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,

13 Oct
Top health concerns for endurance riding

Whether on the trail or on the ranch, a long ride deserves the right training and conditioning Whether the endurance needed is for races, competitive trail-riding, or a long day on the ranch, endurance horseback riding is a popular pastime in the United States. Despite the oversight of several committees and organizations like the American

05 Oct
Big time beverage name invests more in the future of Florida Citrus

Donating funds for research to help eradicate greening On August 19, 2014 the University of Florida announced Coca-Cola’s plans to donate a generous 1.5 million dollars for citrus research. Coca-Cola is the world’s largest beverage producer, and they have promised to distribute a 1.5 million dollar gift in increments of $500,000 over the next three years. The Citrus Research and Development Foundation

29 Sep
Small farms on a Mission to grow alternative

Growers experimenting with soil-less, protected cultures, and new crops A Winter Haven ministry is growing food for the poor using vertical plant towers. The hydroponic/aeroponic system produces vegetables and fruits faster, without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. “Instead of cultivating the soil, we cultivate the water,” says David Berry, executive pastor of The Mission.

20 Sep
Hot topics at the upcoming Horse Short Course and Trade Show

UF/IFAS Extension Agents offer a fountain of knowledge for equine lovers Mark your calendars horse lovers, because the UF/IFAS Extension Office of Osceola County is offering a Horse Short Course and Trade Show this November, 18 at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach. It will be of special benefit for those concerned with

15 Sep
Final Florida Cattle ID Rule kicks in

What ranchers need to know about the official individual identification process The Florida Cattle Identification Rule went live on September 4, which means all cattle operations need to understand the new requirements for cattle tagging. This rule came after years of discussion at over 60 public meetings between the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer

08 Sep
From 4-H to five rings

Polk County student shoots for the Olympics On the outside, it seems as though Ryan Waldman is an average 16-year-old boy from Haines City. However, he is more than just a typical high school student. Ryan is a champion. Member of the Bullseye 4-H Club in Winter Haven, Ryan recently represented Polk County in the

04 Sep
New limpograss cultivars

What cattle ranch operations need to know The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has released two new limpograss cultivars, both of which show superior traits over the current industry standard, according to UF Associate Professor and Forage Specialist Joao Vendramini.

01 Sep
Outdoor Traditions

What you can catch— by casting a line or holding a camera— on Florida’s waterways With 900 named lakes in Polk County, the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Gulf of Mexico on the west, Central Florida is a fisherman’s paradise. Some catch bass. Some catch speckled perch. And some… catch memories.

24 Aug
Before you hit the happy riding trail

What to consider in a horse for recreation Many people dream of owning a horse, envision riding around trails, cleaning and currying and connecting with a noble creature that has shared a special bond with mankind throughout history. There are some important considerations you should factor in if you are thinking of buying your first

20 Aug
Mapping the citrus genome

Understanding the citrus species’ past to unlock a more disease-tolerant future  Citrus was first domesticated in Southeast Asia, then spread to Europe and the Americas via trade routes, and has ancestral roots that can be traced back to over five million years ago. Interestingly, the orange you may be eating today is thought to have

17 Aug
Agritourism Update: Public enjoying life on the farm—from tours to weddings

In an era of increasing urbanization, farmers and ranchers are finding people still love the outdoors and the nostalgia of country living. As they look for creative ways to increase revenue, they are turning to agritourism, by hosting wedding receptions in their barns, letting the public pick fresh produce, and inviting groups to their farms

04 Aug
More than just farmers with benefits

Members talk shop on being a part of the ‘voice of agriculture’ Some people join an organization to receive the great benefits; others might sign-on because they hope to advance a worthy cause.  If for the former, they might weigh the cost of membership with how much money their active status will save them in

02 Aug
Students and stallions get an education

Champion breeds from 14th Annual Performance Horse Sale Horses are all-around good, but a great horse is akin to magic.  That magic could be found in spades at the recent 14th Annual UF Performance Horse Sale. The sale was a culmination of the educational efforts of the UF Equine Sciences Program. “The school has been

28 Jul
2014 Annual Citrus Report

With more arsenal against greening comes new plantings As Florida’s citrus growers battle greening, fourth generation citrus grower Kyle Story— along with his dad, Victor Story, Jr., and brother, Matt— has planted a new orange grove in southeastern Hardee County. Much like investors buying in a down market, the family decided to put their money

