Features

27 Oct
The 2014-15 Citrus Forecast

Despite a likely smaller crop this year, growers keep hope alive Experts are expecting a smaller Florida citrus crop next season— despite a uniform bloom. “Without a [citrus] greening solution, we’re going to see continued reduction in the crop,” says Les Dunson, president of Winter Haven’s Dunson Harvesting. As a small relief to growers and

23 Oct
Ag instructor practices what he teaches

Polk County Farm Bureau Ag Teacher of the Year recognized for 31 years of service Fifty-three-year-old Pete Gordon grew up on a cattle ranch. So when it came time to choose a career, he didn’t want to wear a suit to work. “Teaching ag was a good fit for me,” he recalls.

20 Oct
Opening young eyes to the diversity of ag

The continued educational goals of Polk County Farm Bureau’s Ag Program of the Year In an era where the number of farms are diminishing, the Ag program at Kathleen High School is not only growing, but flourishing. Its teaching team is expanding to meet the demand for instruction in classes like Ag Foundations, Ag Communications,

13 Oct
Top health concerns for endurance riding

Whether on the trail or on the ranch, a long ride deserves the right training and conditioning Whether the endurance needed is for races, competitive trail-riding, or a long day on the ranch, endurance horseback riding is a popular pastime in the United States. Despite the oversight of several committees and organizations like the American

05 Oct
Big time beverage name invests more in the future of Florida Citrus

Donating funds for research to help eradicate greening On August 19, 2014 the University of Florida announced Coca-Cola’s plans to donate a generous 1.5 million dollars for citrus research. Coca-Cola is the world’s largest beverage producer, and they have promised to distribute a 1.5 million dollar gift in increments of $500,000 over the next three years. The Citrus Research and Development Foundation

29 Sep
Small farms on a Mission to grow alternative

Growers experimenting with soil-less, protected cultures, and new crops A Winter Haven ministry is growing food for the poor using vertical plant towers. The hydroponic/aeroponic system produces vegetables and fruits faster, without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. “Instead of cultivating the soil, we cultivate the water,” says David Berry, executive pastor of The Mission.

20 Sep
Hot topics at the upcoming Horse Short Course and Trade Show

UF/IFAS Extension Agents offer a fountain of knowledge for equine lovers Mark your calendars horse lovers, because the UF/IFAS Extension Office of Osceola County is offering a Horse Short Course and Trade Show this November, 18 at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach. It will be of special benefit for those concerned with

15 Sep
Final Florida Cattle ID Rule kicks in

What ranchers need to know about the official individual identification process The Florida Cattle Identification Rule went live on September 4, which means all cattle operations need to understand the new requirements for cattle tagging. This rule came after years of discussion at over 60 public meetings between the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer

08 Sep
From 4-H to five rings

Polk County student shoots for the Olympics On the outside, it seems as though Ryan Waldman is an average 16-year-old boy from Haines City. However, he is more than just a typical high school student. Ryan is a champion. Member of the Bullseye 4-H Club in Winter Haven, Ryan recently represented Polk County in the

04 Sep
New limpograss cultivars

What cattle ranch operations need to know The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has released two new limpograss cultivars, both of which show superior traits over the current industry standard, according to UF Associate Professor and Forage Specialist Joao Vendramini.

01 Sep
Outdoor Traditions

What you can catch— by casting a line or holding a camera— on Florida’s waterways With 900 named lakes in Polk County, the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Gulf of Mexico on the west, Central Florida is a fisherman’s paradise. Some catch bass. Some catch speckled perch. And some… catch memories.

