Features

16 Jun
Hurricane preparedness for crops and livestock large and small

Be ready with these before, during, and after storm-prep reminders FOR GROWERS, RANCHERS, AND PET AND LIVESTOCK OWNERS, hurricane preparedness begins long before the storm makes landfall and continues even after the final tree stops swaying. From maintaining grove tree size and keeping tools on-hand for repairing and resetting, to having pets micro-chipped and the

27 May
Florida’s 2016 peach season

Overcoming challenges and researching the way to future success AN UNUSUALLY WARM WINTER is putting the bite on peach growers across the South. Harvests came in late throughout Florida, where many growers saw zero chill hours and record-breaking warm temperatures according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

27 May
Raising a woman in ag

How Megan Handley has been — and plans to stay — involved in agriculture AGRICULTURE is a most important industry, but statistics show women are underrepresented in leadership roles in agriculture across the United States. Programs like 4-H and FFA provide a framework for encouraging young girls to take on leadership roles in agriculture, which

21 May
The best defense is a good offense — with The Tree Defender

Article sponsored by Southern Citrus Nurseries, 5600 Lake Trask Road, Dundee, FL 33838 863-439-3694 • www.TreeDefender.com Southern Citrus Nurseries of Dundee develops tree cover for young citrus trees THOMAS “TOMMY” THAYER, JR., AND SCOTT “SCOTTY” THOMPSON, the creators of The Tree Defender, have an analogy they like to share when they talk about their innovative

09 May
Q&A on the Forage Field Day

UF agriculture specialist sheds light on new developments in livestock and forage practices ASHLEY FLUKE is the UF/IFAS Osceola County Extension Agent who was in charge of the recent Forage Field Day, held on April 1 in Kenansville, Florida. Central Florida Ag News asked her to discuss recent developments and trial results, which could enhance

06 May
Is opportunity knocking for fresh Florida OJ in the Chinese market?

Recent study reveals potential for not-from-concentrate juice WITH 1.36 BILLION residents, China is the most populated country in the world. It may come as a surprise, however, to learn that such a high value market for U.S. agriculture does not include a single glass of fresh Florida orange juice — at least, not yet. Dr.

22 Apr
Looking for a recreation horse? Consider these five breeds found on the ranch

THE SCENE IS is a young cattleman riding his stock horse, leaping off the side of a mountain after the wild brumbies in “The Man from Snowy River,” a film based on ranch life in the 1880s of unsettled Australia. It’s dramatic, it’s exhilarating, and it’s a beautiful scene of horseman and horse, and though

15 Apr
Harvest time: Double cropping — a watermelon season preview

THE END OF APRIL marks the beginning of watermelon harvest season in Central Florida, and for growers like Andy McDonald, it’s especially sweet. That’s because McDonald double crops, planting the watermelon seedlings in his Plant City strawberry fields. McDonald takes advantage of any lull in strawberry picking in early February to place the plants into

30 Mar
Scribbling away at Florida’s next big crop potential

Scientists start a new hops yard with the hope of creating a new Florida agricultural commodity THE HUNT for the next great Florida agriculture success story is unfolding in Wimauma. The storybook ending the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences hopes to write is one in which our state becomes a major

29 Mar
#AgLife lessons from the ‘barn’

Student and Polk County Youth Fair participant, Paige Gebhardt, shares her 4-H journey THERE’S A SAYING that it takes a village to raise a child, but most people would agree that adding “a barn” to that piece of wisdom — both figuratively and literally — is a good idea. For those in agriculture, being “raised

14 Mar
Three men inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame

Vic Story, Jr., Bill Castle and Jack Norris make it easy to understand why we love Florida citrus WHEN YOU POUR that glass of orange juice, do you ever wonder about the grove that it came from or the farmer that grew it? In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget the toils of others,

22 Jan
Keeping the wheels in motion for the CRDF

Florida Citrus Mutual encourages growers to vote ‘Yes’ FROM NOW until February 11, 2016, citrus growers have the opportunity to vote on the continuation of the CRDF — the Citrus Research and Development Foundation. According to the Florida state statute, a referendum on the continuation of the CRDF must be held every six years. The

15 Jan
Preserving the present to protect the future

How one recipient of the Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award is conserving our state’s resources THOSE IN AGRICULTURE have long been stewards of the lands that they utilize to raise a crop or turn out livestock to pasture, but some go above and beyond the norm. In Florida, ag producers who utilize “environmentally innovative farming practices” are