21 Jul
Family ranch receives Audubon’s environmental award

Audubon Florida recently named 4th-generation cattle business Adams Ranch the recipient of its 2014 Sustainable Rancher Award. The award is given annually to a ranch operation that demonstrates unparalleled concern and advocacy for the environment. Adams Ranch works hard to preserve the natural vegetation and wildlife on its 50,000 acres, which span through St. Lucie,

13 Jul
Rounding up youth at Range Cattle REC

Q&A with Andrea Dunlap on the 7th annual Youth Field Day Of all the attractions and events that fire the imagination, there are few and far between that seek to inspire a love for agriculture and cattle ranching in the leaders of tomorrow.  This year’s Youth Field Day and Expo, which was held on June

07 Jul
Finding a silver lining amidst the blue factors

Blueberry profits down after some of the crop misses the marketing window Florida’s blueberry production dropped this year after an unseasonably warm December followed by a cool and cloudy spring that delayed the crop. Although growers lost profits during the state’s lucrative spring marketing window, some benefited from u-pick, organics, and marketers who stuck with

29 Jun
New findings for a greening ‘trap plant’

Promising lab studies show how to stop psyllids in their tracks Citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), has been rapidly infecting citrus groves all around the world. Since the first detection of the disease in south Florida more than eight years ago, citrus greening is now a well-known threat, due to its particularly devastating

23 Jun
Will jump for food

Ridge Riders 4-H Group puts on horse shows to help feed local kids On May 17, Ridge Point Stables, located on Firetower Road near Lake Hatchineha, hosted the second Ridge Riders 4-H Charity Horse Show.  The proceeds of the horse show went to kidsPACK of Polk County. Last year, the leaders of the Ridge Riders

15 Jun
Protecting and conserving through best management practices

Why four million acres of Florida farm and ranch lands are already enrolled Agriculture has been in the spotlight for many years for environmental problems. It seems we always have to defend our way of life to prevent government intrusion and/or taxation. Most of this is greatly due to people that do not understand agriculture

09 Jun
Two sisters learn the ropes of ag

Bailey and Blair Buchanon carry on family traditions as Junior Cattlewomen In most households with teenage girls, the focus is typically on things like boys, clothes, and music.  In the Buchanon home, it’s a little different, as agriculture garners a lot of attention.  For Bailey, 16, and Blair, 14, living the Ag life is just

01 Jun
Queens of Ag

2014 American Honey Queen Hometown: Orlando, Florida Royal Duties: Promotes and raises awareness of the beekeeping industry through presentations and appearances at venues around the nation. GIRL BEHIND THE SASH Susannah Austin first got interested in bees when her brother Gordon did a 4-H project on them.  Her Orlando area family kept bees for at

26 May
Remembering a lover of groves

Honoring the life and work of Jan G. Valk The citrus industry recently lost a wonderful family man and lover of groves.  Jan G. Valk, 60, passed away on February 18, 2014 at his home in Winter Haven while surrounded by his loving family: his wife of 39 years, Julie Valk, his son Jan, and

18 May
Peaches of Florida

Industry update: Groves give way to orchards as growers look to spring markets. In some sections of Central Florida, orange groves are giving way to peach orchards. As farmers wrestle with citrus greening, peaches developed for Florida’s mild winter climate offer new opportunity. “I see them popping up in different places in my travels,” says

16 May
Harvest time

Eating blueberries and naming a new princess were among the activities at this year’s Florida Blueberry Festival People were seeing blue everywhere April 12 and 13 when the Third Annual Florida Blueberry Festival commenced again inside the picturesque setting of downtown Brooksville.

12 May
Horse Camps: A Short, Heavenly Slice of Summer

Upcoming Riding Programs at the Florida Agricultural Museum The calendar shows that June is almost here. While the weather is heating up and the hazy afternoon thunderstorms are kicking into gear, the date also means that school is about to be out for the summer, signaling that parents and kids need to choose a summer

07 May
Through the Lens of a Rancher’s Wife

Lynn Scarborough Talks About Her Love of the Landscape Lynn Scarborough was raised in Fort Lauderdale, with Atlantic beaches, shopping malls and restaurants. But she has discovered living in Central Florida offers perks of its own: The tranquility of a morning sunrise on the ranch, the majesty of standing palms, and wildlife up close.

