• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Title Page
 Introduction
 Purpose of study
 Methods and scope of study
 Economic importance
 Celery producing areas in...
 Market distribution of Florida...
 Cost of production
 Outlook for the area






Group Title: Celery - University of Florida. Agricultural Extension Service - AE3
Title: A study of celery farming on the Everglades organic soils, Palm Beach County, Florida, Seasons 1937-38 to..
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00066204/00001
 Material Information
Title: A study of celery farming on the Everglades organic soils, Palm Beach County, Florida, Seasons 1937-38 to..
Physical Description: v. : ill., map ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: University of Florida -- Agricultural Extension Service
Florida State College for Women
United States -- Dept. of Agriculture
Publisher: University of Florida, Agricultural Extension Service
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1941-
Frequency: annual
regular
 Subjects
Subject: Celery -- Growth -- Costs -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Dates or Sequential Designation: 1937/1938 to 1939/1940-
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: Each issue is cumulative from the 1937/1938 growing season.
General Note: "Cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics (Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914) Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida, Florida State College for Women, and United States Department of Agriculture cooperating".
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00066204
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: oclc - 70875586
lccn - 2006229361
 Related Items
Preceded by: Cost of producing celery on Evergaldes organic soils, season 1937-38...

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Introduction
        Page 2
    Purpose of study
        Page 3
    Methods and scope of study
        Page 3
    Economic importance
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Celery producing areas in Florida
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Market distribution of Florida celery
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Cost of production
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Cost of raising plants
            Page 12
        Cost of growing celery in the field
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
        Cost of harvesting
            Page 15
        Cost of marketing
            Page 15
        Total cost of production and returns
            Page 16
            Page 17
    Outlook for the area
        Page 18
Full Text


COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of Mar 8 and June 30, 1914)
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA. FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE FOR WOMEN
AND UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, COOPERATING
WILMON NEWELL, Director



A STUDY OF CELERY FARMING

ON THE EVERGLADES ORGANIC SOILS,

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA,

SEASONS 1937-38 TO 1939-40


By R. H. HOWARD and M. U. MOUNTS





6 ** i & AL i AAL&A,. AA&"LfAi


AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS DEPARTMENT
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA


Celery AE3


May, 1941








A STUDY OF CELERY FAHiiIllG OiH THE EVE2GLADES ORGANIC
SOILS, PAUI~ BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA,
SEASONS 1937-3S TO 1939-40.

By

R. H. Howard,
Extension Economist in Farm Management
and
M. U. Mounts,
Palm Beach County Agricultural Agent


C 0 T E I T S Page

Introduction . ,. 2
Purpose of Study 3
Methods and Scope of Stud;y 3
Economic Imiortance . . 4
Celery Producing Areas in Florida . 6
Market Distribution of Florida Celery . g
Cost of Production:
Cost of Raising Plants . 12
Cost of Growing Celery in the Field . 12
Cost of Harvesting . . 15
Cost of Marketing . 15
Total'Cost of Production and Returns . 16
Outlook for the Area . . 18




The first commercial acreage of celery on the Everglades organic
soils, sufficient for car-lot shipments, was planted about 12 years ago on
the Brown farms near Belle Glade. However, the peat and muck soils in the
Everglades, being relatively high in available nitrogen, are well adapted to
various truck crops, and have been in commercial vegetable production for
more than two decades. Organic soils of the Everglades are also being used
profitably in the production of sugar cane. Of the approximately 2,500,000
acres that make up the organic soils of this area, most of which is especially
adapted to production of vegetables and sugar cane, about 150,000 acres are
drained and about one-half of this acreage is in a high state of cultivation,
There are about 27,000 acres now planted to sugar cane, of which 63 percent
is grown in PRlm Beach County. The balance of the cultivated area is being
used principally for vegetable crops.

Of the approximately 52,000 acres of vegetables grown annually in
Palm Beach County, the celery acreage renresonts only a very small part--
approximately 2,100 acres this season (1940-41). Then too, all the celery
production in the Everglades until the 1940-41 season, has been within the
boundaries of Palm Beach County. The Everglades organic soils include parts
of lands in Glades, Hendry, Collier, Broward, Dade, Martin, Okeechobee, and





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Palm Beach counties. The latter county has more of the drained and improved
organic soils than any of the other counties and a large percentage of the
commercial vegetable acreage is -,rown in that county.

The expansion of celery acreage in Palm Beach County began in
1933-34 after several years of experimenting by growers and the Everglades
Agricultural Experiment Station workers. Some of the limiting factors in
the profitable production of celery during the early years were inadequate
facilities for water control, unsuitable muck planted to celery, and lack of
an adequate available supply of needed nutrient materials in the soil. Among
the more important plant foods in which the soil was deficient were potassium,
phosphorus, and lesser amounts of the trace elements, manganese, zinc, copper,
and boron, which when used gave more satisfactory growth. As a result of the
improvement in drainage facilities, the valuable experimental work of the
Everglades Agricultural Experiment Station, and the fact that the cost of
production compares favorably with other areas in the state, this area will
likely show considerable further expansion.


Purpose of Study

This study began at the close of the 1937-38 season, when numerous
inquiries were received from growers, credit agencies, and business men in
general, for authentic data on the cost of production and returns from celery
grown on Everglades organic soils. At the outset the sole purpose was to
obtain factual data from growers on costs incurred in growing, harvesting,
and preparing celery for market, as well as the returns, in order to determine
the profitableness of this enterprise for the area. The results or finds
being somewhat favorable for further expansion of this enterprise in the area,
it was thought wise to continue the study over a period of years in order
that any favorable seasonal conditions might be determined and a more nearly
average cost of production and returns be made available to the industry, as
well as supplying data to growers for the purpose of comparing their oper-
ations with others. Thus, it is the purpose of this report to advise growers
further on the trend in costs and profitable management practices as revealed
by the records, with the aim of helping growers to help themselves,


Methods and Scope of Study

At the close of the marketing season in 1938, the Farm Management
Specialist of the Agricultural Extension Service, in cooperation with the
County Agricultural Agent in Palm Beach County, interviewed all of the celery
farm operators. There were only four operators at that time. Practically
all of the data were obtained by the survey method, with the expection of
marketing costs and returns from celery, as the operators also farmed con-
siderable acreage of other vegetables and only one set of accounts was kept
for the business. For the following crop grown and marketed during 1938-39,
several growers kept an enterprise accounting system on celery, including
labor and materials directly chargeable to this crop, which was used in arriv-
ing at the individual operator's cost. During that season, there were nine
farm operators who grew celery. Records were obtained from seven of these
operators. For the last year included in the study, the 1939-40 season,





-3-


Palm Beach counties. The latter county has more of the drained and improved
organic soils than any of the other counties and a large percentage of the
commercial vegetable acreage is -,rown in that county.