15 Jan
What do genetically modified citrus trees mean for the Florida industry?

Still years out from a fix for HLB, biotechnology offers a possible solution IT’S NOT a silver bullet, but genetically modified citrus trees could prove the most effective of the many tools developed by the University of Florida so far for the salvation of the citrus industry in the HLB era. The transgenic citrus trees

12 Jan
Research that goes beyond the lab for citrus, avocados, and bell peppers

How biotechnology, drones, and plant breeding are advancing agriculture TECHNOLOGY has the ability to change the world, and it will likely be needed to protect it too. It’s a sentiment that those in Florida agriculture know all too well. With challenges like citrus greening, laurel wilt in avocados, and high consumer expectations for fruits and

01 Jan
Getting a hold of the reins on horse judging

Students get ready for contests through school offered by the UF Department of Animal Sciences EACH YEAR, The University of Florida’s Department of Animal Sciences operates informational and competitive youth programs for students within a 4-H Club or FFA Chapter. The UF/DAS recently held its annual 4-H/FFA Horse-Judging School, where students learned about judging at

27 Nov
Dinner of Distinction award recipient, Rep. Jake Raburn

Supporting UF/IFAS innovation and research through legislative leadership HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY Representative Jake Raburn has now earned what I call the “grand slam” of legislator-of-the-year awards from the agriculture community. Last year, the Florida Farm Bureau and Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association named him their top lawmaker. The Florida Forestry Association did so this year.

27 Nov
Encouraging the new generation of farmers through story-telling

Fellow farmers talk sustainable agriculture and share tried-and-true recipes in Forrest Pritchard’s new book SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE is a popular topic, and one of its chief proponents, seventh-generation farmer and bestselling author Forrest Pritchard, has written yet another book about the topic. “Growing Tomorrow is a classic American road trip,” Pritchard explains, “told in stories, photos,

27 Nov
Celebrating the beauty of Florida with Daniel Butler

Son of the Highwayman artist finds his calling and captures it through painting HE GREW UP in an artistic Floridian family and has loved nature all his life, so it makes sense that Daniel Butler has evolved into a talented artist whose work pays homage to this state’s natural beauty.

12 Nov
Q&A with the PCCA Sweetheart on upholding the cattle tradition

BAILEY BUCHANON, the current Polk County Cattlemen’s Association Sweetheart, is proud to call herself a cowgirl, and is a true example of a homegrown girl who loves her roots. Central Florida Ag News asked her some questions about the industry and her goals as this year’s Sweetheart in upholding some of the cattle traditions.

12 Nov
A legal thriller with a vein of agriculture that reads like a hometown map

History, good vs. evil, and twists of fate combine in this fictional novel DO YOU LOVE historical fiction with a vein of agriculture growing throughout? How about a legal thriller that flashes between the drama of a present-day courthouse and the hallowed grounds of World War II Europe? If you’ve answered a resounding “yes” to

23 Oct
GCREC 90 years young and still growing

Research center celebrates anniversary and expansion at the Florida Ag Expo WE’RE OLD, BUT WE’RE NOT HARD OF HEARING. The Gulf Coast Research and Education Center is about to have a 90th birthday party on November 4. One of the reasons we’re throwing it is to hear from you. Not that we don’t talk throughout

15 Oct
Agritechnology Academy teaches youth of the suburbs

Polk County Farm Bureau’s Ag Program of the Year award goes to Auburndale High School AGRICULTURE IS IN NEED of young people interested in stepping in and picking up the tools of the industry — both on the farms and in the research labs — and working hard. It’s something Kimberly Shaske knows well. She

15 Oct
State of emergency due to Oriental fruit fly

Florida Department of Agriculture works to eradicate pest in Miami-Dade AN AGRICULTURAL STATE of emergency is in effect now in Florida because of Oriental fruit fly infestation, and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam says an aggressive fight is under way to ward off the devastating pest.

13 Oct
The ripple effects of an ag instructor

Polk County Farm Bureau names the Ag Teacher of the Year: Kyle Carlton THERE ARE SOME CAREERS out there that have a large impact on many people. Agriculture is definitely one of those vocations, as farmers and ranchers feed and clothe the world’s population. Teaching is also another occupation that affects the lives of many,

08 Oct
Building strong gates with a strong agribusiness — Southern Livestock Systems delivers

ANYONE WONDERING about the state of manufacturing in Central Florida ought to take a brief drive over to Lake Wales. There, at 7 Lincoln Avenue, you’ll find a company called Southern Livestock Systems. At this address, you’ll also find a vibrant and year-round manufacturing operation serving Florida’s ever-growing agricultural community.