04 May
Coyote-Calf Interactions in the Pasture

Q&A with Dr. Raoul Boughton on New Research Ranchers will tell you they’re seeing more coyotes than ever before.  It’s believed the adaptive canine’s population is increasing in Florida, much to the chagrin of ranchers.  Dr. Raoul Boughton, a UF/IFAS Rangeland Scientist at the Range Cattle Research and Education Center, is conducting studies into the

29 Apr
BMPs, Have You Enrolled?

Farmers and Ranchers’ Role in Protecting Florida’s Water Quality Agriculture has been in the spotlight for many years for environmental problems. It seems we always have to defend our way of life to prevent government intrusion and/or taxation. Most of this is greatly due to people that do not understand agriculture moving into this great

25 Apr
Food Legends at the FFA Beast Feast

A Celebration of Florida Fun and Food at the Annual Fundraiser From fried dill pickles, to sweet potato fries, to venison tacos, this year’s 11th Annual Beast Feast and Auction was quite the culinary success. Living up to its name, the Beast Feast had countless varieties of exotic foods and a great string band, to

21 Apr
Live. Love. Livestock.

Family Life for the Lasseters at Triple L Farms Elijah Lasseter was seven years old when he announced to his parents one evening, “I’m going to get a diesel when I turn 16.” Amused, his dad Ron told him he better find a job. Elijah paused, but only briefly. “If I buy a calf now

14 Apr
Riding Through Life on a Trusted Breed

Barthle Brothers Ranch and the American Quarter Horse Sometimes “good” is a way of life. Such is the case at Barthle Brothers Ranch in Dade City where you’ll find cattle, quail, and turkey hunting, some timber and a lot of good horses. American Quarter Horses, to be exact. The bread and butter of the ranching

05 Apr
Students Turned Teachers

The Spirit of Service in Two 4-H Volunteers Earlier this year, Polk County 4-H recognized two exemplary young volunteers in our community: Erica Curtis and Grace Colston. Both of these young students turned teachers were honored as recipients of the Prudential Spirit of Community award. Their honorable volunteer work and extraordinary display of leadership made

02 Apr
Expanding Young Riders’ Horsemanship Horizons

At the Polk County 4-H Open Horse Show Responsibility. Confidence. Devotion to excellence. Every parent, teacher, and mentor desires their young minds to acquire these qualities, which are essential to anyone’s success in life. Young riders who recently took part in the Polk County 4-H Open Horse Show, which concluded in early February, acquired these

29 Mar
Florida Ranching by the Numbers

Q&A with Industry Experts on the latest USDA Cattle Inventory Report The USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) released the Cattle Inventory Report on January 31; unable to release a mid-year report in 2013 due to government furloughs, the latest report confirmed the fact that the US’s—and Florida’s—Beef Cattle Herd is smaller than it has

24 Mar
Technology brings many uses for citrus peels

| Adding freshness and flavor to otherwise ordinary items | Your unwanted citrus peels can easily be put to good use in your garbage disposal, where they clean your blades and send a fresh fragrance throughout your kitchen. But technology has expanded the possibilities for what otherwise might be discarded. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register

22 Mar
An Action Plan for Environmental Stewardship

The What, How, and Why of BMAPs Acronyms, acronyms! We are always hearing acronyms from the different government entities. Well, here’s one that we’ll be hearing more and more: BMAP (basin management action plan). A BMAP, as described by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), is a “blueprint” for restoring impaired waters by reducing

20 Mar
Cultivating Character in Our AgriYouth

Why 4-H, FFA, and Other Programs Are More than Just Ag Projects Training tomorrow’s leaders is a big job. But working together, Agri-Fest, 4-H, and the National FFA Organization along with countless volunteers are doing their part to cultivate character in the next generation.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the

17 Mar
Opening Doors for Students

Citrus Growers Teach the Skills of Trade to Highlands’ Youth As Florida growers explore alternatives to citrus, industry leaders in Highlands County are continuing to teach the next generation how to grow trees. Through the Highlands County Youth Citrus Project, teens like Hanna Farr, a junior at Avon Park High School, are growing their own

09 Mar
Solar Pumps for Watering Cattle

Delivering the Key Nutrient with More Convenience and Less Cost Water – the Key Nutrient Water is the nutrient livestock need in the greatest amount, a fact that is often overlooked. Adequate, acceptable-quality water is critical to maintaining high production levels as well as preventing and treating stress in animals. Cows can drink up to