The expansion of celery acreage in Palm Beach County began in
1933-34 after several years of experimenting by growers and the Everglades
Agricultural Experiment Station workers. Some of the limiting factors in
the profitable production of celery during the early years were inadequate
facilities for water control, unsuitable muck planted to celery, and lack of
an adequate available supply of needed nutrient materials in the soil. Among
the more important plant foods in which the soil was deficient were potassium,
phosphorus, and lesser amounts of the trace elements, manganese, zinc, copper,
and boron, which when used gave more satisfactory growth. As a result of the
improvement in drainage facilities, the valuable experimental work of the
Everglades Agricultural Experiment Station, and the fact that the cost of
production compares favorably with other areas in the state, this area will
likely show considerable further expansion.


Purpose of Study

This study began at the close of the 1937-38 season, when numerous
inquiries were received from growers, credit agencies, and business men in
general, for authentic data on the cost of production and returns from celery
grown on Everglades organic soils. At the outset the sole purpose was to
obtain factual data from growers on costs incurred in growing, harvesting,
and preparing celery for market, as well as the returns, in order to determine
the profitableness of this enterprise for the area. The results or finds
being somewhat favorable for further expansion of this enterprise in the area,
it was thought wise to continue the study over a period of years in order
that any favorable seasonal conditions might be determined and a more nearly
average cost of production and returns be made available to the industry, as
well as supplying data to growers for the purpose of comparing their oper-
ations with others. Thus, it is the purpose of this report to advise growers
further on the trend in costs and profitable management practices as revealed
by the records, with the aim of helping growers to help themselves,


Methods and Scope of Study

At the close of the marketing season in 1938, the Farm Management
Specialist of the Agricultural Extension Service, in cooperation with the
County Agricultural Agent in Palm Beach County, interviewed all of the celery
farm operators. There were only four operators at that time. Practically
all of the data were obtained by the survey method, with the expection of
marketing costs and returns from celery, as the operators also farmed con-
siderable acreage of other vegetables and only one set of accounts was kept
for the business. For the following crop grown and marketed during 1938-39,
several growers kept an enterprise accounting system on celery, including
labor and materials directly chargeable to this crop, which was used in arriv-
ing at the individual operator's cost. During that season, there were nine
farm operators who grew celery. Records were obtained from seven of these
operators. For the last year included in the study, the 1939-40 season,




-4-


a still greater number of individual accounts were kept on celery production.
There were two growers who had only the one crop, with a complete set of
records, One of the farm records consisted of 38 different accounts Includ-
ing an inventory at the beginning and end of year.

With the exception of a few miscellaneous sales, all marketing costs,
total number of crates of celery marketed, and returns, were taken from com-
mercial packinghouses and marketing agencies' records for the three seasons
covered by the study. The costs and returns are based upon the entire acreage
grown in 1937-38, 80 percent of the acreage in 1938-39, and 77 percent of the
entire acreage grown in the Belle Glade area in 1939-40.


Economic Importance
The Belle Glade area is fast becoming of economic importance in the
production of celery in Florida, and more particularly in Palm Beach County,
Based upon the average yield harvested per acre, according to the Survey
(Table III) and acreage as reported by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics,
Division of Crop and Livestock Estimates, the total production in 1937-38 was
less than 175,000 crates. The production increased to nearly 475,000 crates
for the 1939-40 season, or two and one-half times the production of three
years earlier. The gross income to growers showed proportionately greater in-
crease, amounting to approximately two-thirds of a million dollars in 1939-40.
However, this amount, in relationship to the gross income from some other
crops such as beans and cabbage, was comparatively small.

The acreage of the principal truck crops grown in Palm Beach County
is shown in Table I. Acreage of celery in 1939-40 represented less than
3 percent of the total acreage of the 8 leading commercial truck crops grown,
However, the total investment in growing, and gross returns per acre for
celery far exceed that of any other crop produced in this area,


TABLE I.-ACREAGE OF PRINCIPAL VEGETABLES GROWN IN PAILM BEACH
COUNTY, FLORIDA, SEASONS 1933-34 TO 1939-40. /

KiUnd :1933-34:1934-35:1935-36:1936-37:1937-38:1938-39:1939-40

Beans (string) 36,800 36,700 26,000 15,100 28,900 35,000 ?7,800
Peas, green 4,000 4,500 7,700 5,800 5,800 4,oo00 4,oo
Tomatoes 2,000 5,750 10,500 3,800 g,800 5,750 6,200
Potatoes 400 1,150 900 2,400 3,000 1.975 2,500
Cabbage 1,500 1,400 2,000 1,800 2,000 2,200 5,000
Lima beans 2/ 2/ 500 700 1,500 2,100 1,400
Peppers 125 175 75 250 400 900 800
Celery 100 50 100 180 350 600 1,060

/ Bureau of Agricultural Economics, Division of Crop and Livestock
Estimates,
2/ Not reported separately. Included in string bean acreage.




-5-


100
Qars


1~~~~


7' 1-.------





6i


51 ---- --


1 4j1.


31 --


- .{-..--. -.


; i
.. ........ _. ......... ... _...._..... _.. .... ... ... .
/I' Total U, S. Shipments



.. / .. .. ............ .. "
I'
lj~ /


"' / "

S I \ II /

l ,^ ; /
i i '/
/
I




;/ / Ilor
\ ; I : i /
1\1 *


1....... --


da Shipments


.. .... ....

\ \-"


SCalifornia Shipmeni
''\* t^ / ,*''.
\-. /-'
\ /
-. ....... -._ ..i. .. .


