12/10/09

Water Quality and BMPs


In case you have been working too hard to sell your plants you may have missed all the commotion about our water quality. There are fertilizer ordinances being proposed and passed for homeowners to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus (N and P) that is leaching and running off their lawns and finding its way into our local waters. As part of this clean up of water quality, the EPA and the FL DEP are jostling to see just who will mandate and what levels are considered the limit for bad water quality in the state of Florida. This is to insure that our impaired waters are brought back to a clean, manageable level.


If you have not yet signed up to follow the BMP's (Best Management Practices) for container nurseries you really should. This gives the grower the right to be considered to be compliant with water quality standards with water leaving the farm. If you don't sign on to the BMP's you may be required in the future to prove that you are not causing adverse effects from your operation. The BMP's are a way for our industry to govern ourselves without an external governing agency doing that for us.


In the continuing saga of these regulations, here is the latest update from Ornamental Outlook:


The EPA is working on new regulations that would set surface water pollution standards for Florida. Capital costs to help abide by the proposed standards could prove devastating for Florida’s economy, especially for those in the agricultural sector. The deadline for setting the new standards is closing in


Industry organizations are going all out to stop the regulation that could go into effect as early as October 2010.
The Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association (FNGLA) and other agricultural groups have teamed up with business interests to form the Florida Water Quality Coalition. The coalition is taking proactive steps in helping stop this regulation including:
Consulting with legal counsel to challenge EPA's entire process in the courts
Working with specific interests to mount a highly prolific grassroots and public relations campaign
Collaborating with Florida's Congressional delegation to develop targeted legislative solutions to remedy this situation
The FNGLA and the coalition are asking all of its members, all of those in the Florida nursery and landscape industry, and even concerned citizens to contact their Members of Congress with the following message: EPA must reconsider and withdraw its decision requiring only Florida to adopt the numeric nutrient standards by the Jan. 14, 2010 deadline.
Go to
http://donttaxflorida.com/ to learn more about this important issue.


Growers should stay up to date on this issue and should get on board with the BMP's.


Here's what Dr. Tom Yeager of UF/IFAS has to say about the BMP's:



As provided for by statutory rule, BMPs for container nursery crops will provide a waiver of
state-imposed liability for cleaning up contaminated surface or ground water provided the
owner or nursery operator has done the following:

• Filed a notice of intent with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS)
• Implemented and carried out the appropriate BMPs
• Maintained the necessary records of using BMPs.
The waiver is provided on the premise that a nursery operator is using the best production
practices. Therefore, water leaving the nursery property is presumed to meet state water-quality
standards and will not impair the natural waters of the state.
Additional benefits of using BMPs include:
• Protection from duplicate regulations at the local level
• Eligibility for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and possibly other cost-share
funds for retrofitting or implementing water-conserving irrigation systems
• Improved production efficiency and possibly reduced production costs
• A demonstration that the nursery industry can exercise its ability to determine what are the
“best” cultural practices and voluntarily use these practices rather than be confronted with
mandatory regulations.


Here is a link to the BMP manual for container nurseries.




If you would like to see what money is available to you after you sign up with the BMP's please refer to my previous posts under the label GRANTS.


If you would like more information please call me at the Extension office 813-744-5519 ext.147. Or you can call Jemy Hinton at 813-478-6630.


12/3/09

Great Southern Tree Conference



Just wanted to remind you of the UF's Great Southern Tree Conference that takes place on 12/3 - 12/4 in Gainesville. Topics will be about marketing, fertilizer, weeds, tree quality, and all things trees. Here is a link to more information.


www.greatsoutherntreeconference.org

12/1/09

FNGLA Tampa Chapter's First Golf Tournament



The FNGLA Tampa Bay Chapter is having their first golf tournament at Fox Hollow golf course. Here is the flyer. Call Shawn at 813-744-5519 ext. 147 for more information and a flyer via email or fax.

Severe weather alert

This just crossed my desk. Warning about severe weather.

Emergency Management participated in a conference call with the NWS Tampa Bay and neighboring counties this morning to discuss possible severe weather. A low pressure area in the Gulf of Mexico will move into the state early Wednesday morning. By early Wednesday afternoon this system will bring rainfall and heavy winds into West Central Florida. The risk of hail and tornado's will increase on Wednesday into Thursday. The system is forecast to stall over Central and South Florida on Thursday. Storm totals of 2" to 4" of rain are forecast between Wednesday into Sunday. Heavier amounts of rain and damaging winds will be possible as thunderstorms move through the area.

Read more about the El Nino affect this winter on my prior postings.

11/13/09

Regulatory meeting

The Farm Bureau of Hillsborough County and IFAS will be hosting a meeting on the latest regulatory information affecting growers. Here is the information.


You are invited to attend a regulatory update meeting where you will have the unique opportunity to hear from and interact with three of the most knowledgeable authorities on water, natural resources and Agricultural Best Management Practices in the state:

Jerry Brooks
Director of Environmental Assessment and Restoration, FDEP,
David Moore
Executive Director, SWFWMD

and Dr. Brian Boman, UF/IFAS BMP Implementation Program


This meeting will be held on November 18, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. at the John Trinkle Bldg (HCC Campus, 1206 N. Park Rd. Plant City, FL
Don’t miss this chance to discuss the EPA numeric standards and their impact to agriculture.
Please RSVP to: Judi Whitson (813)685-9121

11/3/09

ASHS Nurserry Production Workshop ""Managing and Thriving in Tough Times, When Every Dime Counts!" "

If you didn't make the workshop at the ASHS Meeting it sounds like it was a good one.



Here is the report in the nursery working group report. This is what nursery owners and managers are doing to survive.



"Managing and Thriving in Tough Times, When Every Dime Counts!" was held on Sunday July 26, 2009 from 8:00 to 10:00. It was coordinated and moderated by Gladis Zinati. The workshop was well attended (>34 people), well-rounded, included five speakers who spoke from different perspectives (industry, research, and extension) and the feedback was excellent, lots of interaction between the speakers and audience both during and after the workshop. Dr. Charles Hall (Texas A&M University) discussed current economic trends and their impact on the industry. He reminded us that economics goes in cycles and we are currently in a downturn but have probably bottomed out. Supply and demand is working and things are beginning to improve. Housing market and the weather have large influence on the green industry. In a period of “hypercompetition,” successful firms have increased sales and profits by innovating and reducing costs, tweaking value propositions, and reserving enough capital to outlast the competition. Dr. Robin Brumfield (Rutgers University) spoke on strategies producers in the Northeast are using to reduce costs and increase profits. These included promoting local production to reduce the “carbon footprint” and providing better service. Dr. Jennifer Dennis (Purdue University) discussed how producers can manage cash flow during tough times: need a written business plan with cash flow analysis, monitoring of inventory, and understanding the needs of the customer. Teresa Olczyk (University of Florida) discussed how Florida producers are coping by avoiding monoculture production and diversifying plant materials and services. Kim Lovelace-Young (Forrest-Keeling Nursery, MO) discussed how they are increasing production efficiency using Lean Production methods, BMPs, and alternative fuels and marketing for the ecosystem and focusing on quality.

