Aid to Polk County Producers from TS Isaac

If you are in Polk County and your buisness suffered loss as a result of Tropical Storm Isaac here is some information that you might find useful.  Please read below.

Release Date: Nov. 19, 2012 Contact: Michael Lampton
Release Number: 13-095, FL 13389 Phone: 404-331-0333

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available in Florida Following Secretary of Agriculture Disaster Declaration for Tropical Storm Isaac

ATLANTA - The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today that federal economic injury disaster loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes located in Florida as a result of the excessive rain, flooding and Tropical Storm Isaac on August 25 - 28, 2012.
This SBA’s disaster declaration includes the following counties: Broward, Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk and Saint Lucie in Florida.
“When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to eligible entities affected by the same disaster,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers, or ranchers.

The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 3 percent for private non-profit organizations of all sizes and 4 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than July 15, 2013


Winter Climate Prediction 2012

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric and Administration Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a neutral to a slight El Nino weather pattern this year.  Which means slightly cooler temperatures for the fall and winter and a wetter than normal winter.  Although this may change and the climate pattern is not very strong for that region of the Pacific.  Still it is a good idea to be prepared for those possibilities.  Plants might be slower to make the Spring selling season.  Adjust for that by considering fertilizer inputs, temperature modifications and stocking rates and times.  Maybe prepare a little earlier for buttoning up greenhouses.  For more information on this topic and how the climate can affect your crops visit my past article on El Nino   http://hortagent.blogspot.com/2009/08/el-nino-is-back.html  Check out the forecast maps from NOAA Climate Prediction Center.
Just remember climate forecasts are still a prediction...similar to economic forecasting. :)


FNGLA Annual Plant Auction

It's time the annual joint meeting with the Tampa Chapter FNGLA and the Tampa Bay Wholesale Growers. This meeting takes place at the Hillsborough County Fair Plant Auction on October 20, 2012. The event starts with a free BBQ lunch for TBWG members sponsored by FNGLA Tampa Chapter at 12:00 noon. These lunch tickets are purchased from the Hillsborough County Extension 4-H Club and given to TBWG members with request. This was an idea from the FNGLA to thank the grower members for their donations of plants for the auction. The money raised from the lunch tickets goes to assist the youth in 4-H clubs around Hillsborough County. At 12:30 p.m. there is a silent auction of allied goods for growers only. Since traditionally not many grower members show up, chemicals, fertilizers, spray equipment, and soil are auctioned off at a fraction of the price you pay from your chemical rep's. At 1:30 p.m. we start our annual plant auction that is open to the public. This money goes to raise funds for the Tampa Chapter FNGLA in support of educational programs and the Carl Cowgill scholarships that go to aspiring, college level horticulturalists in Hillsborough County. The donations for the plant auction mainly come from our grower members of the TBWG. So if you can donate some plant materials this year we really appreciate it. We usually call all the members for their donations. If you don’t get a call from the FNGLA and would like to donate please call Shawn Steed at 813-744-5519. We have nursery drop off points in the four corners of the county and the Hills. Co. Fairgrounds for your convenience. We will need all plant/item donations by Wednesday Oct 17. If you can assist in any way at the auction please call also. We can also use help on Wednesday with the auction set up and pick up and transport of plant donations. Any help given will be greatly appreciated. If you have any questions please give Shawn a ring.

See you at the Auction!


Kudzu Bug is Now Here

Remember my post from back in the month of June (kudzu bug) when I mentioned to be on the lookout for a new insect invader called the kudzu bug. Well, it certainly didn't take long for it to find its way to the kudzu in our area. I just got this e-mail forwarded from a colleague from USDA APHIS yesterday.  This bug will affect legume type plants and will probably be a pest of the cover crops we use in our area.

Last week, the bean plataspid (aka kudzu bug or Megacopta cribaria) was found in both Pasco (US 301 in Dade City) and Hillsborough (Dr MLK Jr Blvd in Seffner) Counties, and has thus made its way to the Tampa Bay area. Pinellas and Manatee Counties were not specifically surveyed, so it is possible that populations are present there as well. In both new counties, the bugs were found on kudzu, their primary host, but they can also affect other legumes and can be a nuisance pest by congregating on or in structures (like some ladybugs or the brown marmorated stink bug). For more info, see: Pest alert-kudzu bug


NRCS and FWS Working With Farmers to Protect Wildlife

For those farm owners who may have some conservation areas set aside to protect native habitat and wildlife, here is a great opportunity that you might be interested in especially if this area protects gopher tortoise sites.  It is nice when we can point to programs on farm that benefits the greater community by protecting biodiversity. 

Release No. 152012 Contact: Jeffrey Woods, 352-338-9515
For Immediate Release
Historic Agreement Reached to Extend Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Regulatory Predictability will help Florida Farmers and Ranchers Improve Gopher Tortoise Habitat

GAINESVILLE, FL, Sept. 21, 2012 –An agreement between the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will provide long-term regulatory predictability for up to 30 years to Florida’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) initiative.

Under the WLFW partnership, federal, state and wildlife experts jointly identified at-risk or listed species that would benefit from targeted habitat restoration investments on private lands. Using the best available science, these wildlife experts prioritized restoration actions on a large regional scale to focus assistance most cost effectively. In Florida, the gopher tortoise was identified. NRCS, FWS and numerous state and local entities such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are partnering to implement WLFW.

“This agreement provides Florida landowners with a way to keep working lands in production while complying with the Endangered Species Act (ESA),” Carlos Suarez said. “It helps our farmers, ranchers and forest landowners rest a little easier knowing their operations are protected in the long term and that they are helping conserve gopher tortoise habitat and essential natural resources.”

The agreement builds on a $33 million investment NRCS announced last spring dedicated toward producers who develop and implement conservation plans to manage and restore high-priority habitats for seven specific wildlife species across the country.

With today’s agreement, farmers, ranchers and forest landowners who implement and voluntarily agree to maintain the proven conservation practices in WLFW will have addressed the related ESA regulatory responsibilities for up to 30 years. These landowners will be able to operate their farms and ranches as agreed upon, providing economic benefits and species conservation simultaneously.

The federal government will grant farmers, ranchers and forest landowner’s regulatory predictability in return for voluntarily making wildlife habitat improvements on their private agricultural and forest lands. Participating producers must adhere to the requirements of each conservation practice during the term of their contract, which can last from one to 15 years. If landowners would like to receive regulatory predictability for up to 30 years, they must maintain the conservation practices as outlined in the NRCS and FWS agreement.

For more information about Working Lands for Wildlife, please visit the national WLFW website. Additional information on NRCS, conservation assistance, and other programs is available on the web 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.

USF Seeking Farmers For Market

Having a backup plan for marketing your plants is always a good thing.  You never know where a valuable customer might be found.  Here is a communication I received from Colleen Mucahey from USF about their need to find some farmers who are willing to sell produce at their farmers market on campus.  They are seeking ornamental plant growers as well.

