Impact Of Hydroponics On Florida Economy
In northern part of Florida, there are many hydroponic farms that are flourishing commercially. This is mainly due to the effort of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences under the aegis of University of Florida. (See Reference 1)
In the entire state, there are more than eighty-four acres of land on which hydroponics farms are operating their businesses. The mild winters of Florida and the humidity levels are highly conducive to growing cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, peppers and strawberries in the state; and these hydroponically grown vegetables and fruits are worth a whopping $16.8 million. (See Reference 1) However, over half of the hydroponic farms in Florida are based in the northern part of the state and the production from these farms account for around ten to fifteen percent of the total production in the state. This is primarily because there are larger but fewer hydroponic farms in the southern part of Florida. The farmers use hydroponics to grow vegetables and fruits constantly need to find new marketing strategies and better technologies in order to stay competitive. (See Reference 1) The farmers use perlite as their growing medium and feeding as well as watering the plants is done in a single step. This involves irrigating the plants with exact amounts of nutrients.
In Florida, hydroponic cultivation invariably takes place in grow rooms where temperature, fertilization, pest control and irrigation can be managed much better compared to growing hydroponic plant outdoors. (See Reference 1) In order to ensure that use of pesticides is reduced, farmers use methods that are suitable for the environment. For instance, ventilation systems ensure that the plants are kept dry to prevent fungal infections.
One of the reasons that hydroponic farming has had a positive impact on Florida's economy is that people can get access to fresh and organic produce very easily. As people are getting more and more health conscious, hydroponic farmers are benefiting and this has increased the demand for organic and hydroponically grown fruits and veggies in the state. Also, many of the fruits and vegetables are sent outside the state to other cities and towns. Hydroponics has ensured that people of Florida and other cities in the US get chemical-free vegetables, fruits and herbs right round the year, no matter what season it is.
According to some scientists and agriculturists, hydroponics farming in Florida is generating high revenue as small spaces can be used for higher yields compared to outdoor and traditional farming methods. For instance, a high value crop grown using traditional farming methods grosses a farmer around $20,000 to $30,000 per acre, whereas the same crop has the potential to gross a hydroponic farmer around $200,000. (See Reference 1) It is this profit that has attracted many farmers to hydroponic cultivation in Florida. And, the impact of hydroponics on Florida economy has been a positive one.
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1. Southeast Farm Express: In North Florida