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FLORIDA

By En USA news

Florida agriculture is big business

To survive in today's competitive market, beginners in the industry need a solid business plan and the right marketing tactics to build a business from the ground up.

 

“Agricultural operations, regardless of size, need an action plan that provides a sense of direction toward profitability,” said Jonael Bosques-Méndez, agricultural agent and director of the UF/IFAS Extension service in Hardy County. "Without a business plan, it is very difficult to evaluate whether the decisions you make will ultimately lead to success."

 

It is for this reason that the Extension service of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) offers online workshops to teach the basics of planning, implementing and establishing an agricultural operation for those who venture into first time in agriculture. Instructors will teach the workshops in English and Spanish.

 

The workshops are designed for entrepreneurs interested in starting a farming business and for new farmers looking to expand their operations. Their English session, “Farming is a Business,” will take place on April 18, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The registration deadline for the workshop in English is April 15. A Spanish version of the workshop, "Agriculture is a Business," is planned for May 2, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The registration deadline for the workshop in Spanish is April 29.

 

The cost of each workshop is $10 and includes the required materials. Registration is required and space is limited to 25 participants per workshop.

UF/IFAS agriculture experts will provide resources and step-by-step instruction on the processes necessary to establish a comprehensive business plan that includes business description, marketing, operations, human resources and financial planning.

 

“Farmers face many uncertainties, including variable weather patterns, pests and diseases, customer preferences and fluctuating market prices that affect the value of the products they grow on their farms,” Bosques-Méndez clarified. "A solid business plan can help producers have a clear idea of ​​how much they will spend before planting, during the growing season, after the product leaves the farm and, finally, when it reaches consumers' tables ".

 

With 44,000 agricultural operations covering 9.7 million acres in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, these operations contribute more than $160 million to the state's economy, producing a wide range of raw materials and products. , while generating jobs and stable income.

 

However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, data shows that about 20% of startup businesses fail within the first two to three years, said Luis Rodríguez-Rosado, UF/IFAS Extension agent specialist. on small farms in Polk County, who will serve as an instructor along with Bosques.

 

"Farmers are particularly vulnerable to failure, as they often possess knowledge of crop management, but lack resources or experience in business management," explained Rodríguez-Rosado. "Due to this situation, farmers are looking for resources to help them make sound business decisions in agricultural management."

 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, consumer preferences for food products have evolved and there is now a growing demand for sustainably locally grown products, organic or not, that are of the highest quality.

 

At the same time, those venturing into agriculture are showing growing interest in small-scale agriculture throughout Florida, to meet consumer demands for a variety of specialized products and services.

In 2020, U.S. farmers made $9 billion in direct food sales, up 3% from 2015. Direct food sales in the Southeast accounted for only 7% of these sales, or what It is the same, $609 million. Florida was the only state in the southeast that managed to position itself among the top 10 states in direct food sales, with $247 million, representing 41% of the region's total according to a 2022 USDA report.

 

For more information, contact Rodríguez-Rosado at lrodriguezrosado@ufl.edu or 863-519-1049.

 

ABOUT UF/IFAS

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources, and to make that knowledge available to maintain and improve the quality of human life. UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has more than a dozen research centers, 67 counties with extension offices, as well as award-winning students and faculty. UF/IFAS offers science-based solutions to the state's agricultural and natural resource industries, as well as all Florida residents. ifas.ufl.edu  | @UF IFAS

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