San Diego County Grower Needs Assessment Findings Available
The University Cooperative Extension San Diego has released the findings from its grower survey in a publication entitled, Grower Needs Assessment for Sustainable Food Production in San Diego County. The survey was conducted in order to better understand the issues, challenges and trends affecting local agriculture and its sustainability.
A majority of the 296 respondents were California avocado growers. Following are highlights from the report:
- A vast majority of respondents (75 percent) use mobile smartphones and computer in their farming operation.
- Nearly 74 percent of respondents indicated they had an income outside of farming.
- A majority (55 percent) use outside labor for farming activities.
- The most common risk management strategies were noted as having liability, property and personal insurance (67 percent), with the majority using production/yield-based crop insurance (52 percent).
- The most significant barrier to adopting new practices was the cost of making those changes.
- The most common conservation practices were mulching, compost application, no-till/reduced-till. The top benefits cited for those practices were drought resistance, environmental stewardship and yield improvements.
- Growers’ greatest financial concerns were the costs of farming (63 percent), regulations (46 percent) and labor supply issues (43 percent).
- Growers’ top farm production concerns were water/irrigation management, soil/fertility management and insect pests.
- As concerns water management, growers noted the need for irrigation technology and equipment (33 percent), irrigation management assessment (19 percent) and training on current research and best management practices for water efficiency (17 percent).
- The vast majority of growers (74 percent) did not have post-harvest concerns. Those who did have concerns noted harvesting methods/systems and quality control as their top issues.
- The top marketing concerns were sales prices, market niches/windows and market development.
A copy of the report is available online.