Florida leads the country in many crops and commodities, and one of the most important and underrated is watermelon. Florida is the top of four states— Texas, Georgia, and California being the other three— that produce over half of the country’s watermelon, and demand for the crop is continually increasing. According to the Ag Marketing
As educational activities locally and statewide were winding down in late May, and folks looked forward to the long Memorial Day holiday weekend, activities of the emergency management kind were ratcheting upward. With the start of June came the start of the sixth-month 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Emergency management officials far and wide renewed their
Agridiversity is an increasingly important part of agriculture as the statistics show that the industry will need people from all backgrounds to consider agriculture as a career if we are going to feed the world’s growing population. In the pages of this month’s Central Florida Ag News, you’ll read stories of the diversity of
Water conservation plays an important role between balancing current and future water needs. This month is traditionally one of the driest of the year and marks the peak demand season for public water suppliers. During drier months, it is essential that we all play a role in water conservation. Water is a public resource that
The U.S. cow herd continues to grow at a very fast rate. An AgWeb.com piece examining the growth maintains the cow herd expansion from 2014 through 2016 was the biggest since the 1970s. The USDA–National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Cattle Inventory report was released January 1. The report showed increased growth in cow herd, and
THE 2012 CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE counted 2.1 million farms in the U.S., with 97 percent being considered family-owned operations. While that designation could be any number of configurations of family members, siblings, and extended kin, the one that packs the most important punch is the multigenerational family farming business. We count the number of farming
AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMS like FFA and 4-H are celebrated for their ability to get America’s youth interested in ag, but did you know there are similar programs at the college level? These postsecondary ag programs take the principles of programs like 4-H and FFA to the next level. The word from all agriculture sectors is that
“EVERYONE KNOWS that land without water isn’t worth much.” That was the sentiment of Tony Toso, a California Farm Bureau Federation director, rancher, and professional agricultural land appraiser, in a 2014 article about ground water rights. No matter the locale of the farm or the crop being grown, access to water is of the utmost
EVERYONE KNOWS what soil is, but in agriculture, we pay close attention to our soils to best protect them, so the land can, in turn, help grow larger yields. Though it may not seem so to us, soil is a very thin layer on the Earth’s surface, and it’s easily lost.
NOW THAT THE NEW YEAR has arrived, it’s time to make some plant and garden resolutions that will add life to your outdoor space. Here are the gardening tips for January to get your lawn and garden started off the right way.
EVERY YEAR, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) presents the Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award to three agriculture operations that “demonstrate a sustained commitment to conserving Florida’s natural resources and improving our environment.” The praises of this year’s winners were sung by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in a recent Growing Produce article. Putnam
IT’S TIME FOR the most important fertilization of the year. For a green lawn this winter and quick takeoff next spring, feed it now. A combination of weed and feed may be advisable, especially if your lawn is weedy. Winterizer fertilizer would follow two to four weeks later.
IT’S ARGUABLE THAT some of the best art is created by Mother Nature, and a recent partnership between The Wildlife Society and the Feed a Bee program, operated by life-science group Bayer: Science for A Better Life, is creating masterpieces through a series of native wildflower planting events to benefit bees and other pollinators. Florida
I LIKE TO THINK about the good group of men and women who come to work each day at Adams Cold Storage in Auburndale. I like to think that we’re a thankful group, happy to be working and providing a valuable service to our customers and, in many ways, to the public in general.
THERE’S A GOOD CHANCE that some of the food items originally bound for the public school lunchrooms in peninsular Florida were recently diverted for a higher-priority purpose. There’s nothing to worry about, though. The lunchroom cupboards aren’t going bare. There are plenty of commodities in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pipeline to replace it
AS THE COOLER MONTHS of the year approach, it’s important to ensure that your lawn and garden are ready to withstand any obstacle Mother Nature might throw at them. Here at Doty Farm and Garden Supply, Inc., we are dedicated to helping your plants, lawns, and trees get the protection they need.