It is all student volunteers at the moment and it is the last Tuesday of every month from 11-3pm. There are typically about 5-6 farmers because they are just starting out, we've had about 5 markets. This is the mission statement of the group:  FARM is a student-led group of students, staff, and community members, working to reconnect people with the food they eat. FARM seeks to promote eating lifestyles that are more ecologically sound, local/community-based, nutritionally-balanced; and to educate the USF and Tampa community about food production, natural food certifications, and the positive environmental, economic, and health impact of such diets.

Right now we are in need of farmers. We are looking for individuals who do not necessarily have to be farmers. Maybe even a backyard gardener or someone who specializes in something just anyone who might be interested in selling at our market. We would prefer organic but will take conventional to grow the market as long as it is not wholesale or resale produce. We are also trying to educate the USF community on what’s in season and the health benefits of what we are selling. We also will sell plants, flowers, herbs and some packaged items. Right now the university has strict rules on anything homemade related to food but we can sell jams, jellies, one lady sells salsa as long as it is not in containers or plastic baggies (with the exception of dried herbs). We can sell baked goods but they must be things like artisan breads but we don't want to sell anything that is processed so no cookies, cakes, etc. There is a small application I can provide and we discuss these things with the farmer.

Right now it is $15.00 to table and the farmer would have to bring their own tables, chairs, tents. This would cover the tabling fee and parking pass. Right now if a farmer tables with us they pay the $15.00 dollars and the rest they keep. If a farmer is not tabling the fee is $10 and we will sell it for them and give them the money. The tabling fee is our only profit. Consignments work like this. We pick up the product, it is counted and put on a spreadsheet. The farmer names the price and we discuss a few things. Do you want to take back anything we don't sell? If not then we tell them that we will sell their items at the market and then for the rest of that week through word of mouth. On Friday it will be half price. Whatever is left on Friday close of business will be donated to the students and the money will be given to the farmer along with the signed spreadsheet detailing what was sold and for what price. Additionally if there is a need we have gone on a Sunday to pick the crop for the market since most of the farmers that we use are one or two man operations.
Farmers don't have to commit to any specific market we call everyone each month and see what they want to do. So they can come in and out as they please, there is no obligation. We also try and visit the farm/property of the person that is selling to us so both of us can see how they operate and what they do. We try to do this before they come to their first market.

 My contact information is listed below.
Colleen Mulcahey
HR Specialist
University of South Florida
College of Arts & Sciences-DO
4202 East Fowler Avenue, CPR 107
Tampa, Florida 33620
Tel +1 813 974 9102
Fax +1 813 974-3457


Help Support 4-H at Hillsborough County Fair BBQ

This was forwarded to me from Mike McKinney.  He is trying to help support the 4-H Extension program and get disadvantaged kids to the Hillsborough County Fair.

Here is a great opportunity to support 4-H and at the same time give disadvantaged kids an opportunity to visit the Fair and enjoy a Bar-B-Que lunch on your dime. Your Bar-B-Que ticket gets you FREE Admission into the Hillsborough County Fair on Saturday, October 20th at the corner of State Road 60 and Sydney-Washer Road. (This is a $15.00 value just for $8.00) If you cannot attend, you can still donate your tickets to a deserving charity such as The Children's Home or A Kids Place.

I have attached an order form for your convenience. All proceeds will provide Leadership and Citizenship sponsorships to our 4-H Youth in Hillsborough County. 
Your help and generosity is most appreciated. THANK YOU!

Mike McKinney
4-H Foundation Member
1850 Ravenridge Street
Wesley Chapel, FL 33543

You can have your name or business displayed at the Bar-B-Que for being a CLOVER Sponsor.
$100.00 Clover Sponsorships include 12 meal tickets and is tax deductible if donated to charities.

UF/IFAS Extension Helping You--Financial Management Class

Although most people equate Extension Services with helping agricultural clientele, we also have a long history of improving the home front as well.  Here is just such an example with an excellent class series being offered at Hillsborough County Extension office on financial management.  The classes end with a valuable one-on-one session with a financial planner.  Maybe you or your employess might benefit from attending...

Achieving Financial Goals Classes Series & One-on-One Sessions
What: Achieving Financial Goals Class Series
When: October 4, 11, 18, & 25, 2012, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Hillsborough County Extension Office, 5339 County Road 579 in Seffner.
Registration: $8 per household for the entire series. No shows and late cancellations will not receive a registration refund.
Registration Deadline: September 27, 2012. Seating is limited.

Hillsborough County Extension Service in partnership with Financial Planning Association of Tampa Bay is offering a class series to help people achieve their financial goals. The series will include a pro-bono session with a financial planner. This is a non-commercial, educational program. No products or services will be sold.
Topics will include:
Evaluating your financial situation
Cash & credit management
Saving & investment options
One-on-one pro-bono session with a financial planner
For additional information contact Lisa Leslie at 813-744-5519 ext. 54143.
Persons with disabilities requiring special accommodations, please contact Lisa at 744-5519 x54143 at least five working days prior to the program so proper consideration may be given to your request.


UF/IFAS Extension Helping You--Virtual Marketing

I will be filming short video spots for nursery producers (at your location) to group together into a virtual tour of ornamental plant producers in Hillsborough and Polk Counties.  If you would like to be added to the list of "tour stops" please contact me by email or phone (813-744-5519 ex 54147) at the Extension office.  This is a great way to advertise your business with a media form and to an audience that you may not have reached in the past.  YouTube streams 4 billion videos to users per day according to Wikipedia!  Your farm visit video may be one of them.

UF Grad Student Seeks Survey Takers

Here is an opportunity to assist in a graduate student's research on opinions about soil surveys.  The survey is only about 10 minutes long and would help her get some data for her thesis.  Please read below...

My name is Corey Hanlon and I am a graduate student at the University of Florida. I'm trying to conduct some research on how farmers perceive soil testing, through the use of a 10-minute, anonymous online survey. The sample of respondents that I am searching for includes any farmers that produce horticultural goods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, nursery stock, sod, trees and more. If you are willing to help me reach my goal of 200 respondents, the survey can be accessed through the following link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WYWF3YD Thank you for your help!

Corey Hanlon
SARE Project Research Assistant
Interdisciplinary Ecology Master's Student
University of Florida


Win Prize - Grower Irrigation Survey

The University of Maryland is involved in a USDA‐funded project to determine how new sensor‐based irrigation networks can benefit the ornamental plant production industry. They would like your help to
better understand current practices in the industry, and have developed a survey that asks questions about water, nutrient, and runoff practices in the industry, and about how the industry can take advantage of recent and anticipated advances in sensor‐based irrigation networks.  The goal of this research is to use your answers, along with those provided by other growers across the country, to create baseline information, and to determine the potential of these systems to improve specific greenhouse, container nursery, and field nursery practices. This information will help us to document current irrigation and nutrient use practices, and help measure the impacts of changing practices in the future. It will also help us as researchers and as an industry to define our research goals at the local, regional, and national levels, to help growers address current and future needs.  They know your time is valuable and worked hard to minimize the amount of your time it will take to complete the survey. However, the survey still requests a lot of information.  They estimate that the survey should take approximately 20‐40 minutes to complete depending on how your operation is set up. Your participation is the key to the success of this project.