Competition is tough

Here is another short video on the nature of the digital changing world and competition in the labor market for the future.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL9Wu2kWwSY

Sobering information.

10/15/09

Save Water and Money Producing Plants

We had a great TBWG meeting at Riverview Flower Farm. Part of it is seeing the production methods of R.F.F. and the innovation that takes place there. The other part was our guest speaker Dr. Mike Dukes from UF. He spoke about Smart Water Application Technology(SWAT). Part of that is reducing water from a timed application of water and moving to a needs based application of water. Some of the technological advances to reducing this water is by using rain sensors, soil moisture sensors and evapotranspiration controllers. These devices will bypass an irrigation timer if the plants do not need the water (e.g. after a rain event). Dr. Dukes' had two years of research looking at homeowner lawns and these technologies have saved the homeowners from around 40-70% water savings.


One of our own local growers James Reed at Three Pines Tree Farm is using a soil moisture sensor for his irrigation and says even without the grant he received to put it in place, he will have the device paid for in about 14 months from savings on his pump usage. He will also be saving thousands of gallons of water from our aquifer and many pounds of fertilizer will not be wasted or leached into the ground. This technology is really helping James' operation tighten up costs and reduce waste thereby making him more competitive in the marketplace.


If you would like more information about SWAT Dr. Dukes has some information on his website http://www.irrigation.ifas.ufl.edu/

If you would like more information on saving water or getting a grant for your farm to utilize this technology send me an email or give me a call at the extension office.

10/12/09

Holloway Nursery for Sale

For those of you who may be looking to start a nursery or add a retail site here is a nursery for sale.

This is what Sue said is being offered:
Holloway Nursery is on five acres, there is a 1925-era house, two greenhouses up /two on the ground, there are three wells, everything is sprinkled, there are forty wire tables w/cinderblock rises. There is a new (2004?) six-stall horsebarn w/tackroom, a smaller, older three-stall barn (used as a cash register area), a covered shade area, a new (2007) 14' by 14' octagonal gazebo. There is a metal storage garage w/concrete floor and steel ceiling beams, new Kubota tractor, bushhog, new Husquevarna tractor. We paid $305,000 for the property and undeveloped land in 2006. All equipment and plants will be included in the asking price of $549,000.

Contact Sue Dangelmaier for more information 813-737-6043

10/5/09

Greenhouse and Nurserey Financial Program for Hard Economic Times

We all know that these economic times are the worst that many in the industry today have ever seen. And you can throw out all the old models as to what has worked in the past. The rules of the game have changed and we need to adapt in order to survive.

I have helped put together a free half day program with Lelan Parker (an extension agent in Orange County) to help bring you Financial Program for Hard Economic Times that will be on Oct. 14, 2009 at 8:00

As speakers we will have Mark Moritz from FDACS speaking about getting your money back from non-payers with the Ag Bond. Dave Palmer and myself will be speaking about using the internet for marketing. Dr. Alan Hodges will be speaking about cost anaylsis for nursery production, and Dr. Allen Wysocki will discuss marketing for your production. Both Drs. Hodges and Wysocki would be great to pick brains with in terms of economics in general or plant production or marketing specifically. Dave Palmer is also a web guru who is extremely knowledgeable about websites and optimization of your site for search engines.

It may be a good opportunity to just get some inspiration or new ideas to try to help your marketing efforts.

Here are the links for more information and the flyer: http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/CalendarPubs/EconomicTimes_GreenhNursy_OCT2009.pdf


And here is the link for online registration: http://091014growers.eventbrite.com/

9/18/09

Palm Workshop

Here is an interesting opportunity for those of you who grow lots of palms. You may want to check this out.

Palm Management in the Florida Landscape

Date: Tuesday, October 27 and Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Time: 7:45 AM – 5:00 PM each day

Location: University of Florida - IFAS
Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center
3205 College Avenue
Davie, FL 33314

Registration Fee: $300, checks only, payable to the “University of Florida”

Reservations/Payment By: October 15, 2009 (or until class fills up)

Enrollment Limit: 40 persons. Enrollment will be limited to 3 persons per company
initially. If space is still available after October 15, this enrollment cap will be lifted.

CEUs applied for: ISA, FNGLA and FDACS (pesticide license)

Topics
(classroom presentations and field trip to palm groves on site)
Ÿ Diagnosing Palm Problems Ÿ Palm Insects
Ÿ Palm Anatomy and Growth Ÿ Palm Diseases
Ÿ Physiological Disorders Ÿ Normal Abnormalities
Ÿ Nutrient Deficiencies Ÿ Fertilizer Formulations
Ÿ Sampling and Leaf Analysis Ÿ Fertilizer Application Techniques
Ÿ Transplant Issues Ÿ Pruning Palms

Instructors:
· Dr. Timothy Broschat, Palm Horticulturist, Nutrition and Fertilization
· Dr. Monica Elliott, Palm Pathologist, Fungal Diseases
· Dr. Robin Giblin-Davis, Palm Entomologist/Nematologist
· Dr. Nigel Harrison, Palm Pathologist, Phytoplasma Diseases

For more information and to reserve your spot for “Palm School”, contact:
Dr. Monica Elliott
e-mail: melliott@ufl.edu
phone: 954/577-6315

Position Wanted

Occasionally a client will ask this agent if they know of anyone that is hiring at the moment. Or, I get asked if I might know of anyone to fill a vacant position. I feel that both of these questions are valid to ask of your county agent. And I think that as a clearing house of information and helping this industry maintain a sustainable workforce, I am more than happy to help you if at all possible.

I have a person with horticultural skills looking for employment. This candidate is a Florida Certified Horticulture Professional and has gardening, growing, propagation, retail, landscaping and customer service skills. If you would like more information send me an email ststeed@ufl.edu and I can pass along the resume.

9/11/09

Matchmaker Meeting with Sen.Rhonda Storms

We had an interesting matchmaker style meeting with Sen. Rhonda Storms and the Tampa Bay Wholesale Growers. I was able to help bring together the growers within Sen. Storms district and she was able to get the various municipalities, governments, and Florida Department of Transportation districts and contractors for jobs that will be using Federal stimulus money on highway beautification projects around the state. It was her hope that we could get stimulus money into the hands of gowers and landscapers within her district. It was a great idea and many growers left with some novel thoughts on how to market to contractors and landscapers that will be trying to get some of these projects. There was a good turnout with about 120 people tossing around options and ideas and learning what projects are going to be showing up in the bidding process. Here are some pictures of the meeting.

Field Day for Landscapes at Balm

Dr. Geoff Denny sent me this announcement about a field day they are organizing atthe Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm. It is geared more towards caladium growers and landscapers but there will be good information that growers can use as well. Here is the summary of the field day.

Spend an exciting day (September 17th, 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM) at the University of Florida’s Gulf Coast Research & Education Center (GCREC) to learn the latest about:
· New and under-utilized, pest resistant plants for the landscape
· Caladiums in the urban landscape,
· Bio-control of insect pests
· Weed and disease management, and
· The relationship between soil management and pests in the landscape
After a stimulating morning of presentations by specialists at the GCREC, tour the facility and see, first-hand, the current research taking place.

Stick around at the end of the day for a fabulous give-away of rare and unusual plants – a must for any plant enthusiast!