24 Aug
Before you hit the happy riding trail

What to consider in a horse for recreation Many people dream of owning a horse, envision riding around trails, cleaning and currying and connecting with a noble creature that has shared a special bond with mankind throughout history. There are some important considerations you should factor in if you are thinking of buying your first

20 Aug
Mapping the citrus genome

Understanding the citrus species’ past to unlock a more disease-tolerant future  Citrus was first domesticated in Southeast Asia, then spread to Europe and the Americas via trade routes, and has ancestral roots that can be traced back to over five million years ago. Interestingly, the orange you may be eating today is thought to have

17 Aug
Agritourism Update: Public enjoying life on the farm—from tours to weddings

In an era of increasing urbanization, farmers and ranchers are finding people still love the outdoors and the nostalgia of country living. As they look for creative ways to increase revenue, they are turning to agritourism, by hosting wedding receptions in their barns, letting the public pick fresh produce, and inviting groups to their farms

04 Aug
More than just farmers with benefits

Members talk shop on being a part of the ‘voice of agriculture’ Some people join an organization to receive the great benefits; others might sign-on because they hope to advance a worthy cause.  If for the former, they might weigh the cost of membership with how much money their active status will save them in

02 Aug
Students and stallions get an education

Champion breeds from 14th Annual Performance Horse Sale Horses are all-around good, but a great horse is akin to magic.  That magic could be found in spades at the recent 14th Annual UF Performance Horse Sale. The sale was a culmination of the educational efforts of the UF Equine Sciences Program. “The school has been

28 Jul
2014 Annual Citrus Report

With more arsenal against greening comes new plantings As Florida’s citrus growers battle greening, fourth generation citrus grower Kyle Story— along with his dad, Victor Story, Jr., and brother, Matt— has planted a new orange grove in southeastern Hardee County. Much like investors buying in a down market, the family decided to put their money

21 Jul
Family ranch receives Audubon’s environmental award

Audubon Florida recently named 4th-generation cattle business Adams Ranch the recipient of its 2014 Sustainable Rancher Award. The award is given annually to a ranch operation that demonstrates unparalleled concern and advocacy for the environment. Adams Ranch works hard to preserve the natural vegetation and wildlife on its 50,000 acres, which span through St. Lucie,

13 Jul
Rounding up youth at Range Cattle REC

Q&A with Andrea Dunlap on the 7th annual Youth Field Day Of all the attractions and events that fire the imagination, there are few and far between that seek to inspire a love for agriculture and cattle ranching in the leaders of tomorrow.  This year’s Youth Field Day and Expo, which was held on June

07 Jul
Finding a silver lining amidst the blue factors

Blueberry profits down after some of the crop misses the marketing window Florida’s blueberry production dropped this year after an unseasonably warm December followed by a cool and cloudy spring that delayed the crop. Although growers lost profits during the state’s lucrative spring marketing window, some benefited from u-pick, organics, and marketers who stuck with

29 Jun
New findings for a greening ‘trap plant’

Promising lab studies show how to stop psyllids in their tracks Citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), has been rapidly infecting citrus groves all around the world. Since the first detection of the disease in south Florida more than eight years ago, citrus greening is now a well-known threat, due to its particularly devastating

23 Jun
Will jump for food

Ridge Riders 4-H Group puts on horse shows to help feed local kids On May 17, Ridge Point Stables, located on Firetower Road near Lake Hatchineha, hosted the second Ridge Riders 4-H Charity Horse Show.  The proceeds of the horse show went to kidsPACK of Polk County. Last year, the leaders of the Ridge Riders

15 Jun
Protecting and conserving through best management practices

Why four million acres of Florida farm and ranch lands are already enrolled Agriculture has been in the spotlight for many years for environmental problems. It seems we always have to defend our way of life to prevent government intrusion and/or taxation. Most of this is greatly due to people that do not understand agriculture

09 Jun
Two sisters learn the ropes of ag

Bailey and Blair Buchanon carry on family traditions as Junior Cattlewomen In most households with teenage girls, the focus is typically on things like boys, clothes, and music.  In the Buchanon home, it’s a little different, as agriculture garners a lot of attention.  For Bailey, 16, and Blair, 14, living the Ag life is just

01 Jun
Queens of Ag

2014 American Honey Queen Hometown: Orlando, Florida Royal Duties: Promotes and raises awareness of the beekeeping industry through presentations and appearances at venues around the nation. GIRL BEHIND THE SASH Susannah Austin first got interested in bees when her brother Gordon did a 4-H project on them.  Her Orlando area family kept bees for at