HURRICANE MATTHEW gave the state of Florida quite a scare during the first week of October. It held the potential to inflict great devastation on the state’s inhabitants and infrastructure. It was especially troubling to Florida’s agricultural industry, with the citrus industry having a lot to lose.
THE LAST FEW WEEKS have been difficult for our Polk County Farm Bureau family as we said goodbye for now to an industry leader and our friend, Will Putnam. Will was a member of the Polk County Farm Bureau board for 24 years, serving as president in 2000-2002, and in so very many capacities throughout
FLORIDA CITRUS MUTUAL maintains that Florida’s citrus industry must plant 20 million trees in the next 10 years to keep infrastructure up, stay solvent, and keep the industry afloat. A much-talked about planting program for Florida citrus growers has finally gained approval, and it should work as a good incentive for grove owners to plant
FESCUE IS A HARDY, EASY-GROWING grass that was established in the United States in the 1940s and grows on more than 35 million acres of land. Of the pastures that grow the tall fescue, many contain plants that are infected with a fungus, Acremonium coenophialum, that is toxic to horses.
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW how big agriculture-related tourism, or agritourism, is in Florida and how quickly it’s growing, you can always dig into the economic numbers. But, really, you don’t have to do that. All you really have to know are two things:
THE FOOD AND FOOD INGREDIENTS kept cold, dry, and secure at Adams Cold Storage in Auburndale truly are international in flavor and increasingly international in origin. Increased foreign trade, the result of 20 free trade and other agreements negotiated by the U.S. government, makes it possible for products from all over the world to pass
THERE ARE FEW THINGS that are more intimidating to people than public speaking. It’s an acquired skill that, through years of practice, however, can be mastered. In my youth, I was involved in my local Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter, and public speaking was par for the course. Back then, I was one of
ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, I was invited to join the recently established Board of Directors for the Florida AgriTourism Association during its inaugural meeting. If you know what I know, then you can appreciate how significant an association devoted to supporting agritourism in Florida will be for the members of our agriculture industry.
THE CRAFT BEER INDUSTRY has grown like wildfire, and a UF/IFAS team is researching if Florida growers could benefit by filling a need in this niche industry: growing beer-quality hops. UF horticulturist Brian Pearson recently won third place in the Early Career Award for scientists at the American Society of Horticultural Sciences (ASHS) for his
THE BOYS OF FALL are all ready to tee it up and kick off for this year’s football season, but that’s not the only thing that kicks off in September — so does Central Florida’s fall gardening season. Now is the time to approach things a little differently in regard to your landscape’s health.
IN 2008, A SITE with an intriguing name hit the World Wide Web. It’s The Art of Manliness (www.artofmanliness. com). Five years later, a contributing writer offered a column that came to my attention a few weeks ago. The title is “9 Rules for Starting Your Own Farm.” It’s an interesting and fun-to-read piece by
LAST MONTH’S COLUMN began a discussion of the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Foods Rule (the Sanitary Transport Rule, or STF), one of the seven pillar rules embodied by the sweeping Food Safety Modernization Act that became law in January 2011.
FLORIDA’S CITRUS INDUSTRY has suffered significant losses due to citrus greening since the bacteria was detected in a South Florida grove in 2005. Annual harvest numbers have fallen year after year while the costs to maintain a grove in the face of HLB has doubled. The question has long been, “How long can the citrus
IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE that August is here and that we’re this far into it already! Here are some helpful tips to keep your garden and lawn healthy and beautiful.
WE IN FLORIDA have known for quite some time how grand, how diverse, and how wonderful agriculture in the Sunshine State really is — and how much more grand it’s destined to be. Now, a bunch of folks way up north, in the U.S. Midwest, are learning about Florida’s special place in American agriculture, too.
CITRUS GREENING IS A SCOURGE on the Florida citrus industry, but it highlights the value of ag tech, science, and innovation in an amazing way. So many are working on the issue, and the ingenuity of those in agriculture is on full display. Below are some of the research efforts in the works right now.
