FNGLA Lake Region Chapter News

The Lake Region FNGLA Chapter has its newsletters out now.  They are hosting a meeting at the Polk Training Center for Handicapped Citizens on October 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm.  Please RSVP Karen Peterson at 863-644-649.  They will have Luigi's catering an Italian Cuisine for $15.00.  For more information, a map and the newsletter please click on the following link.   http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/AgCalendar.html


Cleaner Air Equals More Productivity

It is often thought that environmental regulations are just burdensome to agriculture and other industries. Here is an interesting report to the contrary.  The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) published a report today entitled The Impact of Ozone Pollution on Worker Productivity by Joshua S. Graff Zivin and Matthew J. Neidell that showed ozone levels in the atmosphere affect the productivity of agricultural workers. In California, the researchers used agricultural productivity data along with environmental conditions monitoring information and looked at the relationship.  They discovered that even at levels well below government air quality standards, ozone is having a severe effect on worker productivity in the field. They surmised that even with a 10 ppb (parts per billion) reduction in the ozone standard would translate into an increase of 4.2% worker productivity and annual cost savings of approximately $1.1 billion in labor expenditures.  11.8% of the US labor force work in outdoor conditions and could benefit from stricter standards.  This is a fascinating case of how regulating air quality can not only improve quality of life, but also the bottom line of business.  If you would like to read the full report please click on this link http://papers.nber.org/papers/W17038


Environmental Horticulture Production Newsletter Release

The latest edition of the Nationally Awarded (National Association of County Ag Agents Communication Awards-Individual Newsletter National Finalist 2011) Environmental Horticulture Production Newsletter is now out.  Read about testing pH, industry updates, chemical updates, irrigation saving devices, state of the industry, and more.  For more information please click on the following link and enjoy! 


These GALS Ain't Pretty

A recent detection in Miami-Dade County has the nursery industry concerned especially if you are bringing plants up from Homestead to sell.  The Giant African Land Snail or GALS are one of the most destructive snails in the world.  They can eat over 500 different types of plants, can cause damage to stucco, and can harbor nematodes which can transmit menengitis.  Here is a pest alert from USDA http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/plantinsp/images/pa_phgas.pdf  and here is more information than you probably care for.  It is a link to DPI's GALS page with pictures and factsheets.  Below is a picture of the damage on ornamentals from GALS.


Florida Hardy Rose Production Seminar

Wouldn't it be nice if you could just plant roses and never have to care for them.  The University of Florida has been doing some important work on this dream for you. Three locations across Florida north, central, and south, trialed old garden roses to see how well they hold up under minimal input landscape care.  The central location was located here in Plant City under the watchful eye of Dr. Sydney Park-Brown.  The idea for this project came from the Texas A&M Earth-kind roses program http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind/roses/.  
The roses were subjected to every day climate at their various locations. And they were treated with a "set it and forget it" landscape approach. These roses had minimal fertilizer, minimal irrigation, no pruning, and no pesticides for either disease or insect control. The results of this experiment were given at a seminar in conjunction with the University of Florida Research and Extension at the Plant City Campus.  At our seminar we also provided participants with roses to take home and trial from the best performing varieties.  I provided rooted cuttings and Dr. Gary Knox from the North Florida Research and Education Center provided one gallon plants.  It was my intention that someone in our local industry would start to grow them commercially.  Some of the best performing varieties they found from the old garden roses were Mutabalis, Knock Outs, Spice, and Mrs. B.R. Kant.  These might be excellent varieties to provide for your landscape customers for landscape and home enjoyment.  Here are the presentations in case you missed them on my website.  Just scroll down to the Florida Hardy Rose Production Seminar and click on a title of the presentations you would like to see.  http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/AgPresentations2009.html

Lake Region Chapter FNGLA Meeting 9/8/11

The Lake Region Chapter of FNGLA will be meeting at Hollis Gardens in Lakeland for a behind the scenes tour and then everyone will be heading over to Black and Brew Coffee House and Bistro for the meeting.  Dinner is on your own and we hope to have the raffle as usual.  Hope to see you there.  Click here for the flyer.  http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/AgCalendar.html#Septmber

NWS Frost and Freeze Criteria

This in from the National Weather Service in Ruskin...

The National Weather Service in Ruskin, FL will be conducting a conference call on September 22 at 1 PM EDT for customer and partner feedback regarding our current criteria for issuing frost and freeze products across west central and southwest Florida.

Attached is a copy of our current frost/freeze criteria, including the temperatures required as well as the durations required to meet these criteria.
Our question is: What do you think of the current criteria for frost and freeze products issued by the National Weather Service in Ruskin?

You're invited to participate in our conference call, and we'd really appreciate your feedback about our products. Conference Call: 866-231-8384 
Passcode: 8136452323
We look forward to hearing from you and actively incorporating your feedback to improve the quality and relevance of the products we issue.

Logan Johnson and Todd Barron

National Weather Service Ruskin
Frost and Freeze Products Service Improvement Team

Frost and Freeze Products Current Criteria

• Frost: Temperatures expected to fall to between 33-36 degrees with light winds and clear skies with frost expected to form.
• Freeze: Temperatures expected to fall to between 28-32 degrees for at least 3 hours consecutively.
• Hard Freeze: Temperatures expected to fall below 27 degrees for at least 3 hours consecutively.
• These products will be issued any and every time these conditions are expected to occur throughout the entire year.

USDA Update for Conservation Funding

This in from the USDA...

Opportunities Available Now for Conservation Assistance and Funding

Apply before October 31, 2011 cut-off date

GAINESVILLE, FL, September 1, 2011 — The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida is encouraging landowners, farmers and producers to visit their local NRCS office now to receive more information and apply for conservation technical assistance and possible cost share opportunities.

The application process for 2008 Farm Bill conservation programs is continuous, but funding selections are only made once a year. The Florida NRCS application cutoff date for consideration for Federal Fiscal Year 2012 funds is October 31, 2011.

“Applications received after that date will be considered for future funding periods,” said State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. “We’re urging producers to get their applications in as soon as possible to be considered for this year’s funding.”

NRCS works with landowners through conservation planning and assistance designed to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, and animals that result in productive lands and healthy ecosystems.

Cost share funding is available to eligible applicants for the following Farm Bill programs:

· The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a conservation program that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers who face threats to soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. Through EQIP, NRCS develops contracts with agricultural producers to voluntarily implement conservation practices. Persons engaged in livestock or agricultural production and owners of non-industrial private forestland are eligible for the program. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, private non-industrial forestland, and other farm or ranch lands.

· The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for developing or improving high quality habitat that supports fish and wildlife populations of National, State, Tribal, and local significance. Through WHIP, the NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to eligible private and Tribal landowners for the development of upland, wetland, aquatic, and other types of wildlife habitat.

The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners and Tribes to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring eligible land from agriculture.

The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is a program for landowners and operators to protect grazing uses and related conservation values by conserving grassland, including rangeland, pastureland, shrubland, and certain other lands.

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land. CSP encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by undertaking additional conservation activities; and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities.

Seventy percent of the land in the United States is privately owned, making stewardship by private landowners vital to the health of our Nation’s environment.

NRCS encourages interested parties to visit with our staff as soon as possible. Applicants who apply early have more time to resolve any program or land eligibility issues.

Additional information on NRCS, conservation assistance, and programs is available on its website at www.fl.nrcs.usda.gov or at your local USDA - NRCS office. To find the nearest office go to your telephone directory under “U. S. Government, Department of Agriculture”, or http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.


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