26 May
Remembering a lover of groves

Honoring the life and work of Jan G. Valk The citrus industry recently lost a wonderful family man and lover of groves.  Jan G. Valk, 60, passed away on February 18, 2014 at his home in Winter Haven while surrounded by his loving family: his wife of 39 years, Julie Valk, his son Jan, and

18 May
Peaches of Florida

Industry update: Groves give way to orchards as growers look to spring markets. In some sections of Central Florida, orange groves are giving way to peach orchards. As farmers wrestle with citrus greening, peaches developed for Florida’s mild winter climate offer new opportunity. “I see them popping up in different places in my travels,” says

16 May
Harvest time

Eating blueberries and naming a new princess were among the activities at this year’s Florida Blueberry Festival People were seeing blue everywhere April 12 and 13 when the Third Annual Florida Blueberry Festival commenced again inside the picturesque setting of downtown Brooksville.

12 May
Horse Camps: A Short, Heavenly Slice of Summer

Upcoming Riding Programs at the Florida Agricultural Museum The calendar shows that June is almost here. While the weather is heating up and the hazy afternoon thunderstorms are kicking into gear, the date also means that school is about to be out for the summer, signaling that parents and kids need to choose a summer

07 May
Through the Lens of a Rancher’s Wife

Lynn Scarborough Talks About Her Love of the Landscape Lynn Scarborough was raised in Fort Lauderdale, with Atlantic beaches, shopping malls and restaurants. But she has discovered living in Central Florida offers perks of its own: The tranquility of a morning sunrise on the ranch, the majesty of standing palms, and wildlife up close.

04 May
Coyote-Calf Interactions in the Pasture

Q&A with Dr. Raoul Boughton on New Research Ranchers will tell you they’re seeing more coyotes than ever before.  It’s believed the adaptive canine’s population is increasing in Florida, much to the chagrin of ranchers.  Dr. Raoul Boughton, a UF/IFAS Rangeland Scientist at the Range Cattle Research and Education Center, is conducting studies into the

29 Apr
BMPs, Have You Enrolled?

Farmers and Ranchers’ Role in Protecting Florida’s Water Quality Agriculture has been in the spotlight for many years for environmental problems. It seems we always have to defend our way of life to prevent government intrusion and/or taxation. Most of this is greatly due to people that do not understand agriculture moving into this great

25 Apr
Food Legends at the FFA Beast Feast

A Celebration of Florida Fun and Food at the Annual Fundraiser From fried dill pickles, to sweet potato fries, to venison tacos, this year’s 11th Annual Beast Feast and Auction was quite the culinary success. Living up to its name, the Beast Feast had countless varieties of exotic foods and a great string band, to

21 Apr
Live. Love. Livestock.

Family Life for the Lasseters at Triple L Farms Elijah Lasseter was seven years old when he announced to his parents one evening, “I’m going to get a diesel when I turn 16.” Amused, his dad Ron told him he better find a job. Elijah paused, but only briefly. “If I buy a calf now

14 Apr
Riding Through Life on a Trusted Breed

Barthle Brothers Ranch and the American Quarter Horse Sometimes “good” is a way of life. Such is the case at Barthle Brothers Ranch in Dade City where you’ll find cattle, quail, and turkey hunting, some timber and a lot of good horses. American Quarter Horses, to be exact. The bread and butter of the ranching

05 Apr
Students Turned Teachers

The Spirit of Service in Two 4-H Volunteers Earlier this year, Polk County 4-H recognized two exemplary young volunteers in our community: Erica Curtis and Grace Colston. Both of these young students turned teachers were honored as recipients of the Prudential Spirit of Community award. Their honorable volunteer work and extraordinary display of leadership made

02 Apr
Expanding Young Riders’ Horsemanship Horizons

At the Polk County 4-H Open Horse Show Responsibility. Confidence. Devotion to excellence. Every parent, teacher, and mentor desires their young minds to acquire these qualities, which are essential to anyone’s success in life. Young riders who recently took part in the Polk County 4-H Open Horse Show, which concluded in early February, acquired these

29 Mar
Florida Ranching by the Numbers

Q&A with Industry Experts on the latest USDA Cattle Inventory Report The USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) released the Cattle Inventory Report on January 31; unable to release a mid-year report in 2013 due to government furloughs, the latest report confirmed the fact that the US’s—and Florida’s—Beef Cattle Herd is smaller than it has

