This is the first of our week-long blog series on Produce Season Shipping 2015! Part II covers changes for 2015 produce season shipping, while Part III deals with capacity and truckload pricing during produce season. And don’t forget to download some free Freight Papers, such as our LTL & Truckload Equipment Guide. Cotton is king: Or, at least it is when looking at the commercially grown crops of Texas. Texas harvested 3.2 million acres of cotton in 2013, compared to 18,500 acres of one of our most well-known crops: the grapefruit. That’s quite a divide. But why are we talking about king cotton, produce, and Texas’ harvested acres on a freight blog? Well, because produce season 2015 is right around the corner, and we want to give you some insight into what this means for the truck markets in Texas. But first, what kind of produce is grown in Texas? The overwhelming majority of Texas commercial crops are cotton, corn, sorghum, and wheat grains, but an interesting new trend is the rise in nursery crops being grown. Bedding plants, foliage plants, sod, and the woody landscape plants you see in retail nurseries are primarily being grown in Texas. Of course, there are also the favorites like the state vegetable: the onion, the state pepper: the jalapeño, the state fruit: the grapefruit, and the state nut: the pecan. And where is it all coming from? While Texas has farms in every county and every corner of the state, the majority of the commercial farms are in South Texas. In fact, McMullen County in South Texas has the greatest percentage of farmers in the US. with a population of 707, 374 farmers. In addition to what is actually grown in Texas, a staggering amount of produce flows through the border with Mexico. In 2012, there were 160,000 loads of produce that crossed the Texas/Mexico border, the majority of which was bound for the midwest and northeast. That number is expected to double with the opening of the Mexican Supervia, a superhighway that will connect Sinaloa, Mexico to Pharr, Texas. Sinaloa is in southwestern Mexico and produces 70-80% of the country’s fruits and vegetables. And why does this matter to Texas truckload freight? It’s all about supply and demand when it comes to truck markets, rates, and capacity. When harvest season comes around, available drivers and trucks flock to the border. This means there are less trucks on the road for other loads, and rates go up. The demand on the limited supply of trucks increases, causing rates to increase. Happy harvesting for today, and check back for more information during Produce Week 2015 here at FreightPros!
Andy is a Truckload Solutions Specialist here at FreightPros. He enjoys long walks on the beach...er, more like Jeep rides in the desert. When he's not annoying everyone around him by blasting Trucker Country, he and his wife enjoy taking their dog, Lilly, to all the dog parks in Austin and catching a live show when they can.
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