The countdown has begun. Farmers and economists agree, the Florida strawberry industry has 10 years to drastically reduce production costs or the nearly $1 billion-per-year industry could see its last harvest.
Faced with a labor shortage and high labor costs compared to the growing Mexican strawberry industry, farmers are looking to new technologies as the answer to as the answer to shrinking profit margins.
“If we don’t automate American agriculture and these specialty crops like strawberries, they’re either going to be very expensive or non-existent,” Gary Wishnatzki, owner of Wish Farms, said. “Within the next 10 years, it could happen. However, it is my plan and our company’s plan to not let that happen.”