24 Mar
Technology brings many uses for citrus peels

| Adding freshness and flavor to otherwise ordinary items | Your unwanted citrus peels can easily be put to good use in your garbage disposal, where they clean your blades and send a fresh fragrance throughout your kitchen. But technology has expanded the possibilities for what otherwise might be discarded. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register

22 Mar
An Action Plan for Environmental Stewardship

The What, How, and Why of BMAPs Acronyms, acronyms! We are always hearing acronyms from the different government entities. Well, here’s one that we’ll be hearing more and more: BMAP (basin management action plan). A BMAP, as described by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), is a “blueprint” for restoring impaired waters by reducing

20 Mar
Cultivating Character in Our AgriYouth

Why 4-H, FFA, and Other Programs Are More than Just Ag Projects Training tomorrow’s leaders is a big job. But working together, Agri-Fest, 4-H, and the National FFA Organization along with countless volunteers are doing their part to cultivate character in the next generation.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the

17 Mar
Opening Doors for Students

Citrus Growers Teach the Skills of Trade to Highlands’ Youth As Florida growers explore alternatives to citrus, industry leaders in Highlands County are continuing to teach the next generation how to grow trees. Through the Highlands County Youth Citrus Project, teens like Hanna Farr, a junior at Avon Park High School, are growing their own

09 Mar
Solar Pumps for Watering Cattle

Delivering the Key Nutrient with More Convenience and Less Cost Water – the Key Nutrient Water is the nutrient livestock need in the greatest amount, a fact that is often overlooked. Adequate, acceptable-quality water is critical to maintaining high production levels as well as preventing and treating stress in animals. Cows can drink up to

03 Mar
A House a Horse Can Call Home

Florida TRAC and other equine retirement homes give aging thoroughbreds a new lease on life. In some ways, horses are very similar to humans. They desire socialization, care for their young, and thrive on living life to the fullest every moment. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] Just

23 Feb
More than Just a Labor of Love

Growers Talk Worker Shortages, Weather Challenges and More Like other Florida fruit and vegetable growers, Gary Wishnatzki has struggled to find domestic workers to pick his crop. This year, he brought in his first guest workers to pick strawberries. “Labor is in control of how many berries that can be picked in a day,” he

14 Feb
What’s Spelled Out in the Farm Bill for Florida Citrus

Fight Against Greening Rages on with Continued Research Citrus lobbyists had been searching for four years for a legislative vehicle to secure federal funding to fight the dreaded citrus greening disease, otherwise known as Huanglongbing or HLB. In the nation’s Farm Bill, otherwise known as the Agricultural Act of 2014, they found it. The bill

07 Feb
An Environmental Steward in a Business World

Nominations are being currently accepted for the 2014 Environmental Stewardship Awards Program. Doing one’s part to combine business and saving the environment together is cause for celebration; that is just what the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association do as they accept nominations for their 2014 annual Environmental Stewardship Awards Program (ESAP). [emember_protected

29 Jan
What’s Blooming and What’s Not?

How Nurseries are Changing in 2014 to Keep Business Growing Potted roses used to be popular gifts for Valentine’s and Mother’s days, but now they’re disappearing from store shelves. This year, Sunshine Growers Inc. of Lakeland, which sells potted plants to garden shops and floral departments, didn’t receive one order for a potted rose. “A

23 Jan
Q&A: Horse Showmanship Classes at the Polk County Youth Fair

Horse Committee Chair Jessica Slaughter Shares What’s on Tap for this Year Since 1947, the Polk County Youth Fair has been educating local youths about agriculture. Through a series of annual events like the Market Hog Show and Sale, participating youth learn how to raise various types of livestock, and bring them to market. There’s

18 Jan
Nourishing the Roots of the Community

Growing Much More than Citrus as Florida’s Natural Growers Foundation Focuses on Local Charities The Spirit of Giving is alive and well this time of year, and many companies talk the talk about their corporate giving. However, one organization that really walks the walk—and has for years—is right in our own backyard. The Florida’s Natural

