Departments

13 Nov
Commissioner’s AgriCorner: ‘My Florida Farm Weather’ App

When deciding whether to irrigate during frost-freeze conditions or when to apply nutrients during wet months, agricultural producers depend on accurate weather information. Producers often have to settle for information from other parts of the region. With the new “ My Florida Farm Weather ” program, however, agricultural producers across Florida can access real-time local

16 Oct
@griTech: Using Smartphone Apps for Better Irrigation Management

A lot of people today use smartphones and mobile app technology to have up-to-date information right at their fingertips, but not every profession, Clyde Fraisse notes, has been quick to embrace these advances.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] For one thing, even though there are now smartphone apps

07 Oct
Recipe Spotlight: No White after Labor Day (OR in the Kitchen When Cooking with Pomegranates)

We grow a lot of fruits in Florida. Most folks barely know about some of them. They are experimental or they come from tiny groves or large backyards. We think of them as foreign flavors.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] If you look hard you can find plenty

27 Sep
Commissioner’s AgriCorner: Farm to School Program Update

As Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, improving the nutritional value of school meals by adding more locally grown produce to school trays is one of my top priorities. In 2011, I worked with the Legislature to move Florida’s School Nutrition Program from the Department of Education to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Simply

11 Sep
Commissioner’s AgriCorner: Operation Outdoor Freedom Update

Two years ago, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services launched Operation Outdoor Freedom, a program that invites wounded service members and veterans of the U.S. military to enjoy recreational activities on Florida State Forests. The program is the result of a collaboration between the department, legislators, and the Wounded Warrior Project to honor

07 Sep
Recipe Spotlight: Bringing Home the Bacon and the Bunny

Cooking wild pig doesn’t have to be a boar. We can harvest wild hogs all year in Central Florida, and it might be considered a favor by folks who are plagued by the rooting porkers tearing up the garden or farm. Rabbits are also a year-round treat in Florida. Because rabbits are small they are

26 Jul
Florida Roots: La Florida, home of the noble cracker horse

Crack! An undeniably commanding sound when heard from a ten to twelve foot long whip being snapped in the air by a Florida Cracker. Hence the notorious sound lent itself as the identifier for the Florida Cracker Cowboy, his Cracker horse and the Cracker cattle he herded. Juan Ponce De León is attributed as bringing

26 Jul
@griTech: Polk State College has a plan for tomorrow’s farming industry

Florida farmers will have much needed help soon with complex government regulations and technological equipment.  Lakeland’s Polk State College previously operated as a community college offering two-year degree programs until two years ago. At that time, it began offering four-year degrees in a move to ease the load on existing four-year state institutions.  The college

25 Jul
Commissioner’s AgriCorner: A race against time

Citrus makes up roughly $9 billion of Florida agriculture’s $100 billion yearly contribution to the economy and provides more than 75,000 jobs to Floridians. For decades, citrus has been synonymous with Florida and served as our state’s most recognized agricultural product. Now, Florida citrus is facing an existential crisis: citrus greening.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register

28 Jun
Commissioner’s AgriCorner: Planting the seeds for growth in the Florida ag industry

Florida agriculture has played an important role in Florida’s 500-year history, providing food and fiber for the people of Florida, the United States and around the world. Today, Florida agriculture has a $100 billion impact on our state’s economy and employs nearly 1 million Floridians – and it continues to grow. As Florida’s Commissioner of

27 Jun
Harvest time: Organic blueberry growers battle odds in niche market

Seventy-one-year-old Benny McLean Jr.’s family used to grow citrus organically before anybody cared about organics. Before herbicides and chemical fertilizers were introduced in the mid-1960s, they sprayed with sulphur and lime. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] So when McLean’s son, Matt, came home from college 13 years

12 May
Recipe Spotlight: How a good hunt turns into a great meal

The hunt is over. The kill is cleaned. … Now, what do you do with it? Hunting has always been part of Florida but more so since the Spaniards let the first hog go wild and proliferate. It actually took two, unless the first one was already expecting a raft of piglets. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here

12 May
At the helm of Warner’s ag program

| Lauren Lewis laying the foundation for tomorrow’s industry | After earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Alabama and Texas, Lauren Lewis, a graduate of Haines City High School’s class of 2006, has returned to Polk County to head Lake Wales-based Warner University’s new agricultural studies program. The program is expected to help train

12 May
Life after farming: Bill and Maxi Adams

| Couple is feeling at home at Lake Howard Heights | Bill Adams grew his citrus nursery business into one of the largest in the state — until canker decimated the industry and agriculture officials ordered his trees burned. “When the canker problem struck the industry (in the mid 1980s), I was doing very well

15 Apr
Home on the ranch: Cow camp house offers rustic lifestyle

Ranch-style houses proliferate in suburbia across the United States. But the true Florida ranch house is distinctive and reminiscent of a lifestyle that some southerners still practice today. Ask Earlow Cospine. He and his now-deceased brother, Elwin, built one in the early 1960s. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the

15 Apr
Observing a major pest for cattle producers — the gallinipper

In the photo: Entomologist Phil Kaufman shows the size difference between the invasive Asian tiger mosquito, right, and the native species Psorophora ciliata, sometimes called the gallinipper. It hasn’t really been a particularly rainy winter, Phil Kaufman notes, but there’s been enough to leave standing water in the fields out in rural areas to be