The $15 registration fee covers educational materials, lunch and refreshments. FDACS and FNGLA CEUs (3 total) provided for professionals.

The GCREC is located at 14625 County Road 672, Wimauma, FL 33598. From I-75 north or south, take Exit 246 and merge onto Big Bend Road/CR 672 East towards US 301. Turn right onto US 301/CR 672 and travel approximately 1.4 miles. Turn left onto Balm Road/CR 672 and travel 7 miles. The center is located on the south side of Balm Road.

For more information about the day’s events, contact Ms. Christine Cooley, 813-634-0000 or
ccooley@ufl.edu

Online Registration:
http://fieldday091709.eventbrite.com/

8/26/09

Social Media Wave

You may not be up on the latest tech trend, but here is a neat video relating the implications of social media. Wether you fax, email, twitter, blog, facebook, use the internet, or a cell phone, the social media trend is here and you should at least be aware of it and how it may benefit your marketing efforts.



This was from Dr. Charlie Hall's Making Cents Blog.

8/20/09

FL Certified Hort. Professional Training

Here is an email I received from Matt Freedman at the Institute of Florida Studies at HCC. There is a course being offered for the FNGLA CHP Training if you are interested contact Matt.



"Hi! I coordinate non-credit environmental education courses for the Institute of Florida Studies at Hillsborough Community College in Plant City. We are offering the FNGLA Florida Certified Horticulture Professional Training at the HCC Plant City Campus in Fall 2009. The course begins on September 10, 2009 and ends on November 14, 2009. The class will meet on Thursdays (6-9 PM) and Saturdays (8:30-11:30 AM) in the PEPC Educational Partnership Center. The course number is HOS 8001, Section 97544. The course fee is $260, and does not include the manual or Certification Exam fee. The FCHP manual is $75 for FNGLA members and $105 for non-members, and is required by the first day of class.

If you could please pass this information along to your associates or anyone who might be interested, I would really appreciate it! Please visit
http://www.hccfl.edu/departments/ifs/fngla.aspx for registration information. For more information and questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thanks for your help.

Matt Freedman
Continuing Education Coordinator
Institute of Florida Studies
Hillsborough Community College
1206 North Park Rd.
Plant City, FL 33563
Phone: 813-757-2186
Fax: 813-757-2148
mfreedman3@hccfl.edu
www.hccfl.edu/departments/ifs.aspx (Institute Website)"

A Clean Sweep

Ever see those commercials with the catchy phrase "Want to get away?" That is the last thing you want experience when being inspected by WPS inspectors. Especially when they are asking you, "What is that unmarked chemical in the corner with the ripped bag?"

Why not just get rid of it. Operation Clean Sweep will help. Just fill out the form and schedule a pick up. It is that easy. Here is the link to find out more and the form to fill out to get on the pickup list. Any unwanted, mislabeled, out of date, or unneeded pesticides can be removed from your operation and the environment. That will be one less thing to worry about on the WPS inspection checklist.

http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/CalendarPubs/CleanSweep2009.pdf

8/14/09

Free Money for Water Conservation Projects

Act Fast! Sign up ends Monday 8/17/09. Here are the details.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jeffrey Woods, (352) 338-9515
USDA ANNOUNCES SIGNUP PERIOD FOR NEW FARM BILL PROGRAM Signup Period Closes August 17, 2009
GAINESVILLE, FL, August 11, 2009 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White recently announced nearly $58 million for water conservation and water quality improvements on agricultural working lands. The funding was made available for 63 projects in 21 states through the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP). Florida has two projects approved for $1,750,000. One project, with the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), is approved at $1 million dollars and the second project was funded at $750,000 with the Suwannee River Partnership (SRP). If you are a producer in portions of Charlotte, Desoto, Manatee, Hardee, Polk, Hillsborough, Sarasota, and Highlands counties you may be eligible for the SWFWMD project. You may apply for the Suwannee River Partnership project if you are in portions of Jefferson, Taylor, Lafayette, Suwannee, Columbia, Union, Bradford, Alachua, Gilchrist, Levy, Dixie, Madison and Hamilton counties. Interested agriculture producers can sign up for the respective project at their local NRCS field office beginning on August 11, 2009. The sign up will end on August 17, 2009. The funds awarded under the SWFWMD’s project will be used to fund AWEP contracts with EQIP eligible producers that result in increased irrigation system efficiency by upgrading or retrofitting existing systems; development of surface water/tailwater capture and reuse; and precision irrigation systems within the Southern Water Use Caution Areas. Under the SRP project, EQIP eligible producers will be provided financial and technical assistance to improve irrigation water management and irrigation systems to conserve water. The Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) promotes ground and surface water conservation and improves water quality by helping farmers and ranchers implement agricultural water enhancement activities. With the services and resources of other conservation partners, AWEP allows the Federal Government to leverage investment in natural resources conservation. AWEP was established by the 2008 Farm Bill and funding comes from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the program for USDA. NRCS implements AWEP by entering into EQIP contracts directly with agricultural producers. All AWEP recipients must meet EQIP requirements. The sign up ends on August 17, 2009 so interested agriculture producers are encouraged to sign up for the respective project at their local NRCS field office as soon as possible. For more information about AWEP projects visit www.fl.nrcs.usda.gov/programs or contact Jeffrey Woods, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, 352-338-9515.

8/12/09

El Nino is Back!

I was once having a discussion on climate change with a teacher. He told me, "The weather men can't tell me what is going to happen tomorrow, how do they know what is going to happen in the future with the climate." Now whether you believe this line of reasoning or not is up to you. I do know that climatologists are telling us at this time we should expect a weak to moderate El Nino event this fall that should last into next year. They also caution that it could strengthen in the coming months.

An El Nino southern oscillation (ENSO) is a change of the surface temperatures of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. It has been noted back in the 1500's off the coast of Peru. It usually occurs around Christmas time. The event name El Nino or The Boy gets its name from happening in conjunction with the birth of the Christ child at the same time. It is characterised by a warming of the surface waters of the Pacific Ocean around the equator. It causes atmospheric conditions such as pressures and winds to change and can produce dramatic weather phenomena around the world.

What does this mean for what is going to happen in your neck of the woods? It means that El Nino pulls the jet stream down further over the South East. This means that during El Nino years we should experience a wetter than normal fall, a really wet winter, around normal spring, and a dryer summer. Rainfall can exceed 30% more than normal for this event. This would be most noticeable during the months of Jan., Feb., and March with rainfall in the 3 to 5 inches per month in this area. The probability of exceeding 4 inches in Jan. is about 80%. The probability of exceeding 5 inches of rain is 78% and the probability of exceeding 6 inches of rain is over 50%(These estimates are based on the publications below). The temperature for El Nino for this area shows that we can expect to see an average temperature of 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for the fall and winter.

What does this mean for production? I would look at how is a wetter winter going to affect my crops and how would colder temperatures affect what I grow. If you are growing crops for a particular time window you may want to add a little more time to finish. If you are holding plants then you may want to make sure to scout for fungi and diseases more regularly. Also look at your pest complex and see if that will make any differences. Another area to look at is how your fertilizers are going to work during a cold, wet winter. Slow release fertilizers generally will release slower during the colder months and nitrogen and potassium will leach quicker with more rainfall if you are growing outdoors. So this would be a deficit to the grower as well as your plants already growing slower due to weather events. This should be taken into account if you are trying to hit a window of market timing.