NOW THAT WE’RE well into July, here are some tips you can arm yourself with for your lawn and garden. This month is the time for summer fertilization of your lawn. It’s also a good time to repair, renovate, or plant. It is key to work in as much organic materials, such as peat, manure,
WHILE GREAT CHALLENGES continue to beset the Florida citrus industry, a greater sense of optimism could be found among the growers and state officials who attended the 2016 Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference in Bonita Springs last month.
NEW OVERTIME REGULATIONS are in the books in Washington, D.C., but they won’t be effective until Dec. 1, giving employers nationwide more than five months from now to prepare for them. The time will be needed; the regulations will affect almost every company, organization, and government agency from sea to shining sea and extend overtime
FLORIDA CITRUS GROWERS are in dire need of new orange trees, and two new early UF/IFAS-created Valencia orange varieties have the interest of nurseries and growers. Citrus greening, or HLB, has infected an estimated 80 percent of citrus trees in Florida groves, according to a survey conducted by UF/IFAS in April, and replacing dead or
IF YOU KNOW where to find it, if you know how to access it, and if you meet certain qualifications, government funds are available to help your citrus operation. For that matter, government funds, at both the federal and state levels, are available to help a wide variety of agriculture-related enterprises.
JUNE IS AN EXCELLENT month to plant new lawns and repair existing ones. You can use Palmetto plugs to fill those empty spots during the rainy season.
AGRICULTURE IS IN NEED of warm bodies in the industry, with vacancies in the scientific and technical side of agricultural employment growing rapidly. It’s one reason why ag education is so important. Traditional ag education classes that pair with organizations like 4-H, Future Farmers of America and others — both in and out of public
IF YOU’RE SEARCHING for something meaningful and rewarding to do with your life, be a farmer. If you appreciate the land and want to work it to help feed the world, be a farmer. If you’re looking to join the ranks of some of the most down-to-earth and salt-of-the-earth folks around, be a farmer. If
IF YOU’RE in the peach business, then you’re keenly — and in some cases, painfully — aware of how the season is going. With the El Nino weather pattern that occurred in early November through December, peach orchards across Florida had little to no chill hours.
ON APRIL 21, I was able to attend a media event to learn more about Florida Cattle Ranchers, LLC. The keynote speaker, Mike Joyner, assistant commissioner and chief of staff at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, called this new venture a “game-changer” for the Florida beef industry. In short, the 13 founding
IF YOU HAVE nerves of steel, a hardy soul, a resilient persona, and the patience of Job, there’s a better-than-average chance you would make a good citrus grower. That’s what a body has to have to handle the ever-constant challenges of the industry — and now more than ever.
SCHOOL GARDENS are not too cool for school, the statistics show. A Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) review counts about 1,300 school gardens in the Sunshine State. Karla Shelnutt, a UF/ IFAS Extension nutrition specialist and associate professor in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences and Kohrine Counts, a dietetics
A LOT OF YOUNG backyard citrus trees that have not yet shown signs of greening still suffer from starvation or scale. A healthy tree will help fend off diseases, so don’t let it happen to yours! May is the time to feed and spray your citrus. As a matter of fact, May is the time
FOLKS SEPARATED from their public school lunchroom or cafeteria experiences by a period of 25 years or more might be surprised — very surprised — to discover the workings of lunchrooms that nourish students today.
FOLLOWING MONTHS of urgent requests and hopeful anticipation, Florida citrus growers now can deploy additional weapons of a liquid kind in their continuing war against citrus greening.
“WHICH IS BEST: Do I buy or do I lease?” Business owners have been asking themselves this question since the choice became available — which likely goes all the way back in human history to the dawn of private trade.
THE USE of cover crops has grown like — ahem — a weed in the agriculture industry. Cover crops offer a lot of advantages and benefits to both farmers and ranchers, but it’s a good idea to do your research before choosing one to plant.
IT’S MID-APRIL, and for our Florida lawns, the preparations for summer growth are a little different this month.