All information you provide will be kept STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL, and only summary information about the industry and aggregated estimates of economic and environmental impacts will be presented. Your
individual responses will not be shared with any state or federal regulatory agency, and will be protected as required by Federal law, as part of the University of Maryland human subjects agreement that you will be asked to agree to before you begin the survey.

Access the survey by clicking the link below (or typing the address into your internet browser):


Any questions or comments can be directed to John Majsztrik:

jcmajsz@umd.edu (preferred) or by phone (301) 405‐2778
All growers who complete the National nursery and greenhouse water management survey fully will be entered in a drawing for one (1) Decagon Devices wireless sensor network system* (including installation and support) as a grand prize. To be eligible for this random drawing, you will need to COMPLETE the irrigation survey found at https://www.research.net/s/ornamental by November 30th, 2012.
Only fully completed surveys with all requested information and contact details will be eligible for the grand-prize drawing.
If you have already completed a survey, or are not sure if your entry was eligible to enter the drawing, please contact jcmajsz@umd.edu

The retail value of this starter sensor network is over $5,000, which can be used to monitor weather and soil / substrate moisture in your operation. Additional nodes and sensors can be added as and where needed. More information about these networks can be found at the website below.
http://www.decagon.com/products/environmental-monitoring-systems/irrigation-monitoring-system or

* The sensor network consists of 3 EM50R radio datalogger nodes, 10 soil moisture sensors, a weather station sensor package, base radio station, and a 1-user license for DataTrac software (computer not included).

Mosquito Vectored Diseases

With all the rains that have happened in the last few months mosquitoes are becoming a nuisance.  Not only do they harass you with bites but they may also vector viruses.  Most of the mosquitoes that will be populating the twilight hours are "flood mosquitoes."  These are mosquitoes that lay eggs that stay dormant for months or years and when flooding occurs they hatch out and emerge to complete the cycle.  Even though the area may be thick with mosquitoes, floodwater mosquitoes are generally not involved in transmission of West Nile virus. For a fact sheet that explains floodwater mosquito behavior, see: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in535

The U. S. is currently experiencing the worst West Nile outbreak since it was first detected in the U. S. in 1999.  This outbreak is currently worst in Texas.  Thankfully Florida has so far been spared from such an extensive epidemic.  The immediate threat to Floridians will be the prodigious numbers of pest mosquitoes resulting from Issac’s rainfall that will make outdoor life in Florida far less enjoyable over the next few weeks.

Your State of Florida and local County Health Department provides advisories and alerts related to mosquito-borne illness.  As part of the general public and possible employers we should pay attention to all mosquito-borne illness advisories and that it is always prudent in Florida to wear repellents when they are outdoors but particularly so when there are advisories of increased risk.  Here is a map of Florida and the warnings from the Department of Health of mosquito vectored viruses.


Remember that IFAS Extension has several fact sheets on mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases.  Here is a list of them if you are interested.
Dengue: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in699; Spanish version at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in719
Eastern Equine Encephalitis: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in179 ; Spanish version at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in180
Mosquito Repellents: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in419 ; Spanish Version at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in476
St. Louis Encephalitis: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg337
West Nile: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in117; Spanish version at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in185

For more information on the mosquito-borne encephalitis viruses of concern in Florida, visit the FMEL’s Encephalitis Information System at http://eis.ifas.ufl.edu/ This can be viewed in English or Spanish.

Information provided by:C. Roxanne Connelly, PhD, Associate Professor,
Extension Specialist, Medical Entomology
Past President, Florida Mosquito Control Association
President-Elect, American Mosquito Control Association


Important For Polk County Ag Producers !!!

A stormwater assesment fee will be assesed for properties in unincorporated Polk County.  If you are an agricultural producer, specifically an ornamental nursery or sod producer in Polk County now is the time to sign up to implement Best Management Practices on your operation.  For folks to be exempted or receive mitigation credits, they need to apply before September 13th for the credit to make this year’s tax billing.  In order to sign up for the BMPs it only takes a short visit (1.5 hours) from myself and Jemy Hinton with the UF BMP Implementation team/ FDACS to get you signed up. Just call me at Polk County Extension office 863-519-8677 or email me at ststeed@ufl.edu  
 Please read the information below on the Stormwater Assessment and the rules on the credit.

In response to federal and state mandates for local governments to improve the quality of stormwater runoff, on June 26, 2012, Polk County adopted a Stormwater Assessment Ordinance and preliminary rates to be assessed on lands in unincorporated Polk County. Florida Statues provide a 100 percent exemption to the stormwater assessment for agriculture properties that meet certain conditions.

Bona fide farm operations on land classified as agricultural land pursuant to section 193.461 F.S. will be exempt from the assessment if the farm operation provides documentation to the county that the operation has a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit, Environmental Resource Permit, Works-of-the-District Permit or Implements of Best Management Practices adopted as rules under Chapter 120 by the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services or a Water Management District as part of a statewide or regional program. This exemption is not automatic. You will need to submit a mitigation credit application following its instructions to provide the necessary documentation to be exempt from this assessment.

To obtain a copy of the county’s mitigation application, or if you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact the Polk County Parks & Natural Resources Division at (863) 534-7377. After August 20, 2012, the county’s mitigation application will be available online at www.polk-county.net. Please follow the indicated links to obtain the application. However, we would encourage you to apply now if you meet the necessary conditions to be exempt.


Florida Constitutional Amendments

I found these non-biased UF publications useful in informing my thoughts on the upcoming vote.  I'm sure they will help you out as well.  Here is a summary and analysis on the pros/cons of each of the ballot items of proposed state constitutional amendments that Floridians will be voting on.  Now if only we could get UF to do non-biased publications on those running for office.

2012 Florida Constitutional Amendments Series

In addition to 2012 being a presidential election year, Florida voters also will be asked to vote on a number of proposed amendments to their state constitution. Many voters remain either unaware or less informed regarding the effects and impacts of the proposed constitutional amendments. This series of 6 fact sheets was written by Rodney L. Clouser, and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics, July 2012.
Amendment 2: Veterans Disabled Due to Combat Injury; Homestead Property Tax Discount

Amendment 3: State Government Revenue Limitation

Amendment 4: Property Tax Limitations; Property Value Decline; Reduction for Nonhomestead Assessment Increases, Delay of Scheduled Repeal

Amendment 9: Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouse of Military Veteran or First Responder

Amendment 10: Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption

Amendment 11: Additional Homestead Exemption; Low-Income Seniors Who Maintain Long-Term Residency on Property; Equal to Assessed Value


HCC Offers Classes

Here are some classes that are being made available from The Institute of Florida Studies at Hillsborough Community College.  Here is the 2012 Fall schedule of courses. All information is available on the website.  http://www.hccfl.edu/departments/ifs.aspx   Below please find the courses being offered, start dates and times, and costs. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact...
Sean Nordquist, Education Coordinator
Institute of Florida Studies
Hillsborough Community College
1206 North Park Rd.
Plant City, FL 33563
(813) 757-2186 (Office)
(813) 253-7523 (Fax)

FNGLA – Horticulture Professional – HOS 8001
Begins Tuesday, September 4th
Tuesday/Thursday – 6:30pm – 8:30pm
$275 + book

Landscape Design – HOS 8002
Begins Thursday, September 7th
Thursday – 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Florida Agriculture Financial Management Conference

Here is an opportunity you may want to take advantage of to increase your financial competence concerning your agriculture opperation.  Dont forget to take advantage of the benchmarking website for nursery growers as well.  https://hortbusiness.ifas.ufl.edu/analysis/

Sharpen Your Financial Skills at the 2012 Financial Management Conference!