Some more information on how El Nino affects agriculture and how this can affect the bottom line can be found at the following publications: "Economic Approach to Valuing Information with Application to Climate Information" http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FE801.

This publication gives you information on how to use climate data to make decisions for production purposes. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/AE267, "Climate Forecasts and Decision Making in Agriculture."

Here is a website that tracks the climate and makes predictions and forecasts: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/

I hope this helps with some of your predictions and decision this fall growing season. And if we don't see much of a change in the weather my teacher may be correct in his assumptions about weathermen and climatologists.
Reference: "El Nino, La Nina and Florida's Climate: Effects on Agriculture and Forestry." The Florida consortium. 1999.

8/10/09

You Are Reading My Post!

If you are reading this then you probably appreciate blogs and I appreciate the time you are spending on reading what I have to say. Blogs are a great way for the writer to get information to a wide audience on timely topics. It is also a way to communicate to a chosen audience. Businesses can use this approach to conveying information into a marketing method to reach customers. Blog readership has grown exponentially along with the use of the Internet. As of September 2008, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 130 million
blogs. Blog readership is estimated conservatively at 50% of those using the Internet.

If you are minimally creative and have something to say, starting a blog is extremely easy and you can be blogging within minutes of opening an account. This is is a great way to market to potential customers. A good marketing effort can help differentiate your company, or products or services from
others with similar offerings. This effort at differentiation is called branding. The creation of a
good or memorable brand can influence customers to prefer your offerings from other
companies. A good brand is a way to make your business unique or stand out from among
many competitors. A brand creates an identity that allows your customers to relate to or
identify with your product offerings. Brand awareness, developed through marketing, is an
effective tool to help generate new customers through word of mouth. One
useful marketing technique to create and reinforce brand awareness is the creation and use
of a blog.

I have published an article about blogs with Dave Palmer our District wide Tech integrator. Here is the link: http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/A-ZPublications/BusinessBlogs.pdf

Check it out if you would like to know more about marketing via a blog.

If you read blogs, thank a blogger!

8/6/09

Tree Producer Information - Part II

I mentioned previously that I had spent some time in Gainesville with Dr. Ed Gilman and discussed his latest research. He also mentioned that he was finishing up a guide to producing trees. This guide is a great manual for the novice or the professional in how to grow quality container trees for the marketplace. There are topics about good root structures and root defects. There are also chapters about pruning to get the best trunk and branch structures and grow a quality tree faster. There is no information about fertility, water or pest control. This is simply a growing guide for meeting grades and standards and both root and shoot structure. There is also a section of reference for further reading.

I've added the web link to my extension page under publications. Here is the link:

http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/A-ZPublications/BMP_11[1]_emailable.pdf

Tree Producer Information-Part I


There seems to be a lot of information lately coming out to help tree growers. I will publish a two part series of articles related to the latest releases.

Safety and Tree Farms

Thankfully, I have never seen a serious accident in the ten years I spent working in or around tree farms. I have seen some actions that could have turned out badly but usually these were corrected in time before matters got complicated. The worst was the puller who thought that he had pesticide injury. He was shaking, sweating, his heart was racing, and he felt a bit dizzy. After questioning we found that he had drank three Red Bulls for breakfast and was experiencing caffeine overdose. Fortunately, we knew that we were following the rules and we had a hard time believing that he had been exposed to pesticides. It helps to have policy and procedures in place to suppress accidents before they happen and eliminate potential problems with lawsuits if something were to happen.

There are two new publications from UF/IFAS Dr. Carol J. Lehtola, Charles M. Brown, and Hilary Hartzell from the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department that helps tree growers implement a safety plan for their operation. The two publications are "Manager's Toolkit for Creating a Safety Program for your Tree Nursery Operation” and “Safety Policies and Procedures for a Tree Nursery Operation” which is a PowerPoint presentation. These both can be found at the following website:

http://www.flagsafe.ufl.edu/csp/tree-nursery/index.html

The later is a nice presentation for using with new employees and safety meausures with different equipment.

8/5/09

PPE for WPS


Personal protective equipment is the name for the collective assembly of gadgets and clothing that applicators, handlers, and workers must wear if they come in to contact with pesticides or areas where pesticides are used. These articles must be worn to comply with the Worker Protection Standard. These are the spraysuits, gloves, masks, goggles, aprons, and other equipment that are used to protect workers from the effects of pesticides that they may contact in the course of their duties.


Since I was recently discussing my meeting with Mike Pikus of FDACS who conducts these inspections in my last article and he stated that this was a complaint he had with growers and their workers and their use of PPE, I thought it was very timely to see a new revision of an EDIS publication about PPE. It was revised about the same time as my article.


Dr. Fred Fishel's article "Personal Protective Equipment for Pesticide Handlers" describes the various types of PPE and how that relates to specific instructions on the pesticide labels. It gives a good breakdown of types of gloves, respirators, and materials that are used for PPE and how that matches up with label recommendations. It also has a bunch of pictures like the one above illustrating different examples of the PPE. It makes for a good training publication for new mangers or applicators and what they need to wear to be compliant. It also would be good as a refresher for those that are in charge of the PPE and WPS.


Here is the link to Fred Fishel's latest revision of Personal Protective Equipment for Handling Pesticides. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/PI061

7/31/09

Worker Protection Standard Inspections


No producer relishes the thought of having a Worker Protection Standard Inspection. But it's the law and all producers that apply pesticides and have employees must comply with that law and pass inspection. I recently talked with Mike Pikus from the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services about inspections and how nursery and greenhouses fared during those inspections. He said they fared well, but he cautioned that he wished most operators read pesticide labels more closely. In specific he was talking about the personal protective equipment (PPE) that mixers/loaders, applicators, and workers that enter the treated area during the restricted entry interval (REI) must wear to comply with the label and the law. He said this is where some operator's err. Especially people that enter an area that has been sprayed or workers pulling plants for shipping before the REI is over. The label states what PPE must be worn if someone needs to enter the treated area before the REI has elapsed. I asked if there was a common place that throughout his inspections he commonly found problems with. He said generally there was not a commonly missed area during inspections. I also suggested that maybe we post the checklist that he goes through in order to conduct an inspection. He agreed that it would be a good idea and said that if an operator that falls under the WPS and can answer the affirmative in all those questions there shouldn't be a problem during an inspection. If you would like to look at a link to the inspection checklist here is the site. You can find it here and the publications page of my extension website.

http://hillsborough.ifas.ufl.edu/documents/pdf/ornamental_production/A-Z_pubs/WPSInspectionChecklist.pdf
Also keep watching this page for future trainings and workshops on Train the Trainer and the WPS how to comply. Also, don't forget to check out the mini-FARMS grant program in a previous article on this site for help with getting money to build structures that protect the aquifer such as pesticide mix stations or storage facilities.

