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.

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.


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


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


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

· 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.


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/.