IF YOU WANT TO KNOW how big agriculture-related tourism, or agritourism, is in Florida and how quickly it’s growing, you can always dig into the economic numbers. But, really, you don’t have to do that. All you really have to know are two things:
THE FOOD AND FOOD INGREDIENTS kept cold, dry, and secure at Adams Cold Storage in Auburndale truly are international in flavor and increasingly international in origin. Increased foreign trade, the result of 20 free trade and other agreements negotiated by the U.S. government, makes it possible for products from all over the world to pass
THERE ARE FEW THINGS that are more intimidating to people than public speaking. It’s an acquired skill that, through years of practice, however, can be mastered. In my youth, I was involved in my local Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter, and public speaking was par for the course. Back then, I was one of
ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, I was invited to join the recently established Board of Directors for the Florida AgriTourism Association during its inaugural meeting. If you know what I know, then you can appreciate how significant an association devoted to supporting agritourism in Florida will be for the members of our agriculture industry.
THE CRAFT BEER INDUSTRY has grown like wildfire, and a UF/IFAS team is researching if Florida growers could benefit by filling a need in this niche industry: growing beer-quality hops. UF horticulturist Brian Pearson recently won third place in the Early Career Award for scientists at the American Society of Horticultural Sciences (ASHS) for his
THE BOYS OF FALL are all ready to tee it up and kick off for this year’s football season, but that’s not the only thing that kicks off in September — so does Central Florida’s fall gardening season. Now is the time to approach things a little differently in regard to your landscape’s health.
IN 2008, A SITE with an intriguing name hit the World Wide Web. It’s The Art of Manliness (www.artofmanliness. com). Five years later, a contributing writer offered a column that came to my attention a few weeks ago. The title is “9 Rules for Starting Your Own Farm.” It’s an interesting and fun-to-read piece by
LAST MONTH’S COLUMN began a discussion of the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Foods Rule (the Sanitary Transport Rule, or STF), one of the seven pillar rules embodied by the sweeping Food Safety Modernization Act that became law in January 2011.
FLORIDA’S CITRUS INDUSTRY has suffered significant losses due to citrus greening since the bacteria was detected in a South Florida grove in 2005. Annual harvest numbers have fallen year after year while the costs to maintain a grove in the face of HLB has doubled. The question has long been, “How long can the citrus
IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE that August is here and that we’re this far into it already! Here are some helpful tips to keep your garden and lawn healthy and beautiful.
WE IN FLORIDA have known for quite some time how grand, how diverse, and how wonderful agriculture in the Sunshine State really is — and how much more grand it’s destined to be. Now, a bunch of folks way up north, in the U.S. Midwest, are learning about Florida’s special place in American agriculture, too.
CITRUS GREENING IS A SCOURGE on the Florida citrus industry, but it highlights the value of ag tech, science, and innovation in an amazing way. So many are working on the issue, and the ingenuity of those in agriculture is on full display. Below are some of the research efforts in the works right now.
NOW THAT WE’RE well into July, here are some tips you can arm yourself with for your lawn and garden. This month is the time for summer fertilization of your lawn. It’s also a good time to repair, renovate, or plant. It is key to work in as much organic materials, such as peat, manure,
WHILE GREAT CHALLENGES continue to beset the Florida citrus industry, a greater sense of optimism could be found among the growers and state officials who attended the 2016 Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference in Bonita Springs last month.
NEW OVERTIME REGULATIONS are in the books in Washington, D.C., but they won’t be effective until Dec. 1, giving employers nationwide more than five months from now to prepare for them. The time will be needed; the regulations will affect almost every company, organization, and government agency from sea to shining sea and extend overtime
FLORIDA CITRUS GROWERS are in dire need of new orange trees, and two new early UF/IFAS-created Valencia orange varieties have the interest of nurseries and growers. Citrus greening, or HLB, has infected an estimated 80 percent of citrus trees in Florida groves, according to a survey conducted by UF/IFAS in April, and replacing dead or
IF YOU KNOW where to find it, if you know how to access it, and if you meet certain qualifications, government funds are available to help your citrus operation. For that matter, government funds, at both the federal and state levels, are available to help a wide variety of agriculture-related enterprises.
