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
PCFB President’s Column: Looking back on the Young Farmer & Rancher State Leadership Conference
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.
LAST MONTH, we introduced you to a few of the terms common to the public refrigerated warehousing (PRW) and cold supply chain industries, and we promised we would continue the topic this month. So, here they are — five more terms to help make you feel right at home during a visit to any cold
CENTRAL FLORIDA has experienced a very wet summer, and with it the insects are very active this year, so you need to create your “most-wanted” list of pests to look out for and manage, if necessary. Check your lawns and gardens for mole crickets, chinch bugs, sod webworms, azalea caterpillars, white flies, and more.
THEY SAY “nothing is as sure as change,” and no matter what type of business you’re in, agriculture or otherwise, you’ll find it always rings true. However, here at Domer’s, Inc., we like to think of it as innovation rather than just change.
FLORIDA’S FARMERS, growers, and ranchers increasingly are changing up and adding to the mix of the crops they produce, the livestock they raise and the forage they provide. Some call it agricultural diversification. Some call it alternative farming. Many call it smart business.
AS A BUSINESS, USA Quality Steel Barns & Garages has close ties with the agriculture industry through all of the barns and other ag outbuildings that we’ve installed over the years. As individuals, we work and play alongside the growers and producers who work so hard to provide produce like citrus, beef and other farm-made
HUMUS, when used as a soil amendment, is very beneficial in bringing life to your nearly dead sandy Central Florida soils. The beneficial microbial life (i.e., bacteria, fungi, and protozoa) have and are mineralizing calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and boron, which are found in abundant levels in a quality organically composted humus.
WHITE LINE DISEASE (seedy toe, hoof wall disease) is a common disease seen in the equine foot that may or may not result in lameness. This disease occurs with separation of the hoof wall from the underlying tissue and then colonization with bacteria. Separation is caused by environmental conditions, mineral toxicity or mechanical stresses on
Elmira Mangum, Ph.D, chosen to serve on U.S. Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade IN RECENT agricultural news, the president of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), Elmira Mangum, Ph.D, will be serving on the country’s Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) for Trade. Selected by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack via a
IT’S RARE TODAY to read an article or column about Florida citrus without seeing a reference to citrus greening (Huanglongbing, or HLB), the tree disease that has seriously compromised citrus production all across the state since it was first found in Florida, near Homestead, in August 2005.
EVERY INDUSTRY has its own lingo — words and phrases understood by those who work in or have some familiarity with that industry. At a cold-storage operation, the unique vocabulary can be lengthy for a couple of reasons: One, it’s actually part of two industries — public refrigerated warehousing (PRW) and the broader cold supply
THIS EDITION of Central Florida Ag News has a very special theme, one that I believe captures the spirit of our agriculture community. In this year’s Annual Citrus Report, we present the latest numbers on the recent harvest and the cutting-edge research under way to help find long-term solutions for citrus greening. Also in the
PRESIDENT OBAMA and his U.S. Labor Department have proposed a major expansion of overtime eligibility for middle-level salaried workers, and now the public has the opportunity to tell the government what it thinks about it.
ALTHOUGH SUMMER is when most Florida citrus growers take a collective sigh of relief after the harvest season, it’s still a busy time for the industry, and it’s one where farmers should pay close attention to irrigation and water usage. Since citrus harvesting is at its end, it’s time to start preparation for next season’s
THIS TIME of the summer, during the peak of the grass-growing season, you can easily tell if your lawn is receiving the nutrition it needs. Just look for weeds. Hungry lawns usually are weedy lawns. Why? Because weeds sprout at a lower fertility level than do turf grasses.
SCIENCE IS A BELOVED ASPECT of agriculture, as it has long influenced agriculture in such a positive way. A shining example of science’s positive impact would be all the research that is ongoing on curing citrus greening. From biology to chemistry to earth science, science has helped agriculture to grow and raise more food with
OUR SANDY SOILS in Florida are a constant challenge to all growers of all crops. We have an inadequate amount of organic matter to give us the platform we need to work from.
