17 Jan
Florida-Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Tips from the Masters

by JULIE GMITTER Florida is an oasis for gardeners, farmers, and plant lovers alike, with unique species and a sunny, warm climate which is just perfect for America’s most popular pastime. Since 1979, the Florida Master Gardener Program has trained thousands of volunteers in Florida who have worked to provide nearly $10 million dollars of

17 Jan
Preserving Florida’s Beauty: A Look At Bok Tower Gardens’ Rare Plant Conservation Program

Bok Tower Gardens is home to the Rare Plant Conservation Program. Tasked with preserving the genetic diversity of Florida’s flora, they work with some of the rarest plants in the world.   by TERESA SCHIFFER Cheryl Peterson doesn’t wear a cape, and she can’t fly or see through walls, but the work she does is

17 Jan
Upcoming 2019 UF/IFAS Horse Workshop

Spreading Equine Knowledge by MATT NORMAN Horses are beautiful and powerful animals. For a great many years the relationship between horses and humans has been strong. While horses are capable of great work and are often kept for the work they can due, they are so much more than simple beasts of burdens. For many

11 Dec
Innovations in the Food Supply Chain Help Keep Our Food Safe

by TERESA SCHIFFER Technology is omnipresent in modern society, and with it we have seen monumental improvements across many sectors of industry. We can track the pizza we ordered, monitor work floors, and communicate with friends and coworkers around the world. It only stands to reason that new technology would also affect our food supply

11 Dec
New Tool Helps Growers with Postbloom Fruit Drop Challenges

by MARY TOOTHMAN Postbloom fruit drop can appear explosively in a bad season, seemingly infecting every flower on a tree. A new forecasting system — a web tool to help growers control postbloom fruit drop — has been developed by University of Florida experts.  Growers have with online tools available to help determine the best times

11 Dec
Florida Polytechnic’s Intelligent Garden Could Be the Future of Ag

by J.P. SMITH In the heart of Florida, through the pulsing strip of the the High-Tech Corridor, is the renowned STEM college, Florida Polytechnic University.  It is the home of the award winning and one of the 16 “Most Breathtaking” Buildings, the iconic Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building. The unique location of FL Poly

11 Dec
New State-Of-The-Art World Equestrian Center Coming Soon

by TIM CRAIG A massive multi-use equestrian facility is sprouting up on over 3,000 acres in northwest Marion County, and its growth may solidify the county’s and Ocala’s billing as “Horse Capital of the World.” The World Equestrian Center Ocala, reportedly set for a 2019 opening, is a state-of-the-art development that includes sports and recreational

26 Nov
A Cut Above

Local Family-Owned Business Puts Quality Craftsmanship in Every Blade Made In a shop out back on Hickory Hammock Road in Lake Wales, a family business is thriving. Stephenson Knives creates knives that are as beautiful as they are functional. Three generations are working together to hand-craft these unique blades for a variety of purposes. Shawn

26 Nov
New Adventures at Haines City High School

By Abby Crawford Every school year is different from the year before. Changes to curriculum, new policies, upgraded facilities, new alpacas…..wait, what? That’s exactly what happened this year for FFA members in the Haines City Senior FFA Chapter.  At the close of the 2017 – 2018 school year, the chapter received six alpacas to start

26 Nov
The Art of Cattle Handling

Q & A with Local Livestock Agent on Florida Cattle by Tim Craig Laura H. Bennett is the Multi-County Livestock Agent for Pasco, Sumter, and Hernando counties. She shared her expertise in cattle handling at the 2018 Alvin C. Warnick Reproductive Management School in Manatee County in early November. In between sessions, she sat down

26 Nov
Father and Daughter’s Passion for Agriculture Highlighted in their Artwork

By Erika Aldrich They say the nut doesn’t fall too far from the tree, and in Central Florida that usually means you have cattle ranching in your DNA. That’s true for Kayla and her father Waters, but it also means the cattle ranch finds its way into their artistic expressions. Mr. Waters runs cow-calf operations