\.,,. /..


-...I... -


Feb.


Mar .


Apr.


Figure 1,-Weekly Car-lot Shipments of Celery, Season
(Source of data: Suppl.-me--it to Florida Bulletin


May
1939-40.
224.)


Dec.


Jan.


June


r


I








From 25 to 30 percent of the total winter vegetable acreage of
Florida is located in Palm Beach County. The annual gross returns from
agricultural commodities in the county range from six to eight million
dollars. Of this amount, approximately 90 percent is derived from field
and truck crops.

From the standpoint of value, celery ranks third in importance among
Florida truck crops. The gross and cash income from tomatoes and beans,
including lima beans, exceed that of .celery, During the 1939-40 winter
season Florida shipped 7,886 cars of celery, while California, her strongest
competitor, shipped 4,926 carloads, For the entire year, however, Cali-
fornia ships over a much longer period than Florida and usually produces
slightly more celery. However, the gross income to celery farmers in
Florida over a period of 5 years is slightly greater that that to California
celery farmers, as a result of differences in price received, according to
the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.

California celery is usually on the market throughout the entire
Florida shipping season but shipments are lighter when Florida is at her
peak shipping season, Florida's season usually begins late in December or
early in January, but the principal shipments are from January 15 to the
last of May, as shown in Figure 1. With the exception of California, Florida
has practically no competition from domestic spring celery.

The five principal celery producing areas in Florida compete among
themselves in that four of these areas plant both early and late celery. In
the earlier years, the Belle Glade area made mostly early plantings but
recently has extended the time of plantings until harvesting runs to the
first of June in some years.


Celery Producing Areas in Florida

Large-scale commercial production of celery is largely localized in
a few sections of Florida where a combination of suitable soil, moisture,
and climatic conditions are most favorable for economical production* The
lack of an adequate supply of moisture or the inability to control the water
table in most areas, which is of utmost importance for profitable celery
production, are the principal limiting factors in producing celery in many
other areas. The efficient control of water can be maintained adjacent to
the large canals in the Belle Glade area at a nominal cost per acre by means
of reversible pumping equipment, field ditches, and inexpensive mole drains.
Similar systems are used efficiently in other producing areas, but no other
large area has such a convenient supply of water at hand as exists in Lake
Okeechobee, which is only a few miles away. Facilities are available to
maintain water levels in canals. However, as the acreage of truck crops in
this area increases, the facilities for the movement of water through the
aajor canals will likely become increasingly important.

The principal celery producing areas in Florida are shown in Figure 2.
The first commercial production of winter-grown celery in Florida dates back
approximately 45 years. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the
Sanford area has been noted as the largest commercial producing area in


- 6-






















FIGURE 2.-PRINCIPAL COMMERCIAL CELER
PRODUCING AREAS IN FLORIDA, L/

Acreage
Areas Counties 1940-41 2/

1. Sanford- Seminole ,
Oviedo Orange ) 4725
2. Belle Glade Palm Beach 2,100
3. Sarasota Sarasota 1,400
4. Weirsdale Marion 100
5. Manatee Manatee 300


IJ Bureau of Agricultural Economics, Division of
Crop and Livestock Estimates.
2/ Preliminary.




- 8 -


Florida, as well as in the South. There were 825 acres of celery planted in
Florida in 1910 from which 1,637 cars were shipped to northern markets, By
1923, shipments had increased to 6,398 cars, according to the Bureau of Agri-
cultural Economics, surpassing all previous records, Substantial increases
in -lintings (the principal acreage being in the Sanford-Oviedo area) were
made until in 1937-38, there was a total of 8,000 acres ,rown in the state
and the car-lot shipments amounted to 9,455, exceeded only by the 9,852 cars
marketed during the 1930-31 season from fewer acres. The annual car-lot ship-
ments of celery from the four leading counties since the 1933-34 season are
shown in Table II,
TABLE II,-ANNUAL CAR-LOT SHIPIMEITS OF FLOyIDA CELERY
FROM THE FOUR LEADING COUNTIES. I/

Counties i 1933-34 1934-35:1935-3 6:1936-37193 7-38 :1938-39 1939-402

Seminole 5,062 5,191 5,263 6,225 5,890 5,466 4,716
Sarasota 2,273 1,245 1,401 1,58S 1,631 1,633 1,594
Manatee 641 481 565 503 396 254 265
Palm Beach 54 57 82 191 247 339 856

if Exclusive of boat and truck shipments. Compiled from reports of
the Florida State Marketing Bureau.
2/ Preliminary.


Celery production on the organic soils of the Evorglades has in-
creased rapidly during the past decade, There were only 54 cars shipped from
approximately 100 acres planted in 1933-34, while during the 1939-40 season,
there were 1,060 acres planted and from these, the preliminary figures indi-
cate, 856 cars were shipped, excluding boat and truck shipments,

Market Distribution of Florida Celery

The distribution of the 1940 crop of Florida celery followed practi-
cally the same channels and markets as in recent years, with the exception of
a slight increase in volume shipped to the Middle Western Stntes (see Fig, 3)5
There were 3 carloads billed to markets in Wyoming, to which state no ship-
ments had been made in over 6 years. The shipments to markets in New York
State were by far greater than those to any other state, amounting to 1,871
carloads or 26 percent of the total shipments from Florida, New York City,
the largest single market in that state, received 1,564 cars. Other large
markets in order of importance are: Cincinnati, Detroit, and Philadelphia,
Following New York State, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Michigan consume
large quantities of Florida celery. These 5 states received approximately
two-thirds of the total shipments from Florida.
There were cars of celery billed to approximately 147 cities in 33
states during the 1940 season, compared to 119 cities in 32 states a year
earlier, For the 1938 season, cars of celery were billed to 272 cities in 34







































Figure 3.-Car-lot Distribution of Florida Celery for 1940 Crop.


(Source of data: Federal-State Market News Service Report, issued May 18, 1940.)




- 10 -


states, In 1935, celery was shipped to 41 states, reaching an all-time
record, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, In 1940
there were 156 cars billed to C~nada, of which SO cars went to Montreal.
Montreal, Canada, and Washington, D. C. have received approximately the same
number of cars of Florida celery for the past two years. Toronto is the
second largest city in Canada receiving Florida celery, amounting to 39 cars
billed in 1940 and 56 cars in 1939.