7/27/09

Extension - Rooted In Science

I spent the day in Gainesville, FL at the Environmental Horticulture Tree Unit with Dr. Ed Gilman. We spent most of the day discussing the latest and greatest research from his program with trees and their maintenance. He is looking at different methods of pruning trees and the effects of wind on those trees. He is also spending a great deal of time characterising roots and different production techniques to arrive a what should be considered a "good" root structure.
Bad roots!
Along with the many contributions he has made in this area, he will have some interesting findings in the next few years as his research advances. Experiments with trees and roots takes a while to conduct. Obviously roots like any other organism flourish where they are the happiest. Unfortunately in containers, that is in a circle around the sides and bottoms of pots; mostly on the shaded side. Some of the take home messages are that if you prune about an inch to two inches from around the sides and bottom of a produced container tree, this will eliminate most of the undesirable roots from the container. If this is done at every stage for stepping up trees and if they are planted at the right depth, root pruning should provide for a superior root structure. I learned that it is the absence of turf competition that has a greater affect on how a planted tree does, than the addition of mulch. I learned that trees settle from the breakdown of potting media and the weight of the tree itself on a planted site. I also learned that if a tree is planted too deep, the roots will first start growing up to get near the surface of the soil to where conditions are optimal.




Dr. Gilman will be conducting the Great Southern Tree Conference in Dec. 3 and 4 in Gainesville, so save the dates now. I think it will have a great deal of good information for those in the production side of things.
At left: Dr. Gilman, out-standing in his field.
His website for the findings of his research is http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/faculty/gilman.shtml with selected literature and some other link to hurricanes and trees, powerlines and trees and landscape plants.


Here is a link to more than you could ever want to know or read about trees and their maintenance. http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/masterindex.shtml#R

7/17/09

New Chemicals In the Marketplace

The Tampa Bay Wholesale growers had their first meeting of the new fiscal year in the air conditioned building here at the Extension office. It was nice to step out of my office and be at the meeting. We had a few chemical industry representatives speak about what is new out there and give us their contact information for future use. I also presented at this meeting. My topic was a web tour of this online magazine and some of the timely information available. I also gave a web tour for the UF/IFAS Pesticide Information Office that I mentioned in the previous article.

Here are the speakers contact information for future reference or if you wanted to follow up with anything that they presented.

Lee Bloomcamp-Syngenta, Territory Manager, 352-495-3405
Larry Jones-Southern Ag., Sales Representative, 941-722-3205
Edwin Scott-Helena Chemical, Territory Manager,941-232-0309
Audie Ham- ProSource, Account Manager, 813-917-9688
Mike Horowitz-Absorbent technologies, (Zeba), 772-233-2922
Frank Giglia-Signature Supply, 863-665-3792

7/10/09

Small Farms Alternative Enterprises Conference


Sustaining Small Farms; Strengthening Florida’s Communities”
Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee, Florida
August 1 & 2, 2009

If you are looking for some alternatives to your vacant land or are interested in diversifying your operation here is a great way to get the gears turning in your mind. Whether you are a small or large operation, the Small Farms Alternative Enterprises Conference is designed to promote different ideas for agricultural producers and a great networking opportunity. At the conference there will be a mini trade show with over 70 vendors with whom you may speak with and pick their brains as well. This conference is very timely, in a period where finding niche products and increasing the value of your operation is important in order to become economically sustainable.



Workshop Topics:
· Livestock: Grass-fed Beef, Pastured Poultry Production, Health Management, Honey Bees
· Alternative Energy: Farm Solar Energy Applications & Biofuels
· Organic and Sustainable Production: Pest Management, Inputs, Farm Bill Opportunities
· Horticulture: Blueberry, Strawberry, Stone Fruit, Producing High Value Vegetables & Herbs, Hydroponics
· Business/Marketing: Owning your Own Business, Cooperatives, Buying from You
· Policy/Regulations: Food Systems Policy, Changing Regulations: What you need to know

Including:
· National Keynote Speaker - John Ikerd
· Featured Speaker - Charles Bronson
· Air Conditioned Livestock Arena
· Network with other Small Farmers
· Local Foods Featured
For more information visit:
http://smallfarms.ifas.ufl.edu/ or call your local County Extension office.

7/9/09

The IFAS Pesticide Information Office





IFAS has a great resource for growers who might need information pertaining to pesticide use and safety. The UF/IFAS Pesticide Information Office's website is a great resource to bookmark for use some day in the future. There are links on their site to topics such as pesticide laws, fact sheets, and their newsletter "Chemically Speaking." They also have links to sites where you can download MSDS sheets and chemical labels that you need for the Worker Protection Standards. If you are wondering what else you need to pass an inspection with the Worker Protection Stardard, they have the answers in a one-stop-shop. You can scroll through topic by topic to see if you meet all the requirements necessary. Also if you need CEU's in a hurry for you licence, you can download them from the UF/IFAS site and get online credit with their modules. By far, the most useful information they have are the links to the EDIS (Electronic Data Information Service) fact sheets and publications. There is a wealth of information on here and it would be well worth your time just to spend a few minutes checking it out to see what they have available. Here is the link: http://pested.ifas.ufl.edu/.

6/18/09

What the Heck is a Feed?

This kind of feed is not what you would give to your livestock. It is a way to get blog information up to date and in a timely manner.

With every technological leap there is a learning curve associated with it. Usually it requires new skills and some time to understand it. And at first it doesn't make your life any more efficient...just another hassle to deal with. The real question to ask yourself is, will this add value to my everyday life?
I hope that this Online Magazine does add value to your operation in identifying information you may or may not know about. But checking this site all the time could be a hassle. "How do I know when something useful is going to show up?", you may ask me. Well here is a way for this technological hurdle to be less painful.

Here is a great way to deal with blogs such as this and find updates when a new post is published. This link is a quick video and a great teaching tool about RSS feeds. It explains in under 3.5 minutes how feeds work and how they can make your life easier and more efficient. I found it well worth the time to watch and it was entertaining as well as informative.

http://www.videosift.com/video/What-is-this-RSS-Thing-and-How-Do-I-Use-It

Enjoy!

6/16/09

How do I ship plants to that state?


Ever wonder what regulations are required to ship your product to another state. Are there any quarantined items? Are there any inspections needed? Do they allow my products into that state? Here is a great resource that may help to answer that question. This is a link to the National Plan Board--http://www.nationalplantboard.org/laws/index.html


This website has information that you will need to have your plants shipped into another state. The NPB site reads, "Each State summary lists the relevant plant health agency and contact information; definition of nursery stock; general shipping requirements; and quarantines or other specific certification requirements that apply for shipment into that state."


Remember that this is not an all inclusive list and some extra information may be obtained by contacting your local plant inspectors. Here is a link to find your local state plant inspectors--http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/plantinsp/pi_inspectordirectory/pi_insp_map.html


There may be federal regulations that may need to be met in order to move your plants across state lines so it would be a good idea to check with your local office to find out all relevant information.

6/15/09

Hurricane Disaster Preparation


If a hurricane was barreling up the bay or across the state with devastating winds and rains, would you be able to say to yourself, "My business and family are as prepared as I could possibly be for this event."? Obviously planning is an extremely important necessity before the storm approaches. It is always amazing to me that we know when a hurricane is approaching and if it is severe enough we know it will be causing millions and millions of dollars in damage when it hits land. Yet many people take this fact extremely lightly.

