plant nurseries were
particularly hard hit by Andrew. Approximately 57 percent of the lime acreage was
destroyed, as was about one-third of the mango and avocado acreage. Many other types of
tropical fruit groves were heavily damaged as well. Ornamental nurseries also sustained
heavy losses from damage to structures in addition to plant materials.
Prior to Hurricane Andrew, the last hurricanes to cause damage were Donna in 1960,
Betsy in 1965 and Inez in 1966. Hurricane Donna was the most damaging of storms to hit in
the 1960's. In November 1994, tropical storm Gordon inflicted considerable damage to
Miami-Dade County. High winds and extensive flooding from this storm destroyed between
85 and 100 percent of most traditional winter vegetable and tropical vegetable crops. Tree
crops such as limes, carambola, and bananas sustained between 50 to 80 percent losses.
More recently, heavy rains from Hurricane Irene (October 1999) led to extensive flooding in
the County and south Florida and caused significant damage to almost all forms of
agricultural production in the area. Economic losses to agricultural producers from Irene
were estimated at nearly $230 million. In October of 2000, a "no name" storm dumped up to
12 inches of rain in the agricultural area, causing losses of approximately $219 million.





MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
ISLAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Freezes
Freezing temperatures occur infrequently in Miami-Dade County, but on occasion
freezes inflict significant damage on winter vegetable and tropical fruit crops. Temperatures
have been recorded as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit in the Homestead area. This occurred in
February of 1958 and as recently as December 1989. In 1989, low temperatures occurred in
conjunction with high winds that exacerbated the damage to crops, resulting in burned and
desiccated plants. When such winds occur in conjunction with freezing temperatures,
irrigation is often not effective in preventing damage. Significant freezes in Miami-Dade
County have also occurred during 1960, 1962, 1967, 1977, 1983 and 1985. Most recently,
freezing temperatures occurred in January of 1997 and approximately $93 million in crop
damages were recorded.
Harmful Invasive Species
Harmful invasive species represent one of the biggest threats to Miami-Dade
agriculture. For example, the citrus canker bacterium virtually wiped out the County's lime
industry during the past several years. If one of the major tropical fruit fly pests
(Mediterranean fruit fly, oriental fruit fly, melon fly, etc.) were to become established in
south Florida, shipments of most tropical fruits, tomatoes and cucurbits (including squash)
across the quarantine line would be prohibited. Additional discussion of harmful invasive
species is found in the "Phytosanitary Issues" section below.
Distribution of Farm Sizes
Census of Agriculture data give some perspective on the changes Miami-Dade
County agriculture has undergone over the last 25 years. In 1974, there were 872 farms in the
County; by 1992, the number had increased by 117 percent to 1,891 (Table 8). The 1997
Census, however, indicates that farm numbers in Miami-Dade County have fallen to 1,576-
a nearly 17 percent decline. As the numbers of small farms declined, the average farm size
increased by nearly 23 percent, from 44 to 54 acres. This compares to an approximate two
percent decline in average farm size for the state as a whole. However, the usefulness of an
"average" value in describing farm sizes in Miami-Dade County is virtually meaningless as
examination of farm sizes, farm numbers and total acreage within various farm size
categories shows (Table 4).














MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY o








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Table 4. Farm Size Distribution in Miami-Dade County, 1997.
Farm Size Percent of Cumulative Acreage of Land
(acres) Number of Farms Total Farms Percent Farmed, Percent
1-9 928 59 59 4
10-49 446 28 87 10
50-179 99 6 93 10
180-499 57 4 97 22
500-999 27 2 99 22
1000+ 19 1 100.0 33

Totals 1,576 100 100 100*
*Total may not sum to 100 percent due to rounding.



Small farms continue to typify the agricultural community in Miami-Dade County,
even though the number and proportion of small farms has declined since 1992. In fact,
between 1992 and 1997, farm numbers decreased in all size categories less than 500 acres.
This recent change is a reversal of a long-term trend. In 1974, there were 437 farms between
one and nine acres in size. By 1992 the number of such farms had increased to 1,129. During
the same period, the average farm size declined by one-half, from 88 to 44 acres. By 1997,
the number of farms smaller than ten acres fell to 928. Despite this latest reversal, farms of
less than 10 acres continue to represent nearly 60 percent of all farms in Miami-Dade
County, but they farm only 4 percent of all agricultural land. Eighty-seven percent (1,374) of
Dade farms were less than 50 acres in size in 1997, and these farms account for only 14
percent of total agricultural land. The increase in average farm size in 1997 was also due to
the greater number of farms of 500 or more acres. The number of farms of 1,000 or more
acres in size increased 46 percent between 1992 and 1997. Further discussion of the size
distribution of Miami-Dade farms is found in the "Structural Issues" section below, and
additional statistics are included in Appendix paper B-1.
Types of Agricultural and Aquacultural Enterprises
Historical Background
Miami-Dade County is home to what has been called the "crown jewel" of Florida
agriculture. The subtropical climate, abundant water, and curious and innovative
entrepreneurs from all over the world have created one of the most diverse agricultural
communities on the planet. Early settlers in the late 1800s were taken with the climate, and
traditional vegetable production was the main agricultural activity. Miami-Dade County
became a major supplier of traditional vegetables and citrus in the winter months when most
of the U. S. was in the grips of cold weather. Many early residents experimented with
subtropical fruits, which were virtually impossible to grow anywhere else in the continental
U. S. In the 1920s, advances in mechanization made it somewhat more practical to develop
the rockland areas, and the slightly higher elevations made tropical fruit production more

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
1 n LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

feasible. In the mid to late 1900s tropical fruit production, particularly Persian limes,
avocados, and mangos became major commercial enterprises. Commercialization of lesser-
known species of fruits and vegetables also developed at a rapid rate as experimentation
continued and immigration of ethnic populations from subtropical and tropical areas
accelerated.
The subtropical climate also fostered interest in ornamental horticulture, due to the
large numbers of exotic species that could be grown outdoors on a year-round basis The
development of the commercial nursery industry closely paralleled south Florida's
population growth, as demand for landscape plants increased. Consumer interest in interior
plants and development of the interiorscape industry in the 1970s gave another boost to the
ornamental plant industry. Continuing increases in demand by interiorscapers and
landscapers continued to fuel growth in the nursery industry during the past two decades
Aquaculture in Miami-Dade County got started in the mid-1940s when several
freshwater ornamental or "tropical" fish operations began producing "live bearers", i.e.,
Swordtails, Mollies, etc. The industry grew quickly, so that by the late 1950s there were 25 to
30 tropical fish farms in the area. However, by the 1970s, as population growth and urban
development accelerated, a substantial number of these farms relocated to the Tampa area
where cheaper land was available and urban development pressures less intense.
The Current Situation
Today, agriculture in Miami-Dade County remains extremely diverse. There are three
basic types of crops grown: "row crops" (primarily vegetables), fruits, and nursery crops.
Row cropland is occasionally used for production of seed crops, usually corn or grain
sorghum, whenever seed companies have difficulties in meeting their production goals in
other growing areas. The map shown in Figure 1 indicates where all agricultural production
occurs in the county, while Figures 2 through 4 show fruit groves, row crop land, and
nurseries.
Countywide, 40,411 acres are devoted to vegetable production, nearly 42 percent of
the available agricultural land. Tree crops occupy 15,611 acres, (16.2 percent), and nurseries
just over 12,000 acres, about 12 percent of the total. Container nurseries and tree or field
nurseries occupy roughly the same area, about 6,000 acres each. Approximately 6,000 acres
are used for animals such as horse pastures, stables, kennels, etc. A very small amount of
acreage in the animal category is occupied by aquaculture operations. Fallow acreage
accounted for 2,357 acres (2.4 percent). "Out" acreage, defined by the County Tax Assessor
as having been in agricultural production at some time in the past, but no longer active in
agriculture, accounted for about 20,300 acres (Table 5). This land, while not currently used in
agriculture, could possibly be farmed in the future (Minkowski, Appendix A-1).








MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY 1 1








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Table 5. Acres of Agricultural Activities in Miami-Dade County.
Type of Agricultural Activity Acres Percent of Total
Vegetables 40,411 41.8
Fallow Land 2,357 2.4
Fruit Groves 15,611 16.2
Container Nurseries 5,931 6.1
Tree Nurseries 6,079 6.3
Animals 6,039 6.2
Out 20,305 21.0
TOTAL 96,733* 100.0
This total is slightly higher than the total reported above (96,661), because 72 acres have two types of
simultaneous agricultural use. Source: Appendix A-1.

Almost 91 percent of the County's total agricultural acreage is located in the primary
study area, that is, south of Tamiami Trail. Table 6 shows the distribution of agricultural land
by type of activity. In this area, 40,344 acres are in vegetable crops; about 15, 500 acres are
in fruit groves, and about 11,400 acres in container and field nurseries. About 2,300 acres are
fallow, 2,200 acres are used for animals, including aquaculture. The 12 aquaculture
operations identified in the 1997 Census of Agriculture use a variety of production
techniques, including ponds dug into the porous limestone and above ground concrete tanks
and vats. The total acreage used by aquaculture operations is not known, but it is very small
compared to other types of commercial agricultural uses. In the area south of Tamiami trail,
the GIS analysis identified nearly 16,000 acres that were classified as "out" in 2000. (Table


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
1 9 LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Figure 1. Agricultural Land Areas in Miami-Dade County.


.r V- -y-r--'S


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I .,:. *. j. .- r c ,; n .,. ______ I.


Agriculture in
ami-Dade Cou
2000 2001


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY 1


* as












SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Figure 2. Fruit Groves in Miami-Dade County.


Fruit Groves in
Miami-Dade County
2000 2001








Conservation
Area


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MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
1 A LAND RETENTION STUDY


;-L -' t..









SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Figure 3. Vegetable Crop Land in Miami-Dade County.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY 1










SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Figure 4. Nurseries in Miami-Dade County.


Fruit Groves in
Miami-Dade County
2000 2001 /


*n I" ql? nul
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. .,,It
',,-,^,,n ,' . ',; rT;'"'S. .t 1nn~ i r .r-j ".aIp T 7W*, a Ci *j rd
-., "-', .. . .1 .- ... .... u... i.. ..


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
1 A LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Table 6. Acres of Agricultural Activity Types South of the Tamiami Trail.
Type of Agriculture % of ag. in % of Agriculture in
Activity Acres South Dade County
Vegetables 40,344 45.9 41.7
Fallow Land 2,344 2.7 2.4
Fruit Groves 15,513 17.7 16.1
Container Nurseries 5,841 6.6 6.0
Field Nurseries 5,561 6.3 5.8
Animals 2,220 2.5 2.3
Out 15,989 18.2 16.5
TOTAL 87,812* 100.0 90.8
72 acres have two types of agricultural use. Source: Appendix A-1.

Diversity of Agricultural Production
Members of the UF/IFAS research task force identified 23 species of tropical fruits
and 25 species of vegetables and herbs of commercial importance (Table 7). In the nursery
industry, literally hundreds of different species of ornamental plants are produced.
Commercial vegetable production is still heavily reliant upon about 10 traditional types of
vegetables, and over 95 percent of the fruit industry's acreage is concentrated in the
production of about 10 species as well. Acreages of various vegetable crops vary from season
to season because of economic reasons. Although acreages of fruit crops are somewhat more
stable, the overall mix of species grown responds over time to economic pressures as well.
The nursery industry also exhibits a great deal of flexibility as to the mix of plant
material produced, but many growers prefer to specialize in production of a limited numbers
of species. There are basically three types of nursery operations in the county. These are (1)
field nurseries (2) container nurseries, and (3) nurseries that produce their crops in structures
such as shade houses or greenhouses. Field nurseries are usually found on the marl soils in
the southeastern part of the agricultural area; many species of palms, other trees and large
shrubs are grown in the ground, and the marl soil facilitates harvest; most field nursery plants
are marketed as "balled-and-burlapped" specimens.
A second type of nursery operation is the container nursery. Container nurseries
require land that is level, compacted and well-drained. Most are located on rock land. They
use containers of various sizes, some of which are large enough to accommodate specimens
as large or almost as large as those produced in field nurseries. The third type of nursery
utilizes shade or greenhouses. This type of operation typically produces tropical foliage,
closely related plants such as orchids and bromeliads, or bedding plants.
The aquaculture industry is currently comprised of firms producing ornamental fish,
primarily cichlids and live bearers such as Swordtails and Mollies. There is one alligator
farm. Food fish ventures have included production of hybrid striped bass, tilapia, freshwater
prawns, and more recently, a sturgeon caviar operation. Food fish operations have had

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY 17









SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

difficulty in achieving commercial success primarily because of import competition.
Additional details of fruit, vegetable, ornamental horticulture and aquaculture production are
found in Appendices 1 through 4.

Table 7. Fruits and Vegetables Produced in Miami-Dade County.


Commonly Grown Fruits
Atemoya
Avocado*
Banana*
Black sapote
Canistel
Coconut
Carambola*
Guava*
Jackfruit
Kumquat
Longan*
Lychee*
Mamey sapote*
Mango*
Papaya*
PasiIon fruit
PuLnIIcl o
Sapodilla
Star apple
Sugar apple
Persian lime
Wax Jambu
White sapote

*Indicates major fruit crops.


Commonly Grown Vegetables and Herbs
Snap beans (bush & pole)
Cabbage
Cucumber
Eggplant
Okra
Pepper (several types)
Potato
Summer squash
Sweet corn
Tomato
Basil
Bitter melon
Calabaza
Cassava
Cow peas-long bean
('o\\ pcas-souithicrn ficld pea
Thai 'Chinese c'|plant
Lclmonirass
Malanga
Watermelon
Strawberry
Boniato
Taro (Dasheen)
Watercress
Winter melon


Economic Importance of Agriculture
The aggregate economic impact of Miami-Dade County's agricultural sector and its
interrelationships with other sectors of the county's economy were estimated using Input-
Output analysis, with models and data provided the University of Minnesota's IMPLAN
group. Other economic data required for the Input-Output analysis were obtained from
published sources and personal interviews. Gross revenues from local and non-local or
"export" sales (sales outside of the county) were used to calculate the economic impact of
agriculture on the county. Non-local or export sales bring "new" dollars into the county that
create additional local economic activity through what is termed a multiplier effect.
Additional details of the economic impact analysis are found in Appendix B-1.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
1 s LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

The effect of this economic activity was described in terms of output, earnings and
employment. "Output" is a measure of gross economic activity generated among all sectors
of the Miami-Dade County economy resulting from sales of agricultural products. "Earnings"
reflect total household earnings or income generated among all sectors of the county's
economy resulting from sales of agricultural products. "Employment" represents the number
of jobs that agricultural activity creates within the county.
Summary of Economic Impact Analysis
The total economic impact from all production agriculture sales originating from
Miami-Dade County exceeded $1.07 billion for the 1997-98 crop years (Table 8). Fresh
vegetable production was the largest contributor to this impact at nearly $491 million, or 45.6
percent of the total. The greenhouse/nursery industry was responsible for nearly 41 percent
or $439.8 million of the total economic impact. Although sales revenues generated by
nurseries and greenhouses exceeded those for vegetables by over $7 million during this
period (Table 8), a greater proportion of vegetables are shipped outside the County, thereby
generating more "new" dollars and a greater economic impact. Sales of tropical fruits
produced in the county created an output impact of $137 million, representing about 12.7
percent of agriculture's total contribution to the Miami-Dade economy. Miscellaneous
livestock sales, which includes aquaculture, was the smallest evaluated segment of
agriculture's economic impact on the county. It generated an economic impact of about $8.2
million, representing less than one percent of agriculture's total economic impact.
The relative magnitudes of subsector contributions to earnings and employment
impacts are similar to those estimated for output (Table 8). Agriculture's impact on earnings
in Miami-Dade County totaled over $362 million for 1997-98. Approximately 46.5 percent,
or $168 million, of this earnings impact was generated by the vegetable industry. More than
42 percent, or approximately $153 million, was contributed by the greenhouse and nursery
subsector. The tropical fruit subsector generated nearly $41 million (11.2 percent) and
miscellaneous livestock was responsible for $450 thousand (0.12 percent) of agricultural
earnings impact for Miami-Dade County in 1997.
Agriculture created an estimated 14,795 jobs in Miami-Dade County for 1997/98.
The nursery and greenhouse subsector was responsible for the largest employment impact
within agriculture, with 6,392 jobs, or 43.2 percent of the total employment impact.
Vegetable production was a close second, generating 6,191 jobs in 1997, or nearly 42 percent
of the total. Nearly 15 percent (2,153 jobs) of agriculture's employment impact was due to
fruit production and sales, while miscellaneous livestock sales generated approximately 59
jobs, or 0.40 percent of agriculture's total contribution to employment in Miami-Dade County
(Table 8).








MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY 1









SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Table 8. Economic Impacts of Agriculture by Subsector for Miami-Dade County, 1997-98.
Agricultural Sectors
Misc.
Vegetables Nurseries Fruits livestock Total
Category Million dollars and percent
Total Sales $235.5 $242.7 $73.5 $7.65 $559.4
Percentage of total 42.1% 43.4% 13.1% 1.4%
Output impact
Total sales outside count\ $"22 6 $17o tI $3 4 2 $477 3
Percentage of total 48.1% 37.6% 13.4% 0.9%
Total Multiplier 2.11 2.10 1.99 1.12
Output impact $484.9 $376.6 $127.3 $4.8 $993.7
Percentage of total 48.8% 37.9% 12.8% 0.5%

Total sales \% ithin iCoIIl $5 U $ut 1 $L \ $3 4 $, II
Percentage of total 7.1% 77.0% 11.8% 4.2%
Direct (Local) Multiplier 1 1 1 1
Million dollars and percent
Total output impact s$41 I $43 s N $137 ii $s 2 $1.1175 7
Percentage of total 45.6% 40.9% 12.7% 0.8%
Earnings impact multipliers
Total Multiplier 0.73 0.74 0.61 0.08
Diir'ct (Local) M Iltiplinr 27 ii 3i 11 1i 11 113
Million dollars and percent
Total carnini s impact $I1-u 3 $152 $411 7 $11 45 $3i2 1
Percentage of total 46.5% 42.1% 11.2% 0.12%
Employment impact multipliers
Total NiMultiplicr 2- 71 ?31 2I 31 25 44
Direct (Local) Multiplier 9.88 15.32 16.35 6.87
Jobs and percent
Total employment impact 6,191 6,392 2,153 59 14,795
Percentage of total 41.8% 43.2% 14.6% 0.40%
Sources: USDA-NASS, Minnesota IMPLAN Group, Inc, and Food and Resource Economics
Dept., University of Floridaa the local output multiplier equals 1.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
on LAND RETENTION STUDY









SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Economic Trends
Economic trends for the entire agricultural sector and for the major subsectors are
examined on a macro-basis by comparing results of Input-Out analyses conducted for the
1988-89, 1995-96 and 1997-98 crop years. Trends for specific crops are also examined in
detail, where adequate time series data are available.
Comparison of Input-Output Estimates
Since the source and methodology behind the impact multipliers used for this analysis
have changed significantly from those employed in the two previous economic updates, the
impact estimates discussed above can not be directly compared to previously published
numbers. Instead, the current set of impact multipliers were used to re-estimate the economic
impacts from previously reported sales revenue figures. This permits a more consistent
comparison of the changing economic importance of the agricultural sector and its subsectors
for the county over time. An inherent assumption when using identical multipliers over this
time period (1988-1998) is that there has been no significant change in production
technology or in the economic relationships between agriculture and other sectors of the local
economy. Tables 9, 10 and 11, and Figures 5, 6 and 7 present the results of these
calculations for the different times periods, subsectors and types of impacts. All estimates
have been converted to constant 1998 dollars using the Consumer Price Index.
Table 9 and Figure 5 show the distribution of estimated economic output impacts
across time and subsector in both absolute and percentage terms. Revenue estimates for the
1988-89 period translate into a total output impact of about $1.38 billion. This compares to
slightly over $1.04 billion estimated for the 1995-96 season, and nearly $1.08 billion for the
1997-98 season. Thus, despite a 3.3 percent increase in agriculture's economic impact
between the 1995-96 and 1997-98 seasons, its impact has not recovered to the levels
achieved during the 1988-89 season.


Table 9. Agriculture's Economic Output Impact on Miami-Dade County by Subsector, 1988-89,
1995-96 and 1997-98 (1998 dollars).
Total Output Impact
Sector 1988-89 1995-96 1997-98
Million $ Percent Million $ Percent Million $ Percent
\c,_'ctabcs 7Ii5 57 431? -1 41 4 4LIn 1 45 1,
Greenhouse and Nursery 399.6 29.0 500.0 48.0 439.8 40.9
Fruit 182.0 13.2 110.5 10.6 137.0 12.7
Miscellaneous Livestock NA NA NA NA 8.2 0.8
Totals $1.3773 l III $1.1141 1 Inii $1.1n75 7 III-
Totals may not sum to 100 due to rounding.
b In order to be comparable to previous years' totals, the Miscellaneous Livestock total should be deducted from the
overall total.



MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY 0 1









SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Table 10. Agriculture's Earnings Impact on Miami-Dade County by Subsector, 1988-89, 1995-
96 and 1997-98 (1998 dollars).
Earnings Impact
Sector 1988-89 1995-96 1997-98
Million $ Percent Million $ Percent Million $ Percent
Vegetables 272.4 58.6 147.6 41.7 168.3 46.5
Greenhouse and Nursery 138.1 29.7 173.5 49.0 152.6 42.1
Fruit 54.2 11.7 33.1 9.3 40.7 11.2
Miscellaneous Livestock NA NA NA NA 0.4 0.1
Totals1 S4: 464 7 1m S354 2 l': %326 1 I1n
a Totals may not sum to 100 due to rounding.
b In order to be comparable to previous years' totals, the Miscellaneous Livestock total should be deducted from the
overall total.


Table 11. Agriculture's Employment Impact on Miami-Dade County by Subsector, 1988-89,
1995-96 and 1997-98 (1998 dollars).
Employment Impact
Sector 1988-89 1995-96 1997-98
Jobs Percent Jobs Percent Jobs Percent
Vegetables 10,018 53.6 5,428 37.6 6,191 41.8
Greenhouse and Nursery 5,817 31.1 7,268 50.4 6,392 43.2
Fruit 2,860 15.3 1,736 12.0 2,153 14.6
Miscellaneous Livestock NA NA NA NA 59 0.4
Totals1' IS. (u n 14.432 1j( 14.N 5b 1(
a Totals may not sum to 100 due to rounding.
b In order to be comparable to previous years' totals, the Miscellaneous Livestock total should be deducted from the
overall total.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
''o LAND RETENTION STUDY









SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Figure 5. Economic Output Impacts for Agriculture in Miami-Dade County Florida, 1988-
89, 1995-96 and 1997-98.

1,600

-- 1,400
00
1,200 -

S1,000 137

LN 800

600 -

400 -

200 -

0
1988-89 1995-96 1997-98

U Vegetables U Greenhouse and Nursery ] Fruit



Figure 6. Economic Earnings Impacts for Agriculture in Miami-Dade County Florida,
1988-89, 1995-96 and 1997-98.

500

00 450 54
400 -
o 350 -
300 -
250 -
200 -
t 150 -
S100 -
50 -
0
1988-89 1995-96 1997-98

U Vegetables U Greenhouse and Nursery Fruit




MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Figure 7. Economic Employment Impacts for Agriculture in Miami-Dade County Florida,
1988-89, 1995-96 and 1997-98.
20,000
18,000 2,860
p 16,000 -
14,000 1,736 2,153
S12,000 -
S10,000 -
S8,000 -
"- 6,000
4,000 -
2,000
0
1988-89 1995-96 1997-98
Vegetables U Greenhouse and Nursery E Fruit


The relative contribution of the three subsectors to the county's economy has also
changed over time (Tables 9, 10 and 11, Figures 5, 6 and 7). Vegetables clearly dominated
agriculture's economic impact in the late 1980s, representing nearly 58 percent of the output
impacts, 59 percent of earnings impacts and 54 percent of the employment impact. In 1995-
96 the importance of vegetables had declined to 41 percent, 42 percent and 38 percent for
output, earnings and employment impacts respectively. For the 1997-98 season, the results
indicate a modest recovery for vegetables from their 1995-96 share levels, with output,
earning and employment impacts accounting for approximately 46, 47 and 42 percent
respectively.
It appears from Tables 9-11 and Figures 5-7 that the output, earnings and
employment impacts of the nursery sector for the 1997-98 season fell by approximately 12
percent from their 1995-96 levels. However, there is a major difference in the data sources
for the 1989, 1996 and 1997 production years. Economic impact estimates for 1989 and
1996 were based upon surveys conducted by the University of Florida. The 1997 results,
however, are based on official USDA Census of Agriculture data. While participation in the
University of Florida surveys was voluntary, compliance with Census of Agriculture surveys
is mandated by law. Since the response rate to the UF/IFAS surveys was approximately 50
percent, it was necessary to extrapolate the available sample data results across remaining 50
percent of nurseries in Miami-Dade County that did not respond. It is possible that larger
and more progressive firms chose to participate in the University of Florida surveys, which
would result in an upward bias in the results for those years. In contrast, the 1997 Census of

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
1 A LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Agriculture data more closely represents a complete survey of all nurseries in the county and
the estimates based on these Census data are likely to be more accurate. This may account
for a significant proportion of the apparent 12 percent decline in economic impacts by the
nursery sector between 1996 and 1997. Despite this concern due to data sources, the
economic impact of the nursery and greenhouse subsector is up by more than 10 percent
from levels reported for 1988-89, which indicates long-term growth. Because of its higher
labor intensity, the nursery and greenhouse subsector has remained the largest source, 43
percent, of employment impact within the agricultural sector for Miami-Dade County.
The tropical fruit subsector provides a smaller contribution to agriculture's economic
impact in Miami-Dade County, representing between 11 and 14 percent during the three
seasons evaluated. Despite its smaller size, this subsector experienced the greatest
proportional growth (20+ percent) between the 1995-96 and 1997-98 seasons. This is
probably indicative of its continued recovery from damage inflicted by Hurricane Andrew in
1992.
The relative economic impacts among the three major agricultural subsectors in
Miami-Dade County have differed over time. Greenhouse and nursery subsector impacts
have generally trended upward over the last ten years, whereas the impacts of the fruit and
vegetable subsectors are still below their 1989 levels. To a significant extent, this
countervailing phenomenon has helped stabilize the economic contribution of the county's
agricultural sector as a whole.
Economic Trends for Specific Crops
Although the Input-Output analyses discussed above are useful to gain an overview of
the overall economic impact of agriculture and interactions with other subsectors of the
County's economy at specific points in time, the major limitation is the infrequency of data
collection via the Census of Agriculture, i.e., once every five years. Thus, in an attempt to
legitimize the current study by using only official, published data, the Input-Output analysis
was destined to use relatively old statistics.
A more current picture of the economic health of the most important vegetable and
fruit crops was obtained by examining annual time series data on acreage, average yields, and
season average F.O.B. prices. For the major vegetable crops, the most recent official data
provided by the FASS were those for the 1999-00 seasons, and in the case of tomatoes,
through the 2000-01 season. Data from the 1980-81 through the most current season were
analyzed using regression analysis to estimate trends. General insights as far as trends in
consumption were gleaned from USDA's Food Consumption, Prices and Expenditures
publication.
Estimating trends for fruit crops was more of a challenge. The FASS has long
estimated acreages, yields, and season average prices for avocados, limes and mangos.
However, FASS has not collected statistics on other tropical fruits, so unofficial estimates of
acreage, developed primarily by UF/IFAS fruit crop specialists, are the only consistent time
series data available.



MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Acreage trends are important because they are thought to reflect profitability over
time. If a specific crop is particularly profitable, rational producers will plant more; as profits
shrink, less will be planted or maintained. Thus, acreage is a proxy for a number of factors
that influence profitability. Average yields and season average prices were used to calculate
total revenue, and to gain insights as to the total economic value of production. In addition to
examining trends in acreage, total production, revenues and prices, direct estimates of
profitability were calculated for the most recent five seasons for which adequate data were
available. Direct estimates of profitability were developed for bush beans, sweet corn,
potatoes, summer squash, and tomatoes. These estimates were derived from the official
published estimates of average yields, average F.O.B. prices, and cost of production
estimates by UF/IFAS researchers Dr. Tim Taylor and Mr. Scott Smith. Because of extreme
variability in producers' yields, season average prices received, and costs of production,
caution must be used in interpreting the profitability estimates. Any given producer's returns
may be far better or far worse than the averages shown here or ranges reported in Appendix
B-3.
Vegetable Trends
Trends are mixed across the major vegetable and fruit crops, so examination of each
crop on an individual basis is warranted. Summaries of acreage and revenue trends for snap
beans, tomatoes, summer squash, sweet corn and potatoes are found in Table 12, and detailed
time series data on these crops is found in Appendix B-2.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
o^ LAND RETENTION STUDY









SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS



Table 12. Acreage and Revenue Trends for Major Vegetable and Fruit Crops, Miami-Dade County.
Change Change
from from
Latest previous Time Latest previous Time
Acreage year Trend a P-value b Revenues year Trend a P-value b
1,000 1,000 1,000 $Million $Million $Million/
Commodity Year Acres Acres acres /year Probability Revenues Revenues year Probability

Snap beans 1999/00 18.50 1.00 -0.070 N.S. 0.562 78.26 22.82 1.819 ** 2.75E-4

Tomatoes 2000/01 3.66 0.53 -0.567 ** 1.15E-10 58.64 7.67 -4.491 ** 2.35E-4

Squash 1999/00 7.35 -0.45 0.124 ** 0.004 30.28 -5.41 0.820 ** 0.001

Sweet Corn 1997/98 4.23 0.98 0.090 0.015 12.93 0.74 0.430 ** 0.002

Potatoes 1999/00 2.90 -1.00 -0.092 ** 0.001 12.89 -6.38 -0.378 N.S. 0.180

Avocados 2000/01 6.0 0.10 0.038 N.S. 0.346 15.18 -1.28 0.005 N.S. 0.963

Mangos 1998 1.4 0.00 -0.008 N.S. 0.665 5.94 4.49 0.674 N.S. 0.057

Limes 2000/01 1.15 -1.65 n.a. n.a. n.a. 3.00 -3.18 n.a. n.a. n.a.
a Statistical significance of the time trend coefficient at the 0.05 probability level is indicated by "*" and at the 0.01 probability level by "**". Coefficients that are not
statistically significant at the 0.05 level are labeled "N.S.".
b The P-value is the probability that the coefficient values for the time trend in the previous column are actually equal to zero, or that there is no statistical trend. P-values
equal to or smaller than 0.05 are deemed to be statistically significant.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY 77









SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Snap beans
According to FASS, 18,500 acres of snap beans were harvested in Miami-Dade
County in the 1999-00 season, generating revenues of $78.26 million.. During the past few
seasons, snap beans have replaced tomatoes as the most economically important vegetable
crop in the County. Although the acreage trend for snap beans is flat, the revenues are
trending up (Table 12, Figures 8 and 9). The time trend estimate for revenues is +$1.82
million per year and is statistically significant This is due to increases in yields, as prices,
in real terms, have remained stable. Examination of estimated profitability reveals net losses
in two of five seasons, and a weighted (by total annual acreage) average return of only $88
per acre (Figure 10). The outlook for snap beans is generally positive. Although import data
are not available for beans (fresh and processed are combined in FATUS statistics), real
prices have remained relatively stable since the implementation of NAFTA, a time period
that some vegetables, notably tomatoes, have shown significant real price declines due to
import competition. One cause for slight concern is that U. S. per capital consumption of snap
beans has only increased by about 8 percent since 1980, a period during which per capital
consumption of all fresh vegetables increased by 24 percent. One possible explanation for
this phenomenon is that fresh snap beans require more at-home preparation time than
processed products.


Figure 8. Snap Bean Acreage: 1980 2000.

Snap Bean Acreage
60 100%
Trend line coefficient = -0.070, P-value = 0.562
50 83%

40 67%

o 30 50 % 25

20 33%

10 17%






--Florida 1 DDade- Dade % Dade Trend





MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
IR LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Figure 9. Snap Bean Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2000.

Snap Bean Production, Prices and Revenues
$80 56
$70 Trend line coefficient = 1.819, P-value = 2.75E-04 49
$60 42
$50 35
S$40 28
$30 21 2
$20 14
$10 7
$0 I



Real Rev. / Production Real Price Rev Trend





Figure 10. Estimated Profit Per Acre, Snap Beans, 1995-96 through 1999-00 Seasons.


$700 $484


($361)


$200

($300)-

($800)


$543


$433


($612)


I I 1 J I


1995-96


$97


1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 5 Yr. Wt.
Avg.
Production Season


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY oo


1








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Tomatoes
In contrast to snap beans, tomato acreage, production, and revenues have generally
declined over the past 20 years (Figures 11 and 12). The county's share of Florida production
has also diminished. Despite these trends, tomatoes are the second largest source of vegetable
crop revenues for the county, generating over $58 million for the 2000-01 season.
Land devoted to tomato production was down to approximately 3,600 harvested acres
for the 2000-2001 season. As recently as the mid-1980s, tomato acreage in Miami-Dade
County was well over 11,000 acres each season. The time trend for tomato acreage is a
negative 567 acres per year, and the trend coefficient for revenues is a negative $4.49 million
per year. Both estimates are highly statistically significant (Table 12). Estimated profitability
of tomatoes has been very volatile, with positive net returns ranging from $121 to $1,925 per
acre in the mid-1990s, but showing net losses ranging from about $1,000 to $2,000 per acre
for the past several seasons (Figure 13). The five year weighted average net return was only
$22 per acre. Again, caution must be used in interpreting these net return estimates because
of differences among individual producers.
The economic outlook for tomato production in Miami-Dade County is not
particularly bright. Although per capital consumption of fresh tomatoes increased by 48
percent between 1980 and 1997, Miami-Dade producers have had stiff competition,
particularly from Mexico. From 1980 to 2000, U. S. imports from Mexico more than tripled,
from $168 million to nearly $412 million (Appendix C-1). Miami-Dade producers also
experience competition from other areas of south Florida, where land prices are not as high
and soils may be more favorable to production. Future production may also be jeopardized
by elimination of methyl bromide as a soil fumigant and the lack of a suitable alternative.
Miami-Dade County, however, will typically maintain some advantages when unusually cold
weather damages or destroys tomato crops in more northern counties of the state.





















MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
in LAND RETENTION STUDY










SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Figure 11. Tomato Acreage: 1980 2000.


Tomato Acreage


OO OO ", OO OO OO O, O- OO C> C> C>t C> C> Ct> C> C> C O> C> 0



1 Florida 1 Dade County Dade % Acreage Trend




Figure 12. Tomato Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2000.


Tomato Production, Prices and Revenues


M] T~ V'0 r- X C> Z) M] T~ V'0 0 C>0 Z)
Rea R e Pr O OO O oduCti C C C> C r C i Ce C R C v C T 0



C--- Real Revenue 1 Production ,,^Real Price Rev. Trend


60%

50%

40% 2

30%
o
20%

100%

0%


18

16

14
12

10

8 1

6 1
4

2

0


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY 1


$180

$160

$140
$120

$100

$80

$60
$40

$20

$0








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Figure 13. Tomatoes: Estimated Net Profit per Acre, 1995-96 to 1999-00.





