Columns

15 Oct
Lawn and garden tips to remember for fall

Now that some cooler temperatures are on the horizon, it’s time to go over the gardening tips for the month of October. We’ve got some great guidelines to help keep your lawn and garden looking healthy during the changing season.

15 Oct
How new technologies can make your job easier

DURING THE YEAR we have talked about cloud computing, the use of tablet computers in agriculture, and vein readers and facial recognition as emerging technologies for harvesting data collection. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] Well, technologies don’t always pan out, as is the case with vein readers

15 Oct
Equine wellness programs, Part II

PREVENTIVE VETERINARY MEDICINE for horses treats the animal at its peak health and aids the owner in having a knowledgeable grasp of their horse’s physical and behavioral traits. Our Equine Wellness Programs are an essential and beneficial tool in maintaining the health and wellness of your horse. The program options fit the individual needs of

15 Oct
Your landscape: At home and in the grove

As we enter the fall and winter months here in Central Florida, now is the time to put some focus on the things that need to be done at home and in the groves. Here are a few essential practices that will keep your home and business running smoothly through winter and into spring.

10 Oct
Publisher Letter: More on the sweet spot for Florida agriculture

THE ANNUAL AGRITECHNOLOGY EDITION of Central Florida Ag News is here! If you’ve ever been within earshot when I’m talking about Florida’s agritechnology sector, you may have heard me use terms like Florida’s economic “sweet spot.” Agriculture is such a big economic driver for Florida (about $100 billion big, to be specific), which is why

15 Sep
Publisher Letter: Quality time with the family

READING ABOUT ALL THE GREAT ways to enjoy Florida definitely gives me the itch to get outdoors! In the Kirkland family, to say we are water enthusiasts would be an understatement. My wife, Dot, and I are both Certified Advanced Scuba Divers. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to dive

15 Sep
A citrus thief in our midst

THERE IS NO DOUBT that these tough economic times seem to be affecting just about every industry in the country. Instead of rolling up their sleeves and putting in extra hard work, however, some individuals choose the path of dishonor and disgrace. Across Polk County, there recently has been a surge in thefts of orange

15 Sep
Editor’s Blog: Wrapped up in the pages of this R&R edition

I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE it’s September already! Imagine, less than three months from now, we’ll be hanging up the mistletoe and wrapping presents that we plan to present to loved ones on Christmas day. Before I get too far ahead of myself, however, we’ve got some great stories wrapped up for you in the pages

15 Sep
Covering the bases with an equine wellness program

HORSES, AS WELL AS HUMANS, benefit from preventative medicine. It is often a better practice to enlist a preventative health-care program with your veterinarian rather than resorting to corrective treatment. That’s why at Polk Equine, we offer the Equine Wellness Program with the highest quality preventative care.

15 Sep
Third-party audits — insuring the cold chain

THIRD-PARTY AUDITORS are independent, industry audit certification bodies that verify all aspects of self-policing and adherence to standards. These audits cost thousands of dollars to engage, disrupt normal business operations, and costs thousands of additional dollars in overtime, “tweaking” systems, and preparation. Third-party audits are not only necessary (and in many cases mandatory by customers),

15 Sep
Insights for the family-owned operation

WHEN IT COMES to your small business, there is usually no such thing as too much analysis or planning. It’s essential to always be open and honest about the way your business is being handled by all those involved in its success. That is especially true for those family members who are given opportunities to

15 Sep
Citrus season preparedness: Harvesting and labor compliance

WE ARE JUST GETTING STARTED this season in the citrus industry, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to start streamlining the harvesting process. Specifically, there are tools available to make the ticketing and CitraNet process easier. Make sure that you manage your demand, crew schedules, and generate harvesting tickets in the field or on

12 Sep
Commissioner’s AgriCorner: Never a day’s rest for Florida’s energy

IT’S BEEN ONE YEAR since the Florida Legislature transferred the responsibilities of the state’s Energy Office to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and I have been working closely with industry and legislative leaders to create a sustainable energy future for Florida. As soon as the department took over, we began assessing all

08 Sep
PCFB | President’s column (September 2012)

AFFORDABILITY, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND SUSTAINABILITY are all ideas that we constantly strive for in the agriculture industry. Whether it’s the goal of providing affordable food and fiber to consumers, promoting land stewardship and sensible resource management practices, or seeking innovative and effective ways to grow and sustain our economy, all are essential goals for successful farming

15 Aug
Commissioner’s AgriCorner: Expanding markets for Florida agricultural products

Though the United States grows increasingly dependent on foreign countries for many necessities, we still boast a trade surplus when it comes to agriculture. The U.S. exports $8.2 billion more than we import in agricultural products. In Florida, exports of agricultural products are not only strong, but increasing. Over the past five years, overall exports

15 Aug
PCFB President’s Column: Learn about the candidates and issues

ELECTION CYCLES ARE ALWAYS critical to the future of our county, state, and nation. In the current election season, it is now more important than ever that we not only show up to the polls but are diligent in our efforts to educate ourselves on the candidates, issues, and all that is ultimately at stake.

15 Aug
How to treat a cut or skin irritation on goat or sheep

Behavioral changes in your goat or sheep sometimes can indicate a recent injury or skin laceration. To help you recognize behavioral changes, here are a few signs to look for: a decrease in feed intake; personality and social changes, such as being less responsive and isolated; and sometimes the reverse also is a sign of

15 Aug
Land management needs in the grove

As you know, there is a lot of uncertainty in the Florida citrus industry these days. Several factors have growers shaking their heads and wondering what the immediate future may hold. One specific issue is the current supply and demand for citrus nursery trees. Ensuring that your inventory is ready and at the level it

15 Aug
Publisher Letter: Small farms and businesses — a mainstay of America

Independently owned small businesses are a vital ingredient to the economy of our country, and their survival — as well as their success – is imperative. These companies are one of the primary reasons the United States is the beacon of hope and freedom. Particularly, farmers who operate small farms qualify as one of the

15 Aug
Early planning for prescribed burns

We have talked before about the need for prescribed fire as a tool in land management. I know it seems a little early, as we are in the middle of the rainy season, but it is never too early to plan ahead and ensure a successful autumn and beyond.

