In the midst of an ongoing algae debate, it can be difficult to remember the community of people who live in the Glades area. These communities and families live and breathe agriculture. Below is a news release from Florida Crystals regarding the Pre-Harvest Celebration held this past Sunday. The account below shows the communal support for agriculture in that area.
Florida Crystals, Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative Join Employees, Farmers, Community Members, Families to Celebrate Upcoming Sugarcane Harvest
BELLE GLADE, FLA – Florida Crystals Corporation and Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida hosted a Pre-Harvest Celebration on Sunday at Torry Island in Belle Glade, where employees, farmers, families and members of the Glades communities of western Palm Beach County came together to celebrate the upcoming sugarcane crop season and to pray for a safe, prosperous and abundant harvest.
“We were delighted to see our employees, fellow farmers and industry members as well as our friends in the Glades communities have such a wonderful time on a beautiful Sunday afternoon on the shores of Lake Okeechobee,” said Pepe Fanjul, Jr., Executive Vice President of Florida Crystals. “Like any agricultural harvest, the sugarcane crop season is long and requires a great deal of dedication from our employees and their families, so this was an opportunity to show them our tremendous appreciation and host an event where we could all come together for a day of enjoyment with friends and family before the hard work begins.”
Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida Chairman of the Board John L. Hundley added: “We were pleased to be part of the 2018 pre-harvest celebration. It’s great when we can showcase the dedication and hard work of our employees and grower- members in partnership with the Glades communities and its leaders and provide a token of our appreciation by hosting a fun, family-oriented event in the Glades. We would like to thank everyone who helped make this event a success and demonstrated the true community spirit that makes the Glades such a special place to conduct and grow our agricultural businesses.”
More than 1,000 guests enjoyed BBQ, music and entertainment, including bounce houses, face painting and a performance from the Pahokee Middle/High School Drum Line. During the blessing, Pastor Robert Rease, of Belle Glade’s St. John First Missionary Baptist Church, led a heartfelt prayer for a safe and prosperous harvest season.
Following the blessing, Bishop Kenny Berry, of Grace Fellowship Worship Center of Belle Glade, emceed a program where the companies expressed their gratitude to all in attendance and showed their deep appreciation to two long-time employees. Andres Fanjul, Florida Crystals’ Senior Vice President, honored William Bland, of Belle Glade, for his 33 years of service and leadership as a true representative of the company’s values. John L. Hundley honored Hercules Yarns, of Belle Glade, for 44 years of service, noting his positive spirit and enthusiasm as he shows up each day with a smile.
The sugarcane harvest season occurs from October to May, when 17 million tons of sugarcane will be delivered to four area sugar mills. The sugarcane farming and processing industry in South Florida supports more than 23,000 jobs in the state, has an economic impact of $3 billion and helps make Palm Beach County the most valuable agricultural county in the state of Florida as well as east of the Mississippi River.
Sugarcane farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), south of Lake Okeechobee, are also proud partners with the State of Florida in Everglades restoration. EAA farmers’ on-farm Best Management Practices (BMPs) resulted in a 66% phosphorus reduction, more than two times better than the state’s goal, last year as they supplied clean water south to the Everglades.