22 Oct
Falling in Love with Your Lawn & Garden

In Florida, the fall season means something very different than in other areas of the country. For us, it means a break from the relentless heat and an opportunity to fall in love with being outside among the plants and flowers. This time of year also means special care for your landscape. Here at Doty

22 Oct
Equine Rescue Groups Gather to Network and Learn

At Hope Equine Rescue Group, as many as 40 neglected horses are taken in and cared for each year, and eventually placed in good homes. President Dani Horton says the group, which she founded about four years ago, runs on donations and volunteer efforts. Sharing and gathering information from other rescue groups is a great

18 Sep
Helpful Tips for a Beautiful Backyard Pond

By Grace Boggess There are plenty of renovations that can be quick and easy which can turn your regular backyard into a beautiful relaxation area. Backyard ponds can help improve the overall habitat of various animals in your area, such as various insects, birds, and of course – your fish! A pond can really add

18 Sep
Q&A About Upcoming Ranch Rodeo & Cowboy Heritage Festival

By Mary Toothman Put on your cowboy boots and get ready for a rodeo reunion. The 2018 Florida Cattlemen’s Associations Florida Ranch Rodeo & Free Cowboy Heritage Festival is coming up in a few short weeks. Dusty Holley, director of field services for the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, has been really busy the past few months,

18 Sep
Taking Fishing to the Next Level: Competitive Fishing More than a Relaxing Past-Time

By Cheryl Rogers Many people enjoy fishing because it’s relaxing. But for Kyle Stafford and Evan Wieber — and others like them — fishing is a competitive sport. Many people consider fishing a recreational past-time. When they fish, it’s a time to relax and commune with nature. Whether they catch any fish is immaterial. But

18 Sep
Best Public Lands to Ride Your ATV in Florida

By Teresa Schiffer Many people enjoy getting off the beaten path in their spare time with a drive on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) or OHV (off-highway vehicle). Hey, it’s fun to get out there and get dirty zipping around on a 4-wheeler! It’s also nice to take that long, leisurely ride through the woods, enjoying

13 Aug
Brian Armstrong: The Man Behind Plans to Meet Future Water Needs

by CHERYL ROGERS Brian Armstrong, the executive director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, is bringing together people and organizations to prepare for a growing demand for water. Since the Southwest Florida Water Management District was created to mitigate flood control in the wake of Hurricane Donna in 1960, its role has expanded to

13 Aug
Recently Passed Farm Bill Includes Greening Research Funding, New Water Legislation

by TIM CRAIG Central Florida farmers may expect the extension of research funding dollars and support programs after the U.S. Senate passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 in July, which would re-authorize the Farm Bill for five years. The Senate-passed bill and a similar House version, will now go to conference. As of August

13 Aug
Environmental Group Host International Competition to Clean Our Waters

by TERESA SCHIFFER By now, you’ve probably heard of the crisis off Florida’s coasts. Sea turtles, manatees, and other wildlife are dying off in record numbers, victims of huge blooms of toxic blue-green algae and red tide. People are outraged at the state of our waters, as it’s not only an ecological disaster, but an

13 Aug
Bringing the Horse to the Beach

by ERIKA ALDRICH The image of riding across a beach atop a horse is a common romantic depiction, but it’s also one that is totally possible to achieve. Whether you’re looking for a company that offers beach-based horse riding, or you’re thinking about giving it a try with your own horse, the golden beaches of

13 Aug
Two Cattle Ranchers Compete For Prestigious Young Farmers and Ranchers Award Program

By ABBY CRAWFORD Each year members of the Florida Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program compete for the Achievement in Agriculture Award. This prestigious award recognizes one member each year who has gone above and beyond in their agriculture involvement on their operation and who exemplifies premier leadership skills both in Farm Bureau and

13 Aug
Scientists Using Fungus to Manage Asian Citrus Psyllid

by MATT NORMAN Could a fungus be the answer to an invasive insect that is attacking Florida’s $8.63 billion citrus industry? On the surface this sounds strange, but scientists at the University of Florida think that one fungus in particular can help fight the Asian citrus psyllid, and help improve the future for citrus growers