06 Oct
Equine funnies for kids

MULLIKIN THE HORSE AND FRIENDS ENJOY SOME AGRIRECREATION by JANET DELCASTILLO About the Author/Illustrator: Janet DelCastillo is a thoroughbred race horse trainer based in Winter Haven, Florida. For more information about her equine work, visit www.backyardracehorse.com.

01 Oct
Q&A on hunting wild game

Two of Central Florida’s hunting enthusiasts reveal their hunting preferences and experience FALL IS PRIME hunting season in Central Florida, and no one knows the lay of the land better nor reads the tracks as well as the men and women at home in tree stands and ground blinds all over the Sunshine State. Even

20 Sep
More agritourism for educational recreation

Farm-time fun for all with crop mazes, pumpkin patches, hayrides, and more RANCHERS TED AND DONNA SMITH have operated their 450-acre farm in North Lakeland for decades, and are proud of the family business located on the edge of the Green Swamp. Originally set up as a cattle ranch, the family-owned and family-operated Smith Family

14 Sep
Shooting to skill: Teaching 4-H students firearm safety and responsibility

WHILE FFA CHAPTERS are high school-affiliated and operated programs whose primary focus is on the breeding, raising, and showing of livestock, 4-H clubs are more independent, as they do not operate out of schools. The community-based 4-H clubs often focus on livestock as well, but some groups branch into various other applications of agriculture. For

01 Sep
Venturing into the pampered world of blackberries

Frontier farmers take a step back to black with this alternative crop TOO MUCH HANDLING will ruin them, they are time-consuming to harvest, and sometimes they have thorns — but consumers love blackberries, and they are a viable fruit to be grown as an alternative to citrus in Florida.

26 Aug
Taking a teamwork approach to science

UF/IFAS rebuilding research ranks with new funding POLK, HILLSBOROUGH and surrounding Florida farmers and natural resource managers are about to reap a huge brain gain. In its recently passed budget, the state Legislature provided enough money to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences to hire more than 45 new faculty members.

26 Aug
Not just a border tree — possibilities with eucalyptus crops

IF THERE’S ONE THING local citrus growers are paying close attention to of late, it’s the concept of alternative crops. As citrus greening continues to threaten citrus crops and cause hardships for growers, researchers, business leaders, and farmers have devoted sharp attention to what other products they can grow besides citrus.

25 Aug
Equine funnies for kids

MULLIKIN THE HORSE AND FRIENDS by JANET DELCASTILLO About the Author/Illustrator: Janet DelCastillo is a thoroughbred race horse trainer based in Winter Haven, Florida. For more information about her equine work, visit www.backyardracehorse.com.

20 Aug
Harvest Time: One fish, two fish

Can Florida’s seafood industry help start a new chapter in America’s seafood intake? “ONE FISH, two fish, red fish, blue fish.” This Dr. Seuss classic is one a lot of us grew up on, passing it down from generation to generation. But there is an important lesson to be learned through this short tale …

19 Aug
New study shows how HLB bacterium changes bug behavior patterns

Citrus greening promotes its own spread, according to researchers SOMETIMES, Mother Nature is just not very nice to the agriculture industry, as a recent study by University of Florida researchers stands to confirm. Citrus greening, according to the five researchers involved, has a built-in, bug-driven method of spreading itself far and wide — making it

19 Aug
Florida Roots: Colton Matthews’ past, present, and future in ag

THOMAS EDISON — the inventor of the light bulb, among many other important things — once said, “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” Edison’s advice rings true for Colton Matthews, a Lakeland native headed to college at Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas, this

19 Aug
Florida cracker calf needs a name

Florida Agricultural Museum welcomes newest member ON JULY 24, 2015, a stunning red cracker calf (see inset in photo above) was welcomed into the world by workers at the Florida Agricultural Museum. Located in Palm Coast, Florida, the Florida Agricultural Museum currently hosts a small herd of cracker cattle: one bull, two cows, and the

31 Jul
AgriGov: The water policy that wasn’t

What’s setting the tone for next year’s legislative session AT THE OUTSET of the 2015 Legislative Session, water seemed to be the issue at the forefront in the minds of policymakers. However, that was before bitter disagreement over the budget prompted the House to unexpectedly adjourn three days early, putting into motion a “stranger-than-fiction” domino

