Florida Crystals Corporation has announced that its organic sugar, organic molasses and organic rice are now Regenerative Organic Certified™ (ROC™).
The company’s 10,000-acre organic farm – the only ROC farmland in Florida – and the goods it produces earned the certification after the company demonstrated it grows its organic sugarcane and organic rice following the principles of regenerative agriculture to meet demanding standards for soil health and carbon capture as well as fairness to farmers and workers.
“As part of the agricultural community, we believe we must be proactive and provide solutions to continue to feed the world in a meaningful way while also building our soil’s vitality and drawing down and storing carbon, just as nature intended the ecological system to work,” says Jaime Vega, Florida Crystals’ vice president of agriculture. “We encourage all farmers to follow these practices, which enhance our natural resources while also improving productivity.”
Florida Crystals conducted an internal, farm-by-farm review of its agricultural operations two years ago to analyze how many regenerative agriculture principles the company followed and to create a blueprint to strengthen its regenerative agriculture programming. The structured program — based on testing, information and data — now informs each decision made on its farms.
To meet the critical goals of improving soil health and carbon capture, Florida Crystals focuses on five main regenerative agriculture pillars: minimize soil disturbance, keep soils covered, increase biodiversity above and below ground, upcycle byproducts, and reduce synthetic chemicals.
Florida Crystals rotates sugarcane, rice, vegetables and cover crops to naturally replenish its soil and promote biodiversity below ground. Sugarcane is a ratoon crop that maintains root systems, stabilizes soil and keeps it covered. Florida Crystals’ commitment to organic farming, which eliminates synthetic chemicals, has led the company to increase the size of its organic farm, which is the largest organic farm in Florida and the largest ROC farm in the US.
Additionally, Florida Crystals continually researches pathways to upcycle its byproducts, from sugarcane fiber to soil recaptured in the mill to rice hulls and more. The company uses its sugarcane fiber to produce green energy that powers its sugar operations. Soil that is recovered after sugarcane milling is mixed with other byproducts, including ash and sugarcane leaves, and composted to generate organic fertilizer that nourishes its entire organic crop. To control pests naturally and increase biodiversity above the ground, Florida Crystals built and operates the largest owl box network in the world, where more than 1,250 native barn owls are provided safe habitat and in exchange help guard the sugarcane from rodents.
“Florida Crystals ensures their farming practices work in harmony with their region’s precious natural environment and neighboring communities,” says Regenerative Organic Alliance Executive director Elizabeth Whitlow. “We are thrilled to see that their Regenerative Organic Certified farming methods produce high-quality sugar while building soil, benefiting wildlife, and shaping a better water future for Florida.”