03 Mar
A House a Horse Can Call Home

Florida TRAC and other equine retirement homes give aging thoroughbreds a new lease on life. In some ways, horses are very similar to humans. They desire socialization, care for their young, and thrive on living life to the fullest every moment. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] Just

23 Feb
More than Just a Labor of Love

Growers Talk Worker Shortages, Weather Challenges and More Like other Florida fruit and vegetable growers, Gary Wishnatzki has struggled to find domestic workers to pick his crop. This year, he brought in his first guest workers to pick strawberries. “Labor is in control of how many berries that can be picked in a day,” he

14 Feb
What’s Spelled Out in the Farm Bill for Florida Citrus

Fight Against Greening Rages on with Continued Research Citrus lobbyists had been searching for four years for a legislative vehicle to secure federal funding to fight the dreaded citrus greening disease, otherwise known as Huanglongbing or HLB. In the nation’s Farm Bill, otherwise known as the Agricultural Act of 2014, they found it. The bill

07 Feb
An Environmental Steward in a Business World

Nominations are being currently accepted for the 2014 Environmental Stewardship Awards Program. Doing one’s part to combine business and saving the environment together is cause for celebration; that is just what the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association do as they accept nominations for their 2014 annual Environmental Stewardship Awards Program (ESAP). [emember_protected

29 Jan
What’s Blooming and What’s Not?

How Nurseries are Changing in 2014 to Keep Business Growing Potted roses used to be popular gifts for Valentine’s and Mother’s days, but now they’re disappearing from store shelves. This year, Sunshine Growers Inc. of Lakeland, which sells potted plants to garden shops and floral departments, didn’t receive one order for a potted rose. “A

23 Jan
Q&A: Horse Showmanship Classes at the Polk County Youth Fair

Horse Committee Chair Jessica Slaughter Shares What’s on Tap for this Year Since 1947, the Polk County Youth Fair has been educating local youths about agriculture. Through a series of annual events like the Market Hog Show and Sale, participating youth learn how to raise various types of livestock, and bring them to market. There’s

18 Jan
Nourishing the Roots of the Community

Growing Much More than Citrus as Florida’s Natural Growers Foundation Focuses on Local Charities The Spirit of Giving is alive and well this time of year, and many companies talk the talk about their corporate giving. However, one organization that really walks the walk—and has for years—is right in our own backyard. The Florida’s Natural

14 Jan
Running for Legacy

Participants met the challenge at the Run-A-Muck Mud Run to help raise funds for the new FFA headquarters. They may have maneuvered through dirt, they may have waded through water, they may have rolled around in mud; but for the First Annual Firetower Run-A-Muck 5K Run and Mud Run in Haines City, participants put their

07 Jan
The Birth of an Industry, Part II of Conclusion

Preserving the Future of Citrus through Environmental Stewardship (Featured Photo: Bok Tower (also known as the Singing Tower) is a National Historic Landmark that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. A Symbol of Florida, the Singing Tower rises 250 feet on the slope of Iron Mountain, overlooking some of the

30 Dec
Picking Up the Scent on Mosaic’s Good Will Toward Men

New Sheriff’s K9 to be Named Matrix The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is getting a new four-legged recruit: Matrix. The dog, probably a German Shepherd, is being purchased with $8,000 donated by The Mosaic Company, a phosphate mining company based in Plymouth, Minnesota. Suitably, the name is derived from a mining term for phosphate ore,

26 Dec
Walking in an AgriWonderland

Florida is full of agricultural wonders, so in this edition, we asked five different and unique ag operations how 2013 went for their business, and how they project next year is going to pan out. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] The Apiary The Tree Farm The Equestrian

19 Dec
A Farmer’s Hands at Work on Canvas

How Robert Harper Captures Natural Florida Seventy-two-year-old Robert Harper likes a challenge. In his lifetime he’s bailed hay, sold watermelons, raised beef cattle, and grown citrus. Formerly a Central Florida developer, the Lakeland Realtor is now growing peaches and painting. “It’s probably the most relaxing thing I do. I don’t get to do it as

12 Dec
4-H Poster Art Contest Winner

Morgan Turney’s Art and Future Ambissions Lake Region High School senior Morgan Turney loves to sketch, dance, sculpt, and take photographs. “I really like the expression of art through colors,” the 17-year-old Auburndale girl says.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”] Her love for art was apparent from her