THE AVERAGE AGE of farmers in the U.S. is 58 years old. In some regions of the country, the average age is actually much lower (i.e., Maine’s average is 35 years old). In the past, the majority of young people have left the family farm and sought vocational pursuits other than agriculture. Farming is actually
MOST U.S. COMPANIES begin as domestic-only enterprises and evolve, because of the global economy, to have an international mix of customers. Adams Cold Storage was international from the very start. Our first inbound product, when we launched the business in December 2010, was frozen lemon concentrate from South Africa.
TWO FLORIDA SCHOOLS are continuing their part in fighting against (and protecting Florida’s citrus industry from) HLB, or citrus greening — the University of Central Florida and the University of Florida.
THE THOUGHT in the headline, and the timeless wisdom behind it, came to mind a few weeks ago when I first heard about the vote on the matter of reauthorizing the Florida citrus research order. That’s the order that, in a nutshell, established the Lake Alfred-based Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) as the lead
THIS PAST WINTER, if we want to call it that, was nearly nonexistent in Central Florida. That said, this doesn’t change the fact that there are several key items that need to be completed now to keep your lawn in tip-top shape.
IT’S TAX SEASON, for individuals and businesses, and I’m about to make a statement that won’t bowl over anyone: Tax season isn’t like the Christmas season; few people look forward to it and enjoy it. That being said, it might be helpful to share and point to a few general tax tips that particularly are
DESPITE THE WARM weather we had over the holidays, just after the New Year we had our first cold snap. That means along with some of the normal gardening routine for this season, there are some precautions you should take to keep your plants and lawn safe in the event we have another cold snap
HORSES NATURALLY grow hair in response to reducing daylight as the weather cools in the fall and winter. These hairs are various lengths and trap in warm air to keep the horse warm. A healthy, unclipped horse in pasture with appropriate shelter from the elements, free choice forage and water should not require blanketing in
WITH THE USDA’S most recent Florida orange crop estimate at a troubling 69 million, there’s no doubt that Florida citrus growers face some tough questions. As a result of citrus greening (or HLB), the industry’s harvest has reduced more than 50 percent over the past decade. Any way you slice it, that’s a big cut,
WILL INCREASED Florida citrus quality and better-tasting not-from-concentrate juice translate into increased consumption? Marty McKenna thinks so. McKenna is chairman of the board of the Florida Department of Citrus. He addressed the matter of Florida citrus quality — and the future of a highly challenged Florida citrus industry — during the Florida Citrus Mutual Annual
AGRICULTURE is steeped in history and tradition, but it also utilizes technology to improve, increase production, and stay relevant in a global market. Apps simply require a smartphone — which are now pretty inexpensive these days and can be useful in the field — and many will work with computers as well. Try these apps
LISTS ARE GOOD. They educate and entertain. To-do lists — for personal tasks, for professional tasks, and for everything in between — are even better. Maintained on a smartphone or on a piece of paper, they spur action and promote progress.
THIS MONTH marks Adams Cold Storage’s fifth year of business in the cold storage and distribution industry. We have many to thank for our success and are humbled by the tangible support afforded us by our customers, vendors, and contractors. We have also been greatly bolstered in our efforts by many of you readers —
THE HOLIDAYS have started, and for most of us that means longer “to-do” lists. Does your list include tending to your lawn and garden? If so, we offer help with the following tips and recommendations.
THE MEDIA would like us to think that the family farm is almost a thing of the past. But, we did our own research and, not surprisingly, the opposite is true. After surveying 530 growers who represent almost 30 different commodities, our team at AgAmerica Lending found out that over 74 percent said their agriculture
IN LATE SPRING 2015, I had the opportunity to visit the UF/IFAS Balm Research Center and meet with plant breeder Dr. Zhanao Deng. He explained to me that he was setting up a trial for the discovery of new varieties of pomegranates that will grow and produce in our subtropical climate. His need was to
TWO MONTHS AGO, the topic for this column was the optimism that pervades the Florida citrus industry about an eventual victory over the citrus greening (HLB) disease.
