The feasibility of operating an individual quick freeze vegetable processing facility in Tift County, Georgia
Wolfe, Kent L.
McKissick, John C.
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This study examines the economic feasibility of operating an Individual Quick Freeze (IQF) line in Tift County area. This vegetable processing line will provide producers with a means of adding value to their produce and assist them in capturing a higher percentage of the farm-to-retail price spread. In addition, by chopping and freezing the vegetables, the producers have the opportunity to create a market for their #2 (cull) vegetables. By processing and freezing these vegetables, the farmers can hold their product during periods of over supply and sell products during periods of undersupply and obtain a better price for their product. Producers operating in the fresh market do not have this luxury as they are dealing with perishable products making them “price takers.” The fresh market is also susceptible to periods of excess supply leaving producers with a surplus of fresh produce and depressed prices. The fresh market demands producers grade their products and only supply high quality produce resulting in a supply of #2s or cull vegetables for which there is not a ready-made market. The result is that many producers leave their #2s or culls to rot in the field. The frozen vegetable market may offer an attractive opportunity to generate revenue from both culls and excess #1s. An IQF line could assist producers in addressing this quality problem by allowing them to be highly selective in choosing produce for the fresh market and still maintain a market for cull products. Producers may be able to expand acreage and/or cultivation practices to fully satisfy the fresh market, while also satisfying the frozen market. This study will also examine the relevant economic issues surrounding IQF vegetables including bell peppers, carrots, English peas, lima beans, snap beans, southern peas, sweet corn, yellow squash, and zucchini. The economic analysis compares the projected cost of operating an IQF line with current market prices for various frozen vegetables.