Cost of Production

The cost of producing celery on the Everglades organic soils cover-
ing a three-year period (1937-30 through 1939-40) is shown in Toblo III. Four
main classifications of cost were made (1) cost of raising plants; (2) cost
of growing celery in the field; (3) cost of harvesting; and 04) the cost of
marketing. The items of costs were broken down in each class in as much
detail as the data would permit. An effort was made to arrive at the average
cost by operations, including both cash and overhead expenses. Many items of
cost that made up the total cost for a single operation were indirect in nature
and generally not taken into account by the average layman or grower. Most
growers and the average layman usually have reference to cash cost, or out-of-
pocket cost, when speaking of the cost of producing a crop. Depreciation on
machinery and equipment used in connection with growing and harvesting is a
very definite part of cost, which while not directly met from year to year
(except as old equipment is replaced by new) nevertheless forms a part of the
long-time cost of producing the crop. Likewise, interest on capital tied up
in equipment whether owned or leased also enters into the cost of production.
Other items of cost such as insurance on equipment and labor, taxes, telephone
expense, and the like, are very definitely a part of the total cost of farm-
ing, all of which were taken into consideration in computing cost at given in
this report, as well as the current cost of labor, gas and oil, repairs, and
materials used. However, no charge has been made for operator's supervision
or interest on money used for production purposes. Thus, in the last analysis
"net returns to operator" should not be misconstrued to be all profit.

It should be noted that rent was charged on all land whether it was
owned or rented, in order that all operators' records might be summarized on a
comparable basis and to eliminate complications in allocating taxes and in-
terest on the investment in land used for celery production. Rent was charged
on all owned land planted in celery at the prevailing rate charged for similar
quality of land, excluCint; any jpumpin : equipment used in water control, or
building. There was a greater percent of the total acreage of celery grown on
owned land in 1939-40 than in 1937-38. The trend is toward ownership of lands
operstod by celerygrowers, as a result of the vegetable allotments made by the
Agricultural Adjustment Administration and the fact that the cost of invest-
ment for an efficient water control system is too great without reasonable
security as to its future use,

The average cost figures given in the following tables show what it
cost growers included in the survey to produce an acre of celery and not what
it should, or does cost, any individual grower. However, it should serve as a
guide for growers in checL:in: their operations.




- 11 -


TABLE III.-COSTS AiD RETURlTS FOE AN ACL 0F C'ELTY, 2.ELLE GLADE
AREA, FLORIDA, SEASOTS 1937-3c 193C-30, and 193'i-40.


: 1gj'7^ : 1'-i-9 : 19i?-40o
number of Operatore : 4 7 7
Total Acres Planted ;: IOI 4G5 817
Acres Harvested : 36; 425 804
Average Yield of Harvested AcreaCe (Crates) : 148 449 435


Cost of Raisinj Plants:
Ront, on land
Prea-rin. seedbed
F-r :ti i ozer
Se. Cd
Fertilizi.n' and seeding
Spr-iyin,-: and spray msr.teriqls
Irri-ation exnoene
Lb'or (weeding ad. caring for beds)
Depre-ciation on ser'ibed equipment
Miscellaneous
Total I/
Cost of Growinw Celery:
Rent on land
Pr1e-, rings land
i.-ole-drainin-, land
Fertilizer
Al:,-. .inf fertilizer
Transplsntin3 from se.sc-ded to field
Wnter control
Dultivation (includeS ireedin-g)
Sprn.-ing and spray i~ttrials
Blanching:
Ap.lyinc and reiovrinj paper
Deprecia.tion on paper and equipment
iliscellaneous
Total Y
Cost of Harvestin,.:
Cutting celery and Li?-ld striping
Haulin. to .acl:in.Tiouse
Total 'i
Cost of Marretin::
Gradi ng and pac'iinr-7
Crates
Pre-cooling
Selling'
Ice for cars and ini"ection
Total J/
Total Cost Exclud.ing ntere t on Froduction
Capital and 0 -.erator's SuLervision
Returns froi Celery lirketed
Net Returns to Oper-itor


$ .54
5.73
.86
2.90
.32
1.33
.99
4.24
5.50
.2"
"72,?. 7

$10.91
5.07
1.00
1'.77

14.03
2.8
11.64
16.17

11. .3
9.30

4121.59

$ 311.36

$ 50.04

$ 5S.211
o5.12
J5.^




J406.22
4,7.76
-1.54


Average per Acre

$ .1.2 $ .51
5.51 4.27
*95 *79
2.44 2.23
.28 .23
1.36 1.06
99 .85
5.19 3.4o
5.76 4.41
.70 1,26
$'23.60 $19.1


T11.04
6.51
.'7
33.08
.97
1. 09
4.30
11. 89
17.14

10. 87
9.27
1.77
4125.90

$ 28.86
13,07
$ 41.93

$ 57.99
2.90
35.55
27.33
9.01
3212.7

4o04.21
622.05
217. ~4


$11.59
10.12
.93
51.59
2.96
17.61
3.72
11,82
15.73

6.40
6.411
2.06
, 14 0 Gq7

$ 30641
13.97
$ 44.3.

$ 58.47
32.76
35.27
26.94
18.61
$222.05

$426.54
611.41
184.S7


Computed on tl-.e 'basis of planted acre,.
Based on acres harvested, s :Co costs for harve-sting
incurred for the unhirvw,.ted acreaAe.


or marketing were


1. -




- 12 -


Cost of Raising Plants: Celery plants are grown on beds 4 feet wide
and about 300 feet long. From 3 to 4 ounces of seed are planted per bed.
Under normal growing and climatic conditions, sufficient plants per bed are
produced to set an acre of celery from the first pulling of plants old enough
to set in the field, Quite often, one bed produced enough plants to set two
acres, consisting of 52,000 to 65,000 plants per acre, However, most growers
at seeding time figure one acre of celery set in the field per seedbed,

The cost of raising plants per acre of celery set in the field varies
considerably among growers for any one year as well as for the same growers in
different years. Often a grower may plant 5 to 15 percent more acreage than
planned for at the beginning of the year, because of abundant supply of plants;
or he may sell his beds after planting his intended acreage,-.which directly
affects the cost in relation to plantings. Much of this variation from year to
year in cost was ironed out by taking an average of each year's records except
for the 1939-40 season when an unusual amount of extra acres were planted from
surplus plants.

