4R Practices Shine Within Strict Farming Guidelines

Grower: John Hundley and Eric Hopkins, Hundley Farms, Belle Glade, Fla. Crop Advisor: Tim Stein, Wedgworth’s Inc., Belle Glade, Fla.

Hundley Farms Inc. is a third-generation family farm that has been in business since 1969, however the Hundley family started farming in the Glades in 1935. Located in Belle Glade Fla., the farm is in the Everglades Agricultural Area, one of the larger contiguous bodies of organic soil in the world. The region is the primary source of winter vegetables for the eastern United States.

Leading the operations are John L. Hundley, president, and Eric Hopkins, John S. Hundley and Krista Hopkins, all senior vice presidents. The farm covers approximately 20,266 acres. Its crop mix includes sweet corn, sugarcane, green beans, radishes, field corn, peanuts, rice, cotton, cabbage, and collard greens.

The Hundleys practice intense crop rotation and some crops, such as rice, absorb excess nutrients and return organic matter to the soil. All of this is done while following strict farming guidelines set forth by the South Florida Water Management District. They also grow cotton, field corn, sweet corn, and peanuts in Georgia to serve their markets year-round.

Wedgworth’s, Inc., also of Belle Grade, has been their retailer partner for more than 50 years. Hopkins and Tim Stein, Wedgworth’s agronomist, agree the trust built over the years is invaluable.

“We want to do business with people who want us to succeed for the long haul and have a vested interest in our long-term success,” Hopkins says. “If we’re successful, they’ll be successful and if we grow, they’ll grow. Our relationship with Wedgworth’s is a prime example of this concept in action.

Stein concurs and says the Hundleys are always receptive to new ideas and are willing to try new practices. Hundley and Wedgworth’s personnel work together each year to compile a yield potential and nutrient management plan that is based on zone soil sampling, end-of-season stalk tests to evaluate crop uptake of nutrients, and satellite imaging.

The Hundleys don’t hide their 4R management practices. They’re known for their progressive operations and civic involvement. John L. Hundley was named Palm Beach County’s Man of the Year by the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce. Hopkins was the Leadership Palm Beach County’s Presidents Award recipient in 2018.

Best Practice Management

  • Nitrogen stabilizers for liquid and dry fertilizers
  • Nitrification inhibitors
  • Phosphate efficiency enhancement additives
  • Using fertigation to apply nutrients to productive areas of fields
  • Split application of nutrients
  • Use plant tissue testing to evaluate effectiveness of fertilization program and as a diagnostic tool
  • Foliar application
  • GPS precision planting
  • GPS precision nutrient application
  • GPS tillage