SUMMER IS A BUSY time for Florida blueberry growers, and it’s one where growers should pay close attention to irrigation and water usage. Since berry picking is over, plants are pruned to encourage important new growth that will carry next year’s berries. It’s a crucial time for water management, according to a study conducted by
WELCOME TO the Annual Blueberry Roundup edition of Central Florida Ag News! As a Florida blueberry grower myself, this edition has personal meaning to me. Some of the experiences of growers that you’ll be reading about hit pretty close to home for me, but it’s also true that every grower’s experience — for every season
EQUINE PROTOZOAL myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a neurological disease in horses and is caused by the protozoan Sarcocystis neurona, which affects the brain and spinal cord. The protozoan requires two hosts to complete its life cycle, a definitive and an intermediate host. Opossums are the definitive hosts and cats, raccoons, armadillos, and skunks are intermediate hosts.
BEING BORN AND RAISED in Central Florida, I happen to know lot of folks in the Sunshine State who like the University of Florida sports teams (and a lot them who don’t). But, even if you are an anti-die-hard UF sports fan — if you have any kind of appreciation for agriculture — there are
TAXPAYERS MAY CHOOSE to take advantage of the de minis safe harbor election under the new tangible repair regulations, as we discussed last month. However, there are other available elections that may better suit your business. The safe harbor election for small businesses and the election to capitalize repair and maintenance costs will alleviate the
JUNE 1 brought the start of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, which is incentive enough to ensure that your prized items — be they vehicles, recreational water craft or beasts of the four-legged variety — have a safe place to ride out a storm. Are your outbuildings up to the challenge?
IF YOU’RE THE OWNER or manager of a business with employees, you probably already know a little about federal employment law. That would be the law that requires companies to employ only those individuals who may legally work in the United States — either U.S. citizens or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization.
OUR YOUNG FARMER & Rancher Committee continues to grow under the leadership of its officers Christian Spinosa, Keith Walter, and Jamie Lang. We welcome the following members who have joined in the last few months:
LAST MONTH, we introduced the topic of the proposed Safe Food Act (SFA) of 2015. The legislation, a move to merge the nation’s 15 food-safety agencies into one massive new agency, has been filed in Congress for the fifth time. This month, we’ll share why the bill likely won’t get anywhere — again.
SO FAR THIS YEAR, more than 1,300 wildfires have ravaged our lands and forests. Florida wildfires are a real and present danger, relevant to all landowners — whether residential, rural, or agricultural. When a wildfire breaks out, the risk to loss of timber, wildlife habitat, homes, as well as animal and human lives is a
OFTENTIMES, FARMERS, RANCHERS and other ag folks are portrayed as being at odds with environmentalists and conservationists. Nothing could be further from the truth. As an agriculture and environmental lawyer, I can attest that there are few people who care as much about the land they live and work on and their animals as do
THERE ARE TWO kinds of sunshine — the radiant kind and the liquid kind — and we get plenty of both this time of year in Central Florida. If they come in the proper proportion, we have ideal conditions for grass planting and patching, tasks that leads our lawn and garden recommendations this month. You
IN POLITICS, movies, and the media, we tend to hear a lot of rhetoric about the glass ceiling, and the gender roles pushed on women by centuries of oppression and prejudice. As a woman and an admitted hopeless optimist, I like to focus on the role models who — regardless of their circumstance or the
A COUPLE OF business-themed national events were already in the rear-view mirror by the time this magazine went to print, but even in the past tense, they deserve some exposure.
THE AGRICULTURE industry is steeped in history and tradition, but it is also constantly on the cutting edge of technology and everchanging. As the world population grows, issues like environmentalism and feeding billions of hungry mouths are just a few that farmers, ranchers, and others in agriculture face every day.
