More Assistance for Clean Energy Projects

Here is another announcement from FDACS:

Florida Clean Energy Grants ($10,000,000) Grant Solicitation Open
The Clean Energy Grant program will provide funding to promote energy efficiency measures and renewable energy deployment for eligible public, not-for-profit, and agricultural entities. The maximum amount for an individual award is $500,000 with a minimum amount of $100,000. The program will be subdivided into two categories. Eligible applicants under Category 1 ($8,000,000) include Florida state and local governments who did not receive a direct allocation of funds from the U.S. DOE for the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant Program, school districts, public universities and colleges, Florida Constitutional Officers, independent special districts, and not-for-profit companies. Existing Florida farms and farm operations will be considered eligible applicants under Category 2 ($2,000,000).
Florida Clean Energy Grant Application (pdf 266.17 kB)


USDA Assistance for Tree Growers

This was released from the USDA for tree growers.

Isabel Benemelis (202) 720-7809

USDA Announces Assistance Program for Orchardists and Nursery Tree Growers

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today said that orchardists and nursery tree growers can begin applying for benefits under the Tree Assistance Program, which was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. Signup begins Monday, May 10, 2010, at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices.

"This program helps our orchardists and nursery tree growers replant and get back on their feet after natural disasters,” said Vilsack.

The Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides help to orchardists and nursery tree growers who produce trees, bushes and vines for commercial purposes, to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes and vines damaged or destroyed by natural disasters. The 2008 Farm Bill expanded eligibility to include Christmas tree and nursery tree growers that were ineligible under prior legislation. Trees grown for pulp or timber or not grown for commercial purposes are not eligible.

To be eligible for TAP, producers must have suffered more than a 15 percent death loss due to the natural disaster after adjustment for normal mortality. TAP is a cost-reimbursement program, with payments covering up to 70 percent of replant costs and 50 percent of pruning, removal and other salvaging costs for replacing or salvaging damaged trees.

Producers can receive assistance for up to 500 acres of trees, bushes or vines. Producers must also have purchased a policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, or for 2008, obtained a waiver of the risk management purchase requirement through the buy-in provision. Eligible losses must have occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2008, and before Oct. 1, 2011.

For more information on the new TAP program, please contact your county FSA office or the website at

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).


New Uses For Old Bathtubs

On a recent visit to Speedling Inc. we were shown a brilliant use of a used bathtub. Here is a mixing station that they use to mix chemicals and capture any run off form the mixing process. Notice the ventilation on the top and the scale affixed above the capture area. Also, notice the five gallon bucket that is at the drainage end of the old bathtub. This is a great way to avoid potential contamination and accumulation of small amounts of pesticides that build up over time through continual mixing in one location. Thanks Speedling staff for sharing that with us!

Jemy Hinton with UF BMP program also suggests a small kid pool that can capture potential spills from the mixing process. If you are mixing small quantities this might be a good tip for reducing potential chemical problems in the environment.
I have seen another good use for a old metal bathtub at another nursery. Doug Meyers uses an old bathtub as a radiator/fire pit and burns wood in it at cold winter night meetings at his nursery. I have seen it in action and it works great.
Let us know if you have any other good uses for old bathtubs in the nursery.


Powdery Mildew on Oaks

I've noticed indications of powdery mildew on "Cathedral" live oaks pp #12015 recently at a field visit to a tree farm. If you are growing this variety of oaks you may want to do some scouting and check the leaves for the presence of this disease. It would also be good to set a threshold limit for economic damage.

A picture of affected "Cathedral" live oak leaves.

Determine how much damage is acceptable before treatment is necessary. I have seen defoliation of this cultivar later in the growing season that might be attributable to this pathogen growing unchecked. This potentially took the affected trees out of availability for sale until new leaves could be grown in the spring. Here is a link to a publication on treatment for powdery mildew.

Professional Disease Management Guide for Ornamentals http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pp123

and here is a publication on powdery mildew on gerbera daisy with a list of fungicides that that can be used for ornamentals. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pp257

Make sure that if you decide to spray you read the label for proper rates!


USDA Rural Energy Grant

I wanted to share this information from the USDA about grants and loans to ag producers for making sustainable improvements to their operations.

The USDA is accepting applications for grants and loan guarantees in the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) until June 30, 2010. More information on how to apply for funding is available in the April 26, 2010 Federal Register (I can email you this, please send and email to ststeed@ufl.edu). The Rural Energy for America Program provides funds to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. Eligible projects include installing renewable energy systems such as wind turbines, solar, geothermal, biomass, anaerobic digesters, hydroelectric, and ocean or hydrogen systems. Funding may also be used to purchase energy-efficient equipment, add insulation, and improve heating and cooling systems