Based upon the number of acres set and produced up to harvesting time,
production cost for growers included in the survey averaged $?2.69 in 1937-38,
$23.60 in 1938-39, and $19,14 per acre in 1939-40 (Table III), The greatest
variation in cost per acre occurred in 1939-40, amounting to a spread of $9.24
per acre. It cost one operator $14,46 per acre of plants set in the field,
while the greatest expense for a grower was $23.70 per acre, However, the low
cost of producing plants was due to exceptionally good seedbeds, a part of
which was sold to another grower. The grower that purchased the plants like-
wise profited as the price paid was less than the cost at which he could have
produced them.

Each operator usually selects a site on which an adequate number of
beds may be planted to meet the farm needs, in order that the .rentest of care
and attention may be given at the least cost. As much as 10 acres of seedbeds
were planted together in 1939-40. Preparing seedbeds is one of the more ex-
pensive operations in connection with growing celery plants, particularly
since much of the land is becoming infested with nematodes and wire worms, for
which flooding the land for several weeks prior to seeding time is practiced as
a control measure, Then too, treating of seedbeds with formaldehyde or other
materials for the control of damping-off fungus adds to the expense, According
to the survey, it has cost as much as $5.50 per acre for preparing seedbeds,
On the other hand, as little as $3.53 expense was incurred for this operation
by another grower. Caring for seedbeds also requires much hand labor and the
cost varies somewhat in relationship to the extent of their preparation and
treatment in preparing beds before they are planted. Wedding seedbeds alone is
an expansive job which may be partially eliminated by thoroughness of prepar-
ation and treatment,

Cost of Growing Celery in the Field: The average cost of growing
celery on the Everglades organic soils has increased each year since 1937-38,
according to the survey. Most of the increase in 1939-40 over the two previous
seasons was for additional fertilizer used. The unfavorable growing conditions
probably was the greatest factor influencing the use of larger quantities of
fertilizer, particularly applied as side dressings. Two side dressings were
made to many crops after the January cold spell in an effort to stimulate




- 12 -


Cost of Raising Plants: Celery plants are grown on beds 4 feet wide
and about 300 feet long. From 3 to 4 ounces of seed are planted per bed.
Under normal growing and climatic conditions, sufficient plants per bed are
produced to set an acre of celery from the first pulling of plants old enough
to set in the field, Quite often, one bed produced enough plants to set two
acres, consisting of 52,000 to 65,000 plants per acre, However, most growers
at seeding time figure one acre of celery set in the field per seedbed,

The cost of raising plants per acre of celery set in the field varies
considerably among growers for any one year as well as for the same growers in
different years. Often a grower may plant 5 to 15 percent more acreage than
planned for at the beginning of the year, because of abundant supply of plants;
or he may sell his beds after planting his intended acreage,-.which directly
affects the cost in relation to plantings. Much of this variation from year to
year in cost was ironed out by taking an average of each year's records except
for the 1939-40 season when an unusual amount of extra acres were planted from
surplus plants.

Based upon the number of acres set and produced up to harvesting time,
production cost for growers included in the survey averaged $?2.69 in 1937-38,
$23.60 in 1938-39, and $19,14 per acre in 1939-40 (Table III), The greatest
variation in cost per acre occurred in 1939-40, amounting to a spread of $9.24
per acre. It cost one operator $14,46 per acre of plants set in the field,
while the greatest expense for a grower was $23.70 per acre, However, the low
cost of producing plants was due to exceptionally good seedbeds, a part of
which was sold to another grower. The grower that purchased the plants like-
wise profited as the price paid was less than the cost at which he could have
produced them.

Each operator usually selects a site on which an adequate number of
beds may be planted to meet the farm needs, in order that the .rentest of care
and attention may be given at the least cost. As much as 10 acres of seedbeds
were planted together in 1939-40. Preparing seedbeds is one of the more ex-
pensive operations in connection with growing celery plants, particularly
since much of the land is becoming infested with nematodes and wire worms, for
which flooding the land for several weeks prior to seeding time is practiced as
a control measure, Then too, treating of seedbeds with formaldehyde or other
materials for the control of damping-off fungus adds to the expense, According
to the survey, it has cost as much as $5.50 per acre for preparing seedbeds,
On the other hand, as little as $3.53 expense was incurred for this operation
by another grower. Caring for seedbeds also requires much hand labor and the
cost varies somewhat in relationship to the extent of their preparation and
treatment in preparing beds before they are planted. Wedding seedbeds alone is
an expansive job which may be partially eliminated by thoroughness of prepar-
ation and treatment,

Cost of Growing Celery in the Field: The average cost of growing
celery on the Everglades organic soils has increased each year since 1937-38,
according to the survey. Most of the increase in 1939-40 over the two previous
seasons was for additional fertilizer used. The unfavorable growing conditions
probably was the greatest factor influencing the use of larger quantities of
fertilizer, particularly applied as side dressings. Two side dressings were
made to many crops after the January cold spell in an effort to stimulate




- 13 -


better growth. These side dressings consisted of nitrate of potash
(15 0 14) and nitrate of soda (16 0 0), Ihe-er was an average of
1.958 tons of high analysis fertilizer used in the production of a consider-
able acreage by one operator, at a cost of $7S.Ol per ?icre. In the two
previous years, about one ton of fertilizer was used per acre by the average
grower and the cost was less than $50.00 per acre for any single grower in-
cluded in the survey. There were three growers whose cost of fertilizer was
greater than $50.00 per acre for the 1939-40 season.

Generally speaking, the Everglades organic soils are fertile in the
potential sup )y: of nitrogen which may become deficient under certain seasonal
conditions, but very limited and deficient in notash and deficient to a less
extent in many of the other plant food elements essential for profitable pro-
duction of most crops. The greater part of the cost for fertilizer in celery
production prior to the 1939-40 season has been for super phosphate and potash.