19 Jul
2018 Florida Citrus Update

Florida Citrus Growers Fighting Greening with Plant Nutrition, Newer Varieties The Florida citrus industry is holding on, relying on nutritional methods and newer varieties to buy time until more effective solutions to citrus greening are found. A company with deep roots in the industry, Tamiami Citrus LLC has recommitted to citrus in spite of greening,

19 Jul
Bringing Home the Gold

Local Teen, Emily Turner, Knows What it Takes to Be a Barrel Racing Champion Emily Turner has a lot of good influences in her life, and she credits those good influences with helping her and her horse—Honey Blossom Wonder, or Belle for short—to win the 2017-2018 Florida High School Rodeo Association Barrel Racing Championship.  “I’m

19 Jul
Polk County’s Sweetheart

Getting to Know Polk County Cattlemen’s Association Sweetheart, Paxton Evans Each year young ladies around the state have a chance to apply for their county Cattlemen’s Association Sweetheart, where if selected, they will represent their county’s cattle industry for a full year and compete in the State Cattlemen’s Sweetheart pageant that is held during the

08 Jun
Giving Florida Citrus Some Juice

Pat Schirard Becomes Newest Member of FL Citrus Commission Meet Governor Scott’s appointment to the Florida Citrus Commission, Pat Schirard. In mid-May, Governor Rick Scott appointed new member, Pat Schirard, to the Florida Citrus Commission, filling a vacant seat previously held by Lee Bouldin. Schirard’s term will span from his appointment date on May 24

08 Jun
Team BEEF Florida

Proving the Power of Beef One Race at a Time by MATT COBBLE  For a long time, beef was considered the king of meats.  A certain fast food chain once asked its competitors “where’s the beef?”  A particular grocery chain proudly proclaimed themselves as “the beef people.”  The Yeoman Warders, guards at the Tower of

08 Jun
Blueberry Season Recap

Blueberry Production Up In Spite of Environmental Obstacles by CHERYL ROGERS Environmental challenges shed some Florida blueberry growers’ hopes for an abundant crop this year, slashing anticipated yields statewide by about 30 percent.  But overall, about 20 million pounds of blueberries were picked, up from about 19 million pounds in 2017, says Brittany Lee, president

08 Jun
Horses vs Rain

Tips for Managing Your Equine’s Health During the Rainy Season by TERESA SCHIFFER  Rainy season is here in Central Florida, and for horse owners, that can mean more time in the stable and less time in the saddle. Thunderstorms, muddy fields, and mosquitoes can all mean problems for horses. So what should you do when

24 May
Living the Dream: A Woman with Many Hats and a Heart for Cattle

Dr. LuJean Waters is a big animal veterinarian making a living in what used to be a man’s profession. Just two miles from her family’s old homestead, LuJean Waters practices veterinarian medicine on large animals, including cattle, horses, sheep and goats. A 7th generation Floridian, descended from a family that migrated to the Lake Garfield

24 May
A Family Business: Emily McKenna Lassiter Grew up in the Citrus Groves

Emily McKenna Lassiter is a woman deeply dedicated to her family, and the family citrus business. She also has a strong affection for citrus groves. And no wonder; her childhood and family memories center around the groves, and now she makes her living in the business. “One of the things I love is driving down

24 May
Ag Woman Pioneer: Dr. Martha Rhodes Roberts: Advancing Florida Agriculture

Meet Dr. Martha Rhodes Roberts, a leader in Florida agriculture. Agriculture is a leading industry in Florida, and The Sunshine State’s ag industry wouldn’t be where it is today without the leadership of Dr. Martha Rhodes Roberts. With an entire career dedicated to agriculture in Florida, Dr. Roberts has long been an icon in Florida

24 May
What’s Your Ag Story

My Ag Story started very early in life, I was born and raised in the cattle industry. My family has been involved in the cattle industry in Florida for over 60 years- owning and operating Cattlemen’s Livestock Auction Market in Lakeland, Fl, while also running our cow/calf operation. I owe my knowledge of the cattle