Market dynamics continue to change, capital requirements are increasing for operations at a rapid rate and positive business margins are difficult to maintain. The unknowns of the marketplace are greater due to the sensitivity of the current global economic situation as well as global trade issues. The participation of outside capital continues to be a variable in markets that create the risk of more volatility. All of this points to the fact that financial risk management is more important than any other time in history. Florida Grower would like to inform you about the 2012 Florida Agriculture Financial Management Conference being held in Kissimmee, FL, Sept. 9-11, 2012.

This opportunity will offer those involved with the day-to-day business management, the decision making ability to increase their knowledge of what the "Fundamentals" of the global agriculture market suggest, understand key "technical" financial measurements of your business, and use these to proactively position your business to circumvent road blocks or obstacles, and also capitalize on opportunities.

The next decade in agriculture will present your business with more opportunities than the past thirty years. Plan to attend this seminar so you can be ready! At the conference, you'll hear industry leaders talk on the following topics and trends:

Positioning Your Business for the Wild World of Global Economics

• Review key financial ratios, benchmarks, and guidelines that can be used in operating your business

• Quick reads on how to allocate profits, build liquidity and wealth in your financial statement.

• What financial factors influence cash flow?

• See why sales growth causes cash flow problems.

• Understanding your lender and what they want of their borrowers

What Will it Take to Return the US Economic Growth Path to Its Former Glory?

Estate and Succession Planning

Tax Tips and Traps

Agriculture Economy Outlook

Marketing Florida Agriculture Products in a Global Market

Click here form more information http://fafmc.org/


Speedling Now Hiring

Here are some local opportunities with Speedling, Inc.

Grower Manager
Grow horticultural-specialty crops, such as vegetables, ornamental plants, and energy crops, under environmentally controlled conditions and in outside growing areas, applying knowledge of plant culture, environmental control and labor management.

Summary of essential job functions--Responsible for day to day production of top quality plants within specifications that exceed customer expectations. This includes pesticide application and schedules, irrigation, lighting, fertilization, nutrition, monitoring and overall health of plants. Regulate environmental conditions to ensure optimum growth when crop is grown inside greenhouse. Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of top quality plants. Motivate, develop, and direct people as they work, identifying the best people for the job. Explain and demonstrate growing techniques and cultivation to coworkers and subordinates. Hire workers, assign duties, and monitor activities to assure adherence to established procedures. Explain and enforce safety regulations and policies. Ensure that accurate crop records are maintained for all crops and locations. Alert proper staff of any problems with nursery equipment.

Minimum requirements--BS in Horticulture and at least five years experience in horticultural production and current State pesticide license.

Shipping/Receiving Manger
Primary responsibilities are the coordination and oversight of shipping / receiving process on all inbound and outbound shipments or transfers of live plant product, inventory, hard goods and transportation assets on Sun City farm. Management of on-site distribution of materials for internal customers from storage areas to production points. Other responsibilities include storing, monitoring and performing periodic physical inventory of all assets and materials on site as well as final quality control point on plant shipments. Weekly evaluation of overall farm orderliness, providing feedback to team leaders on deficiencies. Assist in Production Planning to help anticipate requirements prior to their need.

Summary of essential job functions--Coordinate with department managers to provide internal logistics support to Production, Logistics, Maintenance and Growing operations. Hands on oversight of shipping / receiving procedures including verification of Bill of Lading, supporting documents, shelf spacing, QC last point of contact, temperature monitoring, pre-cooling and ethylene block deployment. Tracking of ornamental carts through documentation of serialized asset locations and reconciliation of information to master spreadsheet for East Coast Division. Perform period end physical inventories on all items responsible for.

Minimum requirements--Prior experience managing teams. Must be fluent in English and Spanish. Microsoft Office / basic Math skills needed. Competent forklift / pallet jack operator. Attention to detail is a key quality.

Production Control Clerk
The successful Production Control Clerk will be responsible for coordinating and overseeing the daily cycle count process to ensure inventory accuracy within established standards; analyzing and reconciling all variances reported from the daily cycle count process and those reported from daily operations in a timely manner; performing “receiving related tasks”; inputting data into MAS500; identifying any process trends that negatively impact inventory accuracy and communicate accordingly so proper action can be taken; performing necessary inventory reconciliation and approved adjustments to ensure inventory accuracy within the system and responding to material transfers; that all activities are performed following written work instructions and ensuring all work is performed in accordance with safety policies and regulations to promote a safe working environment.

Summary of essential job functions
Production – Data management:
• Entering germ counts (Step 130) and all notes for SCN Vegetables
• Keying items to be put on hand (Step 200) for SCN Geraniums, and SCN Vegetables
• Create/Commit Pack List for SCN Vegetables, SCN & BLV Ornamentals and BSH Geraniums
• Print and Fill out Pull Sheets for SCN Vegetables
• Enter Greenhouse item comments for SCN Vegetables and Geraniums and Growers Walk notes
• Create and Commit Pack List for Geraniums Transfer from SCN to BSH. Collaborate with Inventory Control Team with any data enter process related with MAS500

Purchasing Orders--
• Enter Requisitions for PO request for SCN as needed
• Collect needed paperwork for PO and send to Purchasing

• Complete Dump Order for SCN in the system
• Train as backup for Seedroom Coordinator and Office Manager
• Act as a role model, working alongside co-workers, and demonstrate a positive work ethic
• Ensure work projects are completed satisfactorily & safe working conditions are maintained at all times
• Develop and maintain a strong sense of teamwork among the co-workers
• Work under the direct supervision of the Office Manager and Production Manager. Communicate progress and needs with co-workers
• Plan learning time/activities for anticipated down time. Be flexible and willing to change daily routine to adjust to learning opportunities when unanticipated delays
• Respond to the inquiries of drivers, vendors, workers, managers and other staff

Minimum requirements--
• High School Diploma or equivalent
• Must have experience in inventory control preferably within the Horticultural field
• Must have knowledge of SOP’s
• Must have excellent communication skills, strong documentation skills
• Proficient in Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Inventory Control Software
• Clean criminal history and drug free
• Candidates must be in good physical condition and able to work outdoors for extended periods of time if needed
• Ability to demonstrate high ethical standards and set a positive example for co-workers
• Current first aid/CPR certification, or ability and willingness to obtain one

If you are interested about any of these jobs please contact Elsa Pena  at Corporate Office, 4447 Old US Hwy 41, Ruskin, FL 33570, Tel. 813-645-3221  Let her know that you read it on this blog.