29 Jul
Florida roots: A farmer; a superhero — or both?

Christian Spinosa as the voice of Captain Citrus MANY YOUNG KIDS dream of growing up to be a farmer or a superhero, but not usually both. For Central Florida native Christian Spinosa, it’s a daily reality. Hailing from a long line of citrus and beef producers, Spinosa has recently had the pleasure of helping out

27 Jul
Annual citrus report 2015

More than just a symbol of hope, growers keep up the fight against citrus greening THE ROUNDUP of news on the most recent harvesting season is in keeping with the citrus forecast’s unsteady tempo of up-and-down, down-and-up — but with the steady “can-do” attitude of growers. Things can get better, industry leaders say — but

25 Jul
Helping to write the next chapter of Hillsborough County agriculture

Embarking on a study to analyze the economic impact of agribusiness in the area IN 1974, a Hillsborough County government report predicted the demise of local agriculture by the turn of the century. It couldn’t have been more wrong. Hillsborough agriculture actually grew in value from $40 million annually at the time of the report

16 Jul
Eight more Florida counties now eligible for blueberry crop insurance

BLUEBERRY GROWERS in eight more Florida counties are now eligible to purchase insurance through the federal government for the blueberry crop that will come to harvest in 2016. The announcement came July 8 in a memo from Brandon C. Willis, administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA).

23 Jun
Growers grapple with unique encounters amidst a good harvest

In the business realm of blueberries, experiences vary THIS WAS A PRETTY GOOD YEAR to be in the Florida blueberry business, industry insiders say, with fairly cooperative weather, a long season, and fair pricing. Dudley Calfee, a grower and president of the Florida Blueberry Growers Association, reports that the latest numbers show the state harvest

22 Jun
Recipe Spotlight: Berries — from the crop to the kitchen

IN THE GAME OF GROWING BERRIES in Central Florida, Jorge Salmeron is a switch hitter. The Plant City part-time farmer, full-time teacher, had 10 acres of blueberries in production. Now, because of a foray into blueberries and blackberries, he has devoted about three acres to a nursery that holds 100,000-plus in plant inventory to meet

22 Jun
The house that blueberries built

Florida blueberry pioneer is recognized for his contributions THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA’S Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences prides itself on growing blueberries all over the state. More than 95 percent of the state’s 5,000 acres of the fruit are planted in cultivars developed by UF/IFAS. Blueberries have also helped us with a crucial crop

20 Jun
The Florida equine industry and HB 239

State officials and experts laud new legislation FLORIDA HAS A reputation as a horse-loving state and is home of a “Horse Capital of the World” title contender; Florida House Bill 239 proves there is also a lot of “horse sense” in the state government when it comes to the Sunshine State’s equestrian pursuits. Sponsored by

17 Jun
Florida Roots: The story of Vic Story — Florida Farmer of the Year

RECENTLY, POLK COUNTY native farmer and exemplary part of the citrus industry, Victor B. “Vic” Story, Jr., was named the 2015 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Florida Farmer of the Year. The award has been granted for the last 25 years to the top innovators and businessmen in the agricultural industry; it honors farmers who are exemplary

16 Jun
Proposed cattle grazing in state parks

Ranchers and cattle industry experts weigh in on the how and why ALDO LEOPOLD — scientist, environmentalist and father of wildlife management — said, “Conservation will ultimately boil down to rewarding the private landowner who conserves the public interest.” An adaptation of that vision is the proposal by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jon

22 May
Harvest time: Hope Now provides alternative living through alternative crops

ANY FARMER worth his or her salt knows that if you want something to grow, you have to give it everything it needs. Essentials include a good foundation of soil, the warmth of sunlight, and clean water. It’s the same thought behind Hope Preserve and Farm, a farm and visitor center that is in the

20 May
Leaders must be a signature crop

How the Legacy Leadership program is helping ensure the future of Florida agriculture WE KNOW HOW to grow things in Florida — oranges, blueberries, coleus, you name it. Fortunately, we also know how to grow leaders in our agriculture and natural resources industries. Their vision will be essential in how successful we are in feeding

19 May
Where youth can meet their meat and more

Eighth Annual Youth Field Day promises engaging and educational range cattle demonstrations EVERY YEAR in June, the Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona, Florida, hosts its annual Youth Field Day event. This event provides students ages eight to 18 who are interested in agriculture, more specifically range cattle, with a unique hands-on opportunity