24 May
Dr. Katie Hennessy is All Business When it Comes to Helping Animials

Katie Hennessy is an extraordinary asset to Polk County’s agricultural community. She is an equine and large animal veterinarian who operates the Polk Equine mobile clinic in Lake Wales. Hennessy is a compassionate caretaker of these great creatures with a long history of involvement with horses and other animals. Hennessy grew up in Illinois, in

09 Apr
Post Irma: Ranchers May Face Longer Term Repercussions

Ranchers facing post-Irma challenges, but recovery may take awhile for stressed cattle. By Cheryl Rogers Hurricane Irma caused some immediate damage to Polk County area farms and ranches, where owners and caretakers initially were kept busy repairing fences, damaged roofs, and culverts.  But, in the long term, the most serious effects may have been to

09 Apr
Mules vs. Horses

What Side Are You Riding With? by TERESA SCHIFFER Mules versus horses, which is the better beast? There are folks on either side of the argument that can make a passionate case for each. Let’s take a look at some of the attributes of mules so you can decide where you land in this debate.

09 Apr
Home is Where the Heart Is

Raising Goats and Chickens on AM Acres by MARY TOOTHMAN When Maria and Tony Iannucci began to look for property and the lifestyle change that would come with it, they knew they’d found it at the five-acre Lake Wales site now known as AM Acres. “We wanted out of the zero-lot-line environment and found the

09 Apr
Piecing Together the Puzzle of the Citrus Genome

Researchers are Working Together to Remodel the Citrus Genome in Hopes of Fighting HLB by ERIKA ALDRICH If you’re a scientist associated with the citrus industry, your efforts are likely geared towards finding a workable solution to huánglóngbìng (HLB), otherwise known as citrus greening.  If your research also happens to have applications in other areas

14 Mar
Road to Recovery for Groves

Congress Finally Passes Bill to Help Florida Farmers in Wake of Irma by REPRESENTATIVE TOM ROONEY When Florida citrus growers looked ahead to their crop projections last year, the future looked bright.  This was going to be the year – the year citrus production would finally rebound from citrus greening.  But in September, disaster struck Florida’s Heartland.

14 Mar
Lake Wales High School Horse Judging Team Heads to State

There is No Horsing Around When it Comes to This Group of Dedicated Students By Teresa Schiffer In an age of social media obsession and digital absorption, sometimes it seems that all the kids do is play with their gadgets.  A dedicated group of young people at Lake Wales High School is breaking that stereotype

14 Mar
Polk County FFA Members Are MAD

How Local Members Are Making A Difference in Central Florida by THE POLK COUNTY FFA FEDERATION OFFICERS Hi there, we are the Polk County FFA Federation officer team!  We have the opportunity to work with students across Polk County through chapter programs, the Polk County Youth Fair, and at leadership conferences.   This year as

14 Mar
Fair Survival 101

Friendships can be Formed, Lessons Learned and Time Management Skills Developed with Fair Experiences by MARY TOOTHMAN To fair visitors, it may be all about the yummy food, petting animals, and viewing the neat displays.  However, behind the scenes, fair days and showing animals can be a lot of work and a way for youth

16 Feb
Polk County Youth Fair

If you have never been to the Polk County Youth Fair, or any youth fair in our region, you’re missing a one-of-a-kind experience. It is a must-do for any person— from the young to young-at-heart. Kids and youth from all around gather under one roof to show their livestock, crafts, plants, and more. Here’s your

16 Feb
Citrus Report: Halfway Through the Citrus Season

Growers are hoping the forecast will stay on its steady course by ERIKA ALDRICH If the latest USDA Citrus forecast is any indication, the Florida citrus industry continues to be adversely affected by long-term challenges—citrus greening—and recent disasters—Hurricane Irma.  With four months’ worth of citrus forecasts in the history books, it’s easy to see the