14 Jan
Running for Legacy

Participants met the challenge at the Run-A-Muck Mud Run to help raise funds for the new FFA headquarters. They may have maneuvered through dirt, they may have waded through water, they may have rolled around in mud; but for the First Annual Firetower Run-A-Muck 5K Run and Mud Run in Haines City, participants put their

07 Jan
The Birth of an Industry, Part II of Conclusion

Preserving the Future of Citrus through Environmental Stewardship (Featured Photo: Bok Tower (also known as the Singing Tower) is a National Historic Landmark that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. A Symbol of Florida, the Singing Tower rises 250 feet on the slope of Iron Mountain, overlooking some of the

30 Dec
Picking Up the Scent on Mosaic’s Good Will Toward Men

New Sheriff’s K9 to be Named Matrix The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is getting a new four-legged recruit: Matrix. The dog, probably a German Shepherd, is being purchased with $8,000 donated by The Mosaic Company, a phosphate mining company based in Plymouth, Minnesota. Suitably, the name is derived from a mining term for phosphate ore,

26 Dec
Walking in an AgriWonderland

Florida is full of agricultural wonders, so in this edition, we asked five different and unique ag operations how 2013 went for their business, and how they project next year is going to pan out. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] The Apiary The Tree Farm The Equestrian

19 Dec
A Farmer’s Hands at Work on Canvas

How Robert Harper Captures Natural Florida Seventy-two-year-old Robert Harper likes a challenge. In his lifetime he’s bailed hay, sold watermelons, raised beef cattle, and grown citrus. Formerly a Central Florida developer, the Lakeland Realtor is now growing peaches and painting. “It’s probably the most relaxing thing I do. I don’t get to do it as

12 Dec
4-H Poster Art Contest Winner

Morgan Turney’s Art and Future Ambissions Lake Region High School senior Morgan Turney loves to sketch, dance, sculpt, and take photographs. “I really like the expression of art through colors,” the 17-year-old Auburndale girl says.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] Her love for art was apparent from her

08 Dec
The Birth of an Industry, Part I of Conclusion

Preserving the Future of Citrus through Environmental Stewardship The 21st century dawned on a citrus industry that was more determined than ever to preserve and sustain its cultural heritage, natural environment and ecosystems for future generations. Citrus growers continually contribute to this cause in numerous ways. 800,000 acres of Florida are used for the production

04 Dec
Capturing the Equine Spirit

Central Florida equine artist Mindy Z. Colton merges her love of horses and sculpture into an artistic blend of expression. When Mindy Z. Colton watches horses roam near her horse farm in Orlando, she doesn’t just see animals— she sees living artwork bursting through life. “I always thought horses were beautiful and had great spirits.

26 Nov
Painting Wildlife in Agriculture

Winter Haven Native Paul Schulz Shares his Labor of Love Paul Schulz is an artist whose work does more than just depict a scene; it reveals the history and influences of the man himself. Not just pretty pictures, Schulz’s artwork is a labor of love that tells any number of stories.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register

21 Nov
PCFB’s Ag Program of the Year

Lots of ‘Fishy’ Business at Crystal Lake Middle School The Polk County Farm Bureau awarded the Outstanding Agriculture Program of the Year to a creative group of educators at Crystal Lake Middle School. The key to the C.L.M.S. Agriculture Education program’s success was changing from an exclusively traditional rural Central Florida Ag model— citrus, cattle,

17 Nov
The Birth of an Industry, Part IV

The Rise of Nutrient Application Technology and the Market for Juice When the citrus industry first sprouted in the mid-1800s, there was limited understanding of citrus nutritional requirements. The nurserymen had a basic knowledge for the need of macronutrients like nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), for healthy grove development. These were mainly applied

05 Nov
PCFB’s Ag Teacher of the Year

Challenging Kids Through Ag Education In some ways Erica Morse has been preparing to be in agriculture education her whole life. Ag was a part of her family life and upbringing. Her dad worked for the Mosaic Company, and the family raised horses on their property. She also showed cattle growing up— just like she