Winfield Solutions Hosts Business Seminar

Winfield Solutions is sponsoring the following business/pest update seminar. Great speakers and a free lunch; that's hard to beat!

Strategic Business Management Forum

featuring Pest Update

We know economic challenges strain your business. Sometimes deciding where to make sacrifices in your budget can be complex, risky and the desired results not immediately realized. We hope you can join us for a seminar discussing managing risk and making the most of marketing opportunities in our industry today. As an added bonus you will also hear the current status of whitefly distribution and their control tactics.

Keynote Speakers:
Dr. Charlie Hall, Texas A&M
Dr. Alan Hodges, University of Florida
Dr. Lance Osborne, University of Florida, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
9:00am to 1:00pm
Gulf Coast REC・Balm
14625 CR 672 ● Wimauma, FL 33598
CEU・s Offered ● Free Registration ● Lunch Provided
SPONSORED BY: BASF ● DOW ● OHP ●Syngenta ● Winfield Solutions


150 Years and Counting!

On July 2, 1962 one hundred and fifty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morril Act into law (introduced by Justin Smith Morril from Vermont) that established the land grant system.  This Act designated money from the sales of granted lands to states for the establishment of universities to educate the working class in engineering and agricultural arts and helped to establish some of the best universities in the world.  The University of Florida is the result of this momentus legislation in the midst of a civil war.  Here is a brief look at history from the University of Florida Land Grant Page http://landgrant.ufl.edu/

Bok Tower Needs a Gardner

Here is an opportunity for someone who would enjoy the opportunity to be responsible for the horticultural care of a beautiful garden...

Bok Tower Garden is currently seeking a full-time Gardener. The primary responsibility is to perform general gardening duties to maintain the integrity and beauty of the Gardens and grounds. To be responsible for the care and cultivation of an assigned garden area which may include annual and permanent plantings, pathway maintenance, water bodies, lawns, wildlife, and garden furnishings.
Qualifications include but are not limited to: previous experience in garden maintenance practices with the ability to operate various types of power equipment; the ability to perform strenuous physical work outside in Florida weather year round; the ability to understand and interpret work instruction; the ability to lift at least 60 lbs. Valid driver’s license required.
We offer competitive wages and an attractive benefits package. Resumes accompanied by letters of interest may be submitted by mail, fax or email in Microsoft Word format only to any of the following. Applications may also be picked up at the entrance gate at the street address listed below and may be mailed or returned to the entrance gate for processing. Bok Tower Garden is an Equal Opportunity Employers and a Drug-Free Workplace employer.

Human Resources
Bok Tower Garden
1151 Tower Blvd.
Lake Wales, FL 33853
Fax: 863-676-6770
Email: ryoung@boksanctuary.org
Only qualified applicants will be contacted

Lake Region FNGLA Meeting

The FNGLA Lake Region Chapter will be having their next meeting on Aug. 7, 2012.  It will be at City of Lakeland Nursery, 4620 Highway 98 South, Lakeland, FL.  Dinner will be at Gators Dockside, 5147 Highway 98 South, Lakeland,Fl. 


How's Your Business?

We have all heard the adage, "To measure is to know."  How are you doing as a business?  How are you doing compared to your peers?  What is your return on all the hard work you are doing?  Is it worth it?  Are you losing or making money year over year?  Is this money better off in another type of  investment other than growing plants. You can't answer these questions unless you take a little bit of time to do some measurements.  Drs. Paul Fisher, Alan Hodges, Charlie Hall and Bill Swanekamp, have written a paper that was in the OFA Bulletin May/June 2012 edition that discusses the importance of benchmarking your business.  This article deals with young plant and bedding plant producers.  It also gives the stats of their operations to see what is the industry average. 
Benchmarking is a process that allows you to see how your business is doing in comparison to others in the same business.  This is a great way to find strengths and weaknesses in your operation and take management decisions to improve on the overall outcome of your balance sheet.
If you spend a little time with your annual income statement and this article you might be surprised at how you are doing.  Here is the link for the article. http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/documents/MineYourIncomeMay-June2012Bulletin.pdf

For those of you who want to see how a broader perspective of the nursery industry are doing and how you compare there is the Horticulture Business Analysis System.  This is a UF/IFAS program that allows you to use your income statement and input your values into the system to see how you compare with others in the same business.   Currently the system has data for greenhouse tropical foliage, shadehouse tropical foliage (South Florida), container-grown woody ornamentals, field-grown woody ornamentals, flowering plants, bedding plants and cut foliage (ferneries). Within each commodity group, information is available for subgroups by firm size, profitability, location (state, county) and year.  Here is a link to that site. https://hortbusiness.ifas.ufl.edu/analysis/

Wanted: Environmental Horticulture Professor

It was exciting to find out in my travels to the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm that they have posted an employment opportunity seeking an assistant professor of environmental horticulture.  The GCREC will be seeking a candidate to pursue research and extension activities in environmental horticulture, particularly commercial production, evaluation, and management of plants for human-dominated landscapes.
This is great news for our local enviro. hort. producers and landscapers.  The candidate will be working with the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology whose mission is to protect Florida's natural resources by responsible landscape management.  According to Jack Rechcigl the Center Director, they are looking at around September for interviews. If you have any input you would like to share regarding the hiring of someone please give the GCREC a call 813-634-0000.  I will keep you posted on the progress of this opportunity.


Exporting Plants to Canada

Workshop on Revisions to the Canadian Cerification Program July 31, 2012 from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm at the UF/IFAS Mid‐Florida Research and Education Center, Building B Auditorium, 2725 S. Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703. 

This workshop is for growers who export ornamental plants to Canada or who are interested in exporting to Canada. The workshop is free and lunch will be provided.  Everyone that registers for the workshop, will be sent a document by e-mail that is a proposed replacement for the current U.S. Greenhouse Certification Program. The main purpose of the workshop is to get feedback from everyone on what they think about the proposed new certification scheme. It is important that all registered attendees read the scheme before attending the workshop.

For more information about the workshop click on this link. 

Canadian Export Workshop Link

Back In Place

UF/IFAS Extension has a new boss... 

The following article is from UF/IFAS News and written by Tom Nordlie, 352-273-3567, tnordlie@ufl.edu

Former University of Florida faculty member Nick Place is returning to Gainesville to become the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences dean for extension and director of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service.

Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, made the announcement July 2. Place officially takes the position Sept. 15.

“I’m thrilled that we were able to find someone with the energy, vision and character that Dr. Place has,” Payne said. “That he’s already familiar with the University of Florida, our land-grant mission and the people here – that’s a bonus.”

Like other land-grant institutions, UF/IFAS has a three-pronged mission of teaching, research and extension—an effort that includes faculty members positioned all over the state who translate research findings into information easily understood by the public.

Extension faculty duties include everything from conducting specialized training for agricultural producers to mentoring 4-H club members to teaching residents how to build water-saving rain barrels.

UF/IFAS conducted a national search for a dean to replace the departing Millie Ferrer-Chancy, interim dean since February 2009. The search led them to Place, someone already familiar to many in the extension program.