$2,000 $1,925
$1,500 $1,156
$1,000 -

< $500 $121 $22
$0 I
($500)- 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1 98- 9 1999-(0 5 Yr. Wt.
o Avg.
0 ($1,000) -
($1,500) ($1,079)
($2,000) -
($1,957)
Production Season


Potatoes
Most of the potatoes grown in Miami-Dade County are red-skinned "new" potatoes
destined for table stock. Potato production and revenues in the County have exhibited
considerable variability during the last 20 years (Figures 14 and 15). There has been a
statistically significant, downward trend of approximately 92 acres per year in harvested
acreage during this period (Table 12). In the 1999-00 season, potato acreage reached a 20
year low of 2,900 acres, nearly 50 percent below that recorded in the 1996-97 season. The
County's share of Florida potato acreage has fluctuated around 10 percent since the early
1990s. For the 1999-2000 season the 2,900 acres of potatoes harvested generated revenues
of slightly less than $13 million.
The revenue trend line for potatoes is negative, but not statistically significant.
Estimated profitability of potatoes has been quite variable, with losses occurring twice in five
seasons (Figure 16). Net profits have trended downward, ranging from $775 per acre in
1995-96 to $274 per year. Net profits were estimated to be negative in the 1997-98 and 1998-
99 seasons, with consecutive losses of $70 and $110 per acre respectively. The weighted
average return for the five-season period was $240 per acre. The long-term decline in Miami-
Dade's potato acreage does not bode well for growers. Although there does not appear to be
a significant threat from import competition during Miami-Dade's market window,
production in other Florida counties can compete. Also, changing lifestyles and hence
consumer demand may be a factor. Even though per capital consumption of frozen potato
products, largely French fries, nearly doubled between 1980 and 1997, per capital
consumption of fresh table stock potatoes declined by just over 6 percent.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY











SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Figure 14. Potato Acreage: 1981 2000.


Potato Acreage


Trend line coefficient = -0.092,
P-value = 0.001 -




--- - - - - - - - - --












- - - - - - -


Florida H Dade Dade % Acre Trend


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY


40%


U
on
30%


20% 0




10%









SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Figure 15. Potato Production, Prices and Revenues: 1981 2000.


Potato Production, Price and Revenues


;-- M '- V' 0 r_ x 0c Z o tn 'V c


S Real Rev. Production ,,,-Real Price Rev. Trend


30


24


18

0
12 Z


6


0


Figure 16 Potatoes: Estimated Net Profit per Acre, 1995-96 to 1999-00.


$358


$274


$240


($70) ($1)I
($70) ($110)


97-98


98-99


Production Seasons


99-00 5-yr. Wt.
Avg.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
QA LAND RETENTION STUDY


$775


$800

$600

$400

$200


($200) -


95-96


96-97


s$0 -


---









SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Squash
Squash production in Miami-Dade County has almost quadrupled since 1980 (Figures
17 and 18). During this time, acreage harvested almost doubled, going from 3,900 acres to
7,350 acres. The County's share of harvested acreage in Florida has grown from about 26
percent in 1980-81 to more than 63 percent for the 1999-2000 season. The time trend in
acreage is upward at 124 acres per year and statistically significant.
While production and revenues for squash have a volatile history, real prices have
remained fairly stable and revenues have been trending upward at approximately $820,000
per year largely due to dramatically increasing yields and steady increases in acreage.
Nominal revenues from squash sales in the County exceeded $30 million in each of the three
seasons from 1997-98 through 1999-00. The estimated profitability of squash has also been
extremely volatile. Over the past five seasons for which data were obtained, estimated net
returns have ranged from just over $800 per acre to a negative $154 (Figure 19). Losses were
estimated for three of the five seasons, and the weighted average return was estimated at $94
per acre. The outlook for squash production in Miami-Dade County is unclear. While acreage
has been steadily increasing over the past several decades, so have imports from Mexico.
From 1990 to 2000, squash imports from Mexico increased from about $45 million to almost
$111 million, a 2.5-fold increase. Per capital consumption figures are not available for
summer squash, but it is likely that it has shown a modest increase along with other fresh
vegetables.


Figure 17. Squash Acreage: 1980 2000.

Squash Acreage: Florida and Miami-Dade


0C' ^ 0^ ^ ^ 0C^ 0C 0C 0C 0C 0C^ 0C 0'^ 0'^ 0


100%

89%

78%

67% 2

56%

44% 0

33%

22%

11%

0%


SFlorida 1 Dade ODade % Trend


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY









SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS



Figure 18. Squash Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2000.


Squash Production, Prices and Revenues


cl C In .0 r- 00 Co V- Cl C o -- 00 C
V-) Cr- ~ 00 C l C ~~ 0 t 0 C
o0 o 0, o p o p o0, o0, o0, o0, 0, 0, 0, , C, C, o o o o
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 C0 C0 C0 C0 C0 C0 C0 C0 C0 C0
c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^ c^


1 Revenue


1 Production ---Real Price Rev. Trend


Figure 19. Squash: Estimated Net Profit per Acre, 1995-96 to 1999-00.


$806


$46


($107)


$94

($121) ($154)
($121) ($154)


1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 5 Yr. Wt.
Avg.
Production Season


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
^ LAND RETENTION STUDY


25


20


15

10



5


0


$1,000
$800
$600
$400
$200
$0
($200)










SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Sweet corn

Published data on sweet corn production and sales in Miami-Dade County are
becoming more difficult to acquire because there are fewer growers in the area. As a
consequence of fewer growers, FASS has been unable to publish sweet corn data because of
confidentiality restrictions for several seasons. The trend line analysis, based on available
data from 1980-81 through 1997-98, is flat for acreage, but strongly upward for revenues
(Figures 20 and 21).

In the most recent season for which acreage data are available, sweet corn acreage
stood at 4,230 acres. Like many crops in the area, yields have continued to improve over
time. With relatively stable real-prices and acreages, revenues have increased because of the
higher yields. Miami-Dade's share of Florida sweet corn acreage has not been substantial in
those years that data are available, approaching 10 percent in the latter half of the 1990s.
Estimates of profitability were not made because of the lack of recent data specifically for
Miami-Dade County. USDA-FATUS does not report sweet corn imports separately, so the
extent of import competition could not be estimated. However, the domestic market shows
promise: per capital consumption increased by 23 percent in the 1980-1997 period. This
increase, coupled with population growth, has resulted in significant growth in overall U. S.
demand for sweet corn.



Figure 20. Sweet Corn Acreage: 1980 2000.


Sweet Corn Acreage


eM T tn
00 00 00
"s M '*T
00 00 00
z0 z0 30


ri n ^-r
C> > C>
- ci en
C> > C>
C> C> C>


C>\ C>\
C>\ C>\
C> C>


40%




o
30%


20% 5


10%


o%


SDade 1 Florida *Dade % Dade trend


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY 17


Trend line coefficient = 0.090, P-value = 0.015


-
--~~~~~ -


I~~~~ ~ ~ ~ N W 0 01EM2L r-l










SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS



Figure 21. Sweet Corn Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2000.


Sweet Corn Production, Prices and Revenues
$18 21

$16 18
Trend line coefficient = 0.430, P-value = 0.002 18
$14 .-
-15
$12

$10 -12

$8 9
S $6
4-6
$4


- eCN c^ -T .n r- 00 m o .n jr- 00 C0 C
m r-1 c ~ .n 00 C o n C r- 00 C
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 C ~C ~C C ~C ~C

Real Rev. Production -0-RealPrice -Rev. trend


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Other Traditional Vegetables
Although detailed time-series data are not available for other traditional vegetables,
examination of imports from Mexico reveal disturbing trends for Miami-Dade producers.
Imports of peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, and cabbage, vegetables that have been
important to Miami-Dade County growers, have shown dramatic growth over the past
decade. For example, pepper imports increased from about $136 million to $337 million, a
150 percent increase. Cucumber imports went from about $64 million to over $150 million,
and eggplant imports grew from about $17 million to over $22 million. Okra imports
increased by 133 percent, from about $4.1 million to $9.5 million, and cabbage imports went
from $2.3 to $3.4 million (Appendix C-1). The bottom line: because of similar seasonal
weather patterns, Miami-Dade county growers are competing with Mexico for the same U. S.
market window for most of the fresh vegetables of economic importance in the County
(Appendix C-i).
Fruit Trends
One phenomenon is clearly evident in all production and revenue trends for tropical
fruit crops in Miami-Dade County. Hurricane Andrew, which scored a direct hit on the
major fruit producing area of South Dade in August of 1992, had a devastating impact on
tropical fruit production. Total acreage in groves prior to the hurricane was approximately
20,000 acres; by 1996, four years afterwards, acreage was in the neighborhood of 13,000
acres, a decline of about one-third.
This disruption of grove production makes it somewhat more difficult to evaluate
long-term trends in acreage and revenues. However, trend analyses were modified to better
reflect pre- and post-hurricane trends. Annual time-series data on acreage and revenues for
avocados, mangos and limes are included in Appendix B-2. A summary of acreages for all
major and minor fruit crops is found in Table 13.





















MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY Io









SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

a
Table 13. Summary of Miami-Dade County Tropical Fruit Acreage, 1990-2001 .

Year 1990 1996 1997 1998 1999 2001d
Crop Acres Acres Acres Acres Acres Acres

Avocados 8,987 6,305 6,483 6,433 6,000 7,529
Persian limes 6,071 2,792 2,628 2,700 2,800 530
NlManos 2.424 1.505 1.415 1.40(1 1.400 1.908
Carambola 600 532 n.a. 500 140 113
Lychee 200 511 n.a. 330 500 881
Papaya 375 250 n.a. 250 250 250
Longan 72 310 n.a. 275 310 495
Mamey sapote 267 308 n.a. 325 308 485
Banana (all types) 580 302 126 300 302 548
Guava 77 199 136 199 n.a. 291
Miscellaneous 1 -8 217 n a 245 na n a

Totals 20,131 13,291 10,788c 12,957 12,010c 13,040c
Sources: 1990, 1996, 1998 and 1999 are from the Florida Agricultural Statistics Service, survey data collected by the
Florida Agricultural Market Research Center and communications with Miami-Dade County Extension Agents, and Faculty
at the UF-IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center, Homestead. Data for 2001 were estimated by the University of
Florida using GIS maps.
The miscellaneous category includes pummelo, passion fruit, kumquat, sugar apple, atemoya, sapodilla, Barbados cherries,
wax jambu, jackfruit, Key lime, canistel, black sapote, persimmons, white sapote, coconuts, assorted citrus fruits other
than Persian limes and pummelos, tamarind, wampee, ambarella, jaboticaba, loquat, macadamia, monstera, Spanish lime
and star apple. The acreages of these fruits are combined to prevent disclosure of individual firms' operations.
b Acreage estimates for these fruits were not available for 1990, so estimates from 1992 (pre-hurricane) were used.

Total acreage estimates for these years are not directly comparable to other years because certain data were not available or
were acquired from different sources.
d Estimates for 2001 include non-bearing acreage.
e It has been reported that several hundred acres of mangos included in this estimate have been abandoned.
n.a. = not available


Avocados

Figures 22 and 23 illustrate production and revenue trends for avocados. Prior to
Hurricane Andrew, avocado acreage was trending downward at a statistically significant pace
of 657 acres per year. Hurricane Andrew destroyed approximately 2,500 acres of avocado
groves. Since the hurricane, land in avocados has remained steady at about 6,000 acres, not
recovering to pre-hurricane levels. The GIS acreage estimates show slightly over 7,500 acres
in avocados; the discrepancy between the GIS numbers and the official FASS statistics is
thought to be due to non-commercial groves and non-bearing groves. Even though bearing


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
An LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

acreage remains substantially below pre-hurricane levels, total production has almost
recovered to pre-hurricane levels, and real prices and revenues have held fairly steady.
Examination of per capital consumption data for avocados is somewhat disappointing.
Despite the increasing popularity of ethnic restaurants and large growth in the numbers of
Hispanics, per capital consumption has been relatively flat. USDA per capital consumption
statistics show that average consumption was about 1.6 pounds per person in the 1980s, and
only 1.4 pounds in the 1990s.
Another possible concern that may affect Miami-Dade avocado growers is the recent
expansion of the Mexican Hass Avocado Import Program. Initiated in the 1997-98 season,
this program allowed Mexican Hass avocados to be shipped to 19 states in the New England
and North Central regions of the U.S. In late 2001, the program was changed to extend the
season to October 15 through April 15 and to expand the area to which Mexican avocados
can be shipped by twelve additional states in the Central Plains and Western regions. Hass
avocados are quite different from the varieties grown in Florida, thus they may compete for
different market segments. However, the new import period coincides with much of Florida's
avocado season, especially the late October through December period. Florida production
continues in lesser quantities into March. Although some in the Florida industry feel the
impacts will be minimal, some substitution of Mexican Hass avocados for Florida varieties
could occur.
Finally, another potential threat from Mexican avocado imports is the possible
introduction of serious plant pests. Even though Mexican avocados must be shipped to colder
areas of the U.S., fruit could be inadvertently transshipped to states where hitch-hiking pests
could survive and ultimately find the way to Miami-Dade County























MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY A











SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Figure 22. Avocado Acreage: 1987 2001.


Avocado Acreage


0
0
Z3
o 6-
6


0c 0> onC 0> C -
r 0 0c a o c l en c I V^ \C r cc a> o
0C 0Cc 0C 0> 0> > 0a> 0> 0> 0> 0> 0a C0


Bearing acres Acreage trend




Figure 23. Avocado Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2000.



Avocado Production, Prices and Revenues

$25 1 2,000


Trend line coefficient = 0.005,
P-value = 0.963


e00
0>
$15



$10



$5



$0


00 > C 7- ri n t tfl 'C r- O0 0> C -
00 00 CT> C> T> 0>^ >^ 0>^ >^ 0>^ >^ 0>^ C C
I- 00 0> C (7i r n m 4 f 'n r-- 00 > C
00 00 00 0>7 0> 7 0> 7 0> 7 0> 7 0> 7 0> 7 0> 7 0> 7>
- ted

Re~gal Revepnue ^ Production t Real price Revenue trend


1,800

1,600

1,400

1,200 J

1,000 -

800

600

400

200

0


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
A o LAND RETENTION STUDY


-% %Trend line coefficient = -0.657,
10.9 P-value = 6.46E-07



8.6 8.4
Trend line coefficient = 0.038, P-value = 0.346


1 1 15.8 5.7 5.8 5.7 5.9 1 6.0 1 9 6.0








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Mangos
Data and statistics for mango production are presented in Appendix B-2, Figures 24
and 25. From 1980 until the early 1990s, mango acreage gradually increased from about
1,500 to 2,500 acres. Hurricane Andrew resulted in the loss of about 900 acres. Since
Hurricane Andrew, the acreage trend has been relatively stable, fluctuating between 1,500
and 1,700 acres. The GIS analysis shows slightly over 1,900 acres of mangos in the County,
but fruit crops specialists insist that commercial acreage is substantially lower because of
economic abandonment. Following a four-year recovery period after Hurricane Andrew,
revenues showed improvement. Prices spiked shortly after the hurricane, but returned to pre-
hurricane lows by 1995. Production did not recover to pre-hurricane levels until the 1998
season, and revenues increased significantly in that year. From 1998 to date, published price
data for Florida mangos have not been available because of limited commercial shipments
and confidentiality restrictions. Increasing quantities of green mangoes have been shipped in
recent years to markets where large numbers of ethnic consumers, primarily Asians, reside.
Currently, mango producers in South Florida face formidable competition from
foreign imports, and anecdotal feedback from growers and shippers in the area indicates that
economic returns have drastically declined. Foreign producers, particularly in Mexico, have
far better growing conditions that require substantially fewer applications of fungicides and
insecticides. As a result, there are reports that at least 360 acres of mango groves in the
County have recently been abandoned (personal communication with Jonathan Crane, UF-
IFAS-TREC, Homestead, Florida). It should be kept in mind that recently abandoned
acreage is indistinguishable from actively managed groves in aerial photography used to
develop GIS maps and databases. Given the continuing growth in imported tropical fruit, it
appears that the future for mango production in Miami-Dade County will not be very bright
for the foreseeable future.






















MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY AQ











SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Figure 24. Mango Acreage: 1980 2000.


Florida Mango Acreage


2.4


2.0


I 1.6 -

-
1.2 -


0.8


0.4 -


0.0


'0 0C oo CT zo (1 m C 7 n
0C 0C 00 00 C0> C C> C C C>
C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C>


'0 r 00 C> o
C> C> > C 0
C> C> C> C> o


1 Bearing acres Acre trend




Figure 25. Mango Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2000.


Mango Production, Prices and Revenues (Florida)

$30 12

Trend line coefficient = -0.008, P-value = 0.936
$25 10


$20 8


S$15 6


S$10 4


$5 12


$0


=- 7 N m 'I V) 0 cr o 01 = e r Nn '0 V) 00 cr o
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 R e P c R C> R e e C r
C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C> C>

[--- Real Revenue 1 Production *Real Price Revenue Trend


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
AA LAND RETENTION STUDY


Trend line coefficient = 0.112,
P-value = 6.68E-10


Trend line coefficient = -0.008,


C~] e~ ~
00 00 00 00 00 00
C> C> C> C> C> C>


* * * * * * * * * * * *


.


.








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Limes
Lime production in Miami-Dade County is a story of hard-knocks. Over two-thirds
of lime acreage in the County was lost due to Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The industry was
on the road to recovery when a citrus canker outbreak delivered a second and possibly fatal
blow beginning in the 1999-2000 season. Based on Florida Agricultural Statistics Service
and Florida Department of Agriculture reports, as of January 2002, there were only a few
hundred acres of limes remaining in the County. Table 9 in Appendix B-2, and Figures 26
and 27 below demonstrate the history of this unfortunate series of events. Current eradication
program guidelines forbid the replanting of lime groves in the county within two years
following the discovery of a canker infestation. Because of widespread and continuing
canker discoveries, replanting limes and other types of citrus in Miami-Dade County is
continually being pushed into the future. There are varying reports as to how former lime
acreage is being utilized for other agricultural purposes, but it appears that some of it is being
replanted to other types of tropical fruit crops such as avocados, guavas, lychees, and
longans.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY A;










SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS


Figure 26. Lime Acreage: 1980 2002.