01 Nov
Science that’s Propelling Ag into the Future

Technologies that Conserve Water, Monitor Weather, and Aid in the Fight against Citrus Greening Technology that has been used to help humans defeat disease is now being used to cripple the Asian psyllid, which is the pest spreading the dreaded citrus greening disease. In the greenhouse, Dr. Nabil Killiny, an assistant professor of Entomology for

28 Oct
Trail Riding Through History

A Unique Horse Riding Experience at the Florida Agricultural Museum It’s prime riding season, and horseback riders looking for a unique experience can ride the trails at the Florida Agricultural Museum near St. Augustine. There Barn Manager Cheryl Carl offers guided trail riding with a small team of horses, one of them a 12-year-old Florida

21 Oct
Major Themes from the Small Farms Conference

Growers Looking to Diversify with Alternative Crops Some small farmers are looking to hydroponics to meet increased demand in direct-to-consumer markets. At this summer’s Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference, hydroponics was a hot topic. “People can do it on a small scale and they don’t have to dig up their whole yard,” explains

13 Oct
Grazin’ a New Trail

The Grazing Management School will hold its Sixth Annual Event this October For two days in October, local cattle producers will be updated on the latest news in cattle grazing during the Sixth Annual Grazing Management School. The two-day session will take place at the Polk County Extension Service’s John Brenneman Auditorium in Bartow from

10 Oct
Ocean Farming Brought to Land

A New Eco-Friendly Venture Hopes to Make Big Impact on Florida’s Economy As the population grows, so also grows the need for food. In 2010, research showed that 1.5 billion pounds of shrimp was consumed, and the demand this deep sea delight continues to grow. Bringing ocean farming to land is one way to help

04 Oct
The New Crop on the Block

Growers Continue to Study Pomegranate as an Alternative Crop Growers are continuing to experiment with pomegranates as a potential alternative crop, with test patches from North Florida to Homestead. And a new $190,000 study by the University of Florida’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm offers the hope of more solid information by

01 Oct
Equine Papers, Please

A More Convenient Option for Supporting Documents During Intrastate and Interstate Travel For many Florida horse owners who travel from county to county and state to state, there is a more convenient way to keep your paper shuffling and wasted time to a minimum. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers two different

23 Sep
The Birth of an Industry, Part III

A Look Back at Citrus Variety Development and Disease Management Citrus varieties have changed through the years with intricate and thoughtful cultivation. Prior to the Great Freeze, Dr. H.J. Webber and Mr. Walter T. Swingle of the United States Department of Agriculture founded the Subtropical Laboratory at Eustis, Florida in 1892. There they implemented frost

17 Sep
An Equestrian Sport on the Rise

Q&A on Cowboy Mounted Shooting Cowboy mounted shooting is a popular equestrian sport, which is gaining popularity. It involves shooting, 1880s style, with two single-action 45-caliber revolvers while mounted on a horse and racing against the clock. The riders fire at balloon targets using five rounds of special, blank ammunition. They are scored on the

01 Sep
Bows vs. Guns: Choosing Your Personal Hunting Style

Local Hunters Share the Appreciation for their Sport and the Skills Involved Pokey Rogers, foreman and hunting guide at Rocking W Ranch east of Wauchula, prefers to shoot quail with a shotgun. “They [shotguns] don’t do too much damage to the meat,” he says. “If you shoot a quail with a bow, you’ve got to

28 Aug
The Birth of an Industry, Part II

A Look at Irrigation Methods and Cold Protection from Past to Present The northeastern citrus productions never fully recovered from the Great Freeze, and during their rehabilitation another damaging freeze occurred in 1899. The crippling devastation forced growers and orchardists to relocate to Central Florida and southward, seeking out warmer climates in what is known

24 Aug
Florida Roots

LEGOLAND Honors Florida’s Deep Connection to Agriculture What do Legos have to do with agriculture? Quite a bit, actually, if you visit the Fresh From Florida Greenhouse at LEGOLAND in Winter Haven. Located in FUN TOWN, the interactive display educates visitors on the six stages of food production. Sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture

18 Aug
Don’t Be a Victim of Theft on the Ranch

Prevention Tips from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to Help Keep Thieves at Bay Theft has become, unfortunately, a common aspect in our daily lives, and even equipment on our ranches and farms are not off-limits for desperate thieves. The best way to protect your equipment from being stolen in the night (or day) is