16 Feb
Five Fun Facts about the Miniature Horse

Whether for Show, Breeding, or Recreation, there are Many Reasons to Consider Owning this Breed by TERESA SCHIFFER If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a horse, a Miniature Horse could be your dream come true.  Whether you are a first-time horse owner or a veteran breeder, the modern American Miniature Horse is an excellent breed

16 Feb
Strawberry AgriUpdate

Growers Looking Forward to Good Season by CHERYL ROGERS Damage to the Plant City area strawberry crop appears to have been minimal when temperatures dipped below freezing in January.  “We’re not at peak production, but we’re pretty close,” says Joel Connell, production manager at Grimes Farms, where temperatures dipped to 22 degrees Fahrenheit.  “Our freeze

16 Feb
Florida Cattlemen’s Sweetheart Offers Tips on Teaching Youth About the Industry

by MARY TOOTHMAN We asked Sweetheart Milli Jones, 21 and a junior agricultural education and communications major at the University of Florida, for suggestions on getting young people psyched about the cattle industry. Her recent experience working as a substitute teacher has enhanced her insight into how to give young people positive ideas about the industry.

12 Jan
Teaching Teachers at Plant Camp

UF/IFAS Plant Camp Offers Florida Educators a Close Look at Florida Flora and Fauna by GRACE BOGGESS The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has opened applications for its popular and free 2018 Plant Camp and will be accepted until February 18. The five-day workshop takes place from June 11 to

12 Jan
The First of Many Winners

Local Citrus Grower Named 2018 4R Advocate by TFI by ERIKA ALDRICH Fertilizer has always played an important role in agriculture, and it’s more important than ever with a growing world population and the need to grow more on less land. It’s also become apparent that the unsystematic use of fertilizers is bad for the

12 Jan
Landscaping and Gardening Trends of 2018

Homeowners Get Growing with Plants for Pollinators, Succulents, Foodscaping, and More story by CHERYL ROGERS photos by LUIS BETANCOURT HEDGES out of rosemary? Purple cabbage interspersed with croton shrubs? Don’t be surprised. People seem to be looking for something healthy— and something different— in the landscaping and gardening scene. Vegetable gardening, a long-term trend, continues

12 Jan
Looks Can be Deceiving

Beautiful Ornamentals that are Dangerous for Livestock by TERESA SCHIFFER Raising livestock can be a tricky business. There are a lot of details to attend to, especially when it comes to proper nutrition. It can be tempting to simply turn creatures out into the field and let them rummage on their own, but this can

12 Jan
On the Watch for Strangles

Florida Equine Community Reported More Than 40 Cases in Past Year by MARY TOOTHMAN The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has confirmed several recent additional premises with strangles in the state — bringing the total number to 42 in the past year. Strangles, a highly contagious upper respiratory disease found in horses, was

18 Dec
Can Precision Ag Impact Potential Profits?

IF YOU’RE WORKING in ag, you’d be hard-pressed not to have heard of precision agriculture. Whether it’s the latest piece of technology or a review of the benefits of precision ag, the topic is front and center in agriculture news. One benefit that is often discussed is the potential for profits and what do they

18 Dec
Weather Stations in the Field Help Farmers Make Split-Second, Smart Irrigation Decisions

Florida Growers have been installing their own weather stations in increasing numbers. With help from the UF/IFAS Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN), they have been able to more accurately determine when to irrigate to protect their crops from freezes. “The onsite data is exponentially more useful,” explains Rick Lusher, FAWN director. But this fiscal year,

18 Dec
Farm Tech and Environmental Responsibility Come Together: Florida Blue Farms Receive Accolade from FDACS for their Agri-Business Practices

THERE ARE SOME pairings that take no thought at all. If someone asked you to say the first thing that came to your mind after the words “peanut butter,” odds are you would immediately reply, “jelly.” Along those same lines, if someone said, “citrus, ”you more than likely would reply, “Sunshine State,” or if someone