JUNE IS AN EXCELLENT month to plant new lawns and repair existing ones. You can use Palmetto plugs to fill those empty spots during the rainy season.
AGRICULTURE IS IN NEED of warm bodies in the industry, with vacancies in the scientific and technical side of agricultural employment growing rapidly. It’s one reason why ag education is so important. Traditional ag education classes that pair with organizations like 4-H, Future Farmers of America and others — both in and out of public
IF YOU’RE SEARCHING for something meaningful and rewarding to do with your life, be a farmer. If you appreciate the land and want to work it to help feed the world, be a farmer. If you’re looking to join the ranks of some of the most down-to-earth and salt-of-the-earth folks around, be a farmer. If
IF YOU’RE in the peach business, then you’re keenly — and in some cases, painfully — aware of how the season is going. With the El Nino weather pattern that occurred in early November through December, peach orchards across Florida had little to no chill hours.
ON APRIL 21, I was able to attend a media event to learn more about Florida Cattle Ranchers, LLC. The keynote speaker, Mike Joyner, assistant commissioner and chief of staff at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, called this new venture a “game-changer” for the Florida beef industry. In short, the 13 founding
IF YOU HAVE nerves of steel, a hardy soul, a resilient persona, and the patience of Job, there’s a better-than-average chance you would make a good citrus grower. That’s what a body has to have to handle the ever-constant challenges of the industry — and now more than ever.
SCHOOL GARDENS are not too cool for school, the statistics show. A Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) review counts about 1,300 school gardens in the Sunshine State. Karla Shelnutt, a UF/ IFAS Extension nutrition specialist and associate professor in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences and Kohrine Counts, a dietetics
A LOT OF YOUNG backyard citrus trees that have not yet shown signs of greening still suffer from starvation or scale. A healthy tree will help fend off diseases, so don’t let it happen to yours! May is the time to feed and spray your citrus. As a matter of fact, May is the time
FOLKS SEPARATED from their public school lunchroom or cafeteria experiences by a period of 25 years or more might be surprised — very surprised — to discover the workings of lunchrooms that nourish students today.
FOLLOWING MONTHS of urgent requests and hopeful anticipation, Florida citrus growers now can deploy additional weapons of a liquid kind in their continuing war against citrus greening.
“WHICH IS BEST: Do I buy or do I lease?” Business owners have been asking themselves this question since the choice became available — which likely goes all the way back in human history to the dawn of private trade.
THE USE of cover crops has grown like — ahem — a weed in the agriculture industry. Cover crops offer a lot of advantages and benefits to both farmers and ranchers, but it’s a good idea to do your research before choosing one to plant.
IT’S MID-APRIL, and for our Florida lawns, the preparations for summer growth are a little different this month.
THE AVERAGE AGE of farmers in the U.S. is 58 years old. In some regions of the country, the average age is actually much lower (i.e., Maine’s average is 35 years old). In the past, the majority of young people have left the family farm and sought vocational pursuits other than agriculture. Farming is actually
MOST U.S. COMPANIES begin as domestic-only enterprises and evolve, because of the global economy, to have an international mix of customers. Adams Cold Storage was international from the very start. Our first inbound product, when we launched the business in December 2010, was frozen lemon concentrate from South Africa.
TWO FLORIDA SCHOOLS are continuing their part in fighting against (and protecting Florida’s citrus industry from) HLB, or citrus greening — the University of Central Florida and the University of Florida.
THE THOUGHT in the headline, and the timeless wisdom behind it, came to mind a few weeks ago when I first heard about the vote on the matter of reauthorizing the Florida citrus research order. That’s the order that, in a nutshell, established the Lake Alfred-based Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) as the lead
THIS PAST WINTER, if we want to call it that, was nearly nonexistent in Central Florida. That said, this doesn’t change the fact that there are several key items that need to be completed now to keep your lawn in tip-top shape.