PRODUCERS AND SUPPLIERS of refrigerated and frozen food products have several goals in mind when their freshly made and packed items are ready for shipment to points all around the nation and, often, to places all around the world. Those goals include:
FARMING COMMERCIALLY isn’t for the fainthearted, but no day goes by without someone, somewhere, considering a leap into the profession. People see the increasing worldwide need for food, they see new farming operations pop up around their communities, they see some outward signs of business success, and they think: “Hey, I want to be a
WHAT WAS YOUR favorite subject in school? For many, it was science. For many adults, it’s now science and nature. From Earth Science to Biology to Chemistry, in the hands of the right teacher, science can be a fun class that teaches about the world around us. Many still harbor a love of science, even
THE AGE-OLD SAYING of “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a true one — especially for farmers. More and more, we’re talking with growers who are looking to diversify their family ag operations. With Thanksgiving approaching, the sheer number of turkeys available at your local grocery store may cause you to consider
THE LOCATION of our shoot for this edition is no secret spot, but it is a beautiful one. In fact, it’s not just a beef cattle ranch — it also happens to be the location for the Cornfusion Crop Maze and Fall Festival once a year (which we featured in the September 2015 edition of
IT’S HARD to believe that the holiday season is here and Florida’s fall right along with it. It’s only a short matter of time before we’ll be officially in our Florida winter, so there are some important things to think about when it comes to your lawn and garden.
THIS MONTH, I would like to pose a question for you to ponder: What is the carbon level in my soil and does it really matter?
FOR MANY PEOPLE, the last quarter of the year tends to be the busiest time of the year. In addition to the regular tasks of life and work are all the activities revolving around the big holiday season. For a small business owner-operator, you can easily multiply fourth-quarter “busyness” by a factor of two. If
WITH THE CITRUS harvest season getting ready to gear up, most of the farm equipment will be out of the barn and in the grove. But, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect the shelter that stores your valuable farm tools, vehicles, and more.
TEN MONTHS OUT OF EACH YEAR, during the citrus harvesting season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service provides an estimate of Florida citrus production. The estimates, which also include citrus grown in California and Texas as well as projected yields for frozen concentrated orange juice, begin in October (the first report for
FARMS AND RANCHERS have long acted as stewards of the environment, with the majority taking care of the land, air, and water to the best of their abilities and current knowledge. However, agriculture has come under attack on a variety of fronts from people with an alternative agenda to folks who are not knowledgeable when
AS THE COOLER months of the year approach, it’s important to ensure that your garden is ready to withstand any obstacle Mother Nature may throw at it. Here at Doty Farm and Garden Supply, Inc., we are dedicated to helping your plants, lawns, and trees get the protection they need.
THE HARM that the citrus greening (Huanglongbing, or HLB) disease has done to the Florida citrus industry in the past decade is undeniable, but also undeniable is the full-court-press effort to do something about it. That effort breeds not just optimism but confidence that greening is going to be whipped.
IN ANY BUSINESS, you’re governed by the Project Management Triangle. It’s used to manage projects, whereby the constraints of cost, quality, and speed are the three sides of the triangle that you need to consider. Each side has an effect on the others, such as if speed and cost of a project are cut, then
TRUST IS ESSENTIAL in a relationship between you and your horse and is something that needs to be developed and encouraged when you are asking your horse to do something that they are unsure or afraid of, such as being caught or vaccinated. Working with a nervous horse takes time and effort, and there will
PEOPLE UNFAMILIAR with the U.S. and global food supply chains and food safety systems might be surprised by the annual volume of food recalls that emanate from various government agencies, growers, and responsible processors. Additionally, you might be shocked to learn how much these recalls — all done for the cause of good public health
Publisher Letter: Whether you live next to — or a thousand miles away from — a farm, this is the edition for you
“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower THE WORDS OF OUR 34th president of the United States ring more true today than when they were spoken in 1956 during an address to Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Our world
FALL IN FLORIDA offers near-perfect weather for enjoying the great outdoors. The summer rains are tapering off, the average temperatures are more comfortable, and many in the ag industry are not in the busiest time of harvest season and can carve out a little recreation and family fun!