27 Oct
Every Second Counts in the Rodeo

Polk County Team Competes for State Ranch Rodeo Championship Title by, ERIKA ALDRICH Hurricane Irma changed a lot of folks’ plans in Florida in the month of September, but the not the Florida Ranch Rodeo Finals. With many different events closing or being postponed, there were fears the storm may have affected the holding of

27 Oct
A Way to Grow Sales through Exporting

A new program hosted by the Florida Small Business Development Center is helping local farmers and producers to maximize their growth potential through export sales! This program provides a scholarship to qualified recipients, which facilities the development of a uniquely customized Agribusiness Export Marketing Plan. These plans assist “new-to-export” and “currently exporting” growers and value-added

20 Oct
Recipe Spotlight

Southern Staples For Your Farmhouse Table There’s nothing like good, old Southern cookin’ to make a body feel satisfied – physically and mentally.  You just want to kick back and put your feet up for a while. Some of it is the raw ingredients that say stability and love – chicken, green beans, sweet potatoes

20 Oct
Dr. Robert Gukich Honored for Excellence in His Field

Local Large Animal Vet Specializing in Bovine and Equine Species Recognized for his Service When Dr. Robert “Doc” Gukich was honored with a prestigious award recently, he said he was taken aback because he didn’t realize anyone had particularly noticed what he was doing at his veterinary practice.  But people had indeed noticed. In recognition

16 Oct
The Plan for Recovery, Post Hurricane Irma

Grove Owners Take in the Damage and Map Out a Strategy for Bringing Fields Back to Full Health It was supposed to be a good year for Florida’s citrus growers. With post bloom fruit drop under control, some growers were expecting a rebound— despite the dreaded citrus greening disease. But then came Hurricane Irma, wreaking

21 Aug
Ag Voices Speak Up on Natural Resources

Agriculture Taking its Position as Region Plans to Meet Future Water Needs Florida is surrounded by water, but, with current resources, it’s not expected to meet future demands for some 1,100 million gallons a day in Central Florida.  So government leaders and landowners are attempting to iron out their differences, among the administrative complications that

21 Aug
Keeping the Land Alive

Florida Cattle Ranchers Work To Preserve Natural Resources   From goldfish to formalized best management practices, farmers and ranchers are working together to save resources that the land has provided. According to thisfarmcares.org: Best Management Practices are a set of guidelines that advises producers on how to manage the water, nutrient, and pesticides they are

19 Jul
Keeping the Ranch Rodeo Tradition Alive with Florida Cattlemen

A Tradition as Old as Time, Florida Cowboys Compete to Show the Public What it is Like on a Working Cattle Operation The Hardee County Cattlemen’s Association Ranch Rodeo is not your typical bull riding, entertainment rodeo.  It’s a fun way to present Florida ranching, and the unique Cracker Cowman way of life to the

19 Jul
If Mama Cow Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!

Florida Dairy Farmers, Take Note: A Hot Cow is an Unhappy Cow If your dairy cows are not meeting your expectations, you may want to invest in an air-conditioning unit for the cow clubhouse— especially for the females who are expecting and keep that thermostat set fairly low.  The results may be well worth any

19 Jul
Citrus Growing Project Helps Students Understand Agriculture

The Citrus Growing Project of the Polk County Youth Fair is teaching young people responsibility and agricultural lessons through raising citrus trees. Passing knowledge on to the next generation is important in any field, and it’s especially vital to the citrus industry in Florida.  With the many innovations that are taking place in growing citrus,

19 Jul
Q&A on High Tunnels

An Alternative to the Traditional Greenhouse Has Been Getting Attention from Growers Across the State by Providing More Environmental Control than an Open Field High tunnels are considered an intermediary between greenhouses and open fields.  Most growers use high tunnels in conjunction with growing in the ground as opposed to the hydroponics often found in

19 Jul
Annual Citrus Report

Some Growers Go Undercover, While Others Look to Fresh Fruit Production to Diversify   Facing a decline in citrus production in the wake of citrus greening, some of Florida’s growers are turning to protective coverings to block the Asian psyllid that spreads the dreaded Huanglongbing or HLB virus. Ten Florida citrus growers have banded together