IT’S TAX SEASON, for individuals and businesses, and I’m about to make a statement that won’t bowl over anyone: Tax season isn’t like the Christmas season; few people look forward to it and enjoy it. That being said, it might be helpful to share and point to a few general tax tips that particularly are
DESPITE THE WARM weather we had over the holidays, just after the New Year we had our first cold snap. That means along with some of the normal gardening routine for this season, there are some precautions you should take to keep your plants and lawn safe in the event we have another cold snap
HORSES NATURALLY grow hair in response to reducing daylight as the weather cools in the fall and winter. These hairs are various lengths and trap in warm air to keep the horse warm. A healthy, unclipped horse in pasture with appropriate shelter from the elements, free choice forage and water should not require blanketing in
WITH THE USDA’S most recent Florida orange crop estimate at a troubling 69 million, there’s no doubt that Florida citrus growers face some tough questions. As a result of citrus greening (or HLB), the industry’s harvest has reduced more than 50 percent over the past decade. Any way you slice it, that’s a big cut,
WILL INCREASED Florida citrus quality and better-tasting not-from-concentrate juice translate into increased consumption? Marty McKenna thinks so. McKenna is chairman of the board of the Florida Department of Citrus. He addressed the matter of Florida citrus quality — and the future of a highly challenged Florida citrus industry — during the Florida Citrus Mutual Annual
AGRICULTURE is steeped in history and tradition, but it also utilizes technology to improve, increase production, and stay relevant in a global market. Apps simply require a smartphone — which are now pretty inexpensive these days and can be useful in the field — and many will work with computers as well. Try these apps
LISTS ARE GOOD. They educate and entertain. To-do lists — for personal tasks, for professional tasks, and for everything in between — are even better. Maintained on a smartphone or on a piece of paper, they spur action and promote progress.
THIS MONTH marks Adams Cold Storage’s fifth year of business in the cold storage and distribution industry. We have many to thank for our success and are humbled by the tangible support afforded us by our customers, vendors, and contractors. We have also been greatly bolstered in our efforts by many of you readers —
THE HOLIDAYS have started, and for most of us that means longer “to-do” lists. Does your list include tending to your lawn and garden? If so, we offer help with the following tips and recommendations.
THE MEDIA would like us to think that the family farm is almost a thing of the past. But, we did our own research and, not surprisingly, the opposite is true. After surveying 530 growers who represent almost 30 different commodities, our team at AgAmerica Lending found out that over 74 percent said their agriculture
IN LATE SPRING 2015, I had the opportunity to visit the UF/IFAS Balm Research Center and meet with plant breeder Dr. Zhanao Deng. He explained to me that he was setting up a trial for the discovery of new varieties of pomegranates that will grow and produce in our subtropical climate. His need was to
TWO MONTHS AGO, the topic for this column was the optimism that pervades the Florida citrus industry about an eventual victory over the citrus greening (HLB) disease.
PRODUCERS AND SUPPLIERS of refrigerated and frozen food products have several goals in mind when their freshly made and packed items are ready for shipment to points all around the nation and, often, to places all around the world. Those goals include:
FARMING COMMERCIALLY isn’t for the fainthearted, but no day goes by without someone, somewhere, considering a leap into the profession. People see the increasing worldwide need for food, they see new farming operations pop up around their communities, they see some outward signs of business success, and they think: “Hey, I want to be a
WHAT WAS YOUR favorite subject in school? For many, it was science. For many adults, it’s now science and nature. From Earth Science to Biology to Chemistry, in the hands of the right teacher, science can be a fun class that teaches about the world around us. Many still harbor a love of science, even
THE AGE-OLD SAYING of “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a true one — especially for farmers. More and more, we’re talking with growers who are looking to diversify their family ag operations. With Thanksgiving approaching, the sheer number of turkeys available at your local grocery store may cause you to consider
THE LOCATION of our shoot for this edition is no secret spot, but it is a beautiful one. In fact, it’s not just a beef cattle ranch — it also happens to be the location for the Cornfusion Crop Maze and Fall Festival once a year (which we featured in the September 2015 edition of
IT’S HARD to believe that the holiday season is here and Florida’s fall right along with it. It’s only a short matter of time before we’ll be officially in our Florida winter, so there are some important things to think about when it comes to your lawn and garden.
