Florida farmers play a critical role in food production for the U.S., generating over $7 billion in crops, especially during the winter months. Florida’s specialty crops, like strawberries, play a significant role in the state’s economy: strawberry production generates $400 million annually. In recent years, extreme weather has hit Florida agriculture hard, sustaining over $1 billion in losses from Hurricane Ian in 2022 alone.
The Environmental Defense Fund recognized that sound science was essential to assess risks from climate change to growing the crop. Experts claim that, in Hillsborough County, where most of the state’s strawberries are grown, growers can anticipate a 17% decline in early yields by 2050. Early yields are critical to making Florida strawberries competitive with producers in California and Mexico. This yield declines drive projected income losses of 10% per acre within the next two and a half decades. Economic losses, development pressure on viable farmland, and extreme weather will significantly impact Florida farmers who are already struggling against narrow profit margins.