Meet Steve Crump, Winner of the Innovative Farmer Award
Steve Crump runs Vo-LaSalle Farms, a truly diversified farm in Volusia County producing 110 acres of citrus (65 of them are owned and 45 managed), 1 acre of verti-gro vegetables, 22 acres of beef cattle pasture, 45 acres of bermuda hay and other livestock. Steve Crump is one of three winners for this year’s Innovative Farmer Award. Congratulations!!
Since 1969, the farm started as a commercial orange operation selling to brokers, but have slowly transitioned into a retail farm business. Retail sales include gift fruit shipping, wholesale citrus to fruit stands in the area and fresh squeezed orange juice. The farm began growing strawberries and vegetables in a Verti-Gro system in 2009 and later added winter tomatoes and peppers in high tunnels in 2013.
Steve’s commitment to the conservation of natural resources is evident. For example, the farm’s citrus groves are surrounded by a 50 foot buffer zone of natural vegetation that protects natural lakes from potential fertilizer and pesticide runoff. The farm also uses no-till production practices in their groves which enables a grassy middle to grow between the tree rows that serves to prevent erosion of valuable topsoil while building the organic levels in sandy soils. The farm also utilizes fertilizer and irrigation inputs and techniques that prevent leaching and make the most efficient use of water.
The grade-out fruit and vegetables along with the unsold hay are fed to the cattle and hogs to maximize sustainability on the farm. Farmer Steve likes to refer his farm as ‘blended’ -a conventional farm that utilizes many of the principles and bio-safe products normally applied in organic farms.
Future plans for the farm include enlarging the U-Pick strawberry acreage, planting blueberries, and subsequently U-Pick peaches. Most importantly, the farm will continue to battle the slow spread of citrus greening and attempt replacing or reviving some of the currently infected trees.
Steve Crump is the chairman for the University of Florida Volusia County citrus advisory committee and the Volusia Citrus Health Management Area (CHMA). Crump has been actively involved in hosting multiple educational and farm events and is often consulted by media outlets in the region.
Take the time to congratulate Steve at the conference and learn more from him!