OVER THE LAST two months, I have gone over the fundamentals of the new tangible repair regulations, which apply to taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. Though an overview is helpful when it comes to understanding the basics, there are many more elements of the repair regulations to consider, including the elections
MOST BARNS and outbuildings are “working” buildings; in other words, they are built to perform a specific function or duty. Some outbuildings keep equipment and vehicles safe and out of the elements, while others store materials or produce, and still others house livestock or pets. Each garage, barn, car/RV port or shed has a job
MANY WILL REMEMBER the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Established in 2002 as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America a year earlier, DHS combined 22 different federal departments and agencies into one huge Cabinet-level agency. As massive as that government shift was, its impact has been felt mostly by
AS THE NUMBER of peach acres continues to climb in Florida, so does the consumer’s love for this sensation. The Florida peach is not only juicy and sweet, but they’re also the only peaches available from mid-March to mid-May. What spells opportunity better than a great product and a market window with no direct competitors?
IF YOU OWN HORSES, then you have probably heard of a Coggins test, but what is it and why do you need to have one?
BACKYARD VEGETABLE gardening in Central Florida is more than just exercise; it’s an exercise in transition, with each month providing better conditions for growing some plants rather than others. Now that we’re in the heart of May, we can recommend okra, cowpeas, collard greens, mustard, cherry tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and eggplant as good summer vegetables
FLORIDA IS A SPECIAL PLACE, and I think that most of us who have lived here for any decent length of time will agree with that. And because Florida is special, it’s no surprise that voters and state leaders have established special programs to keep certain lands off limits to development.
THEY SAY NECESSITY is the mother of invention, and it’s the spark that lights innovation as well. Here in Florida, a good portion of the year offers daily rain showers, hot temperatures, and high humidity. It’s also a haven for insects like termites and other wood-loving critters. This all adds up to bad news for
THE TERM “BRANDING” might mean a lot more to the business world these days, but to the cattle industry it will always mean the practice of labeling cattle with a metal branding iron to show ownership. The tradition is one that is in our company’s roots, dating back to the hand-made branding irons created by
Artists recognized for their depictions of ag THERE’S NO DOUBT about it. There’s just something special about the Southern lifestyle we’re able to enjoy here in Florida. It’s unlike any other place in the South. I’d venture to say it’s unlike any other place in the world, but, of course, as a Florida native and
UNBELIEVABLY, the first three months of the year have already passed us by. For those who operate a small business, this might be a good time to determine how well you’re doing against the business plan you established for 2015 and put into place on Jan. 1.
WE AT Central Florida Ag News are pleased to bring you the AgriLiving edition, allowing you to take a look at the proud traditions and new trends that define the ag life as we know it here in Central Florida at your leisure. As a blueberry farmer myself, not a day goes by that I
WHEN THE FOLKS from Central Florida Ag News told me that this was the magazine’s annual “AgriLiving” issue, I thought to myself: “I sure have been ‘agriliving’ for quite a while.” By that, I mean that people who become farmers and ranchers tend to stay farmers and ranchers for their entire lives. Their families also
PIGEON FEVER is a common name for an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis. The reason it is called pigeon fever is that the bacteria tends to localize and form abscesses in the pectoral region and ventral abdomen of the horse, giving the horse a “pigeon-breast” appearance. This bacterium lives and multiplies in dry
WITH TOLERANT temperatures and drier weather, April is one of the better months to be outside and working in a Central Florida lawn and garden. And that’s a good thing, because usually there’s so much to do! Here are some of the key things to keep in mind as you tend to your landscaping:
MANY OF YOU reading this article may have already noticed that your tax preparer gave you an additional form to sign this year, Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method. One of the most common questions when it comes to the new tangible repair regulations is, “Why are we changing our method of accounting?”
MORE MOUTHS TO FEED globally and higher per-capita income in the world’s two most populous countries were leading factors in a recent surge of construction in refrigerated warehouse facilities worldwide. The numbers are huge!
