Nursery Professional Seeks Position

An experienced (10+ yrs)  nurseryman/farm manager/sales manager is seeking employment opportunities.  Candidate has operations management and plant sales/account servicing knowledge.  If you are looking for someone to hire and are interested please give Shawn a ring at the extension office or send an email and he will give you the contact information.

USDA Conservation Stewardship Program

This in from the USDA...

For Immediate Release
Florida Ag Producers Should Apply Now for Financial Assistance
Conservation Stewardship Program Funds Available

Gainesville, FL., December 19, 2011 – Financial and technical assistance is now available to farmers and ranchers interested in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Stewardship Program. The program, also called CSP, is administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Producers interested in CSP should submit applications to their local NRCS office by January 13, 2012 so that their applications can be considered during the first ranking period of 2012.

“The CSP program is a good opportunity for producers to undertake additional conservation actions while continuing to maintain and manage existing conservation activities,” said Carlos Suarez, Florida NRCS state conservationist. “I encourage all farmers and ranchers who are interested in applying to contact their local NRCS office as soon as possible to determine eligibility.”

CSP is offered in all 50 states, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups. The program provides many conservation benefits including improvement of water and soil quality, wildlife habit enhancements and adoption of conservation activities that address the effects of climate change. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe.

A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help potential applicants determine if CSP is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, contract obligations and potential payments. It is available from local NRCS offices and on the CSP Web page.

As part of the CSP application process, applicants will work with NRCS field personnel to complete the resource inventory using a Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT). The CMT determines the conservation performance for existing and new conservation activities. The applicant’s conservation performance will be used to determine eligibility, ranking and payments.

Visit the NRCS National Web site, and connect with an NRCS office near you.


Cold Protect with a Chemical Spray

I read this in Science Daily.  Apparently you can get 2-9 F degrees of protection.  Here is a link to the full article of the selection from below from Science Daily.

"A report published in HortTechnology premiered the novel topical spray developed to increase resistance to both cold damage and cold mortality in plant foliage, flowers, and fruits. According to David Francko, Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Biology at the University of Alabama, the patent-pending formula has been commercialized under the trade name FreezePruf.
The spray is composed of ingredients that are non-toxic to plants, humans, and animals. "The components of the laboratory spray formulation and FreezePruf are all either human food ingredients or used in the human food production chain," said Francko. He said that the spray actually improves plants' natural ability to tolerate freezing conditions.
The researchers tested the spray on a wide variety of foliage, flowers, and fruits. Data showed that both the laboratory formulation and the commercial version of the spray decreased the first damage temperature and the mortality temperature of the plants. "We noted beneficial effects within hours of application," Francko remarked. "Our results suggested that the spray formulation could add the equivalent of approximately 0.25 to almost 1.0 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone to the cold hardiness rating of the plants used in the experiments."

Here is a link to FreezePruf information http://pro.liquidfence.com/ecologic/freeze-pruf.html


Pindos 10' CT Wanted

A grower is looking for 10' CT Pindo Palms.  Please give me a ring if you have them or know someone who might.  813-629-6104.

Smart Sprays Can Reduce Your Work

Here is a story I came across from the USDA Agricultural Research Service.  This is a wonderful article about targeting your sprays to only pests and only when you have those pests at levels causing economic damage.  I often have growers tell me with the first signs of a problem pest they make a broad-spectrum insecticide application.  They hope to "nuke" the whole nursery or field to remove a pest without taking time to consider what else they may be disrupting by making that application.  Don't forget there are a host of other insects out there helping you do your job of raising beautiful plants to sell (spiders, wasps, predatory mites.)  You might be causing more work for yourself down the road without thinking about the best insecticide to spray.  Here is the article. And don't forget the Integrated Pest Management Update in February to help you make those pesticide decisions.

"Controlling Whiteflies the Natural Way

By Dennis O'Brien
December 6, 2011

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are showing Arizona cotton growers how to reduce their dependence on broad-spectrum insecticides by controlling sweetpotato whiteflies with greener alternatives.

