Pop quiz: Next to tourism, what Florida industry is the state’s largest employer?
The answer isn’t health care, transportation, technology or even government. Agriculture is Florida’s second-biggest job supplier, according to the University of Florida.
“Two million jobs can be traced to the state’s agriculture, natural resources and related food industries — and not just on our 47,500 farms. Income from $142 billion in annual sales gets spent around the state to create jobs in restaurants, department stores and car dealerships, too,” Jack Payne of the University’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences said during a recent media interview.
Despite their importance, farmers and all they support are at the mercy of a multitude of uncontrollable forces.
A year of hard work and investment can be wiped out in an instant by a late-season hurricane, an early frost or an unexpected outbreak of insects or plant disease.
And the ever-looming prospect of a changing climate could be “potentially catastrophic,” according to Payne, as it wreaks havoc on water supplies, soil conditions and land use.
So how do farmers gain some control over the uncontrollable and add stability to the region’s economy?
Crop insurance is key.
Read more here.