21 Jun
Equine Summer Camp Safety Tips for Young Riders

Barn Manager at the Florida Agricultural Museum Offers These Reminders for Parents and Kids Now that school is out and summer is here, the kids are going to need something to do to keep them busy. Many kids love horses, so equine summer camp is very popular. While they are generally safe for kids to

21 Jun
Tree Assistance Program Taps into Industry Needs

  Farmer Encourages Fellow Growers to Apply for Tree Assistance Program (TAP) and Replant Ask anyone in the business and they will tell you: making a living in the citrus industry is not for the faint of heart. Growers have battled Mother Nature throughout history, struggling to stay in business after experiencing damages left by

21 Jun
Blueberry industry update

Florida Blueberry Growers Vying with Competitors for Lucrative Spring Marketing Window AS FLORIDA’S BLUEBERRY industry matures, increased competition is making it harder for growers to realize dreams of blue gold. “I think there’s going to be a bit of a shakeout in the blueberry business going forward,” asserts Ryan Atwood, a blueberry grower with about

19 Jun
It’s all about dairy in the month of June

University of Florida nutrition expert says a glass of milk packs a ‘nutritious punch’ HEALTH-CONSCIOUS PEOPLE may fire up special juicers or buy prepared beverages that are touted to benefit the body— but a strong case can also be made for a good, old-fashioned glass of milk. As National Dairy Month is recognized in June,

19 Jun
Cattle Industry Update from the Florida Ranchers’ Perspective

Beef Producers Rise Above the Challenges to Preserve and Prosper the Ranching Way of Life Florida born-and-bred beef has made its way into the grocery under the brand name Florida Cattle Ranchers, LLC.  In response to consumers’ interest in locally-grown food, 13 ranchers have banded together to develop this Florida beef brand.  “Millennials, they care

19 Jun
Diversity in Action at the Spring Lane Ranch

A Ranch Where a Variety of Equine Training Methods and Cultures Converge If you’re looking for an example of diversity in a field, look no further than Spring Lane Ranch in south Lakeland. Owners Heather and Darrel Shea have brought together a team of horse trainers who exemplify the notion that a variety of styles

08 Jun
Steering Students to a New Venture

 Youth and Ranchers Are Gearing Up for the Commercial Steer Show Agricultural fairs have a rich legacy in Polk County. It was in the 1940s that the community came together to fund a pavilion in Bartow specifically for young people to compete in agricultural and domestic projects. Over the years, the Polk County Youth Fair

08 Jun
Down on the Farm

Florida Ag Industry Sees a Rising Trend in African-American Farmers Seventy-nine-year-old Herman Hargrett Sr., a retired ag teacher, is one of the few black farmers in Florida. But their numbers are growing.

08 Jun
What They Bring to the Table

Celebrating Women in Ag and Female Leadership at UF/IFAS Agriculture is in Dr. Jeanna Mastrodicasa’s blood. Each year, her grandfather would plant a robust garden for the family to enjoy in the Massachusetts town she grew up in. On the other side of her family, her great grandmother packed grapefruit in Indian River County. Dr.

10 Apr
Florida roots: Handing down the cattle-ranching heritage

CATTLE RANCHING in Florida has a long and storied past that may surprise you. The first cattle were brought here with Ponce De Leon and the Spanish explorers in 1521. Those seven Andalusians were likely the ancestors of the Florida scrub cattle that later became the herds of both Seminole natives and pioneer settlers.

16 Mar
Advice from a Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame inductee for the next generation of ag leaders

RECENTLY, FOUR TITANS of agriculture were inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame.  Among them was W. Bernard Lester, age 78, who was born in Havana and graduated from UF CALS.  Lester has been described by John Hoblick, president of the Florida Farm Bureau, as a “tireless advocate on behalf of Florida agriculture for

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15 Mar
From suburan life to aglife

Cassidy Polston joins family in cattle-raising tradition CASSIDY POLSTON AND her family were living a typical suburban lifestyle. As a little girl, she was thinking about becoming a lawyer or a chef. But something changed when her oldest sister Brittany bought a cow while attending Lakeland High School.