15 Apr
Recipe spotlight: Beef for every day of the week

Remember Clara Peller? No? She was the 81-year-old bewigged and wrinkled lady with a bad attitude who asked, “Where’s the beef?” on Wendy’s commercials. Hey, Clara. It’s here. In Central Florida. We have lots of beef. Of the 50 states, Florida is 11th from the top in production of beef cows. As of Jan. 1,

15 Mar
@griTech: Students learn the value of water through science

During the school year, Melissa Gulvin organizes school trips to agricultural locations, so students attending Polk County schools can see for themselves how these farms operate. It’s proven, she has found, to be an eye-opening experience for the kids. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] But Gulvin’s central

15 Mar
Recipe Spotlight: Jazz up your jam with Florida fruit

Way back in the Dark Ages, about 1978, I wrote my first food page. It was about strawberries, and part of it was preserves. “Jam some in a jar,” I wrote. “What does that mean?” a copy editor asked. No matter how patiently I tried to explain it, he just couldn’t grasp the subtlety.

15 Feb
@griTech: Tools Used on the Farm that Promote Precision and Conservation

A decade ago, Rich Budell notes, a GPS device wasn’t all that common. Times, he added, have definitely changed. “Everybody has one in their car now,” Budell says. But if a Global Positioning Satellite device has become a widely popular tool, it isn’t just motorists looking for the right directions to an unknown destination who

15 Jan
@griTech: Plant Growth in Outer Space

One of the amazing aspects of the modern technology we’ve known over the past few decades has been our ability to implement space travel. When challenged by President John F. Kennedy, the scientists and researchers at NASA used the technology of their time to launch a man to the moon and return him safely home.

15 Dec
@griTech: The Right Bio-Tool for the Job

There is a costly import from Brazil that Floridians don’t want or need: the fire ant. Fire ants were unintentionally imported to America along with other valued cargo in the 1930s. Since that time, fire ants have become their own kind of mini-terror network, spreading their venom to humans, animals, and reptiles in at least

15 Oct
@griTech: New ag software aids timekeeping in the field

A new electronic timekeeping software makes it easier for growers to track employee hours in the field during harvesting. Offered by Winter Haven-based Propak Software, the software streamlines the process of recordkeeping for both regular and H2A laborers. “This is the best solution that exists in the ag industry,” says Rick Montney, Propak Software’s vice

15 Sep
@griTech: Hunting tools of the 21st century

WHILE HUMAN BEINGS have been hunting since the dawn of creation, the ways this sacred rite is performed are worlds apart from early hunters and gatherers. With the introduction of technology into our lives, there are many ways we can now be safer and better prepared while on the hunt. These tools are no farther

15 Aug
Recipe Spotlight: Proper Pomegranate Procedure 101

Pomegranates might have been the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, but since no one in the real First Family left a grocery list of things to eat and not eat, we really don’t know for sure. We do know, however, that they are a lot more challenging to prepare than apples. Pomegranates are

15 Jul
Commissioner’s AgriCorner: Florida should be in control of its own future

In the photos: Left, Rainbow Springs in Dunnellon; center, Blue Spring State Park near Orange City; right, a creek lined with grass in the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest near Lake Wales. A ruling from an independent administrative law judge last month in support of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) proposed water quality

15 Jun
Commissioner’s AgriCorner: A spoonful of facts and forecasts for Florida blueberries

WHILE MANY OTHER industries have suffered during difficult economic times, Florida agriculture remains one of the strongest pillars in the state’s economy and continues to grow. During the last year, Florida agriculture grew by $150 million in cash receipts, creating an additional 5,000 jobs for Floridians and generating $20 million in tax revenues.

15 Jun
Publisher Letter: Getting the blueberries off the bush

While many things in the world of agriculture have changed over the past year, several of the issues that have arisen while dealing with labor needs have remained the same. This is especially true for the Florida blueberry industry. So, let’s examine some of the crucial topics and how they have evolved over the past

28 Aug
Florida Roots: The Latt Maxcy Heritage

In the city of Frostproof, The Friendly City, Latimer Maxcy established one of the largest land holdings in the state with one of the most influential citrus groves and substantial ranches. Latt, affectionately remembered as such, was born in Columbia, South Carolina on November 7, 1887.  His family relocated to Florida in 1895, when shortly

27 Aug
Harvest Time: Slicing Watermelon Fact from Fiction

There’s almost nothing better on a hot summer day than a tasty ice-cold slice of watermelon. No other food – except maybe barbeque, baked beans, coleslaw and homemade ice cream – can conjure up a Norman Rockwell summer scene like a watermelon. They are synonymous with picnics, fireworks and just plain, good eating. As Central

27 Jul
Recipe Spotlight: Exclusive Interview with Delicious Tips for Family Cooking

The only full-time agriculture chef in the United States, Justin Timineri, sat down with us to talk about his favorite topic . . . food.  More specifically, Florida food and how to cook it in fun, simple, and delicious ways!  I asked him a little about his job, since his is the only one like

26 Jul
The Greener Side: Florida Sets the Purity Standard for Other States to Follow

Although it’s nice to hear the word honey as a term of endearment from a loved one, it’s even better to see honey on the dinner table.  Yet, no matter how often people enjoy the naturally sweet nectar, see the hives in an orange grove or address someone with the Southern noun honey, the miracle