Title: 1994 Ag-Environmental: A. Duda and Sons
Type: Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award
A. Duda & Sons of Oviedo has long been a leader in development and research. Faced with limited pest control options in the 1970s, this world-class operation took up the challenge to develop programs of its own. The company's perseverance led to innovative approaches to pest control and nutrient management with an eye toward cost-effective food production.
Ferdinand Duda: I don't think that the general population realizes what it takes to be able to be a country where the cost of food is just what-- 10 cents on the dollar, the lowest in the world? We're so used to just going to the grocery store and there you get food. So I think they need to understand what agriculture is all about. It's a highly technical business.
The company's integrated pest management program employs a scout to identify crop pests and help chart a course of action. Biological controls are preferred as alternatives to pesticide application whenever possible. Duda also uses sophisticated crop rotation and flooding strategies to control pests in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner.
The Duda Farm on the north shores of Lake Apopka is a prime example of the company's nutrient management program. Removing nearly 300 acres of prime farm land from production, the company built three massive retention ponds. Re-using water from the ponds instead of drawing it from the lake enables the farm to recycle nearly 90 percent of all water used at the site. Aquatic plants in the ponds naturally filter the phosphorous in the water.
A. Duda and Sons remains committed to developing new production practices and techniques that work in harmony with the area's natural resources.
Ferdinand Duda: Agriculture requires you to take care of the land. If you want to continue in business over a long period of time, you have to do things that are good for the environment, that's good for the land. And I think the same things that the environmentalists are looking for, I think the agriculturalists do.