Pittman, T.1; Broughton, D.2
1Ag & Natural Resources Agent, UF/IFAS Extension, Trenton, FL, 32693
2Regional Specialized Agent, UF/IFAS Extension, Live Oak, FL, 32060


Florida boasts a diverse agriculture industry and economy that rivals that of any other state in the United States. In recent years, staple crops such as citrus or peanuts, have face challenges and threats from disease, pest, trade, profitability and regulation. In the face of these challenges Florida producers have been looking to new emerging crops to supplement traditional crops. In 2020 the University of Florida began a research initiative into emerging agriculture enterprises to fund research to determine the viability of new crops and markets for Florida producers. Agronomic row crops are a division of this initiative that represents a diverse sector of the Florida agriculture economy. This diversity makes determining research priorities into potential crops and alternatives difficult over such a large spatial extent where vast differences in production methods, soils, infrastructure and climate exist. In order to guide this research into new agronomic row crops for we began with a strategic and objective prioritization process to determine crops that would benefit most from research efforts and provide a viable new commodity for as many Florida producers as possible. We developed a 10 question Likert based survey on a list of emerging agronomic row crops distributed to extension and research faculty around the state. Survey questions included topics like market viability, available infrastructure, growing potential, spatial extent of growing potential, ongoing research and current knowledge base, and research needs. Based on 9 responses from agronomic research and extension faculty we calculated a composite crop with higher scoring crops having the greatest potential to enter the Florida agriculture economy and industry. Sun Hemp (Crotalaria juncea) was the highest ranked potential agronomic row crop for its potential as a seed and silage crop while providing soil remediation attributed for traditional crops such as peanuts. The next two highest ranked crops were sunflower (Helianthus sp) and carinata (Brassica carinata) both as a seed oil crop that could integrate well into traditional crop systems in Florida. By using a strategic prioritization process like this extension and research faculty can make concerted efforts into research and extension programing at state and regional levels.

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