Floribusiness Florida’s foliage farmers are challenged by climate change

Florida’s foliage farmers are challenged by climate change

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As another hurricane season approaches (June 1-November 30), Florida’s foliage farmers eye the skies—and pool resources. How will growers in this critical supply center cope with the increasing likelihood of extreme weather events?

By Bruce Wright

The title “Fern Capital of the World” is claimed by Pierson, Florida. It’s a town of only about 1700 souls, but it is surrounded by farms—mostly small and family-owned—that for many decades have provided the vast majority (around 85%) of the floral ferns bought and sold in the U.S. market.

The central Florida ferneries, together occupying little more than 6,000 acres (about 2,500 hectares), do also ship their products abroad—primarily to Europe, but also farther away, to places like Japan, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia. In recent years, the fern business in Volusia County, where Pierson is located, has been estimated at $60-$70 million annually.

Floribusiness editor Bruce Wright wrote a story on the impact of climate change on the foliage industry in Florida. You can read the full story in the new digital magazine of Floribusiness.

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