14 Mar
The first time’s a charm: McKenzie Webb wins Grand Champion with her prize Zebu

THE FOUR-LEAF CLOVER, a rare variation of its three-leaf counterpart, has long been recognized as a symbol of good luck. If a person stumbles upon this treasure, then the holder is sure to be the recipient of a most fortuitous blessing. As if she had that lucky charm in her pocket all along, one 4-H

13 Feb
Strawberry-harvesting robots, more of the sweeter varieties, and new U-picks

A ROBOT THAT CAN PICK strawberries may ease the industry’s labor problem and revolutionize the way crops are harvested. “This machine itself is being designed specifically for the strawberry,” says Gary Wishnatzki, a third-generation family-owner of Plant City’s Wish Farms, who is partnering in the project. “We’re not going to stop with strawberries … There’s

16 Jan
On the go for Florida citrus

Miss Florida Citrus Stephanie Capon wrapping up an exciting and industry-promoting year STEPHANIE CAPON has only two more months left in her role as Miss Florida Citrus 2016, but she will forever be part of a unique group of women who have worked side by side with the industry to help market Florida’s citrus throughout

09 Dec
75 years at Range Cattle REC in Ona marks more change on the horizon

THE RANGE CATTLE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION CENTER in Ona recently held its 75th Anniversary Celebration and Field Day. John Arthington’s leadership as center director is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the center’s history. He’s been there 18 years, and he’s led the center for 11. He’s only the fourth director in Range Cattle

09 Dec
A staple of agricultural stewardship

USDA program gives boost to farmers and the conservation cause STEWARDSHIP of our natural resources — environmentally and agriculturally — is an inherent and shared responsibility among everyone here on planet Earth. The combined results of people’s actions can either deplete resources or, through combined efforts and energies, be lent toward implementing sustainable solutions for

09 Dec
Equines of the dwarf kind

Miniature horses have their own special care and considerations FOR ANYONE who’s ever dreamed about owning a horse, would the considerations include miniature, or dwarf, horses? What follows are 10 key questions about miniature horses and an answer to each of them.

11 Nov
Citrus labels go on tour: Historic brands make a comeback in the region

MANY YEARS AGO, Florida citrus was sold in dimly lit warehouses around 3 or 4 a.m. It was packed in wooden crates with bright, colorful labels that attracted the buyers’ eyes and helped sell the fruit. “The label was the first thing they would see,” says Brenda Eubanks Burnette, executive director of Florida Citrus Hall

01 Nov
A model ag program for Polk

Frostproof Middle-Senior High School Ag Department Earns Polk County Farm Bureau honor THE FROSTPROOF MIDDLE-SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL Agriculture Department has been honored by the Polk County Farm Bureau as its 2016 Outstanding Ag Program of the Year. The school ag program received the award Oct. 11 during the PCFB annual meeting in Bartow.

28 Oct
Inspired to teach ag to others

Polk County Farm Bureau honors Paul Reed as the year’s outstanding agriculture teacher PAUL REED’S LOVE for his agriculture program during high school translated into an agriculture teaching career that spanned more than three decades. Today, the recently retired Haines City High School teacher is the Polk County Farm Bureau’s 2016 Outstanding Ag Teacher of

17 Oct
Citrus feature: What’s in a number?

Citrus growers are committed to replanting and all-in on the numbers game against greening SOME CITRUS EXPERTS are expecting the smallest crop in 53 years this year, as the industry continues to battle citrus greening disease and other challenges, such as post-bloom fruit drop (PFD). Though the numbers look grim, there are positive signs for

16 Sep
Recreation and agriculture come together at the agritourism crossroads

More Florida farms and ranches open doors to the public with retreats, attractions, events, and more TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO, cattlemen drove their herds to a remote part of central western Highlands County on their way to the market and port at what is now Fort Myers. Their destination was a corral under an oak