Currently, Place is associate dean and associate director of University of Maryland Extension in College Park, Maryland. He’s been with the institution since August 2007.

Before that, he worked for eight years on the faculty of UF’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. He was the department’s graduate coordinator and spent two years as coordinator for the Program Development and Evaluation Center, which assists faculty members in designing programs and assessing their effectiveness.

Specializing in extension education, Place taught undergraduate and graduate courses on the role and development of extension, extension methods, adult education, extension administration and supervision, and extension systems.

To date, he has served on more than 60 graduate committees and chaired more than 20 of those.

Place, a Pennsylvania native, said he’s excited about returning to Florida and its flagship university. He said he feels there is tremendous opportunity to build upon UF’s already strong extension program.

“Jack Payne and I want the University of Florida to have the premier extension program in the country,” he said. “Initially, it will be important to meet with people, both internally and externally, to get a real good handle on the organization and what’s been working well, and also develop some strategies to further advance our efforts.”

Place earned a bachelor’s degree in dairy husbandry at Delaware Valley College, his master’s in dairy and animal science and his doctorate in agricultural and extension education, both from The Pennsylvania State University.


Job Available

Position: Farm Manager at research station from Harris Moran Seed Company

Location: Immokalee, FL.
Description:  The Research Station Farm Manager is responsible for all aspects of growing vegetables (tomato, pepper, cucumber, squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, sweet corn, and beans) in 1-3 acre field plots on drip irrigation. The Farm Manager is also expected to oversee routine maintenance and repair of farm equipment and irrigation systems, and to assist with greenhouse vegetable production.

The successful applicant must desire to work within a team environment producing vegetables that meet the expectations and standards of breeding and research groups.

They offer an excellent benefits package; salary commensurate with experience.

Send resume and salary history to:
Harris Moran Seed Company
P.O. Box 4938. Modesto, CA 95352
Attn: human Resources or email to hr@hmclause.com
Equal Opportunity Employer / Drug-Free Workplace


Download the Lowdown

I'm sure that many of you probably don't care about the legal framework behind the pesticide laws.  But you might if you knew that reading an article about it could earn you one Core CEU towards your pesticide license.  My colleague Crystal Snodgrass (the vegetable agent in Manatee Co.) wrote an article for our Free, Industry Sponsored, UF/IFAS Hillsborough County Extension Online CEU website. It is entitled the Lowdown on Pesticide Laws.  Just click on the article, read it, follow the link at the bottom to the quiz.  Get 70% or better on the quiz and I will email you a CEU credit.  It is that easy.  If you are ready to read the article go to www.tiny.cc/ceus 

Just Released Sterile Ruellia

Here is another opportunity to license UF plant developments.  These plants are sterile cultivars of  Ruellia in violet and white.  For more information about the Invitation to Negotiate please click on this link. http://ffsp.net/resources/ITN12-08-09.pdf

Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc. (FFSP) is announcing this Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) for the exclusive licensing opportunity of the 'R10-102' and 'R10-108' ruellia simplex cultivars. These cultivars were developed by the ruellia breeding program at the University of Florida's Department of Environmental Horticulture.

'R10-102' (U.S. Patent Pending) and 'R10-108' (U.S. Patent Pending) are new sterile Ruellia simplex cultivars which are characterized by excellent performance in both full sun and partial shade environments, prolific flowering habits throughout the flowering season, large violet flowers ('R10-102') or large white flowers ('R10-108'), and lack of fruit production when grown in northwestern, north central, and southeastern Florida. These Ruellia cultivars are expected to have excellent landscape performance.


New Whitefly Website

You might find this website useful in learning about and managing whiteflies...
Posted on May 30, 2012 by Kathy Oliver of Manatee County Extension

The University of Florida has announced a new tool for management of whitefly: http://www.flwhitefly.org/.  Florida Whitefly is a website portal focused on Florida whitefly issues of concern to landscape professionals, homeowners, and the general public. Available on the website are:

■Scripted presentations for educators covering general whitefly introduction, other problems with whiteflies in Florida, current whitefly problems, whitefly monitoring, and whitefly management.

■E-Learning modules that can be taken for FDACS-AES Continuing Education Units(CEUs) at no charge.

■Information on submitting samples, county websites, FAQs, and photos.

Ficus whitefly, Singhiella simplex. Photo: FDACS-DPI

Florida Whitefly is a partnership between the University of Florida (UF), IFAS Extension, Department of Entomology and Nematology, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services-Division of Plant Industry, UF/IFAS Extension-Broward County, UF/IFAS Extension-Lee County, UF/IFAS Extension-Miami-Dade County, UF/IFAS-Extension-Palm Beach County, Southern Plant Diagnostic Network, IPM Florida, and Pest Management University.

Holloway Nursery Liquidating Plants

Holloway Nursery is trying to sell off their plant inventory. Plants are all marked way down to move off the premises. For more information call Sue at 813-737-6043 or visit the nursery at 4201 Holloway Rd, Plant City, FL during the nursery hours.


Bean Plataspid

Here is a little bug to be on the look out for; the bean plataspid (a.k.a. the Kudzu bug).  It is a bug found in the Old World and first reported in 10/09 in a few counties in NE Georgia.  After two years it has spread to Alabama, N. Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and S. Virginia.  It is a pest of legumes and some other crop plants.  It also congregates around structures.  It is a fairly small bug about 3.5-6 mm and looks something like a ladybug or stinkbug.  It can also form three generations per year and stinks when disturbed.  Here is a link to more information.   http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/field/bugs/bean_plataspid.htm  and this one http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/pest-alerts/megacopta-cribraria.html  While it is not in our area now it probably won't be too long before they start showing up.    The photo is an adult bean plataspid. 
Photograph courtesy of Joseph Eger, Dow AgroSciences

There's an App for That!

There is a new app for nursery and green professionals called IPMPro.  It is currently available for Ipad, Iphone, and Android.
This is what the site says about what it can do, as I still have an old flip phone and haven't looked at it.

Major pest and cultural practices reference at your finger tips!
Automatic text-like alerts for time-sensitive pest issues and cultural practices -alert date adjusted specifically for your location!
Viewable as a calendar or chronological list of action items for easy reference!
Contains images, pest lifecycle, and management options for major pests of woody plants!
Provides pesticide recommendations for major diseases and insects!
Built-in pesticide recordkeeping to make outdoor, and on-the-go recordkeeping easy!
BONUS Weed content!

Here is a webpage that gives more information if you are interested. www.impproapp.com 
You can also always call you local Extension Agent! :)


Dr. Dougbug's Newsletter

I thought that you might like to read some of the articles in one of my colleague's newsletter.  It is well done and has some very timely topics.  Dr. Doug Cauldwell is the commercial horticulture agent in Collier County and deals with a lot of critters before they make it up to Hillsborough.  He has some really good videos on different pests which the newsletter links to.  It is worth a read if you have a few moments to spare.  Especially on the whiteflies and viburnum mildew.  Here is the link http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/documents/DougsBugsandShrubsBuzzNewsletterSpring2012.pdf


Extension Education Opportunites

There are some local event opportunities that you might want to participate in from Extension.

