Watermelon season has begun. Long awaited and finally here for growers south of I-4. Soon our North Florida growers will join in and begin harvesting their crop. With a warm March and April, we have seen most areas starting earlier than normal and that trend looks like it will continue right up through the state. This season is bringing on challenges bigger and broader than I think anyone of us in FWA can recall.
We growers have grown accustom to rough weather, disease pressures and volatile markets but I don't think any of us saw this drastic change that we have experienced in the last two months to our country and our daily lives. This corona virus has the potential to change our culture. Whether warranted or not, this virus pandemic has seriously changed our world. What long term effect it will have on us as watermelon farmers, I think remains to be seen. We all need to pray we will return to some sort of normalcy… soon. The courage and determination of the agriculture family will prevail as we tread in this different time.
Most people don't get it when we refer to our Ag Family. Most people just look at us like we are different, and we talk funny. They just don't understand what it is like to be raised around beef cattle, orange trees, dairies, vegetables and watermelons. That's ok with me, I’d just as soon be a little different.
As we move forward, we must continue preaching about the Florida farmer. We are in unprecedented times with the pressures we receive daily from foreign fruits and vegetables. We must see the movement that is happening with social media and the support we are receiving from social media about the Florida Farmer. We must fight this fight as an Ag Family. There we will find a loud enough voice to be heard. FWA is asking you to be a part of this loud voice. Contact somebody… a political figure of some sort, people in your community or a manager at your local grocery store where you shop for your family each week. FWA as an organization will continue the fight. FWA will continue to be a loud voice for the FLORIDA FARMER. FWA is asking you to do the same. No time to wait until someone else does the speaking. The people out there want to hear from the farmer. The one that talks really slow and has a southern drawl. The one that is genuine when he speaks. The one who is ok if everyone wins. The one that deep down inside wants his fellow grower to succeed because at the end of the day that is family.
Good luck to all watermelon farmers this season, I hope you have a bumper crop and our prices will be enough to make us whole again. This one is going to be a strange one, for sure. Thank you to all our Allied members who continue to help us along the way, keeping us up to date with the latest trends and technologies. For all of us who are married, thank you to our wives for lending that ear that we bend most every night. Thank you, ladies, for putting up with us. You young and up and coming watermelon growers, time for you guys and gals to step up and take the lead on this social media effort. You guys have the knack and knowledge to take our industry to a different level. Your FWA executive board is wide open for suggestions. Please utilize your talents... Don't hold back on giving your skills to help your industry that you have chosen to be your way of life.
In closing I leave you with this scripture from the book of Joshua, we might need to refer to this one as we work thru this season.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong & courageous, do not be Afraid; Do not be Discouraged, For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you Go."