I will share some of the small tips I learned when preparing for storms:
-Always have spare greenhouse plastic on hand and order it in advance of a storm season.
-Have everything backed up on computers. Customer lists, inventory, payables, receivables, and take that information with you to a secure place.
-Have employee contact information up to date.
-Make sure everyone has a plan, a job, and know who is responsible for what.
-Irrigate before a storm to help hold pots or trays to the ground.
-Make sure generators and back up electrical parts are ready to go.
-Cut or remove the plastic from greenhouses if high winds will be present.
-There is never enough time to prepare the way you would like to in a disaster. Because of the unpredictable nature of a storm, we always wait until the last minute to start getting ready.

If you have a great tip you have learned please share it with the rest of us.

Here are some important links for disaster preparation from UF/IFAS.

The farmer and rancher hurricane and preparedness page-- http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/hot_topics/agriculture/hurricane_prep_ag.html
The hurricane page --http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_hurricanes
The disaster and preparedness page --http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_disaster_preparedness_and_recovery

There are many links to follow on those two pages and they are a great reference source. If you have any important ideas about this topic please post a response and share with the rest of your fellow nursery community.

6/11/09

Money for Producers Part IV cont.

There were about fifty people that showed up for the Value Added Producers Grant workshop we had at the extension office. Stephen Gran from the Agricultural Economic Development office spoke about what value added products are. I analysed about seven years of previous winners and pointed out what kinds of topics they covered. I also discussed the point scheme for the grant and what the maximum points are for the various judging criteria. We also had Joe Mueller from the USDA FL state office come and talk about the nuts and bolts of the grant so that you could tell if what you want to do is covered and if you meet the criteria to apply for the grant.

If you missed the program, we have the presentations on the web that you can click through at your pace. We don't have the slides narrated...that is one of the benefits for being at the live program. If however, you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Here is the link to the presentations. http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/AgPresentations2009.html

6/5/09

Money for Producers Part IV

Are you an ag producer with a new marketing idea? Are you a farmer with a product and know that with a few tweaks to what you produce you could gain a bunch more customers and profit? Are you seeing ways that your product could fill a niche by changing the delivery? Are you an ag operator who looks at that pile of waste but sees energy written all over it? Well, Uncle Sam says "I believe in you, give it a shot."

The USDA rural business development is encouraging you to put together a proposal and send it off to have your idea tested and reviewed. If the USDA likes what you put together it will match your funds and help you get your idea out of your head and into the real world.

They are offering two types of grants under the Value Added Producer Grant. This is a cost sharing grant that will award up to $100,000 in a planning grant or up to $300,000 in working capital grant money to get you on your way.

The grant is focusing on small to medium family farms. They want to see ag. commodities turned into value added products or renewable energy projects. They are hoping that producers capture or retain more of the inherent value of the products that they produce.

For more information on this grant the official website is www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vadg.htm


We will have a special workshop on the Value Added Producer Grant for you to learn more about it or ask any questions you might have.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009
10:00 am – Noon
Hillsborough County Cooperative Extension Service
Extension Auditorium
5339 County Road 579, Seffner, FL 33584

6/2/09

The Health of Ag Farmers and Families

Have you ever wondered if farmers are more apt to get chronic illnesses from applying pesticides? Well here is a study that looks at pesticide applicators versus the non farm population. Dr. Fred Fishel has summarized the findings of the Ag Health Study which has looked at this question for some years.

The study is being conducted in Iowa and N. Carolina and with collaboration between the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The study has looked at 89,000 participants to investigate the effects of environmental, occupational, dietary, and genetic factors on the health of the agricultural population.


Some of the findings are that farm families had more pesticide residue within the home than non-farm families. This suggests that farmers or their families are bringing pesticides into the homes via contact with pesticides or material that has contacted the pesticides.


Another study connected diabetes to those who used seven pesticides: aldrin, chlordane, heptachlor, dichlorvos, trichlorfon, alachlor, and cyanazine. The study also reaffirms the link between obesity and diabetes.


Although some of the findings are not good, it was found that farmers are generally healthier than their non-farming counterparts and farmers have a lower risk of colrectal cancer.

I believe that as farmers we should try to find ways to better protect the health of our selves, families, and communities. Use this information to minimize contact with pesticides, follow the label for proper pesticide use, use BMPs, follow restricted entry intervals, and protective equipment. And just food for thought...you might want to kick off your shoes before entering into your house. This simple step might prevent pesticides associated with soil from entering into your home. For more information on this topic, here is the link to the IFAS EDIS summary is http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/PI/PI21600.pdf and the link to the agricultural health study is http://aghealth.nci.nih.gov/.

Money for Producers Part III

If you are trying to become a more sustainable operation it seems like there are a lot of funding opportunities for you. Here is one more. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program or (EQUIP). This is funded through the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. This program is a matching funds program that helps producers cost share to protect the natural resources located within the farm. Projects like grassed waterways, irrigation retrofits, tailwater ponds, water conveyance or energy conservation are some of the things they can help you with. This program will also work with the SWFWMD FARMS program to cover some of the engineering or earth moving that the FARMS grant doesn't cover. The EQUIP program will cover projects up to $300,000 to producers that have produced $1000 of ag products in the last 2 of 5 years. To get more information on this program contact myself or Juan Vega with the NRCS 813-759-6450 ext.2. you can also visit the EQUIP website http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/PROGRAMS/EQIP/

Money for Producers Part II

Another funding source for doing smaller projects to protect our water resources is the mini-FARMS program which gets its approval from the SWFWMD. This program matches nursery owners' funds to save water, reduce fertilizer runoff, store chemicals properly and mainly protect the ground water. The grants are up to $8000.00 and will cover material costs but not labor. Nurserymen will be reimbursed up to 85% of the costs. This is available to anyone in the SWFWM District and have under 100 irrigated acres. You must sign a notice of intent to implement the BMP practices. The contact person is Jessica McCoy and her number is 800-836-0797. You can also call me and I will help you identify possible projects and help with the grant proposal. I know a number of nurseries that have been awarded grants to help build soil pads, potting barns, solar mist clocks, weather stations, variable speed pumps, EC meters, pH meters, and chemical storage sheds. More information can be found at the mini-FARMS website http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/agriculture/farms/files/mini-FARMS_brochure.pdf

5/19/09

Water: Critical Issue

Once again water or the lack thereof is center focus. The city of Tampa is having a meeting on 5/20/09 to discuss the ban on watering. The meeting will take place at 9:00 am. This would be a good opportunity for local nurseries to show up and get involved in the discussion. Here is your chance to talk to local officials and get your view points across. Even if your message is not heeded, at least your ideas and thoughts are getting some exposure. Do your part. Don't let other do the talking and rule making for you.