Since the data obtained in this survey are inadequate because of
variable conditions and practices to draw any conclusions as to the more prof-
itable treatments and applications of fertilizer, it is suggested that growers
obtain Florida Bulletin No. 333 entitled "A Fertilization Program for Celery
Production on the Everglades Organic Soils" or consult workers at the Ever-
glades Experiment Station.

According to the growers records, fertilizer represented approxi-
mately 28 percent of the total cost of growing in 1937-38, 26 percent in
1938-39, and 36 percent for the 1939-40 crop. The indilcntions are that grow-
ers tend to go somewhat to the extreme in the use of fertilizer in attempting
to obtain higher yields. However, there is a point of diminishing returns
from increased quantity of fertilizer as well as from an; other practice,
With an Agricultur'al Experiment Station in the center of the celery area, it
should be most helpful to growers in avoiding many pitfalls,

The average cost of fertilizer per crate of marketed celery for the
three years was approximately 10 cents. One efficient and profitable grower
over the three-year period averaged only $24.62 per acre for fertilizer or a
cost of 5,6 cents per marketed crate of celery. The average yield in crates
per acre for this grower was only slightly below the average of all growers'
records. However, the net returns per acre and per crate were slightly greater
than for the average,

Well-prepared land, including putting in mole drains and adequate
open field ditches, is of great importance for profitable production of celery
in the Everglades. As a result of large fields, particularly length of field
rows, efficient motorized equipment can be and is being used. However, the
expense incurred for land preparation has increased each year since 1937-38.
The principal factors influencing the increased cost of preoirin, land in
1939-40 over that of previous years were: considerable acren4e of new land not
previously cultivated was put into production; more time and e:.:prnis was in-
curred in obtaining more uniform fields through leveling on old cultivated
lands; then too, more growers filled in old field ditches and made new ones in
order to increase efficiency of irrigation and drainage through mole drains
that is also an annual operation in recent years.




- 14 -


The cost of preparing land to set celery compared to the total cost
of growing is relatively small, amounting to less than 6 percent or 1.6 cents
per crate of celery harvested for the 3-year evor-i;o.

The cost of transplanting celery from the seedbed to field includes
pulling plants from beds, hauling to field, setting, and watering. This oper-
ation requires a large amount of man labor even though two-row power-driven
transplanters are used. The cost of this operation varied considerably among
different growers as a result of organization of crews and well-prepared land
free from vegetative material which caused inefficient operation of the plant
setters. Celery land should be plowed and disked well in advance of planting
time so all vegetative material will be practically decomposed. Cost of trans-
planting is the third largest item of cost in growing celery in the Everglades
organic soil, according to the survey, representing nearly 13 percent and a
cost of 3.7 cents per crate of celery marketed.

The expenses incurred in preventing diseases through the use of fungi-
cides averaged about as much as for transplanting. Practically all fungicides
were applied in the form of spray. Some airplane dusting was done on a few
acres during the past year. Based upon yield records from 1931 through 1939
at the Everglades Experiment Station, fungicides used as sprays gave higher
yields than where the same fungicide was used as a dust. The cost of dusting,
including materials, is usually higher than for spraying. The number of spray
applications varies from 12 to 16, depending upon the season and number of
weeks necessary to grow the crop ready to harvest, Spraying was discontinued
when blanching paper was applied. When celery was not blanched, spraying
ceased within a week to 10 days before cutting. Spraying is done with large
tractor-espryer operated by one man, The spray riggings, many of which were
home-made, spray S to 12 rows of celery at a time. The 3-year average cost
for the spraying operation, including materials, amounted to $16,35 per acre or
approximately $1.15 per application. The cost per crate for dieease control
varies inversely with the effectiveness of control. With the development of
more recent improved methods of disease control now under test at the Ever-
glades Experiment Station, the control measures may be radically changed and
more effective.

Blanching celery is an expensive operation and is exceeded in total
cost per acre or per crate only by fertilizer, according to the records. The
average cost covering the three seasons included in the study amounted to
$17.90 per acre. Based upon this cost and the average yield of 443 crates, it
cost about 4 cents per crate. However, as a result of the January 2S freeze
and the fact that there was a good demand for green celery in the spring of
1940, less than 55 percent of the acreage included in the study was papered
and blanched. There is a percentage increase in the plant ngs of self-blanch-
ing pascal celery in recent years, and no paper is used on this type. For the
two years preceding the 1939-40 season, about one-fourth of the total acreage
grown was marketed unblanched. However, a very few acres of the pascal type
were produced. With the development of the market for a higher quality green
celery, the cost of blanching may be practically eliminated, at least to the
extent of the quantity grown of this type. The demand for green celery of
summer pascal type has been increasing for several years. The indications are
that this type will continue to increase as long as the difference in prices
received by growers is as great as has existed in recent years,' .




- 15 -


The cost of water control includes the expense of operating pumping
equipment for irrigation and drainage, Depreciation on the equipment and fuel
for motors represent the larger portion of the total cost, as comparatively
little labor; is required to operate pumps and motors. An efficient and econom-
ical system of controlling water is one of the more important, if not the most
important, factors affecting profitable production of celery on the Everglades
organic soils. Lands adjacent to the main drainage canals apparently have a
comparative advantage and most plantings have been made in close proximity to
them. A well laid-out system with adequate pumping facilities for both irri-
gation and drainage pays good dividends on its investment. More systems are
too small or inadequate for the land area that they serve than systems that are
more than adequate. The inadequate systems, however, resulted from expansion
of truck crop acreage without increasing water control facilities. Irri;jntion
and drainage are indispensable for economical and profitable celery farming in
this area, even though the cost per acre and per crate is comparatively: small
to other operating expenses.