Some Arizona growers continue to combat whiteflies with broad-spectrum insecticides that wipe out a number of insects, despite the availability of sprays that specifically target whiteflies. Steve Naranjo, a scientist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and Peter Ellsworth of the University of Arizona conducted a study where they treated some plots with insecticides specific to whiteflies and other plots with broad-spectrum insecticides. They left a third set of plots as untreated controls. Naranjo is a research leader and acting center director at the ARS U.S. Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center in Maricopa.
The results, published in Biological Control, showed that whiteflies initially died off at about the same rate in areas treated with both the whitefly-specific and the broad-spectrum insecticides. But as the growing season continued, the area where the researchers sprayed broad-spectrum insecticides had to be repeatedly sprayed to control whiteflies, while there was no need to spray the area treated once with the whitefly-specific insecticide. In those areas, the whitefly's natural enemies survived the initial spraying and continued to feed on whiteflies.
Naranjo and Ellsworth also found a way to reduce the impact of whitefly migration from cantaloupe to cotton, which is a persistent problem in Arizona. The researchers showed that when cantaloupe is grown near cotton, whiteflies will typically reach excessive levels on cotton in July, coinciding with the end of the cantaloupe harvest and the passing of sufficient time for pest populations to grow after they initially invade cotton.

They also found that a single application of whitefly-specific insecticide on cotton preserved a sufficient supply of the natural enemies and caused a "knock down" of whitefly populations to levels where the enemies could control whiteflies for the rest of the growing season. The results, described in Biological Control and Pest Management Science, show the benefits of using insecticides designed specifically to control whiteflies.

Read more about the research in the November/December 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine."


Palm School

Palm Management in the Florida Landscape

Date: February 28-29, 2012 (2 days - Tuesday and Wednesday)

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: February 14, 2012 (or until class fills up)
Enrollment Limit: 40 persons. Enrollment will be limited to 3 persons per company. If  space is still available after February 15, this enrollment cap will be lifted.

CEUs requested: LIAF, ISA, FNGLA and FDACS (pesticide license)

(classroom presentations and field trip to palm groves on site)
 Diagnosing Palm Problems  Palm Insects
 Palm Anatomy and Growth  Palm Diseases
 Physiological Disorders  Normal Abnormalities
 Nutrient Deficiencies  Fertilizer Formulations
 Sampling and Leaf Analysis  Fertilizer Application Techniques
 Transplant Issues  Pruning Palms
• 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
• Dr. Catharine Mannion, Ornamental Entomologist

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


USDA Righting Past Wrongs

This is a news release from USDA in a settlement affecting African-Americans that may have been descriminated against.

Statements by Attorney General Holder and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Court Approval of Pigford II Settlement Agreement

WASHINGTON, October 28, 2011– Attorney General Eric Holder and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the following statements on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approval of the historic Pigford II settlement:

"This settlement allows the Department of Agriculture and African-American farmers to focus on the future, and brings us one step closer to giving these farmers a chance to have their claims heard," said Attorney General Holder. "Accomplishing this settlement has been a top priority of this Administration and I am pleased that the court has approved it."

"Since my first day at USDA, I made it a priority to treat all Americans with respect and dignity and to ensure equal access to our programs. Court approval of the Pigford settlement is another important step to ensure some level of justice for black farmers and ranchers who faced discrimination when trying to obtain services from USDA," said Secretary Vilsack. "President Obama, Attorney General Holder and I are thrilled by the court's approval so we can continue turning the page on this sad chapter in USDA history. In the months and years ahead, we will not stop working to move the Department into a new era as a model employer and premier service provider for all Americans regardless of race, ethnicity or gender."

On Feb.18, 2010, USDA and the U.S. Department of Justice announced an agreement with African-American farmers to settle the Pigford II litigation for $1.25 billion. Congress passed the Claims Settlement Act that funded the settlement in November 2010, and the bill was signed by President Obama in December 2010. The bill that passed the Senate and House included strong protections against waste, fraud and abuse to ensure integrity of the claims process. The claims process will soon be established and announced for individuals who may have faced discrimination.

In February 2010, the Departments of Justice and Agriculture announced the Pigford II settlement with African American farmers, in October 2010, the departments announced the Keepseagle settlement with Native American farmers, and in February 2011, the departments announced the establishment of a process to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers. Earlier this year, USDA also released a Civil Rights Assessment report that detailed an aggressive plan to promote equal access and opportunity at the department. The Department of Agriculture is currently implementing many of the department-wide recommendations that will help USDA improve service delivery to minority and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and enhance program delivery and outreach to promote diversity, inclusion and accessibility. An overview of these comprehensive efforts is available at www.ascr.usda.gov/new_era_at_cr_.html.