14 May
Little Hannah, get your saddle

When dedication rules out the limits of age and size in the rodeo WHEN THEN-FOUR-YEAR-OLD Hannah Quarles saw her cousin riding sheep in a rodeo, she had a surprising reaction: She wanted to do it too. Hannah has been participating in the Central Florida Rodeo Association’s (CFRA) monthly events ever since, shares Hannah’s mother, Nicky

11 May
A Florida citrus crown for the Miss America preliminaries

EXPENSIVE GOWNS, sparkly crowns, and hairspray galore … these are just a few things that come to mind when one thinks about the pageant world. While these are some physical representations of this year’s Miss Florida Citrus Pageant — hosted in Winter Haven this past March — one particular young lady brought home more than

26 Apr
Agriliving: Combining old traditions with new trends

Innovations in home building for life on the farm LIFE ON THE FARM or ranch is one that is rich in history and tradition, but that doesn’t mean that new trends and innovations don’t have their place. In fact, the trends in home building for those living the ag life are numerous and exciting.

20 Apr
The science of Southern living

Flavors of Florida showcases the Plant Innovation Center and the UF/IFAS plant breeding Program WE’RE CREATING Southern lifestyle in a lab. Weeks, months, even years of trial and error … Then, in a single night it all bursts forth in a night of only-in-Florida cuisine. How many dinner parties do you attend where the hosts

16 Apr
New home sweet home for your equine

Getting ready to move your horse to the new ranch or boarding barn DESPITE BEING known as great trekkers in the wild, many horses don’t travel all that well. If you are moving your horse to a new ranch or boarding barn, then it’s best to follow the Boy Scout motto and make your preparations

15 Apr
#AgLife in action: Students teaching students on Ag Literacy Day

STUDENTS FROM HAINES CITY High School’s Future Farmers of America (Haines City-FFA) program will be reading to students at Dundee Elementary Academy for Florida Agriculture Literacy Day on April 21. This year’s book is Drive Through Florida: Livestock and Poultry, which is specially designed for Florida Agriculture Literacy Day by Florida Agriculture in the Classroom

13 Apr
A solution to citrus greening with a little help from spinach

Scientists study genetically modified trees to potentially win the war on HLB RESEARCHERS have been trying for years to come up with a solution to the devastating disease that is killing citrus trees and destroying groves — HLB, or citrus greening. With more than 75 percent of Florida citrus trees infected with or dying because

13 Apr
Lending a hand to local schools

Rob Harper and Land South Group donate 70 head of zebu cattle for Polk County students to learn the ropes of showing steer EDUCATION IN AGRICULTURE isn’t just about book learning. It’s often more about getting your fingers in the soil, your hands on the tractor wheel, and your arms around livestock. It’s more about

30 Mar
New weather station helps teach kids agriscience

| Dundee Elementary Academy uses WeatherSTEM data to expand students’ horizons | DUNDEE ELEMENTARY ACADEMY students are making bridges out of marshmallows and testing them to see what design would support heavy truck traffic through Tampa. They are using straws to design tall and sturdy observation towers, with SeaWorld in mind. They are building —

23 Mar
Citrus Hall of Fame welcomes three new inductees

THE FLORIDA Citrus Hall of Fame honored three new inductees on March 6 at the 53rd Citrus Celebration Luncheon held at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. The honorees were Nicholas “Nick” Faryna, Sherwood “Buddy” Johnson, and John Updike. Faryna and Updike were inducted posthumously. They were chosen because “they made contributions that impacted the Florida

19 Mar
What’s new at Agri-Fest?

| Teaching kids about agriculture through hands-on training gets a new twist this year | BEING HELD this year on April 6-10 and April 13-17 in Bartow, one event hosts 6,000 fourth-graders for hands-on agriculture fun and learning. This year, Agri-Fest offers time-honored traditions and new insights, showing what agriculture in Polk County is all

16 Mar
Study results shed light on agriculture’s economic significance

| The Polk Agriculture Economic Impact Study reveals ag as an economic pillar | NEARLY HALF of Polk County’s land remained in farm use in 2012, although acreage declined nearly 17 percent the preceding decade. “The traditional industries of production agriculture and mining have been gradually declining over the last ten years,” according to a

21 Feb
High-tech alerts and the quest for a better berry

| Strawberry growers look to technology to help save money and increase production | Sixty-five-year-old Carl Grooms has been growing strawberries for more than four decades, but it’s not routine, and never business as usual. As his business card attests, he is “still learning.”

