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
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