Lime Acreage


Trend line coefficient = 0.001, P-value = 0.973

Trend line coefficient =
-- 66. ._6 -6 6.7 0.179, P-value = 0.046
S 6 6.4- -.-.-6. -. -6.- 6.2 -6.3 6.3 -
o
5.3
4


2 -- -1 2] -------------


0 en t tfl 10 N9 10 0> 0 o ^ tf N n ^> C C]
O ; c i e t _' N 30 o" M V 'i- tn D 3 0> 0
>o o, o, o, o, o, o, o, o, o, > o, > > > 0 > 0 > o, 0 0


r Bearing acres Acreage trend



Figure 27. Lime Production, Prices and Revenues: 1980 2001.


Lime Production, Prices and Revenues


2,400


OC (N en C tf0 O? 0? OC OC 0 ( 0 0 0 > 0 -C
oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo o o o o o o o
0" 0" 0 00 0 00 00 0 00 0 0> 0> 0 0 0 0 > 0 0_' 0M
S-- Real Rvenu 0 Production Real Price Revenue trend

Real Revenue Production t1-Real Price -Revenue trend


2,000


1,600

C
1,200o
0

800


400


0


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
AA LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Carambola
Production of carambola, also known as star fruit, escalated in the late 1980s and
early 1990s as improved varieties and aggressive consumer marketing created interest among
growers. By 1990, an estimated 600 acres had been planted. In the years following Hurricane
Andrew, acreage began to decline, and byl999, only 140 acres remained. The GIS analysis
showed that only about 113 acres remained in Miami-Dade County in 2001. A significant
part of the decline is due to one or more major producers abandoning Miami-Dade County
for another south Florida location because of better growing conditions. Thus, the outlook for
carambola is slightly negative to stable.
Lychee
Acreage of lychees was estimated at only 200 acres in 1990. However, after
Hurricane Andrew, there was considerable interest in lychee production. By 1996, acreage
was estimated at slightly over 500 acres, where it remained until about 1999. The GIS
analysis revealed a total of 881 acres, a substantial increase. It should be noted that this figure
includes both bearing and non-bearing trees. While the acreage trends indicate a positive
outlook, one concern is the lack of an aggressive market development effort. Although Asian
consumers tend to be knowledgeable about lychees, most mainstream American consumers
are not. Because the overall market for lychees is relatively limited, large increases in
supplies could result in markedly lower prices to growers and shippers. Clearly, major
increases in production will require a concerted marketing effort to move the product at
acceptable price levels. However, the relatively small acreage and short marketing season
works against the development of such an effort.
Papaya
In 1990, papaya acreage was estimated at 375 acres. Following Andrew, acreage
declined to about 250 acres where it remains today. Papaya production is beset by
production problems, primarily papaya ringspot virus, a disease for which there is no control.
Although work continues on varieties with resistance to the virus, release of improved
varieties remains an unknown.
Longan
Prior to Hurricane Andrew, acreage of longan was estimated at only 72 acres.
However, in the years since, interest in longan production has been increasing, and by 1999,
an estimated 310 acres had been planted. GIS analysis showed nearly 500 acres in 2001. As
with many of the lesser-known species of tropical fruit, demand is relatively limited, so
increases in production may lead to significant price declines. The same market development
problems described for lychees apply to longans as well.
Mamey Sapote
Estimates of mamey sapote acreage have fluctuated around 300 acres over the past
decade. However, GIS data revealed that nearly 485 acres have been planted. While many
Hispanics are familiar with this fruit, mainstream consumers are not. The large local
Hispanic market may be able to absorb large portions of increased production, but without an

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY A7








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

aggressive marketing program, large increases in supplies coupled with an inelastic demand
could mean much lower prices.
Banana (all types)
In 1990, total acreage of bananas was estimated at nearly 600 acres. By 1996,
acreage had decreased to almost half its 1990 level, and by 1997 there were only onlyl26
acres. Subsequently, there has been a resurgence of interest in growing bananas, and the GIS
analysis showed nearly 550 acres in 2001. As with the lychee, longans and mamey sapote
situations described above, large increases in supplies could result in very low prices for
growers.
Guava
Guava is grown primarily for the fresh market in Miami-Dade County. It is native to
tropical America and is reported to have been introduced to Florida from Cuba in 1847.
Guava fruit ripens practically all year round, but the bulk of Florida production occurs during
the summer months. Interest in guava production increased in the late 1980s and early 1990s,
with acreage expanding from 35 to nearly 200 acres by 1996. The 2001 GIS analysis
indicated guava acreage had increased to 291 acres. Based upon acreage trends, the outlook
for guava production is positive. However, as immature acreage reaches full production,
grower prices could soften unless adequate market development activities are initiated.
Miscellaneous species
Although there are nearly 20 additional exotic tropical fruits that are produced on a
commercial basis in the County, most acreages are very small. Several types of citrus, such
as pummelo and kumquat are also susceptible to citrus canker. It is likely that some small
acreages of these fruits have been eliminated as part of the citrus canker eradication
program, and the future of these fruit crops remains very uncertain. Many of the other
miscellaneous types of fruits are virtually unknown to American consumers and face
daunting marketing challenges.



















MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
AR LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

Ornamental Horticulture
The nursery industry in Miami-Dade County has shown robust growth over the past
decade. In 1989, there were 750 state certified nurseries in the county, but by 1998 there
were 810. By 2001, there were 950. Granted, a number of state certified nurseries are serious
hobbyists or businesses that need certification in order to move plants from one location to
another, but the large increase in certified nurseries is reflected in an even larger increase in
total acreage devoted to nursery crops. According to the 1992 Census of Agriculture, nursery
and greenhouse crops occupied 6,069 acres; the Agricultural Census reported acreage of
6,715 in 1997. The GIS analysis revealed nursery acreage of 12,010 in 2001, nearly double
that of the 1992 Census.
Because there are no suitable time-series data on costs and returns, and few
descriptive statistics on the size of the industry (other than the Agricultural Census at five
year intervals), it is difficult to estimate profitability and to make sound projections on the
industry's overall economic health. The remarkable expansion in recent years provides a
basic signal that it has been profitable, but large increases in acreages and sales do not
necessarily mean that all firms the ornamental horticulture industry will continue to do well
financially. A recent study conducted by the University of Florida showed that profitability
of Miami-Dade County firms participating in the University's Business Analysis program
was mixed (Appendix B-3). Return on capital was found to be a subpar 3.2 percent for
tropical foliage firms, an enviable 20 percent for field woody ornamentals, and a negative 9
percent for container woody ornamentals. So, only time will tell if the recent, rapid
expansion will continue. Further, the fortunes of the nursery industry are closely tied to
construction activity and the overall economy. Recessions, such as occurred in the mid-
1970s, can wreak havoc with the nursery industry. Despite a mild recession in late 2001, the
housing and construction industry remained strong as a result of low interest rates, which no
doubt benefited the nursery industry. In addition, because of phytosanitary barriers, the
nursery industry in Miami-Dade County has largely been immune to import competition. If
these barriers remain in place, if over production does not occur, and if the economy remains
strong, the future looks promising for the nursery industry.
Aquaculture
From a production technology standpoint, the County has the potential to nurture a
significantly larger aquaculture industry given its favorable location and climate. Its sub-
tropical climate is conducive to longer growing seasons and higher levels of productive
efficiency than are obtainable in more temperate latitudes of the United States. None-the-less,
based on past performance and the current local and international business environments,
there does not appear to be any economic indications pointing to a significant expansion or
contraction of the industry in the near future. This is not to say that it would be impossible
for an individual or organization, with the vision, skills and economic resources, to create a
nationally or internationally viable aquacultural enterprise within the County at any time.





MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY AQ








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

MAJOR FACTORS AFFECTING PROFITABILITY AND
SUSTAINABILITY OF MIAMI-DADE AGRICULTURE
The following sections briefly discuss the specific factors, both positive and negative,
that are currently affecting the competitiveness of Miami-Dade County's farmers or that may
have the potential to affect it in the foreseeable future. In general, the factors are discussed in
the order of importance deduced from responses to open-ended and rating questions included
in the grower surveys (Appendix D-5).
The University of Florida surveys of farmers and agribusinesses in Miami-Dade
County revealed a sophisticated understanding of the physical, economic, and political forces
that continue to evolve and shape their destinies. In the not-too-distant past, surveys of
farmers that sought to identify problems and potential solutions would likely have focused
almost exclusively on production and domestic marketing problems, the kinds of things that,
until recently, were pretty much solvable with research, innovation and hard work.
For the most part, farmers and agribusinesses responding to the current study
identified a much different set of pressing problems that have adversely affected their
livelihoods, and if present trends continue, could ultimately put them out of business. These
included environmental issues, human health concerns (i.e. pesticide regulations, worker
safety, etc.), international trade policies, urbanization, and phytosanitary challenges that are
being exacerbated by globalization of trade and tourism. To be sure, there were a few
respondents that revealed vestigial optimism by suggesting production research and better
marketing could improve their economic well-being.
The major problems identified by survey respondents tended to be those that are
being shaped by social and political considerations, many of which are outside the control of
local or even state officials. Most of the current and emerging issues identified by
respondents are complex and interrelated, and not solvable by individual entrepreneurs or
even within the confines of the agricultural community. Many of these problems are the
result of national or state policies and international agreements. Policy decisions made at
these levels are usually much more difficult to influence than those made locally.
Proponents and opponents of various issues have included and will include in the
future elected national, state and local officials, bureaucrats from regulatory agencies at all
levels of government, and citizens' interest groups of every description. The most active
citizens' groups are likely to be environmentalists, real estate developers, landowners,
farmers, and agribusinesses. If policy issues and concerns voiced by the farmers and
agribusinesses are addressed in the political and regulatory arenas, where multiple vested
interests come into play, it is the obligation of the scientific research community to provide
objective, science-based information so that appropriate policies and regulations can be
crafted. Furthermore, it is imperative that the agricultural community support scientific
research to help solve the array of vexing problems threatening agriculture's existence.
Farmers' and agribusinesses' interests will be best protected by political activism
backed by facts based on good science and record keeping. This strategy is not foolproof,
however, because political decisions are frequently influenced by numbers of constituents
involved. The strategy of political activism, good science and record keeping is likely to be
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
an LAND RETENTION STUDY








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

very costly in terms of time and other resources spent on various issues, and relatively few
Miami-Dade farmers and agribusinesses may be willing to make this commitment on an on-
going basis.
Structure of Miami-Dade County Agriculture
The size structure of farms in Miami-Dade County is likely to play a significant role
in the competitiveness and sustainability of agriculture. While large numbers of small farms
may lack the scale of operations to be low-cost, highly competitive competitors, they may
share common goals and through political means influence land use decisions to protect
common lifestyle interests. The size structure will also have an impact on the way that
agricultural interests organize (or fail to organize) to market their products. However, even if
large numbers of small farms lack the scale to be competitive in commercial markets, off-
farm income may ensure survivability long after larger scale commercial farmers abandon
agriculture for more attractive options.
Examination of the size structure of farms reveals a very disparate distribution of
farm numbers by size of operation, i.e., acreage. As discussed in a previous section, the most
recent Census of Agriculture reported a total of 1,576 farms in Miami-Dade County (Table
4). Of these, 59 percent, or 928 farms were less than 10 acres in size. These very small farms
accounted for only 4 percent of the agricultural acreage. An additional 446 farms were in the
10-49 acre category; thus, 87 percent of the farms were smaller than 50 acres, and occupied a
total of only 14 percent of the County's agricultural land. Conversely, only 202 farms (13
percent) were 50 or more acres in size; these larger farms accounted for 87 percent of the
agricultural acreage.
The large number of small farms has serious implications for the overall well-being
of Miami-Dade County agriculture. From the political perspective discussed above, small
farm operators may lack the commitment and the resources to vigorously support various
causes or issues of importance to larger-scale commercial enterprises. A whopping 49
percent of all farms reported gross sales of less than $10,000 in the 1997 Census of
Agriculture. Retirees or individuals with off-farm employment operate many of the smaller
farms, so the farm's economic success may not be critical to total household income and the
farm's survival. According to the 1997 Census of Agriculture, 47 percent of the Miami-Dade
farm operators had principal occupations other than farming. Also, the age distribution of
farm operators in Miami-Dade County may influence the degree of activism devoted to
agricultural causes. Less than 6 percent are under 35 years of age, and less than 25 percent
are under 45. One-third are 60 years of age or older. The average age of Miami-Dade farm
operators increased from 51 to 53 years from 1987 to 1997. However, retirees on small farms
may be able to devote considerably more time and energy to political causes than operators
of larger enterprises, but these causes may not coincide with the interests of large-scale
farmers or large land owners.
The very diversity of agriculture, while generating a lot of public interest, works to
fragment the cohesiveness of organized political activity. Fruit growers may sympathize with
other fruit growers on certain issues, but they may not be willing to do battle for vegetable
growers or for nurseries and vice versa. Even within a given agricultural sector, growers that

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL
LAND RETENTION STUDY 4 1








SUMMARY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS

specialize in certain types of fruits, vegetables, nursery crops or aquacultured species may
not be willing to take up a cause unless it specifically affects their operation.
From the standpoint of economic efficiency, small farms may be very inefficient. For
example, the owner of a very small fruit grove may choose to buy expensive farm equipment.
When fixed costs (such as depreciation and maintenance) are allocated to his grove on a per
acre or per unit of output basis, total production costs could be much higher than a large-
scale operation. Conversely, the small farm operator may avoid investments in necessary
equipment, and suffer significant inefficiencies due to drastically lower yields. Yet another
cause of inefficiency for a small-scale farm would be the reliance on relatively high-priced
grove care service. It is not implied that grove care services are overpriced; it simply means
that it is more costly on a per acre basis to provide necessary services to a five-acre grove
than to a 50-acre grove because of economies of scale. Further, the small farm operator may
be at a disadvantage with respect to adoption of more modern production technologies
because of the cost of acquiring the necessary knowledge of where to get new technologies
and how to use them. For example, a large farm may adopt the latest in Integrated Pest
Management (IPM), utilizing trained entomologists to employ the latest, most efficient insect
control methods which require knowledge of insects' life cycles and various forms of
biological control. IPM methods can significantly reduce the use of expensive pesticides. On
the other hand, the small farm may persist in using the old, more costly chemical control
methods.
Finally, the large numbers of small farms, coupled with the diversity of enterprises,
weakens market power. Small producers that sell in commercial marketing channels are
generally price takers when they operate on an individual basis. Large wholesalers and
retailers usually will not buy directly from small producers, thus they are required to sell to
an intermediate firm that performs the necessary function of assembling quantities required
by retailers that are growing ever-larger. A related issue is the desire of major retailers to
have a continuing, year-round supply. Most small farms only operate locally. Thus, they are
able to supply their products for the duration of whatever time period is dictated by the crop
or crops they grow. Retailers have shown a preference for doing business with larger,
vertically integrated grower-shippers that have the capacity to provide a diverse variety of
items over a long time period. Some of the larger grower-shippers have expanded operations
to other regions of Florida, to other states, and even to other countries in order to provide
their customers with uninterrupted supplies. Small growers are increasingly at a disadvantage
in dealing with the traditional marketing channels. Cooperatives, voluntary associations, and
marketing orders are methods sometimes suggested for enhancing growers' market power.
However, organizations such as these are difficult to organize and maintain when interests of
growers are extremely diverse and when the overall scale of an industry is relatively small.
One note of caution is in order with respect to possible conclusions that the reader
may draw from the above discussions about small farms' efficiencies and marketing
challenges. Just because small farms are less efficient, it does not follow that large farms are
doing well financially. The economic trends discussed in a previous section provide evidence
that many of the large farms, particularly those growing vegetables and the major tropical
fruits, are facing serious economic challenges. The economic returns to operators and

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landlords are currently insufficient to keep large acreages of row crop and grove land in
agriculture, and the long-term prognosis is increasingly grim.
International Trade
Current Situation and Outlook.
Since 1990, there have been a wide range of U.S. trade policy initiatives and
agreements that have changed the economic landscape of agricultural trade in the United
States and particularly in Miami-Dade County. A comprehensive overview of recent
international trading patterns and emerging policies for fruits, vegetables and nursery
products is presented in Appendix C-1.
Miami-Dade County agriculture has felt the effects of some of these policy
developments, in particular, through the enactment of the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA) in January 1994. Other notable but somewhat less important regional
agreements include the Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA) enacted in 1991 and the
Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) enacted in October of 2000, which extends
the coverage of policies originally implemented in 1984 under the original Caribbean Basin
Initiative (CBI). As regards the NAFTA trading partners, there are two significant issues
pending that potentially could impact Miami-Dade County agriculture: renewal of the
Tomato Suspension Agreement, and the recently introduced tomato dumping disputes
between the United States and Canada. This is not to say that there won't be other issues and
controversies that arise under NAFTA for these or other commodities as trade patterns
among the participating countries shift. However, these are the trade policy issues awaiting
resolution at the present time.
The tomato suspension agreement renewal is especially important for Miami-Dade
County tomato growers because their market window for shipment is a prime harvest and
shipping period for Mexico. Failure to renew the Suspension Agreement would not only
potentially lower prices in the market, but also would jeopardize the prospects for these sorts
of arrangements as useful methods for resolving future trade disputes. However, the reality
is that no appreciable improvement in price would be expected as a direct result of renewal of
the Suspension Agreement. Thus, even under a best-case resolution of this issue, Miami-
Dade County tomato growers should not expect any improvement in recent general market
and pricing trends.
The United States and Canada also are embroiled in a series of dumping cases related
to greenhouse and field grown tomato trade. These disputes are in their early stages and their
resolution will be important for the Miami-Dade County tomato industry. Once again,
though, it is primarily an issue of downside risk, with limited up-side benefit, and the best
outcome that Miami-Dade County tomato growers can hope for likely would do little to
improve their market outlook.
On a global scale, the adoption of the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture
(URAA) in 1994 under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the
creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 increased the level of global trade
liberalization. Trade agreements of which the United States is not a party, but that may