THE CONVENTIONAL THOUGHT of those viewing agriculture from the outside is that it is a male-dominated profession. After more than ten years on the FFA Foundation board, I have observed that stereotype evaporate.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE pictures from the Florida Strawberry Festival and the Florida State Fair capture the lessons that are taught to — and learned by — future generations. To further the advancement of the Florida agriculture industry, and continue to meet the demands of a growing populace in need of food, traditions like festivals
YOUR HORSE is an important member of your family, so it is important to be prepared in case of an emergency. Emergencies are stressful, emotional, and can happen at any time. Being prepared and ready to handle different emergency situations can improve the outcome of the emergency. Make sure to have important phone numbers (i.e.,
WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING to put up an outbuilding like a barn, garage, or carport, you want to get your investment’s worth with a quality product. In Florida, that means your structure will stand up to the area’s humidity and rainy climate, high temperatures, and annual hurricane season. How do you know when a structure is
AGRICULTURE has been a part of this country from its inception during the American Revolution, and by its very nature agriculture must remain a vital part of America. National FFA Week was the last week in February, and it affords us the opportunity to look at the history and the future of farming and agriculture.
YOU’VE HEARD of trains and trolleys on tracks, but how about forklifts on tracks? It’s a fairly new phenomenon in warehousing and, like many new things in business, the technology is designed to create efficiencies.
ONE OF THE most talked about topics this tax season is the new tangible repair regulations. With the final regulations applying to taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, many businesses are currently trying to ensure that they conform to the new rules. In the next few months, I will be examining different
Heartland Payment Systems. Target Stores. Sony Online Entertainment Services. Epsilon. Anthem. The Home Depot. What do these companies have in common? All of them are on the most recent list of victims of the 10 worst data breaches in history.
YOU’VE WORKED HARD to build your wealth and provide for your family. To be confident that the legacy you envision will become a reality, it’s critical to establish and maintain an estate plan. And in turn, it is highly important to look at your whole financial picture and your personal situation to help develop an
Family farming. There’s just something about the phrase that brings to mind so many positive thoughts and images — tight-knit bonds; hard but honest and rewarding work; a respect and appreciation for the land; conservation born out of a love for nature; labor that feeds a community and feeds the world; and parents, grandparents, children,
SPRING’S ARRIVAL to Central Florida brings not only happily chirping birds and new buds and blooms, but also delightful weather to lure us outside for beautifying work in the lawn and garden.
WHEN IT COMES to young people, you can’t teach them too much about agriculture and you can’t have too many of them getting into the business. Agriculture has so much to offer — rewarding careers; a good livelihood for families; personal fulfillment and enrichment; economic stimulation; and sustenance for our fellow man, both here and
A CASUAL DRIVE almost anywhere in Central Florida provides ample evidence of an agricultural boom, particularly in the realm of row crops, the kind providing consumers with fresh produce and berries. It’s not at all unusual to discover that land seen vacant a year ago is now rich with plants bearing tasty blueberries or vegetables.
MOST AREAS of the country have an environment that can be hard on buildings and structures in some form or another; Florida is no exception. The Sunshine State’s hot weather, significant rainfall, and frequent thunderstorms, hurricanes, and the occasional tornado mean that our structures have to be well built using quality materials in order to
AS YOU REFLECT on 2014 and begin planning for 2015, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your business and personal financial plans. Your financial life encompasses much more than the current markets. It’s about what’s most important to you, how you want to live right now, and what your goals are for the future.
IF YOU RUN an agriculture operation, you may already be implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs). If you are unfamiliar with BMPs, they are measures intended to improve water quality while maintaining agricultural production, including methods to reduce fertilizers, pesticides, animal waste, and other pollutants entering our water resources. Typical practices include nutrient management, irrigation management,
COMPETITION CAN BE a tough row to hoe in the business world. Businesses have to stand out from the pack. We are fourth-generation owners/operators, and Domer’s, Inc. has survived the Great Depression of the 1930s, the economic downturn of a few years ago, and everything in between. Despite changes in technology, we haven’t changed how
HOW DOES a public refrigerated warehousing (PRW) operation keep the cold air in and the warm air out? We began to answer that question last month, when the focus was on better construction materials, specifically better insulated walls and moisture barriers. This month, technology takes the stage.