20 Feb
Showing steer for more than just show

| What participants learned at the Polk County Youth Fair’s Commercial Steer Show | EVERY YEAR at the Polk County Youth Fair, local youth, FFA members, and 4-H Club students alike have a unique, hands-on learning opportunity. Each youth begins a project in which they raise livestock or horticulture, and then publicly shows the “fruits

20 Feb
Citrus forecast projects slight decline; HLB funding announced

THE GOVERNMENT is intensifying the war on Huanglongbing, or HLB, as the disease tightens its grip on Florida’s citrus industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected Feb. 10 that Florida will harvest 103 million boxes of oranges this season, down two percent from last year, the lowest on record.

19 Feb
An expo for the equine lover

| Featured vendors and events at the 2015 Equine Innovations Expo | HORSE ENTHUSIASTS love the equine accessories and accoutrement that go along with the sport and hobby of riding almost as much as they love the horses themselves. With that in mind, Eques Solutions, Inc., an equine marketing and promotional company, is hosting the

18 Feb
AgriGov: Taking a look at the Cuban factor

| Recent UF/IFAS webinar discusses opportunities and challenges of agricultural trade with Cuba | THIS PAST DECEMBER, President Obama made a televised speech regarding Cuba that caused everyone to pay attention; those in Florida agriculture should take special note. On December 17, President Obama announced a move toward normalized relations between the U.S. and the

16 Feb
A Sweet Sensation™ for growers

| How Vance Whitaker invented a better berry | In Vance Whitaker’s office in Wimauma, a philodendron vine drops out of the ceiling, seemingly from nowhere. The vine is older than he is. You have to peek into the next office to find the potted plant that put forth the vine that snakes through the

30 Jan
Cultivation, NOT construction, at Bok Tower Gardens

| New partnership between attraction and UF/IFAS expands horticulture horizons for the public | A PARTNERSHIP between the historic, Lake Wales-based Bok Tower Gardens and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) aims to help make the gardens a more integral part of learning. “We don’t go to an elementary and

26 Jan
Meet Dr. Sandy Wilson of UF/IFAS

| New leadership for UF/IFAS Horticulture to strengthen the industry and research ties | UF/IFAS HAS 14 ACADEMIC departments and two schools, so I spend a lot of time finding the right people to lead them. Finding a new chair for the Department of Environmental Horticulture was easy, because I already employed an ideal candidate

24 Jan
Cattle Feature: Why Brangus?

| Advantages for selecting Brangus beef cattle for your next Youth Beef Cattle Show | WHETHER YOU’RE NEW to the Youth Beef Cattle Show scene or just thinking about raising your first beef cattle, it’s important to consider your options. One of the first things you’ll learn about if you’re plugged into 4-H is how

24 Jan
Technology: Solid ground under hoof

| EcoRaster provides mud solution for equine, cattle, and landscaping industries | IT’S NO SECRET that new technology can bring sweeping innovations, even to age-old industries like agriculture. One such product is making a big splash in the cattle, equine and horticulture/landscaping industries. Actually, the product — called EcoRaster — is aimed at eliminating any

24 Jan
A healthy reason to love Florida OJ 10 times more than before

| New study finds more OJ antioxidant benefits than scientists initially believed | GOOD NEWS for orange juice lovers! According to a recent study published in Food Chemistry, a new technique has been developed that can better determine the health value of different foods and drinks, including our delicious Florida orange juice. In the study,

30 Dec
Soldiers and saddles: Veterans ride for therapy

In the photos: Above left, a local veteran saddles up for his Thursday morning ride. Above right, Blackfoot is one of four horses used for veteran riders at TiAnViCa Riding Academy. | Academy’s veterans program offers more than just riding lessons | THERE’S NO DENYING that horses hold a special place in the lives of

30 Dec
Aid in the wake of greening

| Citrus Growers Offered Financial Incentive to Remove Diseased Trees | Joe L. Davis Jr. is a committed citrus grower who raises mainly Valencias for orange juice. His Avon Park-based citrus operation spans 2,500 acres in Polk, Highlands, Hardee, and DeSoto counties. When he found 80 acres no longer were profitable, he decided to clear

