U.S. Sugar partners with FAMU, Tuskegee University to study impact of sugar-cane farming in the Glades

sugar farm field on sunset time
'This collaboration marks a significant step toward a more comprehensive and inclusive understanding of our rural communities and sustainable agricultural practices.'

U.S. Sugar is joining with two universities to study the impact of sugar-cane farming in the Glades area and analyze more sustainable farming techniques.

Florida A&M University (FAMU) and Tuskegee University will partner with U.S. Sugar on the project.

“I am proud to join hands with Tuskegee University and U.S. Sugar in this transformative partnership,” said Garlen D. Weston, FAMU’s Interim Dean of Agriculture.

“By uniting our expertise and resources, we reaffirm our commitment to fostering innovative, environmentally responsible agriculture in the Glades region and beyond. This collaboration exemplifies our dedication to understanding sustainable agricultural practices and underscores our unwavering commitment to the well-being of our communities. We are honored to be a part of this impactful endeavor.”

According to a project release, the effort “will launch a comprehensive environmental study to assess the impacts of sustainable farming practices, including sugarcane-burning practices, throughout the region” to “assess the industry’s economic and ecological impacts and explore sustainable practices aligning with our shared commitment to environmental stewardship.”

“In addition to the environmental study, the universities will undertake an economic analysis focusing on the agricultural sector’s contributions to the surrounding communities,” the release added. “This aims to shed light on industry’s economic impacts, particularly in minority communities, to reinforce the industry’s role as a key economic driver in the region.”

The project aims to involve community stakeholders in order to help ensure farming practices are benefiting nearby residents.

“With its long history and legacy of promoting environmental stewardship, Tuskegee University is committed to promoting sustainable agricultural practices as we work together to feed a growing population,” said Olga Bolden-Tiller, Dean and Research Director at Tuskegee University — College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences.

“This partnership is an extension of this work, and we are excited to engage the local community to inform this project.”

Florida’s farmers have pushed back against some outside research on the effect of sugar-cane farming on particle pollution, pointing to state and private data showing that Florida has good air quality overall. This new study project will also look into the effect of sugar-cane burns.

“U.S. Sugar is honored to partner with universities as storied as Tuskegee University and Florida A&M University to examine sugar-cane farming’s impact in the Glades region,” said Brannan Thomas, Community Relations Director for U.S. Sugar.

“We are committed to strengthening partnerships and highlighting the role we play in our communities and our environmental stewardship. This collaboration marks a significant step toward a more comprehensive and inclusive understanding of our rural communities and sustainable agricultural practices.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].

One comment

  • tom palmer

    May 20, 2024 at 7:17 am

    Be curious to see the results. The claim that Florida’s overall air quality in rural areas is pretty good ignores localized problems with particulate pollution from sugar cane burning. I hope this will be an honest study and not just more sugar industry PR.

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