If Florida citrus is the state’s icon, then Florida strawberries could be called the red gems in our fields. As the second-largest producing region for strawberries in the U.S. — and the only region in the country that produces them in the winter — there are few things that can be compared to our sweet
Does the acronym FLSA mean anything to you? If you own a business, you’ve probably heard something about it. If you have employees or work in a human resources department, it’s a sure bet.
IT SHOULDN’T come as a surprise to you that agriculture is counted among the top economic drivers in our great state of Florida. If it does, then the information I’m about to share is all the more important for you to read. The agriculture industry is a multibillion-dollar trade, supporting jobs for many of our
STRANGLES is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract of horses. The infection is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi subspecies equi. The term “strangles” arose from the occasional suffocation of horses with the disease due to lymph nodes of the head and obstruction of the airway.
ON FEBRUARY 5, Southeastern University was the featured program at the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner. The college proudly presented its choral group, jazz band, and a talk from Dr. Kent Ingle, the institution’s president. An exciting drum-line performance capped an exhilarating evening.
As I write this column, we are well into preparations for the Polk Agriculture Economic Summit event, and I could not be more encouraged about the momentum that the event and the presentation of the Polk Agriculture Economic Impact Study will bring to both the agriculture community and the future direction of Polk County as
IT’S FEBRUARY, which means spring gardening is on many of our minds. Here are a few tips to help your yard and garden do their best this year.
THE LOSS OF a child by any event is sorrowful to parents, other relatives and friends. A group known as The Compassionate Friends focuses on consoling families who have lost children. They enlisted the help of Silver Vase, Inc. of Homestead, FL who has joined them by donations of flowers, specifically orchids.
USA QUALITY Steel Barns & Garages has a wide assortment of barns, RV ports, garages, warehousing, and carports available with you in mind. The diversity of our structures makes it easy to understand why our barns, steel carports, garages, and RV ports are highly sought after.
OPEN ANY NEWSPAPER or scroll through the latest newsfeed and it’s clear that we’re living in an economic climate marked by ambiguity. Across geographies, the pace of economic growth varies, government policy is clouded by uncertainty, and broader geopolitical instability persists. These are among many factors contributing to “a diverging world.”
YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD me say before that agriculture is one of the “sweet spots” of Florida’s economy. As an economic powerhouse, the state’s agriculture industry is a multibillion-dollar trade, supporting jobs for many of our residents across all of its 67 counties.
BETWEEN THE FAIRS and festivals, as well as the trade shows, educational courses, meetings, and more, we wanted to do an expanded calendar for this edition to give you a better snapshot of all that’s happening in your ag community. However, there’s only so much you can fit on a page. If you’re an ag
WHEN YOU’RE THE fourth-generation owners of the oldest business in town, you’ve got some big shoes to fill. My brother, Jacob, and I are running (and expanding) the Okeechobee family-owned business, Domer’s, Inc.
THIS MONTH, we wrap up a five-column series on the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare), the 2010 healthcare insurance law that, whether one likes it or not, has touched or will touch almost everyone in this country in some way. (You can’t even escape a question about health insurance on your tax return.) By even
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Polk County Farm Bureau is already moving full speed ahead in 2015, having held our Legislative Appreciation Luncheon with elected officials on January 13. Our special thanks to the Polk County Cattlemen’s Association for co-hosting this event with us each year.
RABIES IS A NEUROLOGICAL disease of horses and all mammals. Although it occurs infrequently in horses, it has considerable public health significance. Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted to humans. Rabies is always fatal once the animal or human shows clinical signs of the disease, and so the risk should be
FOR SEVERAL YEARS, the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) has provided financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes, and vines that have been damaged by natural disasters or diseases, such as canker or greening. Thanks to the Agricultural Act of 2014, TAP is now a permanent disaster
THE KEY CONTROL elements of any public refrigerated warehousing (PRW) operation are air, moisture, and temperature. Better control of these factors equates to better refrigeration, more efficient use of utilities (electricity) and refrigerant (ammonia), and greater confidence that warehoused products (usually perishable food products) won’t spoil from temperature deviations.