08 Aug
Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, and species

| Sergeant Reckless: A hero among horses and men | George Washington, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, and our nation’s many other noted heroes were all rare and amazing people who accomplished extraordinary feats. Standing alongside these distinguished members of our past is another kind of hero, who was rare among men and its own

07 Aug
Combatting disease with faith, science, and determination

| Growers dig deep as greening takes its toll | Early fruit drop jarred the citrus industry this season as growers battle the bacterial disease citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB). “We were all caught off guard and quite honestly shocked at the devastation,” says Mike Sparks, executive vice president and chief executive officer

26 Jul
The Agriculture Unit: Protecting a billion dollar industry

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd values Polk County’s agricultural community, and believes serving their needs and providing protection and education is a high priority for his Office.  Judd knows unique operations are necessary to protect the community in which businesses and individual landowners can be found all over, in every far-reaching corner of the county. 

26 Jul
Has the blue gold of Florida run dry?

| A tough 2010 harvest has blueberry growers talking | The state of Florida has long had an enviable position as a supplier of fresh blueberries.  In early spring of this year, that prominence eroded, prompting concerns about how to keep prices high for blueberry growers.  “I think the problem is we are not a

26 Jul
Top 10 highlights of the 2010 Florida Cattlemen’s Association Convention

The Turnout – The FCA Convention was just held in June at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, golf club & Spa.  With approximately 1,350 in attendance, the FCA convention 2010 turnout was in line with recent years.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] Let the Show Begin –

25 Jul
The Birth of an Industry

Traveling back 500 years to the beginning of Florida citrus To taste citrus today and to take in its fragrance is to taste history. Wherever citrus was planted, their aromatic blossoms lured the adventurous and innovative. In their fragrant scent we catch a remnant of the ancient civilizations, exploration, and discovery. Though once believed to

25 Jul
FCA Convention round up

| Highlights from the recent event for Florida cowboys at Marco Island | The theme was “Get a Grip,” and for those attending the 2013 Florida Cattlemen Association Convention, it was all about strengthening the “grip” (or relationships), among attendees through business and non-business connections. “The ‘Get a Grip’ theme is based around a handshake

27 Jun
Helping horses with a troubled past

| Q&A on adopting rescued or rehabilitated equines | It’s not just adoption; it’s saving a life. Central Florida Ag News spoke with Dawn Bazemore, founder of Faith Equine Rescue, to talk about why adopting a rescued and/or rehabilitated horse is beneficial to the horse and its new owner. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now

26 Jun
Obtaining official identification devices for cattle

| How Florida is implementing the federal Cattle Identification Rule | The rancher community is aware of a new Cattle Identification Rule promulgated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in March 2013. The Cattle ID Rule is intended to protect interstate cattle industry and mitigate the spread of disease between herds. The Florida Department

25 Jun
Commercial harvests, u-picks operations, & making wine

| Season’s surprises keep Florida blueberry growers on their toes as they continue to diversify | Florida’s blueberry crop was lighter than anticipated this year, which meant higher prices overall for the state’s blueberry growers. With gross prices averaging $5 a pound, some growers had a pretty good year;  but returns were mixed. “This is

24 Jun
New leadership, same educational goal: Rising to the challenge as the new Polk FFA District Advisor

The baton has been passed to the new Polk FFA District Advisor, William Paul Webb, who will start his new position on July 1 to replace the retiring David Byrd, the FFA District Advisor since 2001. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] “Paul has been genuinely involved in

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23 Jun
A welcome development for growers

| Coca-Cola company invests in Florida’s citrus-growing future | It might sound contradictory that the manufacturer of a popular soft drink would expand into Polk County’s traditional citrus industry, but Andrew Meadows doesn’t see it that way. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] He notes, for example, Minute

04 Jun
Cattleman’s best friend

| Cow dogs bred and trained for life and work on the ranch | The dogs working with Florida cowboys aren’t quite like Lassie, the popular television Collie featured on television rescuing a boy named Timmy Martin and traversing the wilderness with forestry Ranger Corey Stewart.  But they are just as loyal and do a