5/18/09

Money for Producers Part 1

Despite the gloomy economic environment that pervades the nursery business currently, there are agencies that are still giving out money. One of those agencies is the Southwest Florida Water Management District. They have a program to help producers put in practices that will help them meet BMPs (Best Management Practices). If you have an idea for a water conservation project you would like to implement and you have some extra cash to spare, you might want to check out this program. This programs will help producers protect groundwater sources, reduce water withdrawals, and conserve natural resources. The program that SWFWMD is offering is the FARMS program (Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management Systems). This is a cost share program that reimburses projects that are approved by SWFWMD. Reimbursement rates are generally 50 percent for water quantity reduction or water quality improvement BMPs and 75 percent for projects that incorporate both water quality and quantity benefits. According to the FARMS program, the projects must provide one or more of the following resource benefits: water quality improvement, reduction of the Floridan aquifer withdrawals, and/or conservation, restoration or augmentation of the area's water resources and ecology. The producer's projects are subject to approval and a farm visit by a FDACS representative. Projects will also have a contract life that must be monitored for effectiveness. The FARMS program will not pay for certain components of projects such as labor or excavation costs but will cover equipment, pumps, pipes, filters and other costs. Further information about this program can be obtained from the SWFWMD website www.watermatters.org/farms. Here's your opportunity to take advantage of a program that might benefit you in the future if water regulations become tighter.

5/12/09

Floriculture Field Day

The FNGLA Floriculture Field Day will take place at Gainesville's Best Western Hotel on May 14, 2009. The Field Day is will consist of nationally known speakers who will discuss the latest and greatest in the herbaceous plant world. Some of the topics will include "Tough Plants for Tough Times," "The New plant Showcase," and "Marketing New Plants and Concepts to Your Customers" among other interesting seminars.

This is a good place to generate ideas, hone your marketing concepts, network with others, and increase your overall knowledge on new varieties.

The website is : http://www.fngla.org/flori-seminar/events.asp

For further information regarding this annual seminar, contact Julie Markowitz at the FNGLA office, 800.375.3642.



http://www.fngla.org/flori-seminar/events.asp

4/30/09

Swine Flu

I wanted to post some information for all production facilities to be aware of. Considering that we have a large population of employees that frequents Mexico, it might be of help in identifying possible symptoms and taking action in controlling the spread of Swine Flu.



There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy. They include:
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze preferable into your sleeve.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective [supervise small children with sanitizer use].
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people with flu symptoms.
  • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people or touching contaminated objects.
  • If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them and spreading the illness.
  • The U.S. State Department is urging Americans to avoid "non-essential" travel to Mexico.

I am posting two public service announcements from the Missouri University Extension. One is in English and one is in Spanish. Please take precautions for you, your employees, and your operation's health.


English - http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/A-ZPublications/Swine%20Flu%20English.PDF

Spanish - http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/A-ZPublications/Swine%20Flu%20Spanish.PDF


The CDC web site for swine flu is http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu//t_blank.

New Marketing Opportunities

Here is a new marketing opportunity for those interested in shipping plants overseas. SUSTA will conduct a training seminar to help those who would like to expand their markets and increase their sales. This might be a great opportunity to expand your customer base in a tight market. It might be a great opportunity to learn how to make contacts in other locations to hit the ground running when the global economy picks up. Besides, other places overseas may still need plants when the domestic demand is down.

Representatives from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Southern U.S. Trade Association will hold a meeting on May 19, 2009 at 2:00pm to discuss SUSTA programs available to assist agribusinesses in their export endeavors. The meeting will be held in the World Trade Center Miami conference room. The WTC is located at 1007 N. America Way, Suite 500. Topics will include the Market Access Program Branded and Generic initiatives.

For more information or to register, please contact Melissa Hunt at huntm@doacs.state.fl.us or 407-302-1056.

4/27/09

Horticulture BMP's for Water Conservation and Treatment

Do not forget that this Wednesday is the day for Horticulture BMP's for Water Conservation and Treatment.

Here is a list of topics:
• Using recaptured water, surface ponds, and reclaimed water sources
• Managing diseases, algae, and salt problems in irrigation water
• Water treatment, plant pathology, and irrigation from industry and university experts from Florida and throughout the U.S.
• Funding opportunities to invest in water conservation
• Specialized topics for nursery/greenhouse/foliage or strawberry/vegetable growers

The overall format is an optional nursery tour of Riverview Flower Farms from 10 to 11.30 a.m., and lunch, tradeshow and talks at the Gulf Coast REC from noon to 3.45 p.m.

More information can be found at my web site: www.tiny.cc/envirohortprod

Hope to see you there.

4/24/09

Adapt and Overcome

There is some interest as of late in the nursery industry to try new or different crops to help out with slumping sales. Some have been talking about blueberry or stone fruits as a possible new crop. The sales of edible nursery items such as citrus, blueberries, vegetable transplants have been doing well with local retailers and have been increasing. The University of Florida/IFAS has had a strong breeding program to help with Florida regionalized, low-chill stone fruits and blueberries. The breeding program works directly with the Florida Foundation Seed Producers to license growers to produce the patented plants. They also look for growers to work with them to produce plants and make them available to the general public. Here is a link to the FFSP: http://ffsp.net/. There are other plants that UF will license such as lisianthus, coleus, caladiums and grapes.

The blueberry cultivars are highbush varieties and they are named: Star, Emerald, Millennia, Jewel, Southern Belle, Blue Crisp, Sebring, Windsor, Sapphire, Santa Fe, Springhigh, Springwide, Abundance, Savory, Floridarose, Primadonna, Snowchaser, Sweetcrisp.

They can be found on the web brochure: http://ffsp.net/resources/$2706Blueberry.pdf

There are nine peaches: UFSun, UFBeauty, UFBlaze, UFSharp, UFO, Gulfking, Gulfcrest, Gulfprince GulfCrimson;

three plums: Gulfbeauty, Gulfblaze, Gulfrose;

three nectarines: Sunmist, Sunbest, UFQueen;

and one apple: 'TropicSweet' (Fla. 90-3)

The brochure for the stone fruits is: http://ffsp.net/resources/UFStonefruit060908.pdf.

If you would like more information about varieties or how to get licensed call me at IFAS extension (813) 744-5519 ext. 147, or FFSP, John Beuttenmuller (352) 392-9446.

4/17/09

Mite Control

Have you got problems with mites? Don't feel too bad. You are not alone. They are one of the most difficult pest problems to control in the greenhouse and nursery. They are extremely small, they reproduce within weeks, and hide under the leaves and in buds. Careful scouting is important in order to catch pest population before they get out of control. When scouting, mites can be seen by knocking leaves onto a surface of a white piece of paper on which you can see the mites moving. You can also detect mites with a hand lens and by the characteristic damage associate with their plant host. If you do have problems with mites, or want more information about them check out this EDIS publication from IFAS about mites and the means to control them. "Selected miticides for use on ornamental plants. " The article is written by Lance Osborne and Robert Stamps from the University of Florida. It details their biology, types, and control (chemical and beneficial). I hope this helps you in your efforts against mites. Here is the link to the publication:
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/EP383

4/16/09

Help Wanted!

The International Plant Propagators Society is looking for a Secretary/Treasurer. Ivan Martinez from Pine Lake Nursery is looking for a nursery manager. Here are the facts.