The 2012 Vegetable Pest, Disease, and Nutrient Workshop-June 26, 2012, 8:00-16:00. This is a full day workshop on the previously mentioned topics commonly found in vegetables.  This field day/workshop will be hosted at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm (GCREC). To register contact Dr. Hugh Smith, GCREC at 813-633-4124 or send an email to him at hughasmith@ufl.edu

Disease Control and Plant Health Strategies (Sponsored by BASF)- June 28, 2012, at the GCREC from 8:00-12:30 with lunch included.  This workshop will have Dr. Ann Chase, Dr. Gary Vallad, and Paul Pilon discussing the topics of diseases, management and plant health.  CEUs will be available.  To register click on this link http://www.eminj.com/BASF/PageantIntrinsic/Registration.cfm  To see the agenda click here.  http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/Ag/AgOrnProd/documents/GCRECDiseaseControlPlantHealthStrategiesinOrnamentalsSeminarAgenda.pdf

The Great CEU Round up- July 11, 9 am - 4 pm.  Get up to 6 CEUs in many categories at the Hillsborough Extension office.  Here is a link for more info.  http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu/prohort/events/documents/2012-GreatCEURoundUp.pdf

The Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference- Kissimmee, FL July 27-29,  Many events, tours, seminars, tradeshow and social networking opportunities for small farmers.  Here is the web page for more information.  http://www.conference.ifas.ufl.edu/smallfarms/index.html  Don't miss out on early bird registration by July 9th


Sharing the Love

How would you like to decrease voluntary turnover of your employees by roughly 11% and increase the return on equity of your business by 3.9% compared to similiar firms? A study released from The National Bureau of Economic Research found that firms that make use of group incentive pay with supportive employee policies achieved a reduction of employee turnover and an increase in the return of equity compared with other firms of similar size.  The co-authors Douglas L. Kruse, Joseph R. Blasi, and Richard B. Freeman analyzed 780 firms that applied to “100 best companies to work for in America" from 2005 to 2007.  They found this to be true in companies which they ranked in a "shared capitalism index" that used incentives such as Employee Stock Ownership Plans, cash profit sharing plans, gain sharing plans, Deferred Profit-Sharing Plans, and stock options.  It seems with these motivations employees are less likely to leave a firm.  These firms also had policies that allowed employees to participate in the decision-making process, valued information sharing, teamwork, and high trust supervision which also led to a higher degree of employee stability.  If you would like to read the NBER Digest of this paper follow this link. http://www.nber.org/digest/jun12/w17745.html   To order the entire paper click on this link. http://www.nber.org/papers/w17745


IFAS Releases New Red Pummelo

Here is an opportunity for a citrus propagator...
Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc. (FFSP) is announcing this Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) for the exclusive licensing opportunity of the '5-1-99-5' red pummelo cultivar. This cultivar was developed by the citrus breeding program at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Citrus Research and Education Center.

This new cultivar is a medium-large sized pummelo with attractive, uniformly-sized, dark-red fleshed segments and a thinner rind than other favored pummelo cultivars. Fruit of '5-1-99-5' is juicy, and has a slight grapefruit-like bitterness to it. Fruit of '5-1-99-5' is high in furanocoumarin content and is seedy, however, the seeds are located near the core of the fruit, and do not interfere with eating. Fruit size is quite uniform, ranging between 160mm to 180mm in diameter and 140mm to 160mm tall on average. Fruit tends to grow in clusters, and the rind can exhibit a pink blushing where fruit touch. Trees of '5-1-99-5' are obloid in structure with upright branches which exhibit drooping after fruiting has commenced. Trees are large, growing to heights of 3.35m when left un-pruned. Tree spread can reach around 3.4m. Trunk diameter reaches 13cm at 30cm above the ground.

For more information about this cultivar, please go to the following link  http%3a%2f%2fr20.rs6.net%2ftn.jsp%3fe%3d001UDkahJNgOGQZyoPyr4B1TwvvWpX1PTp3DUMeNEteAav4cgMExW6s05_cKKIfs7kczMPK3tUqY7s0wtcIK_I2hZTDRkUa6y67QgWyduLUI7mLRFUDyDbOy5LrBYiH8zfiJJSRbfV6Pi8%3d


Regional Southwest Florida Agriculture Water Update Meeting

I attended the SWFWMD Agriculture Water Update Meeting a couple of weeks ago in Plant City at the Trinkle Center.  The purpose of this meeting was to allow growers and ranchers operating within the boundaries of SWFWMD the opportunity to interact with agency leaders involved in water policy and to hear the latest updates related to agricultural water issues. Here is a brief layout summarizing and encapsulating the most important points of each speaker.  Mark Hammond-SWFWMD, spoke about water use and the ag programs.  John Abendroth – FDEP, summarized where we are currently at with the numeric nutrient criteria, total minimum daily loads (TMDLs), and basin management action plans (BMAPS).  Ann Shortelle – FDEP, summarized upcoming plans to make applications to water management districts for ground water pumping and renewal of consumptive use permits more efficient and consistent across and within the districts.  Rich Budell – FDACS, discussed the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI where the three districts meet in Central Florida) as a collaborative effort to manage the water resources in the central part of the state, and spoke about a new program of payment for environmental services by capturing water on agricultural land and receiving payments from the water management districts. This seems like a very innovative way to capture, treat, and amplify water storage in a collaborative way between landowners, government, and the water management districts. He also spoke about the importance of all agricultural producers signing up with the appropriate Best Management Programs (BMPS).  Which I must reiterate for all producers the importance of signing up under the BMP programs.  This removes the burden of proof from the producer in case nutrient contamination is in the area. The last speaker was Dr. Joan Dusky- UF Assistant Dean of Extension, summarizing how UF works collaboratively between water management districts, industry, government, and agriculture to benefit the public. She spoke about the latest research involving management of water resources across all different levels from the molecular to the farm. She also summarized by saying UF research/extension is ready, willing, and able to help bring sound science to bear in these ongoing efforts.


Landscaper Opportunity

Soho Landscape is looking to fill a position that is vacant...

We are a small boutique landscape and lawn maintenance company based in South Tampa. We are looking to find ONE new team member who is interested in learning our business and eventually running a crew.

We are looking for someone who has attention to detail.
You must have reliable transportation. We start and stop each day in South Tampa.
You must have a valid drivers license and social security number.
Must pass a background check and drug check.
We require all team members to wear uniforms.
We have a very low turn over in team members because we are very selective in our hiring process.
If you are not committed to working outdoors, in the heat, in the sun, in the cold, then do NOT apply.
Knowledge of the Florida landscape and Best Management Practices in horticulture will be viewed as favorable; however, not necessacary.

This position is for FULL TIME employment - NOT seasonal.
Your first 6 months of employment will consist of 70% lawn maintenance work and 30% landscaping work.
We process payroll every two weeks.

Lawn maintenance work = running an edger, line trimmer, hedge trimmer, push mower, and eventually using the larger zero turn mower
Landscape work = digging holes, transplanting, mulching, pulling weeds, pruning

We also maintain much of our own equipment. This means you will be responsible for assisting in washing the work trucks, cleaning equipment, changing air filters/spark plugs, sharpening blades, etc.