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indirectly affect U.S. and Miami-Dade County agriculture, include the recently completed
European Union-Mexico Free Trade Agreement and the Contonou Agreement enacted by the
European Union (EU) in 2000. In addition to these agreements, there are several other trade
agreements currently under negotiation that likely will impact international agricultural trade.
Of the most direct relevance are the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) that is
currently being negotiated, and the upcoming round of WTO negotiations. None of these
agreements is likely to have significant positive or negative effects on Miami-Dade
agriculture (Appendix C-1).
The issue of trade with Cuba clearly is more of a foreign policy issue than a trade
policy issue. Nevertheless, a resumption of trade and commercial relations between the
United States and Cuba, whenever it may occur, is likely to have important implications for
U.S. agriculture and particularly for Florida and Miami-Dade County agriculture for a
number of reasons. First, there is a tremendous similarity between traditional agricultural
production patterns in Cuba and those of Florida. Also, the geographic proximity of Cuba
and Florida, which contributed greatly to the trade flows between the United States and Cuba
prior to 1960, is expected to facilitate and encourage trade flows again following a lifting of
the embargo. Finally, the strong cultural ties between south Florida and Cuba should be an
important catalyst for trade as well.
Cuba produces a wide variety of vegetables (including tuber and root crops) and
fruits. These crops historically have been an important element of Cuba's agricultural
production, providing significant shares of food supplies for domestic consumption. Prior to
1960, the United States also imported noteworthy volumes of many of these crops from
Cuba. At present, Cuba's principal vegetable crops include tomatoes, peppers (sweet and
hot), okra, eggplant, cucumbers, potatoes, beans, corn, garlic and onions. Tropical
vegetables of significance for Cuba include boniato, malanga, calabaza (pumpkin), and
cassava (yuca). Cuba is a major global citrus producer and a notable exporter of fresh citrus
and frozen citrus juice concentrates. Other important fruit crops include many tropical fruits
such as avocados, mango, mamey, bananas and plantains, guava, papaya, pineapple.
Following the loss of Soviet support and subsidization, production volumes for nearly
all crops in Cuba fell beginning in 1990 and bottomed out in 1993/94. Production increases
experienced since that time are primarily as a result of two new policies in the agricultural
sector in Cuba: (1) the break up of most of the large, highly mechanized and input-intensive
State farms into smaller production cooperatives; and (2) the establishment of free
agricultural markets for the sale of "surplus" production (production beyond the quota
volume that farmers have to sell to the government at fixed prices), which has been an
important incentive for agricultural producers.
Despite improvements since 1993/1994, harvested area in Cuba for all of the crops
examined has yet to recover to levels of 1990. Nevertheless, harvested area figures from
1990 should be considered a reasonable indicator of long term productive potential. Cuba's
present harvested acreage figures dwarf Miami-Dade County production acreages for the
same crops. While present yields in Cuba are very low, foreign investment which is likely to
follow a lifting of the embargo would drive what would be expected to be significant yield
improvements, some of which could be achieved in relatively short order. The experience of

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the Israeli joint venture in Cuba's citrus industry indicates the importance that foreign
investment can have on yields and processing efficiencies.
There is little indication within the Bush Administration that any relaxation of U.S.
policy toward Cuba should be expected in the absence of significant major political change in
Cuba. Thus the issue of Cuban agricultural exports to the United States is not expected to be
one that will need to be addressed in the near term. However, it is an issue that will be of
very real importance to agriculture, not only in Miami-Dade County, but also throughout the
state of Florida in the longer term.
Trade agreements historically have had relatively little impact on the nursery and
ornamental plant industry in Florida. On the export side of the equation, Miami-Dade
County's nursery industry (and to some extent the industries in Broward and Palm Beach
Counties) have established themselves as reliable suppliers of high quality large plant
materials for interiorscape applications and trade agreements have done relatively little to
influence these trade patterns.
On the import side, Quarantine 37 restricts U.S. imports of plant materials in soil as
part of a phytosanitary regulation to protect against the import of soil-borne pests. While
there is periodic discussion of the costs versus benefits of Quarantine 37, there is little
indication at the present time that this regulation will be lifted in the near future. A lifting of
this regulation could have major impacts on the ornamental plant and nursery industry
throughout the State as well as elsewhere in the country. However, as long as the regulation
remains in place, there would appear to be good prospects for continued growth of this
industry in Miami-Dade County.
While the direct impact of further trade policy liberalization on Miami-Dade county
agriculture may be relatively modest, there are associated dynamics that will likely continue
to impact the structure of Miami-Dade county agriculture. Specifically, the increasing degree
to which the supply chain in perishable products is becoming integrated across international
borders can be argued to be the main driver of competition and industry structure. And there
will continue to be developments outside the scope of major trade agreements (e.g., recent
initiatives to expand the number of U.S. states allowed to import Mexican Hass avocados and
to increase the length of the shipping season) that will continue to potentially influence
Miami-Dade County agriculture.
From an economic standpoint attempting to look into a crystal ball and foresee the
future is almost always a tenuous practice. However, given the current trade policy
environment, major drivers of competition in markets for major Miami-Dade County
agricultural products and the unique position occupied by the Miami-Dade area in the
hemisphere, some interesting speculation can be made about the future structure of Miami-
Dade agriculture. Assuming current trends persist, it seems likely that the structure of
Miami-Dade County agriculture may move in the direction of supplanting direct production
agriculture with agribusiness activities associated with sourcing, import and transportation
logistics and distribution. Under such a scenario, over time many production-based
agricultural activities would be replaced by service-based agribusiness activities. While such
an occurrence would represent a fundamental change in the historic role of production

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agriculture in the Miami-Dade County, it does not necessarily imply the economic impact of
agriculturally related activities in terms of employment generation and contribution to local
GDP would decline. It does, however, represent a major and fundamental restructuring of
the industry with attendant internal adjustments within the county.
Beyond the impact of trade agreements, a final mention of Cuba is also important.
The NAFTA fundamentally altered the competitive structure of the winter fresh vegetable
industry in the United States. It did so to the benefit of Mexican growers, in many cases
working in close collaboration with fresh vegetable grower/broker/shippers primarily in the
western United States. A resumption of full trade and commercial relations between the
United States and Cuba would completely alter the nature of competition in the U.S. fresh
fruit and vegetable industry once again. Traditional vegetable, fruit and tropical crops of
importance to Miami-Dade County agriculture would be particularly affected. As was the
case with NAFTA, and Mexico, many U.S. fruit and vegetable growers, brokers, and
shippers will integrate into the Cuban agricultural production and marketing systems.
Because of geographic proximity and historical and cultural ties, Florida firms will
likely be important players in the formation of strategic business alliances and joint ventures
in Cuba to affect these changes. However, there obviously will be firms from elsewhere in
the United States trying to capitalize on these opportunities. And, of course, foreign firms
also will be active in the mix, many of which will have an advantage over U.S. firms by
virtue of having been operating in Cuba for years (e.g., the Israeli joint venture in Cuba's
citrus industry and a Canadian venture presently involved in the production of fresh fruits
and vegetables in Cuba for sale to the tourist hotels).
Many SPS issues will need to be resolved before Cuban agricultural exports to the
United States will flourish but these issues will be no more complex than those already dealt
with regularly for other Caribbean countries. And Cuba clearly has the potential for scale
economies far beyond that of any of its Caribbean neighbors in agricultural production as
well as in economically efficient implementation of SPS protocols.
For these reasons, although it actually is more of a foreign policy issue than a trade
policy issue for the United States, a resumption of trade and commercial relations between
the United States and Cuba, whenever it may occur, is expected to have more important
implications for Miami-Dade County agriculture than the cumulative effect of all of the
aforementioned trade agreements and negotiations combined.
Recommendations
Recent experience with the NAFTA and efforts to address the concerns of producers
of import-sensitive U.S. agricultural commodities in the House Bill supporting Trade
Promotion Authority (TPA) suggests that U.S. agricultural trade policy is driven by the
interests of major grain-exporting states, with little regard for U.S. producers of import-
sensitive agricultural products. This is despite the active lobbying efforts on the part of
Florida agricultural industry associations. In light of this, working as part of coalitions such
as NFACT (comprised of representatives from the State Departments of Agriculture of New
Mexico, Florida, Arizona, California and Texas) could be an increasingly important strategy.
Representing over one-quarter of total U.S. agricultural receipts, these five states, working

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together, may be able to more effectively represent the interests of their agricultural
producers on a wide range of important issues. This recommendation is not intended to
supplant in-state efforts or minimize their importance, but rather to encourage coalition-
building and lobbying strength among states with similar agricultural interests.
Phytosanitary Issues
Current Situation and Outlook.
Phytosanitary issues were one of the top concerns expressed by UF/IFAS survey
respondents. Approximately 70 to 80 percent of respondents across all agricultural sectors
indicated that exclusion, control or eradication of exotic insects, plant diseases and invasive
plants needed improvement (Appendix D-1). Globalization of trade and tourism has
dramatically increased the spread of invasive harmful organisms, ushering in an era of an
unprecedented level of travel by exotic invasive organisms. The threat of exotic pest
organisms to horticultural industries and to imports and exports of agricultural products in
the Caribbean Basin and Florida is extremely serious.
The rate of establishment of exotic pests in Florida exceeds that in California and
rivals that in Hawaii. The main reasons for Florida's vulnerability are (1) the high and
progressively mounting volumes of products of agricultural concern and numbers of
passengers which arrive at Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and 13 other ports of entry, (2) extensive
smuggling, (3) the progressively increasing volumes of agricultural development, trade and
tourism in Caribbean Basin countries, and (4) weak systems for safeguarding plant and
animal resources against pests in many of these countries. Consequently, many exotic pests
from distant regions are able to gain footholds in the Caribbean Basin, and subsequently
penetrate into Florida (Appendix E-2).
As an indication of the potential threat to Florida agriculture, 21,530 interceptions of
quarantine significant pests were made at all ports of entry in the state in 2000. Of these
interceptions, 11,672, about 54 percent, were made in Miami.
Plant pathogens are among the most insidious threats to Miami-Dade agriculture.
Bean golden mosaic virus, a whitefly-transmitted geminivirus, arrived in 1992 and continues
to cause significant losses. In July 1997 tomato yellow leaf curl virus appeared at Homestead,
and entire crops were lost to this whitefly transmitted virus. During the past decade virus
diseases have caused 100 percent yield losses in some fields of bean, papaya, squash, tomato
and watermelon (Appendix E-3).
More recently, citrus canker has devastated commercial lime groves and citrus of all
types in many parts of the county. Originally found near Miami International Airport in 1995,
the citrus canker bacterium spread rapidly in 2000, requiring an expanded eradication
program. Over $200 million has already been spent on the eradication program in which 1.9
million trees have been destroyed, one-third in urban yards. The program has resulted in the
loss of approximately 80 percent of commercial lime groves in the county (Appendix E-3).
During 2000, seven plant pathogens previously unreported in Miami-Dade County were
reported for the first time by the TREC Extension Plant Diagnostic Clinic.



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Given, widespread concerns about the increasing vulnerability of agriculture to exotic
pests and doubts as to the efficacy of their efforts, USDA's Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service/Plant Protection and Quarantine division (APHIS-PPQ), enlisted the
National Plant Board (NPB) to conduct a comprehensive review of the plant protection
system in the late 1990s. The NPB issued its report "Safeguarding American Plant
Resources: A Stakeholder Review of the APHIS-PPQ Safeguarding System" July 1, 1999. In
response to this report, Congress passed Title IV, Agriculture Risk Protection Act (PPA) of
2000. The Stakeholder Review included more than 300 specific recommendations which are
currently being evaluated by APHIS-PPQ with the help of 17 issue groups. Action plans will
be developed for recommendations deemed to have merit. When implemented the APHIS-
PPQ organization and programs should provide significantly improved protection against
potential threats.
Since volumes of arriving cargo in the U.S. are doubling every six years, one of the
study's key recommendations was a shift in focus from reliance on inspection of arriving
cargo and passengers at the port of entry as one of the main approaches to exclusion of exotic
pests to off-shore actions. These actions are to include risk mitigation in production areas,
certification of pest-free status at point of origin and pre-clearance at the port of export.
Offshore risk can be mitigated by area-wide biologically based suppression, creation of pest-
free production areas and inspection, treatment (if needed) and certification at the port of
export. Most compelling for Florida would be the regionalization of pest exclusion programs
throughout the Caribbean Basin, because a dangerous organism that establishes in one of the
countries quickly endangers the entire Basin.
Recommendations
Miami-Dade growers and shippers with concerns about phytosanitary issues should
become a frequent visitor to several key Internet websites. The websites offer opportunities
to gain information and to contribute ideas and opinions. The NPB maintains a website
(www. safeguarding.org) which lists the 300-plus recommendations made to improve APHIS-
PPQ. The website offers an opportunity to comment on or ask questions about each of the
items. The website visitor can also view comments and questions submitted by others, along
with e-mail addresses of those responding. APHIS-PPQ also maintains a website
(www.aphis.usda.gov/ppq) which provides a wealth of information on various programs and
the status of proposed program changes. APHIS-PPQ also maintains a "Stakeholder
Registry" for interested parties to become involved with their activities.
Another recommendation is that Miami-Dade growers and shippers of some tropical
fruits, for example green mangoes and sapodilla, press for research to obtain certification that
their fruits are non-hosts for pests such as the Carribean fruit fly. Such certification could
expand the market by facilitating shipment to states such as Texas, Arizona, and California,
where large ethnic populations reside.






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Environmental Impacts and Regulations
Water Issues: Current Situation and Outlook.
The surveys of growers and agribusinesses found a high level of concern about
environmental issues, particularly flood control, water availability and usage, and water
quality. South Dade agriculture is particularly vulnerable to all of these water related issues
as the $7.8 billion Everglades Restoration plan begins implementation, because the
Restoration plan is all about water: quantity, distribution, timing, and quality. Juggling the
frequently conflicting goals of the major vested interest groups, i.e., those charged with
implementing the plan, environmentalists, urban residents, and agriculture will be
challenging.
In many respects, Miami-Dade farmers are caught between the veritable "rock and a
hard place". The agricultural area is sandwiched between the Everglades National Park to
immediate west, the Biscayne National Park to the east, the environmentally sensitive Florida
Bay to the south, and millions of water-using urban residents to the north.
The first two water issues, i.e. quantity and distribution, will be addressed by
attempting to restore the historic flow of water through Everglades National Park insofar as
possible. The historic flow began in the Kissimmee River watershed, the Lake Okeechobee
watershed, and continued southward into Florida Bay and in a southwesterly direction to the
Gulf of Mexico over a broad area ranging from Florida Bay to the Naples area. Today, nearly
2 billion gallons of water per day have been diverted to the Gulf of Mexico via the
Caloosahatchee River and to the Atlantic Ocean through a complex series of canals.
Restoration of the historic flow will require the removal of more than 240 miles of canals and
levees, and part of Tamiami Trail will have to be modified or rebuilt. As canals and levees
are removed and historic flow patterns are restored, agriculture could suffer intermittent
flooding during major rainfall events. Alternatively, during periods of drought, allocation of
water resources among competing uses, i.e., conservation for the Everglades and water for
urban use, could result in shortages for agriculture. In Miami-Dade County alone, population
could double by 2030 to over 4.5 million persons.
The third water issue, namely the timing of the flow, will be altered to conform more
closely with seasonal historic flows. This will require most of the historic flow of 1.7 billion
gallons per day be stored in nearly 220,000 acres of above ground reservoirs and wetland
treatment areas and in approximately 330 underground aquifer storage wells. Water from the
reservoirs and wells will be pumped and released into the Everglades ecosystem to
correspond with natural water flow cycles. Timing water flows to meet Everglades
restoration goals may also mean flooding of agricultural areas if water levels are held
relatively high during periods when major rainfall events occur and possible shortages for
agriculture during periods of drought and heavy demand by competing uses.
The fourth issue, water quality, may also be problematic for farmers. One of the
major concerns is phosphorous. A major component in commercial fertilizers, elevated
phosphorous levels can kill sensitive flora found in the Everglades, and encourage growth of
undesirable exotic species. The Everglades is a very low phosphorous environment, and
studies have recommended that run-off going into the Everglades have phosphorous levels

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not exceeding 10 parts per billion (ppb). Meeting this requirement may be very difficult, if
not impossible.
Because the Everglades restoration effort is so massive and complex, the project will
utilize a concept called "adaptive management". This common sense approach means that if
some restoration effort results in unintended consequences, the plan will have the flexibility
to be modified to alleviate the problem. This management approach acknowledges that it is
virtually impossible to anticipate all the ramifications of planned actions. One of the factors
that creates uncertainty in agriculture is lack of adequate hydrological, topographic and
flooding data.
Recommendations
Because the terrain in the South Dade agricultural area is so flat and low-lying,
current topographic maps based upon 5-foot contours are totally inadequate in assessing
likelihood of flooding. Lidar data, with the capability of showing elevation differences as
small as six inches, should be obtained as soon as possible. This would allow farmers to
make better decisions with respect to locating planting areas for crops with varying flooding
tolerances. These data should be incorporated into the Everglades Agro-Hydrology Model
developed by ARS, USDA and the newly developed UF/IFAS GIS program in order to
facilitate analyses of potential flooding problems for currently existing agricultural uses as
well. Further, the refined topographic data would enable restoration project managers and
analysts to anticipate and evaluate impacts of various water management decisions.
A second recommendation is to develop an improved hydrological data collection
system to monitor water table levels in and near agricultural areas. Current monitoring is too
limited to allow the level of precision required for sophisticated and accurate analyses.
Improved hydrological data would also complement the topographic data discussed above.
A third recommendation is to explore an indemnification program that would
compensate farmers for crop losses and losses in land values if restoration efforts result in
unintended catastrophic or chronic negative consequences like flooding. Farmers' investment
in vegetable crops (pre-harvest costs) ranges from approximately $2,200 for bush beans and
squash to $3,000 for potatoes and sweet corn and nearly $7,000 for staked tomatoes
(Appendix B-3). Average sales prices of row crop land in recent years have generally been in
the $15,000 to $17,000 range (Appendix B-4). Losses of investments of these magnitudes
should be taken seriously and made subject to compensation.
A fourth recommendation is for farmers to work closely with USDA and university
researchers in (a) developing more flood tolerant crops as described in Appendix E-1 and (b)
developing best management practices (BMPs) to meet impending restrictions on water
quality. BMPs should especially focus on more efficient irrigation systems and usage,
fertilizer management and pest control.