Cost of Harvesting: The cost of harvesting celery tends to vary with
the yield per acre. Yield is affected most by the size of stalks produced, as
most plantings are comparatively uniform in the number of plants set per acre.
If the sizes run largely to three, four, and six dozens per crate, the yield is
greater, and the per acre cost of cutting, including field-stripping, is not
much greater than if the sizes run largely to eight and ten dozens per crate.
This is due to the fact that about the same number of stalks are cut and handled
regardless of sizes or yield. The principal difference in cost of harvesting a
large yield, as a result of sizes principally, is that more crates are neces-
sarily handled in hauling to the packinghouse, which affects the cost per acre.
On the other hand, since all plants are cut and handled at least in the field,
which h represents av-:ro:-imately 70 percent of the total cost per crate of har-
vesting, a small yield--ieaningu usually small sizes--increases the cost per
crate for cutting and field-stripping but does not materially affect the per
crate cost of handling, The 3-year average cost of cutting celery including
field-stripping was $31.21 per acre or 7 cents per crate marketed. Hauling
from fields to packinghouses averaged $14.24 per acre or 3 cents per crate. The
cost of hauling varies, to a certain extent, with the distance of fields from
packinghouses. Celery is hauled from 2 to 16 miles, averaging about 5 miles
from fields to packinghouses and precooling plants.

Cost of Marketing: Marketing cost as used in this study includes the
expenses or charges made for additional stripping, washing, grading and packing,
pre-cooling, selling, ice for cars, and inspection. Thbre were two packing-
houses and pre-cooling plants that served the growers during the 1937-38 season.
One additional packinghouse without a pre-cooling unit was built and used in
1938-39. The three packinghouses and two pre-cooling units also handled the
crop of 1939-40. However, since that time, three additional packinghouses and
two pre-cooling units have been built. The facilities available for packing
and pre-cooling at this time for the area are nearly 100 cars per day,

The cost of mnr]:etin- an acre of celery varies directly with the yield
per acre, as the charges for grading and packing, pre-cooling, and selling are
on a per crate basis. In recent years the charge for this se 'ice has been
somewhat standardized at 45 cents per crate. This charge does not include the
initial icing of cars or Federal inspection. Until the 1939-40 season, a high




- 15 -


The cost of water control includes the expense of operating pumping
equipment for irrigation and drainage, Depreciation on the equipment and fuel
for motors represent the larger portion of the total cost, as comparatively
little labor; is required to operate pumps and motors. An efficient and econom-
ical system of controlling water is one of the more important, if not the most
important, factors affecting profitable production of celery on the Everglades
organic soils. Lands adjacent to the main drainage canals apparently have a
comparative advantage and most plantings have been made in close proximity to
them. A well laid-out system with adequate pumping facilities for both irri-
gation and drainage pays good dividends on its investment. More systems are
too small or inadequate for the land area that they serve than systems that are
more than adequate. The inadequate systems, however, resulted from expansion
of truck crop acreage without increasing water control facilities. Irri;jntion
and drainage are indispensable for economical and profitable celery farming in
this area, even though the cost per acre and per crate is comparatively: small
to other operating expenses.

Cost of Harvesting: The cost of harvesting celery tends to vary with
the yield per acre. Yield is affected most by the size of stalks produced, as
most plantings are comparatively uniform in the number of plants set per acre.
If the sizes run largely to three, four, and six dozens per crate, the yield is
greater, and the per acre cost of cutting, including field-stripping, is not
much greater than if the sizes run largely to eight and ten dozens per crate.
This is due to the fact that about the same number of stalks are cut and handled
regardless of sizes or yield. The principal difference in cost of harvesting a
large yield, as a result of sizes principally, is that more crates are neces-
sarily handled in hauling to the packinghouse, which affects the cost per acre.
On the other hand, since all plants are cut and handled at least in the field,
which h represents av-:ro:-imately 70 percent of the total cost per crate of har-
vesting, a small yield--ieaningu usually small sizes--increases the cost per
crate for cutting and field-stripping but does not materially affect the per
crate cost of handling, The 3-year average cost of cutting celery including
field-stripping was $31.21 per acre or 7 cents per crate marketed. Hauling
from fields to packinghouses averaged $14.24 per acre or 3 cents per crate. The
cost of hauling varies, to a certain extent, with the distance of fields from
packinghouses. Celery is hauled from 2 to 16 miles, averaging about 5 miles
from fields to packinghouses and precooling plants.

Cost of Marketing: Marketing cost as used in this study includes the
expenses or charges made for additional stripping, washing, grading and packing,
pre-cooling, selling, ice for cars, and inspection. Thbre were two packing-
houses and pre-cooling plants that served the growers during the 1937-38 season.
One additional packinghouse without a pre-cooling unit was built and used in
1938-39. The three packinghouses and two pre-cooling units also handled the
crop of 1939-40. However, since that time, three additional packinghouses and
two pre-cooling units have been built. The facilities available for packing
and pre-cooling at this time for the area are nearly 100 cars per day,

The cost of mnr]:etin- an acre of celery varies directly with the yield
per acre, as the charges for grading and packing, pre-cooling, and selling are
on a per crate basis. In recent years the charge for this se 'ice has been
somewhat standardized at 45 cents per crate. This charge does not include the
initial icing of cars or Federal inspection. Until the 1939-40 season, a high








percent of the celery was sold f. o, b. shipping point and the cost of icing,
if any, was borne by the purchaser. For the 1939-40 season, a large percent of
the celery was shipped on consignment, as a result of poor demand during the
heavy part of the shipping season, and the initial icing was paid by the grower
or at least charged to his account, thus increasing the total cost of marketing.
The initial cost of icing a car of celery was approximately $19.00. The cost
of icing should not be misconstrued to mean that it covers all celery shipped
under refrigeration from the area, as a large percent of this item was paid by
the f. o. b, buyers and did not appear in the growers' accounts. However, it
was necessary to use this item charged to the growers' accounts, in order to
arrive at the net returns to operator.

The 3-year average cost of grading and packing was 13 cents per crate.
The wire-bound crates used exclusively averaged 19 cents per crate, including
labels. Celery crates have gone up about one-half cent since the 1937-38
season. Further increase in cost of crates for the next few years may be ex-
pected as a result of increased cost of labor and materials. Selling costs
likewise have increased slightly over the 3-year period. The brokerage charge
for selling varied from 5 to 10 cents per crate. Some brokers charged a
straight 10 cents per package while others charged growers 5 cents if the celery
netted less than $1.50 per package, f. o, b. packinghouse. If the price was
greater than $1,50, the brokerage was 10 cents per crate. Such a basis of
charging for this service appears to be fair and reasonable.