THIS MONTH, I would like to pose a question for you to ponder: What is the carbon level in my soil and does it really matter?
FOR MANY PEOPLE, the last quarter of the year tends to be the busiest time of the year. In addition to the regular tasks of life and work are all the activities revolving around the big holiday season. For a small business owner-operator, you can easily multiply fourth-quarter “busyness” by a factor of two. If
WITH THE CITRUS harvest season getting ready to gear up, most of the farm equipment will be out of the barn and in the grove. But, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect the shelter that stores your valuable farm tools, vehicles, and more.
TEN MONTHS OUT OF EACH YEAR, during the citrus harvesting season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service provides an estimate of Florida citrus production. The estimates, which also include citrus grown in California and Texas as well as projected yields for frozen concentrated orange juice, begin in October (the first report for
FARMS AND RANCHERS have long acted as stewards of the environment, with the majority taking care of the land, air, and water to the best of their abilities and current knowledge. However, agriculture has come under attack on a variety of fronts from people with an alternative agenda to folks who are not knowledgeable when
AS THE COOLER months of the year approach, it’s important to ensure that your garden is ready to withstand any obstacle Mother Nature may throw at it. Here at Doty Farm and Garden Supply, Inc., we are dedicated to helping your plants, lawns, and trees get the protection they need.
THE HARM that the citrus greening (Huanglongbing, or HLB) disease has done to the Florida citrus industry in the past decade is undeniable, but also undeniable is the full-court-press effort to do something about it. That effort breeds not just optimism but confidence that greening is going to be whipped.
IN ANY BUSINESS, you’re governed by the Project Management Triangle. It’s used to manage projects, whereby the constraints of cost, quality, and speed are the three sides of the triangle that you need to consider. Each side has an effect on the others, such as if speed and cost of a project are cut, then
TRUST IS ESSENTIAL in a relationship between you and your horse and is something that needs to be developed and encouraged when you are asking your horse to do something that they are unsure or afraid of, such as being caught or vaccinated. Working with a nervous horse takes time and effort, and there will
PEOPLE UNFAMILIAR with the U.S. and global food supply chains and food safety systems might be surprised by the annual volume of food recalls that emanate from various government agencies, growers, and responsible processors. Additionally, you might be shocked to learn how much these recalls — all done for the cause of good public health
Publisher Letter: Whether you live next to — or a thousand miles away from — a farm, this is the edition for you
“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower THE WORDS OF OUR 34th president of the United States ring more true today than when they were spoken in 1956 during an address to Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Our world
FALL IN FLORIDA offers near-perfect weather for enjoying the great outdoors. The summer rains are tapering off, the average temperatures are more comfortable, and many in the ag industry are not in the busiest time of harvest season and can carve out a little recreation and family fun!
WITH A KEEN EYE on the business bottom line, it serves you well to stay on top of all the tax exemptions available from the state and federal governments and use every one that applies to your particular operation. In most cases, accountants and tax lawyers are the folks paid to be up to date
Pictured, from left: Scarlett Jackson, Warner University; Kaylee Norris, Warner University; Jamie Lang, PNC Bank; Taylor Ladd, Auburndale High School; Lacee Richardson, Kathleen High School; and Amelia Parsons, Ridge Community High School. As the first-place winner at the county level, Lacee Richardson will represent Polk County in the District contest on September 17. She also
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