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TRENDS IN PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY
Development of New Cultivars
Current Situation and Outlook.
When new disease strains or insect pests arrive, there is a lag of several to many years
before resistant varieties are commercially available. New varieties with multiple
improvements are difficult to develop due to the large plant populations that must be
evaluated. Genetic engineering of plants offers a quicker solution to many of these problems.
However, this industry has several problems that need to be addressed (Appendix E-8).
Recent increases in new product development using genetic engineering have slowed.
The industry is having problems dealing with Genetically Modified Organisms, due to
public-generated adverse publicity. It is novel technology outside of U.S., and not readily
accepted. Japan, Canada and Europe have their own regulatory agencies that the products
must pass through for approval. They work independently from US regulatory agencies. A
lack of trust in European communities of U.S. government agencies has caused problems.
Thus, there are extra hurdles to address to be able to sell GMOs outside the U.S.
Another major constraint to developing new cultivars with genetic engineering is the
cost of registration. Registration is very expensive. USDA, EPA and FDA all are involved.
Typically, for minor crops such as vegetables, the collaborator bears more than half of the
cost of registration. It is estimated that it costs $500 million dollars to register a new gene.
Most seed companies target major field crops with their development work, such as
field corn, cotton and soybeans, where the payoff is likely to be great. For example, several
million acres are planted annually to Bacillus thuringiensis field corn, but currently BT sweet
corn is a minor contender in production in comparison with other sweet corn varieties
(Appendix E-7). Thus, minor horticultural crops, such as most of those grown in Miami-
Dade County, get little attention from seed companies because of the limited commercial
potential of seed sales. Even so, some firms engage in genetic improvement for minor crops
to maintain or build good will, and to gain acceptance of genetic engineering of major crops.
Due to unexpected public concern with genetically modified foods, and because of
the expensive and lengthy regulatory approval process, it is unlikely that significant numbers
of new varieties of genetically engineered sweet corn or other vegetables will be available
within the next decade. Even if new genetically enhanced varieties are released, pest
management savings may not offset the higher cost of the seeds (Appendix E-8).
Tomato cultivars
UF/IFAS researchers have a long and successful history of developing new, improved
cultivars of fruits and vegetables using conventional plant breeding techniques. Work on
tomatoes has been especially successful and has been conducted at a number of UF/IFAS
research centers. Over the past several decades, Florida tomato farmers have provided
financial assistance to UF/IFAS through the Florida Tomato Committee.
Even though UF/IFAS's tomato breeding program has been successful, it is still a
slow, laborious process to develop cultivars suited to the unique growing conditions in

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Florida and the mature green harvesting and handling system. There is added work because
growers prefer to use only jointless pedicel tomatoes and it is difficult to combine heat-
tolerance and jointlessness. However, 'Fla. 7771' a jointless, heat-tolerant breeding line was
released in 1999. This line was crossed with a parent from NC State University and a hybrid,
'NC99405', with heat-tolerance and jointless pedicels has performed very well in Florida and
elsewhere. 'N99405' is the first jointless variety that will compete successfully with heat-
tolerant, jointed pedicel varieties in the early fall production season (Appendix E-5).
Varieties with high levels of resistance to bacterial spot, a serious foliar and fruit
disease, will not be available in the near future. It will be more difficult to combine bacterial
spot resistance with the jointless trait. Thus, in the near term, growers may have to choose
between their desire for jointlessness and their need for bacterial spot resistance (Appendix
E-5).
"Vine Ripe" specialty tomatoes such as cluster, plum and grape types could have
potential for expanded production in Miami-Dade County. Such types are grown when
improved eating quality is desired and customers are willing to accept the higher price. By
growing these types, growers might be competitive with greenhouse grown tomatoes.
Cluster tomatoes may be hard to manage in the County, since the entire cluster is harvested
by hand and does not fit well into a bulk handling system. Also, it will be difficult to harvest
the clusters using the present staking system. Most breeding for cluster tomatoes is for the
greenhouse. Thus, there is a question as to the plants' abilities to do well under Miami-Dade
County field conditions.
There are more risks in growing vine ripe tomatoes, since adverse weather can
dramatically reduce yields and labor costs are increased. Higher prices are needed and
marketing efforts would likely be required to attain the required prices.
High lycopene, crimson tomatoes have promise. They have an attractive deep red
interior color. These types have increased antioxidant properties, which are associated with
cancer prevention. Crimson tomatoes could be marketed as a functional food for a more
health conscious public. Such tomatoes would work with a mature green or a vine ripe
harvest system. However, they would be best used with the latter, especially if the high
lycopene variety had flavor superior to that in the marketplace. Experimental varieties have
already been tested on grower farms in Miami-Dade County and Fla. '7862' is being grown
on a larger acreage in the 2000-2001 season. These are varieties that are being developed for
Florida growers and the Florida environment. Thus they may not perform well in other
competing production areas and provide a market edge to Florida growers.
Although the concept of more flavorful tomatoes is appealing, attempts at developing
and evaluating lines for this trait have achieved limited success. Flavor is affected by a
strong environmental component. The flavor ratings often change from one growing season
to the next. To make selections for flavor, the breeder must actually taste fruit several times
during the season from a large number of plants and also subject them to extensive laboratory
analysis. Much is yet to be learned about the chemistry of flavor in tomatoes. Thus,
breeding for flavor is a major challenge for any breeding program. Whereas it is difficult to
develop superior flavored tomatoes for Miami-Dade growers, it is difficult for everyone else

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too. Thus, at present there are no dramatically better-flavored, large fruited tomatoes in
commercial channels.
There is a lot of research being conducted on GMO tomatoes, but the present
reservations about these products by the public are limiting their commercialization.
Whereas this will likely change in the future, it is not likely that they will impact the
County's tomato growing over the next several years. In summary, the following
developments are likely to be beneficial to the tomato industry in Miami-Dade County:
Development of heat tolerant, jointless pedicel cultivarsfor early fall production, the
first being 'NC99405'.
Release 1 i/hi/n a year or two of tomato lines i i/h intermediate level of resistance to
bacterial leaf spot, and eventually the release of lines i i lh high levels of resistance to
this disease. Tomato lines will eventually be developed which spot (Corynespora
cassiicola), bacterial spec (Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato) incorporate tolerance
or resistance to other bacterial diseases, especially target and bacterial canker
(Clavibacter michiganensis).
Tomato lines u/i lh resistance to tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) are becoming
available.
Hybrids, such as 'Sanibel' have resistance to root-knot nematodes, and this trait is
especially important, since methyl bromide use is being phased out.
Compact gi ,i tih habit, jointless pedicel tomato lines, that do not require staking and
that are suited for mechanical harvesting are being developed rapidly.
Specialty vine ripe tomatoes (heirloom, cluster, plum and grape) are likely to be
grown increasingly by growers who focus on niche markets.
High lycopene crimson varieties, such as 'Fla7862' are beginning to find a place in
the Miami-Dade industry. At least in the near term, such highly desirable tomatoes
are likely to perform better in Florida than elsewhere.
Squash cultivars
There are more than 30 viruses of cucurbits, thus, the potential for new viruses to
become a problem is a major concern. Development of new squash cultivars with resistance
to virus diseases is a continuing challenge.
Seminis has a close relationship with Monsanto, and has licensed the latter's gene-
constructs for use in new squash varieties. Nevertheless, Seminis will not release Roundup-
ready squash in the near future because environmental activists harassed them during the
process of developing squash varieties with genetic constructs for virus resistance (Appendix
E-6).
The development of squash varieties with multiple disease resistance in a relatively
short period of time offers promise for higher yields and reduced risk of crop failure due to
disease. Additionally, growers can extend their growing season to later in the spring.
However, due to intense public pressure to minimize the use of GMOs and to burdensome
regulatory issues, further advancements are not likely to occur soon.



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Papaya
Papaya ringspot potyvirus (PRSV) resistance is being introduced through
conventional breeding. Papaya ringspot is a greater problem in the spring crop. It has been
more difficult to incorporate this resistance than in the case of transgenic resistance. The
transgenic resistances are stacked. Thus they move together in the breeding process. Since
papaya ringspot is a major virus in southern Florida, the new and soon to be released
varieties with this resistance should be valuable to Miami-Dade growers.
Other than the crops discussed above, there are few developments with respect to
new, improved cultivars of other fruit and vegetable crops that are likely to drastically alter
growers' net returns in the foreseeable future.
Recommendations
Because of the general public's apparent concerns with GMOs and the extremely high
cost of registering new genes, the Miami-Dade agricultural community should consider the
following: (1) continue to provide support for conventional breeding programs for crops of
greatest potential commercial importance until consumers' concerns with GMOs can be
adequately addressed; and (2) support scientific research that seeks to ascertain the safety of
various GMOs.
Fertilizer Management
Current Situation and Outlook
Fertilizer management is an essential practice for crop production in Miami-Dade
County because of the nature of the soils and because of increasing scrutiny of agricultural
practices that have the potential to degrade surface and subsurface water quality. Better
fertilizer management can also increase net financial returns by reducing the amount of
fertilizer used.
The predominant soils in Miami-Dade County Agricultural area are gravelly soils and
marl soils (Lithic Udorthents). This soil is characterized by an alkaline pH of 7.4-8.4, very
gravelly texture (34-76 percent limestone fragments, 2mm or larger in diameter), low water
holding capacity (0.08-0.12 cm cm-1 of soil) but rapid permeability (1.5 5.1 cm hr1). In
addition, it has a low cat ion exchange capacity (16-37 cmolc kg-1 soil). A typical marl soil
for agriculture crops is Biscayne marl, which is characterized by an alkaline pH of 7.4-8.4,
low water holding capacity (0.15-0.20 cm cm-1 of soil) and rapid permeability (1.5-15 cm
hour-'). In addition, marl soils have shallow depths (normally less than 0.5 m) and the water
tables are within 0.25 m of the surface for several months each year. These unique soil
conditions create universal problems for crop production in this area such as microelement
deficiencies, low use efficiency of fertilizers, and potential leaching of nutrients into
groundwater.
There are at least 18 different traditional vegetables, more than a dozen tropical and
specialty vegetables, over 19 tropical fruits and many ornamental crop species grown
commercially in Miami-Dade County. Each crop has different nutritional requirements.
Although some fertilizer experiments have been conducted in south Miami-Dade County,
most these studies focused on a few major crops such as avocado, mango, lime, tomato, bean,

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sweet corn, etc. Scientific information on fertilizer management practices for other crops is
essentially lacking.
Several cover crop projects are currently in progress in Miami-Dade County.
Composts have been increasing in popularity as soil organic amendments. Research has
demonstrated that compost can serve as a soil amendment to increase organic matter,
improve microbial activities in soils, provide nutrients, and ultimately improve plant growth
and yield. However, composts are produced from various organic wastes and consequently,
environmental concerns are always an issue in compost utilization. The potential often exists
for heavy metals to accumulate in the soil and sometimes in the edible parts of vegetable and
fruit plants, although this is not as likely to occur in the County's calcareous soils as may
occur in the acidic sandy soils further north. Nevertheless excessive nutrients or metals
released from composts may be leached out of the root zone and into groundwater by
irrigation or by rainfall. Other hazards such as human pathogens, viable weed seeds, and
plant phytotoxicity should be considered when developing vegetable production systems with
compost.
Recommendations
There is a serious lack of scientific data on nutritional requirements and optimal
fertilizer management practices for many of the crops grown in Miami-Dade County. It is
recommended that growers support scientific research and applied research to develop best
management practices (BMPs) for crops that have not been studied, focusing on those with
the greatest current commercial value. These BMPs will allow farmers to optimize fertilizer
usage, thereby increasing profits. They will also enable farmers to meet increasingly stringent
water quality standards.
Irrigation Management
Current Situation and Outlook
Improving irrigation management for commercial crops is becoming important for
environmental and land-use planning considerations. The Everglades restoration project
places a huge emphasis on improving water quality in the agricultural areas adjacent to the
Everglades. As a result, several agencies such as the Florida Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services (FDACS) the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP),
the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and the U.S. Department of
Environmental Protection (EPA) have funded research aimed at developing best management
practices (BMPs) to reduce the potential leaching of agrochemicals into the groundwater in
south Miami-Dade county (Appendix E-10).
Improving irrigation management is becoming increasingly important in south
Miami-Dade County primarily because of the potential to improve water quality.
Additionally, the population in Miami-Dade County is increasing inexorably and is
competing for potable water. Therefore, agricultural water may eventually be metered and
regulated to a greater degree. Thus from a planning perspective, it may be necessary to
optimize crop water use.



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Because of difficulty of monitoring soil moisture in Miami-Dade's rocky soils and
lack of appropriate technology, growers have not based irrigation management on
quantitative determinations of soil water content or crop water use. However, UF/IFAS
researchers and extension personnel have recently identified and tested quantitative, more
affordable methods of irrigation management for agricultural crops in Miami-Dade County.
The relatively small size of many farms and the tremendous diversity and intermixing of crop
types impede adoption of this technology. Irrigation management methods that are effective
and economical for large scale, monoculture farming are often not feasible or economically
viable in Miami-Dade County.
Methods of irrigation of vegetable crops include use of water cannons, solid set
sprinkler irrigation, and drip irrigation primarily for tomatoes. Water cannons are extremely
wasteful, but continue to be used because vegetable land is primarily leased, so that
investments in solid-set irrigation cannot be recovered. Sprinkler irrigation, although
expensive, is more efficient, and uniform and very useful for frost protection. Drip irrigation
uses water the most efficiently.
How much water to apply and when is being determined by inexact methods.
However, precision devices such as tensiometers, neutron probes, multi-sensor capacitance
probes, time domain reflectometers (TDR) and meteorological methods have been tested to
determine crop water use. Tensiometers are cheap (about $60/each and only a few per field
are required), and reasonably effective on Miami-Dade soils. UF/IFAS extension personnel
have developed an educational program to inform growers of on-going research on new
technology (multi-sensor capacitance probes) and/or improvements in the use of older
technology (i.e., tensiometers).
Multi-sensor capacitance probes are effective in Miami-Dade soils and are more
precise than tensiometers, however, they are much more expensive ($6,000-$20,000
depending on the number of probes, etc.). Therefore, only a few growers make this
investment. The easiest (and cheapest) method to quantify plant water use is by calculating
crop evapotranspiration (ET). The Florida Agricultural Weather Retrieval Network (FAWN)
provides reference ET on a weather site, which is accessible to everyone via the Internet. To
determine the actual ET for each crop, the reference ET must be multiplied by a crop
coefficient. However, crop coefficients have not been determined for many of the crops
grown commercially in Miami-Dade County. Therefore, research on crop coefficients for
specific crops is needed.
Tensiometers can be used to estimate soil moisture content, and are effective for
irrigation scheduling. Thus, when the soil dries to a certain point, the irrigation system can
be turned on, and then turned off when the soil is at field capacity. Timing of irrigation can
be mechanized by the use of automated controllers, some of which cost only $2,000 to
$3,000. However, with the exception of the relatively high-value nursery crop industry, it is
unlikely that many growers will invest in the automation technology due to the relatively
small size of their operations.




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Recommendations
Research that focuses on developing BMPs for irrigation management should be
continued. This will help farmers better cope with possible water restrictions and also
improve groundwater quality by reducing leaching of agrochemicals caused by over-
irrigation. Secondly, research should be conducted to determine the evapotranspiration (ET)
coefficients for crops that have not been studied. Lastly, an incentive system should be
explored which would encourage producers to adopt more efficient irrigation systems. An
incentive system could be based upon a cost-share programs similar to those administered by
USDA-NRCS for farmers adopting various types of conservation measure such as terracing,
building of waterways, etc. Existing Federal, State or local agencies concerned with water
quality issues, could administer such water conservation incentives.
Cultural Practices
Current Situation and Outlook
Growers in south Florida in general and vegetable growers in particular exercise high
levels of skills and expertise in growing crops in conventional ways. Such conventional
production methodology has been used for over half a century. Conventional production
requires extensive preparation of the field before planting the crop including disc plowing,
leveling, forming raised beds, laying plastic mulches, fumigating the soil, and subsequent
control of weeds by herbicides or cultivation. This standard approach has resulted in high
yields and high fruit quality. However, over the years a few major shortcomings in the
conventional methods have surfaced. These relate to high production costs, soil fertility
problems and environmental degradation. In order for agriculture in south Florida to be
sustainable, certain major modifications must be researched, and improved technologies must
be introduced. The following summarizes the needed modifications (Appendix E-12).
Increasing Yields and Reducing Production Costs
Sustainability of Florida farm firms can prevail only if production costs per unit are
competitive with those of other locations in the U.S., and more importantly, with those of
other countries. Survival in the competitive global market necessitates lower production
costs and/or higher yields without diminishing quality. Because Florida growers are subject
to higher costs of labor, land rents and taxes than those in other countries, they have to
produce more cheaply in order to survive.
Minimizing Environmental Degradation
South Florida growers are required to operate under more rigorous environmental
restrictions than most of their competitors. The best example of such inequality is the
banning of methyl bromide use in the U.S., while competitors outside the U.S. continue to
benefit from this highly effective soil sterilant. It is certain that additional and new
restrictions will be applied to other effective pesticides currently in use, and whose
elimination will increase production costs.