The indications are that the f. o, b. packinghouse sales are more
satisfactory and profitable on the whole to the average grower, However, the
percent of f. o. b. sales made is usually in direct relationship to the demand.
When the demand is good, buyers buy from day to day on a f, o. b. basis, while
during declining prices or slacl.nin,- off of the demand, more celery has to be
consigned to large commission merchants and prices received are affected, due
to extra charges for handling and selling in the consuming markets. These extra
charges are usually deducted* including brokerage, from the returns a grower
received.

Total Cost of Production and Returns: The total cost, excluding in-
terest on production capital used and operator's supervision, was approximately
the same for the first two years covered by the study. The third year or
1939-40, total cost w-as 5 percent greater than either of the two previous years.
Cost for individual growers ranged from $324.50 to 3538.87 per acre in 1939-40,
which is a much greater spread than existed among individual growers for the two
preceding years. The comparatively low total cost per acre by one grower was
for a late crop planted because of an abundant supply of plants and available
land. In other words, this acreage, amounting to more than 30 acres, was not
intended or planned for at the beginning of the farming season referred to
previously, but resulted from surplus plants, Being planted late, considering
the normal pl5ftinit season and favorable climatic conditions for profitable pro-
duction, very little expense was incurred for fear of unfavorable growing con-
ditions and possible poor price and demand for late celery. However, this crop
did unusually well under good growing conditions and as a result was harvested
unblanched within SO days after plants were set in the field. This was about 15
days earlier than the normal time required to grow early celery to maturity,
including blanching.


- 16 -




- 17 -


The average cost of producing and returns from celery grown by growers
covered in the study for the 3-year period is shown in Table IV. The total
cost, excluding interest on production capital used and operator's supervision,
was $416.89 per acre or 94.5 cents per crate marketed. The average return was
approximately $1.32 per crate or $585.75 per acre, The per acre return from
celery is affected 'by ield per acre and price received. The average yield
marketed from acres harvested each year did not vary as much as price. Thus,
the principal differences in the average returns for each of the three years was
due to differences in the average price. In 1937-38, the average price received
was $1.09, for 193S-39, $1.38, and for the 1939-40 season $1.40. The average
price received for the 1939-40 season is not exactly comparable with the two
preceding seasons in that a higher percent of the cars of celery were iced for
shipping and either sold enroute to markets or after arriving in the markets, on
a delivered basis. By subtracting the charges for icing and inspecting from re-
turns from celery marketed (Table III), we have comparable returns f. o. b.
pe.chinghouses, which averaged about $1.08 per crate in 1937-38 and $1.36 each
for the two following seasons. The freight was deducted from the gross sales
for those care sold on a delivered basis each year, in order that the gross re-
turns might more nearly represent that received at the packinghouses. The first
year covered by this study, less than 10 percent of the sales was made on a
delivered basis, whereas in the past year, nearly 35 percent was sold on a de-
livered basis, according to freight paid by growers. As this enterprise con-
tinues to expand, the trend will likely be toward a higher percent of the crop
being consigned to brokers in the consuming markets.

TABLE IV.-AVERAGE COST OF PRODUCING CELERY, SELLE GLADE
AREA, FLORIDA, SEASO1US 1937-38 THROUGH 1939-40. 1

Number of Growers' Records 18
Total Acreage Planted 1,710
Total Acreage Harvested 1,597
Average Yield of Harvested Acreage (Packed Crates) 441

Per Acre Per Crate
( cents)
Cost of Producing Plants 2/ ?21.25 4.8
Cost of Growing Celery 2 131.49 29,8
Cost of Harvesting 5 46.96 10.7
Cost of Marketing 217.19 49.2
Total Cost Excluding Production
Interest and Owner's Supervision $416.89 94.5

Average Returns $585.75 132.8
Net Returns to Operator 168.86 38,3

l Weighted average.
/ Computed on the basis of planted acres.
SBased on acres harvested.




- 18 -


Of the 18 crops grown in this area during the 3-year period, the re-
turns from two crops failed to equal the cost of production. Both of these
crops were late plantings for which the price and demand were poor for late
celery in the spring of 1938-39. The average acreage planted was 95 acres per
grower, of which 89 acres were harvested. Plantings ranged from 15 to 200 acres
among the growers covered in the study. Net returns to operator ranged from a
loss of $50.43 to a net return of $223.89 per acre, averaging $168.86 or 38.3
cents per crate marketed. These returns may seem high in comparison with other
truck crops grown in the area and state, but on the other hand, the outlay of
capital invested in production as well as machinery and equipment is also much
greater. Then too, the average return per acre as shown is greater than act-
ually was the case for the total acres planted which includes acreage produced
but unharvested, therefore incurring no cost for harvesting or marketing of an
average of 6 acres per grower each year.


Outlook for the Area

Based upon yields per acre and prices received for the 1940-41 celery
crop, indications are that net returns to operators will be as great as for
either of the three previous years covered in this report. If it had not been
for the increased domestic demand ani purchasing power of consumers, resulting
principally from the defense program, the returns from celery likely would have
averaged less for this season.

As a result of the profitableness of celery production on the Ever-
glades organic soils for at least four years, as compared to other truck crops,
and the fact that the amount of good potential land is so great, it is quite
likely that this crop will be overdone as string beans, cabbage, and tomatoes
were several years ago. These and other crops were fairly profitable in the
area for several years prior to large scale mechanized production.

Indications are that the acreege of celery to be planted next winter
and spring (1941-42) in this area will be approximately double that of the
previous year and if the other producing areas in Florida plant about the usual
acreage, the total acreage will reach an all-time record.





ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: The writers wish to express their appreciation to the celery
growers who furnished information which made this study possible, and to make
speciall mention of their cooperation; to Dr. F. S. Andrews, Truck Crop Horticul-
turist of the Everglades Agricultural Experiment Station for reading the manu-
script and offering valuable suggestions. Much credit is due Dr V. iVoble,
Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics, under whose supervision the
work was conducted.


EHH: gm- Ext.
5/19/41 500oo




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