Job Announcement-Secretary-Treasurer of the International Plant Propagators’ Society Southern Region of North America

The International Plant Propagators’ Society Southern Region of North America is seeking a Secretary/Treasurer. The Secretary-Treasurer shall be appointed annually by and serve at the discretion of the Executive Committee and shall be responsible directly to the Executive Committee for all operations of the Region. The Secretary-Treasurer shall be responsible for: keeping all records of the region; collecting membership dues and other accounts; managing the financial and business affairs of the Region, with the aid of, and in consent with, the President; updating the membership and other interested parties about the ongoing activities of the region; and administering all programs and service functions of the Region in accordance with policy established by the Executive Committee. The successful candidate must have the following qualifications: outstanding communication skills; computer skills including database and web-related applications; organizational skills; management experience; financial and budgetary acumen; and be a bondable custodian of all organizational funds; and his/her accounts shall be audited annually. In addition to the required qualifications, we would prefer that the candidate have: membership or membership potential in IPPS-SRNA; experience managing small organizations; and horticultural knowledge or a willingness to develop a functional understanding of such. However, lack of preferred qualifications will exclude no candidate from consideration. This position will be treated as an independent contractor of IPPS-SRNA and not as an employee of the IPPS-SRNA. Annual stipend for the Secretary-Treasurer position shall be determined by the Executive Committee. Applications should include an up-to-date resume and a letter outlining the candidate’s qualifications for the position. Applications will be given full consideration if received by 5 p.m. EST on April 30, 2009. Applications should be emailed to Patricia R. Knight, tricia@ra.msstate.edu.

Ivan Martinez of Pine Lake Nursery is looking for someone with experience running a nursery and propagation knowledge. This is not a learn on the job position. Please call him for more details. He can be reached at (813) 948-6209.

4/15/09

Agriculture Pesticide Collection Day

Thanks to the Hills. Co. Environmental Protection Commission Pollution Recovery Fund, if your operation is in Hillsborough county, your old and discarded pesticides or farm chemicals can be dropped off no questions asked, on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm EQ Florida. The address is 7202 E. 8th Ave., Tampa, FL. Please protect yourself and the environment from any liability in regards to old chemicals on your farm. If you have any questions call me or Stephen Gran, Manager of Ag. Industry Development for Hills. Co. 813-272-5506

4/14/09

South East Pest Management Conference

There will be a South East Pest Management Conference in Gainesville. There are a few things that growers might like to find out about. It starts on May 4 and will end on May 6 2009. The first two days are residential pests like ants, mosquitos, termites, etc. But the last day growers may glean some usefull information. Here is the rundown of the last day.

Wednesday, May 6: Landscape Maintenance (Turf & Ornamentals) Physics Bldg. Rm. 10018 am – 8:30 am Registration and Exhibitor Set-up8:30 am – 9:30 am Recruiting Class News: Newly Introduced Landscape Pests - Carrie Harmon, National Plant Diagnostic Network, Gainesville, Fla.9:30 am – 9:50 am
Break9:50 am – 10:40 am
Protect Your Turf: Landscape Nematode Management - Billy Crow, UF/IFAS10:40 am – 10:55 am
Break10:55 am – 11:45 am Best Control Strategies (BCS) for Newly Introduced Landscape Pests - Monica Elliot, UF/IFAS11:45 am – 1:15 pm
Lunch1:15 pm – 2:05 pm Cleaning Up the Playing Field: Products for Landscape Weed Management - Bob Stamps, UF/IFAS2:05 pm – 2:55 pm
Training from the Ground Up: Managing Tree and Shrub Root Health - Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS2:55 pm – 3:10 pm
Break3:10 pm – 4:50 pm
Best Control Strategies (BCS): Preventing the Movement of Fertilizer and Pesticides into Groundwater - Laurie Trenholm, UF/IFAS Management of Pesticide Poisoning - Phil Koehler and Roberto Pereira, UF/IFAS

If you are interested the entire brochure is found on this link:
http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/sepmc/

4/13/09

Drought Conditions for Growers

Hugh Gramiling, who sits on the SWFWMD Board recently let me know that despite what is going on with the residential customers for some areas, growers are still at Phase II water restrictions. This is defined below:
Phase II (severe) water shortage – Multiple regional drought indicators have moderately abnormal values, or a local drought indicator for a specific public supply has a severely abnormal value, such that conditions warrant prudent actions to further assure that only reasonable water uses are occurring in the affected area.

For ag. producers this means; each permittee complying with the Water Use Permit (WUP), each grower should follow published BMPs, if you are not under a WUP you should:
1. Reduce off-site discharge to the extent practicable;
2. Recycle water to the extent practicable;
3. Reduce clean-up requiring water use to the minimum required to protect efficiency of the operation and prevent damage to equipment.
4. Reduce the washing of vehicles and other Mobile Equipment; except for health and safety needs or as otherwise required by BMPs, such to prevent the spread of plant or animal diseases; 5. Maximize the use of the lesser or least restricted Source Class to which there is access;
6. Include a ban on supplemental irrigation between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. These exemptions include allowances for Low-Volume Irrigation technology, plant protection, testing and maintenance of irrigation systems and irrigation to water in chemicals, traveling gun an center pivot irrigation.
7. Water use essential to the activity, such as irrigation of crops or maintenance of livestock, shall not be otherwise restricted.

For more information call me at the Extension office or go to the SWFWMD web site. www.watermatters.org

Drought workshop for residential customers

The residential horticulture agents are putting on a drought workshop for the home consumer. The brochure for the seminar is : http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/HomeGardening/PDFs/FFL101_2009_Flier.pdf

They are expecting about 150 people to show up. It might be a good way to do some cheap marketing. They are also looking for nurseries that have a retail portion to promote the drought tolerant plants and your business. If you would like to participate please contact me via email ststeed@ufl.edu.

Here is the list of plants:
Mimosa strigillosa Duranta erecta Helianthus debilis Yucca spp.
Zamia floridana Coreopsis spp. Tulbaghia violacea Solidago spp.
Leonotis leonurus Illicium floridanum Hydrangea quercifolia Pyschotria nervosa
Stachytarpheta jamaicensis Vitex agnus-castus Plumbago auriculata Agave spp.
Acacia spp. Pennisetum setaceum Tripsacum dactyloides Gazania
Gallardia Parkinsonia aculeata Tacoma stans Agapanthus
Thyralis Evolvulus glomeratus Hamelia patens Olea spp.

Or if you have any other plants that perform well under drought conditions please feel free to bring them.

FNGLA Lakes Region Meeting 4/7/09

We met last week on April 7, 2009 at Common Ground Park in Lakeland. The park is located on the corner of Edgewood Drive and across from Cleveland Heights Golf Course, on Lake Hollingsworth. It was a beautiful park. It is a one acre, all-inclusive park. It came with a million dollar price tag which was picked up mostly from donations. It really is a work of art. There are three different age levels of play for children and the park is designed for any child with physical limitations or wheel chairs. If you have children or are a child at heart you should check it out. I have two rave reviews of the park from my own children and two thumbs up from my wife.

At the business meeting we discussed new officers (I am now a Board member) and we awarded the FFA students their trophies. There are two teachers looking for plant donations to plant a arboretum for all the plant species for the identification parts of the FFA contests. Cull plants will be just fine. If you would like to donate some old plant please call Howie Peterson at 863-644-6491. If there is anything you would like me to work on for the FNGLA Lake Region Chapter please contact me or leave a post to this message.