15 Aug
Electronic timekeeping for harvesting labor

As we start to think about the upcoming harvesting season for citrus and other crops, it’s time to start planning ahead. Along with keeping accurate records, filling the labor requirements to pick our state’s crops is becoming more challenging. Whether you have domestic or H2A workers, the problem for growers is ensuring accurate records for

15 Aug
Taking a look at contractors and vendors

Last month we put the spotlight on the staff that helps your business run on a daily basis. This time we will dig a little deeper into your business and address those individuals who are equally important to its success. Take some time this month to assess whether the contractors or vendors you utilize are

15 Aug
Editor’s Blog: Looking at the BIGGER picture of small farms

IN THIS (AUGUST 2012) EDITION of Central Florida Ag News, we’ve given some special attention to small farms and those commodities that can really help the “little guy” get ahead in a big world. Our cover story presents two hot up-and-coming crops in Florida agriculture; and our AgriLiving feature presents an interesting trend in bringing

15 Jul
Simple steps for assessing staff needs

Last month we discussed the importance of attracting and keeping your customers. Now let’s take a look at those individuals on the front line of your business whom you depend on to make your patrons happy and eager to return. A good staff member can make all the difference in the world in both positive

15 Jul
Cautions on fungus in your lawn

This time of year brings us heavy rain and some very hot temperatures. A combination of this kind usually causes fungus in many lawns to flare up dramatically. It’s important to take the correct steps to stop the spread as soon as possible. Make sure you don’t fertilize a fungus, as it will only make

15 Jul
Optimizing the field’s performance with Sunn Hemp

Here in Florida, we are lucky to be able to grow many diverse plants that help optimize the way our fields perform and our crops produce. One such plant is the Sunn Hemp. Many Florida growers use this nifty annual legume as a cover crop, and their benefits to the agriculture industry are amazing.

15 Jul
The battle for your lawn and garden

NOW THAT JULY has arrived, 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, and

15 Jul
Cold chain: On the front lines of food defense

With all the time, manpower, and costs invested in cold chain management, there are crucial issues that may be overlooked. First and foremost, train and trust your personnel to alert management of any observed product condition or any chain of events that is out of standards. Food defense is something that should be taken very

15 Jul
My newest veterinarian venture

My love for working with horses and animals began while I was young and shared a Welsh pony named Pharlap with my sisters. My interest only grew and was nurtured through the activities I participated in for nineteen years on our Quarter Horse gelding, named Hondo. Currently, I’m performing in obstacle challenges. I pursued and

15 Jun
Hot topics for your lawn this summer

With all the heat and rain we are experiencing lately, it’s that time of year when the pests come out in full force. Make sure to get a good systemic insecticide put down on your lawn to help prevent pest infestation. These yard-consuming critters will destroy your lawn and ornamentals if they are left unchecked.

15 Jun
Microsoft wins big — What does it mean for you?

IN A RECENT technology journal competition, featuring vendor ratings in 27 categories, Microsoft took first place in many of the key groups: Cloud Applications, Business Intelligence, Data and Information Management (SQL database), Collaboration Software, and Middleware, just to mention a few. So, what does that mean for you?

15 Jun
Editor’s Blog: Rounding up blueberries, bees, and a special tribute

Okay, it’s no secret. You know it’s our Annual Blueberry Round Up edition because we have blueberries on our cover. Plus, if you’ve been reading the last two years of coverage on the Florida blueberry harvest, you probably could have guessed this was coming. But be warned, this edition is like none other you’ve seen

15 May
Why temperature is so important to the cold supply chain

NOW THAT WE’VE CLARIFIED the essential trailer and warehousing components of the cold supply chain, let’s reinforce and fully understand why temperature maintenance in this intricate process is so important. So many of the products we use in our daily lives depend on being kept at a specific temperature during the time it takes to

15 May
Monitoring your irrigation during dry season

EVERY YEAR, it seems to take longer and longer for the parched months of March, April, and May to pass before the rain we need finally arrives. Now that we are still in the thick of the dry season, we have some tips to help keep your yard and plants looking the way they should.

15 May
Get down to business with BI software

IN THIS MONTH’S COLUMN, we will discuss business intelligence (BI) software. If it sounds complicated, don’t worry. It’s actually really simple! Business intelligence software utilizes data from your existing system, whether it is a database application or a simple Excel spreadsheet. This software can take the data you already have and unleash the potential of

15 May
What a tradeshow can do for your agribusiness

IT OCCURS TO ME that anyone in business, be it a grower or supplier, stands to gain valuable knowledge by attending tradeshows. There is a wealth of information on a wide variety of subjects all under one roof. Whatever you need to research and explore, a tradeshow is the perfect place to be.

15 May
When is it best to reinvest in your land?

THERE IS an old saying that goes, “If you cheat the farm, the farm will cheat you.” We are certainly going through some terrible economic times, but I believe that we often get distracted when dealing with general news media and only see the negative articles. The truth is that very positive things are happening

15 May
CFMG Publisher Letter: One great edition leads to another

THIS EDITION, we’ve got a whole lineup of great stories about women and their diverse roles in the driving economic force that is Florida agriculture. I particularly enjoyed the story about April Miller on PAGE 18 (of our print edition) and Suzanne Churchwell on PAGE 27. These women are not just wives, and moms, and