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Recommendations
Reducing production costs can be achieved by economic evaluation of major
components of conventional production systems in order to identify alternatives to costly
operations/technologies currently in use that actually contribute little to yields and produce
quality. Operations that must be evaluated with respect to impact on production cost, yield
increases, crop quality and adverse effect on the environment include tillage, commercial
fertilizers, pesticides plastic mulches and soil fumigants.
No-tillage production systems should be researched and evaluated for economic
efficiency and environmental effects. There is compelling evidence from research and
practice in other parts of the U.S. that no-tillage, alternative production systems result in
equal or sometimes higher yields than those with tillage. The advantages of adopting no-
tillage production include elimination of soil erosion, reduction of soil compaction, and
savings on fossil fuel, labor and machinery.
Non-chemical substitutes for the banned methyl bromide need to be developed.
Among the promising possibilities are the use of (i) pest-resistant crop cultivars in rotation
with pest-resistant cover crops, (ii) use of solarization, and (iii) where feasible, the use of soil
amendments.
Optimized use of chemicals and irrigation is needed. South Florida growers depend
heavily on commercial fertilizers and pesticides. Optimization of use of these chemicals can
result in great savings in production costs, and at the same time, reduce potential
contamination of ground and surface waters. Fertilizer requirements by crops can be
optimized by (i) evaluating alternative sources that are less subject to loss by run-off to
surface water bodies and to infiltration into the water table, (ii) recycling of nutrients by
cover crops, and (iii) nitrogen fixation by legume cover crops. In addition, irrigation and
fertigation practices need to be examined to minimize the amount of nutrients leached out of
the root zone. Such leaching not only wastes fertilizer, but also deprives crops of needed
nutrients and lowers crop yields. Likewise, pesticide use can be significantly reduced by
various approaches including the application of integrated pest management approaches,
including the use of pest resistant crop cultivars, crop rotations, use of beneficial insects and
microorganisms, etc.
Research on the use of organic mulches as replacements for plastic mulches. Plastic
mulches are used in growing many major crops. They are costly, require special equipment to
lay and to remove, and they are pollutants of the environment. There is strong evidence that
plant residues from cover crops can be effective in suppressing weeds, provided that
measures have been taken to build down weed pressure by reducing the reservoir of
propagules in the soil. Furthermore, plant residues from cover crops add both organic matter
and recycled nutrients, which improve soil tilth, water holding capacity, and soil microbial
activity, while reducing production costs imposed by plastic mulches.
Research on the above-mentioned components of sustainable production systems has
been underway for many years at various research institutions in the U.S. and abroad. These
alternative cultural practices should be further developed and evaluated for adaptability to
south Florida's climate and crops with the objective of developing low-input, no-tillage

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production systems. Elimination of tillage, plastic mulches and soil fumigants, and reduction
of pesticide and commercial fertilizer use could possibly lower production costs, allowing
Florida growers to be more competitive with domestic and international competitors.
Adoption of these approaches could also reduce environmental problems, especially
contamination of water and air and the progressive destruction of the ozone shield.
Mechanization and Robotics
Current Situation and Outlook
Continuing problems with finding appropriate labor, increasing labor costs, more
stringent worker protection standards and other labor reporting requirements are causing
farmers to search for improved and expanded automation to perform agricultural activities. In
order to explore emerging developments in mechanization and robotics and applications to
agriculture, a representative from the National Robotics Engineering Consortium (NREC),
associated with Carnegie Mellon University, was asked to participate in the Future
Technologies Workshop (Appendix E- 11).
The NREC works with other universities, farm equipment manufacturers and grower
organizations to develop effective mechanization and robotic devices to improve the
efficiency of many agricultural production tasks. Much of their research is focused on
applications that offer the potential for large-scale farming. Examples are:
An autonomous alfalfa harvester equipped with color vision cameras that detect the
cut line in an alfalfa field. With the sensors and active lighting, the machine can
harvest alfalfa day and night. Case New Holland, the harvester manufacturer, will
commercialize the technology in 2002. It will enable the driver to operate the
equipment hands free and at a faster speed than under human control.
The NREC has developed an automated tractor for orange grove spraying which uses
a differential GPS system for navigation. The system provides one half-inch
positional accuracy. The final project will provide for one person to control up to four
autonomous sprayers in a grove. John Deere is funding much of this work. The
automated system will provide labor savings and allow for the capability to spray at
night when there is less wind and no workers are in the field. The elimination of a
driver results in improved safety due to less exposure to pesticide sprays. The NREC
anticipates deploying this technology for row crop spraying in the future. This
technology might have application to row crops, where acreages are relatively large.
However, given the cost of the equipment and the required scale of operation, this
technology would probably not be economically feasible for relatively small groves
in Miami-Dade County. It might prove economically feasible for some large-scale
row crops, however.
The NREC conducted a feasibility study on mechanical harvest of stake tomatoes in
2001 in Florida. The Florida Tomato Committee funded this effort. Several prototype
picking devices were evaluated in a limited field test. Although the machines were able to
pick tomatoes, the overall results were deemed unacceptable for a number of reasons.
The machines could not differentiate harvested tomatoes by size, they left too many
tomatoes on the vines, and fruit damage was worse than hand harvest. Additionally, stem and

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leaf bruising was excessive, which could lead to bacterial infection and lower yields on
subsequent pickings. Further, half of the tomatoes harvested retained stems, which would
result in unacceptable damage during handling, or would require hand removal. The
conclusion was that simple, low-cost mechanical picking is infeasible, unless stemless
tomatoes are grown and the twining method is changed to avoid bunching of stems and
leaves which leads to serious plant damage. NREC did recommend further exploration of a
simple conveyorized bucket system that could increase hand harvesters' productivity.
Another of NREC's recommendations was to grow a tomato type that could be planted
several times during a single growing season, facilitating once-over, destructive harvest
(Proceedings of the Florida Tomato Institute, 2001).
According to NREC, there are several promising robotics applications in the nursery
industry, designed to alleviate the severe labor shortage faced by nursery growers. Handling
container plants is a very labor-intensive task that involves transporting containers from the
potting shed out to the field and from the field to the shipping area. The NREC has
developed a human-driven machine that will quadruple the productivity of container
handling in both warm and cold weather climates. The machine is currently being tested.
The NREC has also developed a device that attaches to a motorized dinghy that can grab
very heavy plant containers for transport. Their work in nurseries is not limited to large-scale
operations and needs. They also invented a device to more efficiently measure tree sizes.
This is critical for understanding the value of the grower's inventory and final product
pricing.
In Europe many greenhouses are automated. The high cost of labor in Europe has
encouraged the development of automated systems for greenhouses and nurseries. American
growers cannot adopt many of the European-developed systems because their nurseries are
not designed for automation. The NREC is designing these machines so that they can be
applied in a typical American nursery.
In the Miami-Dade county ornamental plant nursery industry there is a need for
automated equipment. Such machines can assist in planting, spraying, irrigating,
transporting and packing plant material for shipment.
Despite the guarded optimism for development of laborsaving machinery for the
nursery industry, the NREC representative dampened enthusiasm by concluding "Automation
and robotics will provide limited help for agriculture in Miami-Dade in the near future. The
areas where improvements are likely are those where processes are labor intensive and
repetitive and the market is prosperous. Oirii i\e, unless there is manufacturer or
commodity-wide support for developmental projects, there is little chance for automation of
most agricultural tasks in the next decade" (Appendix E-11).
Recommendations
The conveyorized bucket system designed by NREC may offer some labor savings to
tomato growers, but further work should be done on the design and worker's abilities to
adapt to the system. In the longer run, development of tomato varieties that would facilitate
once-over machine harvest probably offers the most promise in labor savings.


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Developments of laborsaving machines and robots for the nursery industry appear to
offer the most promise, especially since most can be adapted to relatively small-scale
operations. Grower organizations such as FNGA may want to evaluate currently available
prototypes of equipment available from NREC or other sources that could result in labor
savings. Growers should also explore the possibility of sponsoring development of machines
by NREC or other organizations that better meet specific needs of south Florida nurseries.
Feasibility studies are needed to identify tasks that offer the best chances for successful,
economically feasible automation. As prototype machines are developed, their economic
potential should be evaluated.
Pesticides
Current Situation and Outlook
The era of the broad-spectrum chemicals has been superseded by a new era grounded
in information with novel tools, many not chemistry-based. The whole complexion of plant
protection in all of its aspects has changed in that we have pesticides with new modes of
action, new strategies of pest management, and major changes in the availability of pesticides
(Appendix E-13)
The availability of pesticides is changing because of tremendous changes in the
chemical industry, in pest management support organizations and in the regulation of
pesticides. All levels of government have established a role in pesticide regulation: Federal,
State and County. Miami-Dade County has a "home rule charter", which enables the County
Government to enact regulations more stringent than those of the Federal Government.
Pest management has become information intensive, whereas in the 1970's pest
management was largely calendar driven with very limited use of knowledge of the crop and
of the dynamics of the pest to be managed. This has flip-flopped. Now 85 percent of pest
management decisions come out of a complex integrated consideration of the pest's life
stages, population densities, potential interactions of pests, crop physiology, and the strengths
and weaknesses of the tools of detection and suppression.
The application criteria of currently available products are much more critical than in
the past. Spray volume used, soil moisture conditions, etc. come into play depending on the
material. Currently available tools do not always perform with the high levels of efficacy,
which were taken for granted with the old broad-spectrum chemicals. Much more attention to
detail and precision are required with the currently available materials. Proper application
equipment can be costly and complex to operate. More sophisticated farm operators are
required than in the old era. Highly trained specialists are needed who have at their command
detailed knowledge of crop physiology, biology of the pests and the strengths and weakness
of the plant protection tools, and who can integrate and analyze to make proper and timely
decisions. Small-scale, part time operators have difficulty in coping with today's complex
pest control regimens.
Shifts in business models are occurring, both in the pest management input industries
and in the farming industry. Consolidation of farms causes a manager to cope with multiple
locations. Globalization of the economy affects all of the commodities in the County.


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Therefore the Miami-Dade County grower is no longer competing only with operators in this
and one or two neighboring counties. Instead, the competitors are in totally different
countries. The factors that strongly affect the economics of production in Mexico and other
countries are not necessarily the same as here. Also, the competing foreign farmer is
frequently working with a low cost labor model, which may provide more options on how
pest management problems are handled than are available to the Miami-Dade County
grower.
Regulatory changes from FIFRA-Lite (1988 Amendments) and the Food Quality
Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA) are creating new data requirements and affecting the review
process of the pest management tools. These are slowing the approval of new tools.
Dietary exposure was once feared to be the factor that would cause the greatest
number of cancellations of pesticide uses. However, this has not been the case. Extensive
and highly reliable databases exist on dietary exposure, and the extent of such exposure is
considerably less than had been suspected in past decades. On the other hand, as cumulative
exposure to whole classes of pesticides are considered, such as all organophosphates, it is
possible that dietary exposure may yet result in cancellations of registrations.
Drinking water exposure is another factor now receiving renewed attention. Re-
assessment of exposure to pesticide residues in drinking water has, thus far, not resulted in
any cancellations. However this may still occur especially where pesticides are used on
farms overlying surficial aquifers not shielded with an impermeable soil layer, as is the case
with the Biscayne aquifer in Miami-Dade County. If exposure to pesticides via drinking
water were found to be problematic, a variety of mitigation measures would have to be
implemented for pesticides, which leach readily, ranging from prohibition to certain
restrictions.
Occupational exposure to pesticides is now receiving considerable attention. This is
especially important with regard to mix-load operations, re-entry periods and field worker
exposure. Here there are major issues and concerns because the models used tend to deal
with the worst-case scenarios. Mitigation for field worker exposure may take the form of
outright cancellation, reduced rates of application, less frequent applications, closed mixing
and loading systems and use of closed cabs. The cost of closed cabs for small operations
effectively removes the use of toxic pesticides. Interim restricted entry intervals (REIs) were
introduced with the implementation of the Worker Protection Standard, and now we are
seeing a significant lengthening of REIs as pesticides undergo occupational exposure
assessments. This may result in the "de facto" cancellation of certain products, since their use
will not be an option when they are most needed. Registrants and EPA negotiate the REIs
without any input from growers and workers. For older pesticides, the registrants are not
willing to generate the data that would result in a realistic REI, because the remaining patent
life would not allow cost-recovery.
Inadequate training of workers is another great concern, and making relevant
information available to workers, such as posting of MDS sheets, etc. Mitigation for mix-
load worker exposure may take the form of more protective equipment and clothing, and this
becomes very burdensome in a hot humid climate such as found in Miami-Dade County.

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Also, engineering solutions are coming into use in the form of closed-system transfer of
active ingredients from container to sprayer without any measuring and handling by the mix-
load operator. However, these engineering solutions may be cost prohibitive for smaller-scale
operations.
Environmental exposure is another area receiving greater scrutiny. Here mitigation
can take the form of reduced rates and frequencies of applications and buffer zones. Buffer
zones effectively prevent the use of a pesticide in small fields, because only the center of the
field can be treated. Further details on the increasingly stringent regulations on pesticides,
their application, and implications for Miami-Dade growers are found in Appendices E-14
through E-20.
With respect to the future, there are challenges to be met in risk mitigation with
respect to maintaining and defending pest management tools under regulatory scrutiny.
Growers have to become more willing to document exactly what they do and explain why
they do it. Growers cannot continue to merely assert that they should be trusted since they
are good guys. Growers have to become more open in explaining what they do and why they
do it.
Regulatory pressure on the older products will continue unchanged. This means that
EPA resources that should be used to facilitate the registration of new products to get them
into the growers' hands will continue to be focused on review and risk mitigation of older
products. The net result of this focus will be fewer tools to address existing problems.
Other negative developments, resulting from changes in the FPQA, are (1) two or
more pesticides will have to be available for a number of specific uses, because in many
instances a grower is no longer allowed to protect a crop season-long from a given pest or
pathogen with only one pesticide, (2) the rate at which new pesticides are being registered is
likely to be reduced and (3) the willingness of agrochemical companies to register new
chemicals for minor crops is likely to wane somewhat. Another major concern of growers is
the cost of pesticides has skyrocketed and become almost prohibitive.
On the positive side, favorable impacts include: (1) incentives for the agrochemical
industry to develop "reduced risk pesticides" are likely to be somewhat effective, (2) the
greater emphasis on worker exposure will drive the development and use of a portable direct-
injection closed-systems for filling and rinsing sprayers, as well as on better education and
training of pesticide applicators, and (3) the adoption by EPA of minor crop groupings and
"crop definitions" will greatly facilitate the addition of crops to pesticide labels.
In summary, the long-term outlook for pesticide availability, regulations and costs are
not favorable to the interests of Miami-Dade County agriculture. Costs of materials,
application and worker protection equipment, expert analysts and applicators, and
compliance with increasingly onerous regulations are likely to continue to increase, further
reducing profits.
Recommendations
The inexorable trend toward information intensive and high-technology based pest
management will require Miami-Dade farm operators to become even more sophisticated

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than at present. Highly trained specialists will be needed who have at their command detailed
knowledge of crop physiology, biology of the pests and the strengths and weakness of the
plant protection tools, and who can analyze, integrate complex information, and make sound
and timely decisions. Some of the latter will be employed by or be partners in farm firms,
while others will be employed by private sector pest management support organizations. It is
recommended that land grant universities develop training programs that meet the needs of
growers, while assuring compliance with applicable regulations using common sense and
cost effective methods.
It is also recommended that growers and land grant university researchers and
extension faculty work together in developing economically viable BMPs with respect to
pesticides and take a proactive approach to developing policies that could protect the
interests of growers. For example, buffers are frequently mentioned as a means of mitigating
adverse environmental exposure; a rational approach to buffers, sometimes used in Europe, is
for buffers to be on non-agricultural property surrounding agricultural land where pesticides
are used. Finally, growers and university faculty and staff will have to cooperate to a greater
degree and improve communications with regulatory agencies to assure the availability of
plant protection materials and other critically essential technologies (Appendix 13).
Post-Harvest Handling
Current Situation and Outlook
Proper post-harvest handling of fresh fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants is a
crucial element in competing for the consumer's dollars. The goal is to harvest products at
the optimum stage of horticultural maturity and then maintain quality while minimizing
losses during the series of handling steps from the farm until the consumer uses the product.
It is estimated that 9 to 16 percent of the product is lost due to post-harvest problems during
shipment and handling. Mechanical injury is a major cause of losses. Many of these injuries
cannot be seen at the time that the product is packed and shipped, such as internal bruising in
tomatoes. Other sources of loss include over-ripening, senescence, the growth of pathogens
and the development of latent mechanical injuries (Appendix E-21).
Unacceptable loss of quality and saleable product in the marketing channel results in
serious financial losses to growers and shippers. While most of the agricultural products
shipped out of Miami-Dade County arrive at their destinations in acceptable condition, there
is always room for improvement. Improvements in the inherent quality of products and the
ways they are handled in the marketing channel are another competitive tool, one that is also
being used by growers and shippers in other areas.
American consumers have become accustomed to a very broad selection of high
quality fresh fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants in the marketplace. With an average of
only 10 percent of their incomes spent for food and discretionary incomes at record levels,
consumers are becoming increasingly "picky" about their food purchases. They are
demanding safe, high-quality products, and are showing a willingness to pay the price for
"premium" quality.



