Category Archives: Featured

Florida Roots: One man’s courage to protect our way of life

As we celebrate our freedom on Independence Day with family and fireworks, as well as great food grown by our farmers, it’s easy to forget the men and women who sacrificed in order to fight for the great liberties we enjoy every day. Al Bellotto, a man as rooted in Florida agriculture as a tree

Annual Blueberry Roundup: Florida growers expanding markets for blue gold

WHEN LIFE gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or so the saying goes. But what do you do when you have blemished blueberries, or your pickers leave with lots of berries still on the plants? Some blueberry growers let the public do the harvesting, but Ken Patterson has a different solution. He makes wine, blueberry wine

Combining dairy farming, science, and teaching

AGRICULTURE HAS BEEN a way of life for Suzanne Churchwell, a science teacher at Plant City High School. Teaching has enabled Churchwell to combine her love of love of agriculture, science, and everyday life. “My brother and I took odd jobs picking peanuts, oranges, and strawberries, and we were able to save some money so

@griTech: What computers can do for the Florida Everglades

IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA, many problems present themselves on a yearly basis once the wet season arrives. The challenge of managing the Everglades and the natural systems of the area was one that desperately needed a touch of innovation. That is why South Florida Water Management District Principal Engineer Alaa Ali has developed a

Recipe Spotlight: Sweet satisfaction of a Florida peach

MOVE OVER GEORGIA. Florida is on the way to a peachy crop. The trouble with growing peaches in Florida has always been that the Sunshine State can’t give peaches the cold shoulder. The fuzzy fruit needs a certain number of chilly hours to rest and relax and regenerate to produce a crop.

Greenhouses, Hoophouses, and Hydroponics, OH MY!

Three Methods for Farmers on the Road to Maximizing Production Farming has made tremendous strides and advancements since the pioneer days, when crops were at the mercy of Mother Nature and the ability of farmers and animals to handle the labor. Today, such options as greenhouses, hoophouses (also known as high tunnels), and hydroponic farming

Small Farmers Mean BIG Business

Sewing and Reaping the Knowledge for Success Small farms have always existed, but in Florida, they historically represented a less visible portion of the agriculture industry.  Demand has sparked new opportunities, however, and a more definitive view of this agricultural segment has surfaced. Small farmers have new opportunities from consumer demand, experts say, and support

FAWN: Providing the Tools for Weather Preparedness

The Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) was established in 1998 in response to the discontinuation of the National Weather Service (NWS) agricultural weather forecast products.  What began as a network of 11 Cooperative Extension Service sites in Lake and Orange counties is now a statewide system of 36 sites located from Homestead to Jay, near

Top 10 Reasons to Join FFA

1. BE PART OF THE SOLUTION – “Be part of the industry that sustains mankind,” says David Byrd, an Agricultural Resource Specialist for Polk County Schools and Future Farmers of America’s District Advisor, citing the need to provide food for the Earth’s growing population.

Worst Case Scenario: Be Prepared for Hurricane Season

According to the expert team at and Joe Bastardi, the Chief Long-Range Meteorologist and Hurricane Forecaster, the 2010 Hurricane season has the potential to be “extreme” and “much more like 2008 than 2009 as far as the overall threat to the United States’ East and Gulf coasts. ”  Fortunately, threats to inland Polk County