WITH A KEEN EYE on the business bottom line, it serves you well to stay on top of all the tax exemptions available from the state and federal governments and use every one that applies to your particular operation. In most cases, accountants and tax lawyers are the folks paid to be up to date
Pictured, from left: Scarlett Jackson, Warner University; Kaylee Norris, Warner University; Jamie Lang, PNC Bank; Taylor Ladd, Auburndale High School; Lacee Richardson, Kathleen High School; and Amelia Parsons, Ridge Community High School. As the first-place winner at the county level, Lacee Richardson will represent Polk County in the District contest on September 17. She also
WE ARE PROUD to have had great participation at the recent Young Farmer & Rancher State Leadership Conference. Polk County Farm Bureau had 15 members of its YF&R Committee attend, and I’m pleased to announce that Polk’s YF&R Committee was recognized at the event with the Florida Farm Bureau YF&R Activity Award. Congratulations, Polk YF&R!
FOOTBALL ISN’T the only thing that kicks off in September; so does our fall gardening season. Now is a time to think differently about your garden and landscape’s health.
THE USDA’s ANNUAL Farm Income Forecast has been released, and it predicts that profitability will continue a weakening trend that started in 2014. Net cash income is projected to fall by 21 percent to $100.3 billion, due to lower crop and livestock receipts. Net farm income is projected to be down by 26 percent to
POSITIVE PUBLIC AWARENESS is a significant aspect of agriculture today. In fact, I would say that the issue of public awareness is almost as important today as repairing our soils’ microbial populations with compost and compost tea. As the agriculture community becomes smaller and more diversified, our farms, groves, and ranches are encroached upon by
WITH THIS BEING the AgriTourism and Recreation edition of Central Florida Ag News, I thought it would be a good time to talk about our Rural Land and Home Loans, and why it’s a perfect fit for the rural land lover or hobby farmer looking to plant some roots and enjoy a little “fun on
“DON’T PUT all of your eggs in the same basket.” The adage that originated in agriculture — the wise diversification advice applied most often to investment strategy — has come full circle in a big way. Diversity in financial investments and business services is a smart move, and so it is in the business of
PROGRESSIVE GROWERS today are looking for alternative growing methods for conventional farming and gardening. They are seeking alternatives to chemical sprays for fungicides and pesticides. Their desire is to become better and more efficient growers by developing a mind-set of sustainability as they come to understand harsh chemicals and overfertilization do much damage to the
THE ORGANIC agriculture industry is booming in the U.S. and around the globe, despite the fact that conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are as safe and as healthy as their organic counterparts. Some people might mistakenly perceive the organic industry as an opponent or adversary to conventional methods of farming, but the truth of the
SUMMER SORE is a common term for a skin wound (dermatitis) caused by the Habronema worm larvae. The adult Habronema live and lay eggs in the stomach of infected horses. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae are then passed into the manure of the horse, where they are ingested by fly maggots. Once the maggots
AUGUST is membership recruitment month! I hope that current members will encourage others to join, and if you are not a member — you should be! Everyone involved in and around agriculture should become a part of this local grassroots organization that protects and promotes the agriculture industry in Polk County. Florida Farm Bureau has
AS WE FOCUS on how farms and ranches can diversify with alternative crops, there are a few events happening this month that I’d like to bring to your attention. These conferences are put in place to help growers and ranchers of all shapes and sizes expand, diversify, and operate as efficiently as possible.
THIS PAST SPRING, we were able to take our kids to a local farm for u-pick blueberries. It was a nice pre-summer day — breezy, but still hot by non-Floridian standards. Still, it was just right for us Sunshine State natives. We had them out with hats, plenty of sun-block, and ready for lots of
THERE ARE few industries where infrastructure is as important as in agriculture. From large operations to small, a reliable barn, storage unit, or other outbuilding is a must. Barns, sheds, and other buildings are especially important for the growth of any ag operation — regardless of size.