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Premium quality is associated with higher grading standards. USDA grade standards
apply to the major fruits and vegetables crops. However, many of the minor crops produced
in southern Florida have no USDA grade standards. A good example of premium quality is
the marketing of "Tree-ripe" fruits. "Tree ripe" fruits have a great future because their eating
qualities are better, especially their flavor. California has been successfully promoting crops
such as peaches and nectarines for several years. There is great potential for establishing such
a program for crops grown in south Florida, notably tropical fruits. Specialty and other fresh
vegetables could also be marketed under a similar program, in a sense making them "value-
added". There is great potential for establishing such a program for crops grown in south
Florida, notably tropical fruits. Specialty and other fresh vegetables could also be marketed
under a similar program, in a sense making them "value-added". The "Tree-ripe" concept
may become more feasible if a new delayed-ripening product receives approval. 1-
methylcyclopropene (MCP) is a gas that is effective at low rates (parts per billion) and is
non-toxic. One dose is enough for a lasting effect. Rohm & Haas is pursuing registration of
this product for post harvest application to fresh fruits and vegetables. In preliminary tests at
the University of Florida, this product has shown potential with papaya and melon. The
delayed ripening could permit shipment over greater distances, and in some cases marine
containers might be used in place of air transport. While this development could prove to be
beneficial to Miami-Dade growers and shippers, it could prove even more beneficial to
foreign producers.
Other emerging technologies that will affect fruits and vegetable handling are
automation, sensors, and food irradiation. Automated systems that utilize sophisticated
electronic controls and sensors are being developed and improved for visually sorting and
grading produce. Many larger packinghouses, particularly citrus packers and tomato
repackers, are adopting this technology. This not only saves labor, but also helps packers
provide a consistent, high-quality product. There are in-line sensing instruments that
nondestructively look into the fruit and determine quality aspects without harming the fruit.
Infrared sensors are becoming more reliable for determining the Brix content of fruit, and
hand-held instruments should be available soon. Such instruments can be used to determine
whether a fruit like watermelon is mature or ripe enough for harvesting. The development of
such sensors will depend on market demand.
In-line food irradiators can be used to eliminate human pathogens, pathogens that
cause decay in food items, or insects. The system is approved for use on fruits and vegetables
and is currently being used on a limited basis by U.S. shippers to meet phytosanitary
requirements for shipping tropical fruits to areas of the U.S. that have quarantines in place to
prevent infestations of the Caribbean fruit fly. Nevertheless, use of irradiation on food
products is not widespread in the United States, because of consumer concern that irradiated
food may radioactive or toxic. However, packers may be driven to using food irradiators
because of food safety concerns.
Irradiation may soon be used as a phytosanitary treatment for fruits and vegetables
imported into the U.S. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service (APHIS) has published a supplemental proposed rule to amend a proposed
rule on irradiation that was published in May of 2000. The original proposed rule contains

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regulations to control eleven species of fruit flies and the mango seed weevil. The proposed
rule would allow irradiation to be conducted at certified facilities abroad prior to importation
into the U.S. or at certified facilities located in some states after importation. The
supplemental proposed rule adds new provisions with respect to oversight of irradiation
facilities and use of irradiation indicators on packaging. Thus, irradiation offers potential
benefits and risks to Miami-Dade agriculture. It is a means of opening a few markets to south
Florida tropical fruits that had formerly been restricted by phytosanitary regulations, and
irradiation of imported fruits and vegetables offers protection from invasive pests. However,
depending on consumer acceptance of irradiated produce, irradiation could open the
floodgates to foreign competition.
Recommendations
Industry groups should seek to develop meaningful grade standards for fruits,
vegetables, and ornamentals where grade standards do not currently exist. Standards could be
developed with the assistance and cooperation of UF/IFAS, the Florida Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture
Marketing Service. Efforts should also be made by growers, shippers and researchers to
identify ways to improve integrated handling operations, sanitation programs and automation
of packing facilities. Automation may provide a competitive advantage to Miami-Dade firms
by reducing labor costs.
Finally, a commitment to premium quality is recommended to differentiate Florida's
produce from competitors. Achieving premium quality will require an integrated approach
from grower to consumer. Items to consider include cultivar selection, cultural practices,
degree of maturity at harvest, the use of delayed ripening technology, integrated handling
systems to minimize damage and to assure quality and safety, and adherence to quality
standards. Once premium quality is achieved, appropriate identification, either generic or
branded should be used to communicate the quality message to the trade and consumers.
OTHER ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL FACTORS
Theft and Vandalism
Current Situation and Outlook
One of the most disturbing results of the grower survey was the relatively high level
of dissatisfaction with local law enforcement' abilities to deal with agricultural theft and
vandalism. Slightly less than 30 percent thought that law enforcement was satisfactory, while
36 percent said it needed minor improvement and 35 percent suggested major improvement
(Appendix D). Part of the expressed dissatisfaction may be the result of opinions formed a
few years ago before significant changes were made in law enforcement programs in the
agricultural area.
In recent years, there have been several developments that have improved the ability
of law enforcement to reduce crime in agricultural areas. A special Agricultural Patrol unit
was established by the Miami-Dade Police Department which has responsibility for
patrolling agricultural areas. The Patrol offers round the clock protection. Ag Patrol officers
also conduct stakeouts of farms during periods when produce, especially high-value fruits are

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nearing maturity. They also conduct sting operations on produce and ornamental plant
vendors to determine the source and legitimacy of possession of locally produced items.
Another relatively recent development was changing the law for agricultural theft to make
penalties more severe. Theft from a "posted" agricultural area is now a third-degree felony,
whereas it used to be a misdemeanor.
Despite the increased focus on agricultural crime prevention and punishment, theft of
fruit crops is still a problem. Also, various types of farm equipment from irrigation pumps
and motors to large farm tractors are sometimes stolen. Clearly, theft and vandalism reduce
farm returns in direct cost such as outright loss of valuable produce, equipment, and repairs
resulting from vandalism. Net returns are also reduced by farmers' actions and investments
designed to reduce such losses. In addition to their time and aggravation, farmers have
significant investments in fencing, motion detectors, alarms, lighting and guard dogs. The
installation of high protective fencing topped with barbed wire may provide some degree of
protection, but such fences detract from the aesthetics of the countryside.
Recommendations
Grower organizations such as Farm Bureau, FNGA, Tropical Fruit Growers of South
Florida and others should continue to build good will with the Agricultural Patrol unit. Good
will could be generated through special awards and recognition of particularly important law
enforcement feats. Individual growers can also enhance the effectiveness of the Patrol by
notifying them of periods when crops are particularly vulnerable to theft and by reporting
suspicious activity. Arrests and convictions should be reported to local newspapers and
publicized in grower organization newsletters as well. Growers should also post their
properties so that felony convictions can be obtained when arrests are made.
Farm Labor
Current Situation and Outlook
Farm labor and farm-labor housing are vital to Miami-Dade County agriculture.
Labor is typically a major production input for fresh fruit and vegetable operations as well as
nurseries and greenhouses. Efforts to mechanize many of the cultural and harvesting
activities typical to these operations have not been as successful as for many other types of
agricultural commodities. Current data, particularly survey responses, indicate that the labor
supply situation in the County is currently not a threatening or significant constraining factor
for most agricultural producers, although a few respondents indicated problems with getting
sufficient laborers. The shrinking tomato industry and the removal of approximately 80
percent of the lime groves undoubtedly affected local demand for labor. Labor expense is one
of the largest components of production costs for many agricultural commodities grown in
the area. Given this, most producers would welcome ways to reduce these costs either
through technological innovation or finding cheaper sources of labor.
Recommendations
More affordable housing opportunities for individuals who do not currently qualify
for government farm-labor housing programs would help address many of the concerns area
producers have about farm labor and farm-labor housing. According to several individuals

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familiar with farm worker housing, there is a pressing need for dormitory style housing for
single male workers.
The increasing regulatory paperwork and documentation imposed on employers for
resident and alien labor also contributes to the difficulties producers experience in meeting
the seasonal labor requirements necessary to cultivate and harvest many fresh fruits and
vegetables. Federal immigration and guest-worker policies have been, and will continue to
be, a critical issue for farm-labor supply. Any changes in policy or enforcement levels of
existing policy that reduce the supply of non-resident farm-labor would have a significant
negative impact on Miami-Dade County agriculture.
Crop Insurance
Current Situation and Outlook
Federally administered and subsidized yield-based crop insurance is available for
most agronomically important crops grown in Miami-Dade County. These include bush and
pole beans, tomatoes, sweet corn, potatoes, avocados, avocado trees, mango trees, carambola
trees, limes, lime trees, as well as field- and container-grown ornamental nursery crops. In
2001, almost 900 polices were sold in the County, insuring over 26,000 acres of cropland.
These policies collected premiums of over $15 million (including subsidies) and dispersed
indemnity payments of more than $38 million for the same year. These numbers all represent
significant increases over 1997 participation levels. Although the use and value of crop
insurance by area producers has grown considerably over the last five years, this does not
mean that the program has been a uniform success for all area producers. Some producers
are very satisfied with the program while others feel that they, and the rest of the industry,
would be better-off if the crop insurance program was eliminated.
Growers have a number of concerns regarding the fairness and effectiveness of
current federal crop-insurance programs. Some growers believe that catastrophic crop-
insurance policies are ineffective because the percentage deductible is too high and the level
of compensation too low. Participation data appears to confirm this belief. There also appears
to be considerable disparity in the acceptability of insurance policies for different types of
producers.
Analysis of participation data in conjunction with anecdotal evidence indicates that
nursery operations participate to a much greater extent and are more satisfied with current
crop-insurance programs than are fresh vegetable and fruit operations. One major issue with
polices for fresh vegetables are replanting provisions. Because production scheduling for
fresh winter vegetables is precisely timed to a succession of narrow market windows,
replanting is often impractical. It is infeasible for producers to "catch up" and recover
production for an originally targeted market window. Current replanting provisions only
increase the likelihood that subsequent market windows will be flooded with excess
commodity.
Another issue is that the estimation of crop-losses are currently conducted exclusively
by representatives of the insurance providers. Some members of the community believe that
loss adjusters are often not knowledgeable about the area's unique agriculture and frequently


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fail to comprehend or consider longer-term consequences of adverse weather events.
Currently, when disputes occur between producers and insurance company representatives, it
can be difficult for producers to seek legal remedy.
Insured "unit" definitions in crop-insurance policies are another issue that leads to
producer dissatisfaction with this program, because loss claims are evaluated in proportion to
all the acreage of a particular crop that a grower cultivates within a large area. In
combination with minimum percentage loss provisions, growers can experience a 100
percent loss of a high-value crop in one particular field or part of a field (sometimes
amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars), but will not qualify for compensation
because their crops in nearby locations were not damaged. Finally, established growers fear
that crop insurance may encourage new or opportunistic producers to expand production into
areas where freeze and flood damage are more likely to occur. This could result in depressed
market prices and wider swings in supply.
Recommendations
Recommendations for changes in the federal crop-insurance program for Miami-Dade
County are as follows. Catastrophic crop-insurance policies should be modified so that they
are more acceptable to producers on their own merits, without linkages to other programs.
Replanting provisions in fresh market vegetables policies should be revised or eliminated.
Indemnities for losses of such highly perishable crops could be based estimates of foregone
revenues or on production costs up to the time of the loss. A locally based and inexpensive
appeals process should be set in place to resolve disputes between producers and insurance
companies. Insured "unit" definitions should be modified to allow multiple units within a
geographic area, based either on property boundaries or threshold economic crop values.
Finally, tighter geographic or temporal restrictions should be imposed on coverage of certain
fruits and vegetables in order to prevent expansion of production into areas more likely to
experience flooding or freezes.
Marketing
Current Situation and Outlook
Increasing concentration trends at the wholesale and retail levels results in improved
profitability for the largest market players as they adopt more efficient transactions and
inventory management technologies. Small to midsize producers or suppliers will face
significant challenges in their quests to achieve successful product marketing directly to large
food retailers. Growing market power of retailers requires produce suppliers to better
understand how food systems are changing, push for standardization of electronic data
interchange across retailers, consolidate into larger units, and form alliances with other
producers, packers and processors to achieve critical mass as cost-competitive suppliers.
Currently, supplier business strategies are characterized by a pessimistic awareness of
information technologies and e-commerce requirements. Pressure to implement costly
technologies experienced at the retailer level will have trickle-down effects the impacts of
these influences on supplier profitability are largely determined by supplier size and market
power, and geographical and/or regional specializations.


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Miami-Dade County's diverse commodity production incorporates a spectrum of
traditional, specialty, exotic, gourmet, kosher and organic varieties which appeal to an
equally broad and wide-ranging population of existing and potential consumers. However,
the County's large numbers of small farms which typically sell highly perishable products
leave them with limited bargaining power in this intensely integrated environment. The
survey of growers and agribusinesses revealed various concerns about several marketing
issues, including the potential benefits and costs of pursuing organized producers' groups,
establishment of adequate grades and standards and country-of-origin labeling, improvement
of state-sponsored domestic and export market development programs, and the need for
direct sales facilities.
Incorporation of producers into cohesive marketing programs could be accomplished
through marketing orders, voluntary trade groups, and cooperatives. However, assessing and
collecting appropriate fees in order to support the required administrative body of a trade-
level marketing entity is made difficult by the large numbers of small diversified operations
in the County. The diversity of production obscures the need for a cohesive marketing focus
as the primary building block of any centralized commodity exchange. Cooperatives and
collective action may promote supplier information technology gains and e-business plans,
yet gains resulting from increased transparency and product standardization are not
automatically considered beneficial in every business transaction. Currently, marketing
orders exist for limes, avocados and tomatoes, and due to the ongoing legal challenges faced
by other nationally promoted products, such as fresh mushrooms and pork, it is not likely that
additional programs will be pursued. While a national generic promotion program will meet
many consumer-reaching objectives, officials at Agricultural Marketing Services estimate
implementation costs to an industry greater than $80,000, and the addition of nationally
televised marketing campaign brings that minimum to a $20 million requirement. A non-
monetary complication of generic branding involves the free-rider problem, where grower
coalitions, subscribing to the belief that they are better off outside the group effort, take
advantage of the results of increased consumer awareness of the product while refusing to
contribute (see Appendix C-2 for more details).
Recommendations
Grower strategies need to identify consumers considered more likely to purchase
local products, and target market segments with tools proven effective for particular
segments. Southern Florida fruit and vegetable producers should define successful marketing
as a continuous effort aimed at influencing consumer choice, recognizing that this effort will
potentially consume an enormous amount of resources well in advance of visible results to
the bottom line. Producer inclusion of FDACS marketing and advertising services to
emphasize the abundance, variety and safety of Florida agricultural products and the
importance of maintaining a reliable and secure domestic food source should prove
extremely valuable. The state of Florida agricultural marketing department sponsors
seventy-nine programs available for producers' immediate consideration, several of which
were recognized as effective on an individual case basis. Suggested Florida state-sponsored
trade programs readily available for growers include farmers' market directories, producer-
supplier directories, export assistance, market bulletins, and literature (see Appendix C-3 for

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more details). A recent public awareness campaign initiative announced in January 2002,
funded by the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, will include television public service
announcements, outdoor advertising, radio, outreach programs, newspaper and magazines
articles, and other informational and promotional media. Inclusion of regional producers into
these existing marketing projects requires dedicated time commitments on the part of the
growers to keep this material current on the state website, yet those that take advantage of
these opportunities stand to earn substantial payoffs for minimal cash inputs.
Direct sales could be very important and extremely beneficial to small produce
growers in the region, allowing successfully adapting farmers to become more general rural
entrepreneurs. Direct marketers have two key roles: first, the need to provide safe, fresh,
high-quality foods; and second, the ability to provide an opportunity for the public to interact
with farmers and learn about farming. Miami-Dade County growers featuring their produce
in local markets can emphasize the freshness, nutrition and safety factors. Consumers report
that freshness is the second most important factor in their decision to purchase produce, with
88 percent of consumers ranking it important in 2000. This gives consumers an incentive to
buy local produce over that imported into the state. Growers should also continue to look
into establishing organic crops, although the County's climate presents many obstacles to
successful efforts with this type of production. Organic foods are seen by a growing number
of consumers as both fresher and more nutritious, and continued exposure to organic produce
can serve to interest ambivalent consumers. This produce demands a premium price and
could assist growers in adding value to their crops as well as developing and sustaining a
credible market niche.
Alternative food delivery systems, which include online shopping, telephone
ordering, home-delivery services, and pick-up or drive-through services, are driven by
perhaps the most important factor driving consumers' choice: convenience. The addition of
"convenience" to products can be done through expansion of product placement and
improved product form. Producers should look beyond selling bulk or conventionally pre-
packaged produce exclusively to food retailers. Marketing opportunities to foodservice and
fresh cut food processors should be explored. Consumers' growing needs for convenience
are driving the American food industry towards foodservice and fresh-cut processing.
Partnerships with other organized commodity groups in joint promotional activities for
complementary food products may allow producers to offer economical and convenient meal
solutions to time pressed-consumers. Producers need to follow this trend and concentrate
sales efforts toward these expanding markets. Traditional food processors such as canneries
and freezing plants offer little opportunity for Miami-Dade producers because they typically
require large volumes of low cost, raw product. Further, expanding the consumer market for
processed items could foster increased competition from low-cost foreign producers and
processors.
The Internet could be used to market produce and offer direct sales of product to
geographically dispersed buyers in a cost-effective manner. This online marketing should be
aimed at end consumers as well as restaurants that demand high quality specialty produce.
Sellers can view the Internet as a cost-effective way to provide information and education
about their unique product to potential consumers, as produce industry executives agree most

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