Paul Davidson honored as an Agriculture Innovator

Published: Friday, August 16, 2013 at 04:02 PM.

MARIANNA —  Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized on Aug. 9 by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jackson County Agriculture Conference Center in Marianna.

 This is the third year these two organizations have teamed up to honor an elite group of innovative farmers and ranchers in the Florida Panhandle.  

Paul Davidson of Davidson Farms was recognized as the Washington County Agriculture Innovator of the Year by Matthew Orwat and Mark Mauldin of UF / IFAS Washington County Extension.

Davidson is deserving of and proud to be the 2013 Washington County Agriculture Innovator of the Year. Davidson began his farming operation in 1988 with growing field peas on his long-time family property between Chipley and Vernon. He expanded to begin growing watermelon and cantaloupe.  That hobby soon extended to include growing a large variety of seasonal vegetables, hay and corn.

In 2008, while selling produce and various market venues and to traditional buyers such as stores and restaurants, he decided he could obtain a better marketing niche by opening up his own produce market. An unused site was available at a prime location in Chipley, at the intersection of U.S. 90 and State Highway 77. Thus Main Street Market was born.

Since then, he has been able to direct market his seasonal produce at a retail level while offering produce from other local farmers as well. His children have been active in the management of Main Street Market, with one of them becoming produce manager. The involvement of his children in his farming and marketing efforts has given them valuable life skills.

Two factors contribute to the innovative nature of his farming operations — The methods he uses to market his produce and techniques he uses to spread out yield so that he has a longer season. To increase the length of his watermelon and corn season, he staggers his planting dates and grows crops on both irrigated and non-irrigated ground. This is done so that produce is consistently ready to sell at this market over a long period of time. This technique was developed through field trials with Washington County Extension and UF Specialists.

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