12 May
In the company of citrus history

| Florida Citrus Hall of Fame’s 2013 Fellowship Students help preserve significant industry artifacts and more | John Jackson, chairman of the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame, which honors distinguished leaders who have made significant contributions to Florida’s citrus industry, announced that the nonprofit organization’s three new Hall of Fame Fellowship Students would be helping

12 May
Developing the future of horsemanship

| Instructing local students while strengthening the relationship between rider and equine | The location may have changed, but the enthusiasm and excitement that happens each summer for students in the Florida 4-H Horsemanship School never dwindles. From June 9-14 (for Western Riding) and June 23-28 (for English Riding) of this year, students ages 11-18

11 May
A ‘sweet heart’ for agriculture

| Harley Zoeckler: Inspiring a thirst for knowledge about beef and agriculture | The sash may say Sweetheart, but for Harley Zoeckler, the 2013 Polk County Cattlemen’s Association Sweetheart, the title is an open door to her future goals in promoting agriculture. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”]

15 Apr
Artifacts of a bygone era

| Preserving the history of Florida’s citrus industry | The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame has received several significant collections this past year of historical artifacts from notable collectors of citrus memorabilia, including citrus crate labels from Jim Ellis (Bartow, Fla.), postcards from Jerry Chicone (Orlando, Fla.) and Brenda Eubanks Burnette (West Palm Beach, Fla.),

15 Apr
Travelin’ with your equine

| Safety tips for before, during and after your trip | The spring weather seems to beckon everyone toward travel and as a horse owner, the obvious choice is to travel somewhere with your horses in tow. But whether you are traveling with your horses for recreational or competition purposes, preparing for the trip from

15 Mar
Fourth-grade introduction to beef cattle

| Agri-Fest: Where kids see and experience Florida’s cattle industry firsthand | Seeing a cowboy, holding a bullwhip, learning about cows in Florida — at first, it might sound like the topics at-hand for local fourth-graders attending the beef station at this year’s Agri-Fest are more fit for a western fictional tale than academics, but

15 Mar
Using her head, heart, hands and health for others

| Local teen forms 4-H club for disabled children | Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School student Meg Jessee’s quest for a fun way to earn service hours has turned into a real blessing for disabled children at Our Children’s Academy in Lake Wales. Now three years and nearly 400 service hours later, the 16-year-old

15 Mar
Learning new equine skills through competition

| Preview: UF horse-judging contest slated in April | A 17-year old Lake Wales girl is gearing up to participate in the 4-H/Future Farmers of America (FFA) Horse Judging Contest at the University of Florida (UF) next month. Emily Eckstein, a Polk County homeschooler, is part of an intermediate horse-judging team that is too young

15 Mar
Being in hog heaven

| One man’s pigpen is Emily Heuer’s treasure | Her older sister seemed to have fun in Future Farmers of America raising hogs, so Emily Heuer felt she would have fun as well. Yet, at the close of her fourth year with the agriculture program, Emily discovered she not only gained memorable times with others

15 Mar
HLB Report: Attacking the Problem on Three Fronts

Scientists Get Creative to Come up with Manageable Solutions to Citrus Disease There’s no cure yet for citrus greening, or Huanglongbing (HLB), but researchers are learning a lot more about managing the disease spread by the Asian psyllid. “We really don’t have a solution as of yet. We have some great management tools,” says Dr.

15 Feb
Little-Known Facts on the Clydesdale

Unique Aspects of an Already-Unique Breed Since the repeal of Prohibition, Clydesdale horses have become synonymous with Budweiser beer. The flamboyant draft horse is featured in national advertising, parades and horse shows. But the humble beginnings of the breed were on the farm. And although Clydesdales were replaced by tractors in many places, they are

15 Feb
Strawberry Growers are Seeing Red this Season

It’s halfway through the harvest and the public is now starting to enjoy (this month and over the next few months) the sweet, delicious taste of Florida hand-picked strawberries. This season so far has growers seeing red (literally): Picking high-quality strawberries in large volumes, thanks to another warmer-than-usual winter in Florida, and an early decline