08 Dec
The Birth of an Industry, Part I of Conclusion

Preserving the Future of Citrus through Environmental Stewardship The 21st century dawned on a citrus industry that was more determined than ever to preserve and sustain its cultural heritage, natural environment and ecosystems for future generations. Citrus growers continually contribute to this cause in numerous ways. 800,000 acres of Florida are used for the production

04 Dec
Capturing the Equine Spirit

Central Florida equine artist Mindy Z. Colton merges her love of horses and sculpture into an artistic blend of expression. When Mindy Z. Colton watches horses roam near her horse farm in Orlando, she doesn’t just see animals— she sees living artwork bursting through life. “I always thought horses were beautiful and had great spirits.

26 Nov
Painting Wildlife in Agriculture

Winter Haven Native Paul Schulz Shares his Labor of Love Paul Schulz is an artist whose work does more than just depict a scene; it reveals the history and influences of the man himself. Not just pretty pictures, Schulz’s artwork is a labor of love that tells any number of stories.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register

21 Nov
PCFB’s Ag Program of the Year

Lots of ‘Fishy’ Business at Crystal Lake Middle School The Polk County Farm Bureau awarded the Outstanding Agriculture Program of the Year to a creative group of educators at Crystal Lake Middle School. The key to the C.L.M.S. Agriculture Education program’s success was changing from an exclusively traditional rural Central Florida Ag model— citrus, cattle,

17 Nov
The Birth of an Industry, Part IV

The Rise of Nutrient Application Technology and the Market for Juice When the citrus industry first sprouted in the mid-1800s, there was limited understanding of citrus nutritional requirements. The nurserymen had a basic knowledge for the need of macronutrients like nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), for healthy grove development. These were mainly applied

05 Nov
PCFB’s Ag Teacher of the Year

Challenging Kids Through Ag Education In some ways Erica Morse has been preparing to be in agriculture education her whole life. Ag was a part of her family life and upbringing. Her dad worked for the Mosaic Company, and the family raised horses on their property. She also showed cattle growing up— just like she

01 Nov
Science that’s Propelling Ag into the Future

Technologies that Conserve Water, Monitor Weather, and Aid in the Fight against Citrus Greening Technology that has been used to help humans defeat disease is now being used to cripple the Asian psyllid, which is the pest spreading the dreaded citrus greening disease. In the greenhouse, Dr. Nabil Killiny, an assistant professor of Entomology for

28 Oct
Trail Riding Through History

A Unique Horse Riding Experience at the Florida Agricultural Museum It’s prime riding season, and horseback riders looking for a unique experience can ride the trails at the Florida Agricultural Museum near St. Augustine. There Barn Manager Cheryl Carl offers guided trail riding with a small team of horses, one of them a 12-year-old Florida

21 Oct
Major Themes from the Small Farms Conference

Growers Looking to Diversify with Alternative Crops Some small farmers are looking to hydroponics to meet increased demand in direct-to-consumer markets. At this summer’s Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference, hydroponics was a hot topic. “People can do it on a small scale and they don’t have to dig up their whole yard,” explains

13 Oct
Grazin’ a New Trail

The Grazing Management School will hold its Sixth Annual Event this October For two days in October, local cattle producers will be updated on the latest news in cattle grazing during the Sixth Annual Grazing Management School. The two-day session will take place at the Polk County Extension Service’s John Brenneman Auditorium in Bartow from

10 Oct
Ocean Farming Brought to Land

A New Eco-Friendly Venture Hopes to Make Big Impact on Florida’s Economy As the population grows, so also grows the need for food. In 2010, research showed that 1.5 billion pounds of shrimp was consumed, and the demand this deep sea delight continues to grow. Bringing ocean farming to land is one way to help

04 Oct
The New Crop on the Block

Growers Continue to Study Pomegranate as an Alternative Crop Growers are continuing to experiment with pomegranates as a potential alternative crop, with test patches from North Florida to Homestead. And a new $190,000 study by the University of Florida’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm offers the hope of more solid information by

01 Oct
Equine Papers, Please

A More Convenient Option for Supporting Documents During Intrastate and Interstate Travel For many Florida horse owners who travel from county to county and state to state, there is a more convenient way to keep your paper shuffling and wasted time to a minimum. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers two different