Agronomic Crops: Overview

Agronomic crops have served as the economic base for many farming operations in Florida throughout recent history. For many years, crops such as tobacco, corn, cotton, soybean, and peanut were produced and sold to serve as the primary source of income for the family farm. In the past, nearly every farm was integrated to include livestock, grain production, and some form of cash crop, such as cotton or tobacco.

As the production landscape evolves with respect to international trade and agricultural policy, many of the traditional agronomic crop producers have seen it necessary to expand their acreage in order to spread the fixed costs associated with machinery purchases and capital improvements. In many cases, production on 100 or more acres may be required to warrant the purchase of equipment to grow a particular agronomic crop destined for traditional commodity markets.

Yet in recent years, new and old producers have realized the value in the placement and marketing of these age-old crops. Producers now use alternative marketing strategies to create demand and value for their crops. Whether selling boiled peanuts stands along the highway, a corn maze at Thanksgiving, or homemade cane syrup, producers are using new technology and methods of marketing to create profitability and sustainability.

Production of agronomic crops is just like that of vegetables, forages, and livestock: they all have nutritional and water requirements, and they each have their own spectrum of potential insect pests and disease pathogens. Becoming familiar with the growth and reproductive patterns of these crops will help to ensure successful production. The publications included in this section of the Small Farms/Alternative Enterprises Web site will provide you with the background and information needed to get started.