29 Dec
Harnessing the power of technology for better production and environmental responsibility

IN THE PHOTOS: (Left) Ty Strode, vice president, and Randy Strode, owner of Agri-Starts. (Middle) Greg Kennedy of the Department of Environmental Protection and Sutton Rucks of Milking R at the rainwater retention pond. (Right) Bryan Jones of Riverdale Potato Farm uses a smartphone to access information from moisture meters that promote efficiency and conservation

23 Dec
Kids learn agriscience through the study of STEM

| Dundee Elementary Academy helps students embrace agriculture with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math | WHAT WOULD YOU GET if you crossed a rabbit, a chicken, and a gaggle of kindergarteners? You would have a group of students so excited that they do not even realize that they are learning. At Dundee

23 Dec
Turning resets into assets for biofuel

| Jacksonville company recycling citrus wood | AT A TIME when dead citrus wood seems more like a nuisance than a commodity, a Jacksonville company has found a way to recycle diseased citrus trees and use the wood as biofuel. Its bio baler harvesting system sheers the trees at the ground level, leaving groves ready

18 Dec
@griTech: Unmanned aerial vehicle update!

EARLIER THIS YEAR, in the February 2014 edition, Central Florida Ag News published an article that focused on the emerging possibilities for UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), or drones, in agriculture. Now, ten months later, Dr. Reza Ehsani, associate professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC)

07 Dec
Waldman siblings master the art of whip cracking

One Family’s Story of Carrying on an Ag Tradition Florida’s roots are planted deep in agriculture, and many of the rigors of farm or ranch life get elevated to an art form with competitions and all the fancy trimmings. Just as barrel racing, bull riding, and calf roping in Rodeo sprang from the daily tasks

01 Dec
From beer to beef

Finding feed from fermentation If you’re a rancher and you haven’t already done so, visit your local microbrewery. That’s not shilling for brewers. It’s a business tip. The Swamp Head Brewery in Gainesville feeds dozens of UF/IFAS cattle every time its crew makes a batch of Stump Knocker Pale Ale. Our cattle drink it out

23 Nov
Local artists honor 100 years of agriculture in Lake Alfred

City Hall focuses on agricultural roots through an art show as part of its centennial celebrations The walls of Lake Alfred City Hall are lined with artwork. Not just any artwork, but art depicting the city’s history and ties with agriculture. It is a testimony of the area’s agricultural roots, as well as the community’s

17 Nov
Opening our eyes to the real Everglades

Mac Stone captures Florida’s wetland in an unforgettable photo collection For many, the Everglades have become synonymous with swamps, airboats, mosquitoes and gators. It’s become . . . shall we say, little more than a recreation destination.

10 Nov
Florida artist paints windows to the past in House Chambers

Larger-than-life art by Christopher Still Florida artist Christopher Still told his mother at four years old, “I’m going to be an artist.” Now his collection of Florida-themed murals hang in the House Chambers of the Florida House of Representatives in Tallahassee. His artwork was selected during a national search headed up by then Speaker of

06 Nov
2014 PCFB Ag Tour Close Up

Polk County Farm Bureau, in collaboration with UF/IFAS Extension, held its biennial Ag Tour. This year’s event allowed attendees to learn about Florida agriculture from four distinctly unique and cutting-edge ag operations. The tour’s four stops included Phillip Rucks Citrus Nursery in Frostproof; Roosevelt Farms in Lake Wales; Five Star Family Growers Farm in Auburndale;

27 Oct
The 2014-15 Citrus Forecast

Despite a likely smaller crop this year, growers keep hope alive Experts are expecting a smaller Florida citrus crop next season— despite a uniform bloom. “Without a [citrus] greening solution, we’re going to see continued reduction in the crop,” says Les Dunson, president of Winter Haven’s Dunson Harvesting. As a small relief to growers and

23 Oct
Ag instructor practices what he teaches

Polk County Farm Bureau Ag Teacher of the Year recognized for 31 years of service Fifty-three-year-old Pete Gordon grew up on a cattle ranch. So when it came time to choose a career, he didn’t want to wear a suit to work. “Teaching ag was a good fit for me,” he recalls.

20 Oct
Opening young eyes to the diversity of ag

The continued educational goals of Polk County Farm Bureau’s Ag Program of the Year In an era where the number of farms are diminishing, the Ag program at Kathleen High School is not only growing, but flourishing. Its teaching team is expanding to meet the demand for instruction in classes like Ag Foundations, Ag Communications,