Pepe Fanjul, Jr. and Fellow EAA Farmers Educate Hundreds at Palm Beach Chamber Breakfast About Modern Farming
(From left) Kiley Harper-Larsen of NK Lago Farms and The Ag Safety Lady, Alleigh Reitz of Everglades Farm Equipment, Pepe Fanjul, Jr. of Florida Crystals and John L. Hundley of Hundley Farms.
Florida Crystals was excited to support and participate in the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Feb. 2 breakfast, featuring a discussion about modern agriculture in Palm Beach County and a fresh market of locally grown produce, including our organic raw cane sugar and rice.
Moderating the engaging discussion, which was titled “Agriculture: The Oldest & Most Recession-Proof Industry,” was Pepe Fanjul Jr., executive vice president of Florida Crystals. He was joined onstage at the Kravis Center Cohen Pavilion in West Palm Beach by John L. Hundley of Hundley Farms, Alleigh Reitz of Everglades Equipment Group and Kiley Harper-Larsen of NK Lago Farms and The Ag Safety Lady.
“Florida Crystals and the farm families that you are about to hear from grow and produce the foods that feed families across the nation and abroad, employ multiple generations of Floridians and are sustainable stewards of our lands,” Pepe said as he introduced the series.
Palm Beach County is a powerhouse for agriculture as the largest and most valuable agricultural county in Florida and east of the Mississippi River. Much of the produce grown in Palm Beach County comes from our Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), a 450,000-acre farming region located south of Lake Okeechobee.
The discussion began with technological advances in agriculture, with Alleigh sharing the latest updates on autonomous tractors being built by John Deere.
“Technology allows us to be efficient and to keep feeding the country,” she said. "These machines have the capability to link via satellite, and allow the farm manager, who cannot be at a farm at all times, to see where the tractor is, what it's doing when the operator's operating it and the efficiency of the machine. We rely on technology just as much as the auto industry."
Kiley spoke about the importance of food safety, saying Palm Beach County is a leader in the field.
"We're very lucky that when it comes to food safety, we have a prevalent amount of land, we have a supportive environment and we also have water systems that are well-maintained," she said. "We also have farmers and their employees that truly care about the science that protects us as we consume our food."
John, whom Pepe described as “a trailblazer in balancing the environment with growing foods,” said the farmers in the EAA are environmentalists at heart, and hope to continue working with local, state and federal leaders to improve water quality.
Attendees experienced the fruits of farmers’ labor after the discussion when they visited the EAA Fresh Market, where they were able choose from a selection of our Florida Crystals® Organic Raw Cane Sugar and locally grown rice, along with radishes from Hundley Farms and lettuce from TKM Bengard Farms, both based in Belle Glade.