All new team members will be required to pass our training program within 90 days. After completion of the 90 day training program, you are eligable for a raise (typically $1 to $2 per hour depending on performance).

We are looking to bring on our ONE new team member by mid June, ready to start work on June 18th.

Our company: Soho Landscape
Here is the process for getting an interview:
1) Visit our website and submit an email via our website. http://www.soholandscape.com/home
2) We will contact you via phone/email. We will email you an official job application.
3) You will fill out the three page application and based on your responses, we may contact you for an in person interview.
4) If we wish to offer you a job position after the interview, you will be required to pass a drug test and background check.


Hurricane Season 2012 Predictions

The latest hurricane prediction information is now out from Drs. Klotzbach and Gray from Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Science. For Florida, it looks like the team is predicting a relatively mild hurricane season. A few factors such as a cooler Atlantic Ocean temperature and a possible El NiƱo event occurring this fall seemed to be aligning for minimum hurricane pressure for Florida.  They are predicting 10 named storms and two major hurricanes for the Atlantic basin.  For detailed information regarding this report here is a link for you to check out.  http://tropical.atmos.colostate.edu/forecasts/2012/apr2012/apr2012.pdf


New Publication for Nurseries

When I am out and about visiting nurseries, I can usually find someone spraying glyphosate around the edges keeping the place clean.  About 9 out of 10 times the applicator is applying the herbicide incorrectly.  Usually the person applying the spray is standing over the weeds drowning them in herbicide wasting time and money in labor and product.  That prompted me to publish "Proper Use and Handling of Glyphosate in the Nursery"  Here is the link.  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep459  If you would like to read it for a Core CEU credit take this link, read the article, and take the quiz.  If you pass the quiz I'll send you a CEU form.  www.tiny.cc/CEUS  Just scroll down to the last article on the page.

FNGLA Lake Region Meeting

The Lakes Region Meeting will be having the first meeting of the 2012-13 year.  The meeting will be at Mid-Florida Nursery (2324 County Line Road, Plant City, FL) on June 5, 2012 starting at 5:00 with dinner at 6:30 pm.  At this meeting we will be swearing in officers and Board of Directors.  We will also be having  the famous "Rumph Roasted" Boston butt for dinner, specially prepared by Bruce Rumph.  If you would like to attend please give Karen Peterson a call 863-644-6491 or email lakeregionfngla@juno.org by June 1st.  Don't forget to bring something for the raffle.


Plant Disease Control Workshop

Here is an ornamental disease seminar you may want to attend from BASF at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm on June 28, 2012.  CEUs will be available.

Disease Control and Plant Health Strategies in Ornamentals
8:00–8:50 a.m. – Registration

8:50–9:00 a.m. – Introduction (BASF)

9:00–9:30 a.m. – What is Plant Health (BASF)

9:30–10:20 a.m. – Plant Health: Trial Results and Significance to Greenhouse and Nursery Operations – Paul Pilon

10:20-10:30 a.m. – Break

10:30-11:30 a.m. – Ornamental Disease Management & Update – Dr. Ann Chase

11:30-12:30 p.m. - Disease Management in Ornamental Nurseries – Dr. Aaron Palmateer

12:30 p.m. – Lunch - sponsored by BASF

For More Information Contact:  Brian McCaffrey 727.858.0983, brian.mccaffrey@basf.com or Frank Fornari, 352.630.0123, frank.fornari@basf.com

Click on this link to register.


Pesticide Applicator Classes

The following pesticide applicator classes may be of interest to you.

In English:
May 17: Core and Private Applicator Exam Training: Thursday May 17, Core 9am-11am, Private 11am-1pm, Manatee County Extension Service. Can be taken for exam preparation or CEUs for current license holders. CEU’s available are: 2 in Core for Core class, 2 in Private Applicator for Private class.

Registration: http://coreprv051712.eventbrite.com/ Or call Jennifer at 941-722-4524

In Spanish:
June 22: Spanish Core Pesticide Training and Exam, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, 8:00am-3:00pm: The test will be administered directly after the exam. Agenda and registration available here: http://spanishcore6-22-12.eventbrite.com/

June 29: Spanish Private Applicator Pesticide Training and Exam, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, 8:00am-3:00pm: The test will be administered directly after the exam. Agenda and registration available here: http://spanishprv6-29-12.eventbrite.com/

Important Info for Spanish Classes
**Classes are in Spanish but tests are only in English**
This Class requires advance registration.
Registration fee is $20.00 per class and includes lunch. You may pay online at the websites above. If you prefer to register over the phone please call Jennifer at (941) 722-4524 and send a check to:Manatee County Extension Service, 1303 17th St. West Palmetto, FL 34221.  Make your check payable to: Manatee County Friends of Extension
Please note that checks for the Core class must be postmarked by June 15 and no refunds will be processed after June 15.

Checks for the Private Applicator class must be postmarked by June 22 and no refunds will be processed after June 22.

These classes require a minimum number of attendees. If the minimum is not reached the class(es) will be cancelled and your payment will be refunded.  Please Call Crystal or Jennifer at (941)722-4524 with any questions you may have.  CEUs will be available for current license holders pending approval.


Preemergent Herbicide Publication

What's the best herbicide to use for controlling  bittercress in containers? Which herbicide can I use over the top of crape myrtles? What herbicides are labeled for greenhouse use to control artillery fern? These are some of the common questions I get as an extension agent. In general, for these determinations we look at four basic questions:  What crop are you growing?  What weed are you trying to control?  What location are you growing at? What chemical/s are available to use on the crop?  To answer most of those questions we are fortunate to have a great publication available.  Dr. Bob Stamps (et. al) has just updated the publication entitled Preemergence Herbicides for Use in Ornamentals.  If you have questions like the ones I mentioned previously I would highly recommend you take a look at this publication.  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wg058   It covers many of the common weeds we see in the nursery industry, numerous facts about the herbicides available, and tolerance of different crop plants to preemergent herbicides all listed in a nice layout.  Remember to first identify the weed correctly, when you make a herbicide selection follow the label, and always rotate pesticides.   

Shaken Not Stirred

Converting between liquid and dry formulation fertilizers can sometimes be problematic in the field. When recommendations give a rate of N (Nitrogen) per acre in dry formulations it might be difficult to figure out how much liquid fertilizer you would need to obtain the same rate of fertilizer. Here is a new publication from the Horticulture Science Department at UF/IFAS that will help to clarify converting from dry fertilizer recommendations into liquid.  Just click on this link to read more http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1200 


Mid Florida Research and Education Center Field Day

The UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (MREC) in Apopka is hosting a field day on May 23, 2012 from 7:45 - 4:30 pm.  It looks like they will have a great line up of information for plant producers.  I highly recommend plant producers to take a look at the agenda.  There will be a few informational tours as well as speakers to update you in the latest research in plant production science from UF/IFAS MREC.  A free lunch will be provided.  There will be a tradeshow and Adam Putnam will be a guest speaker. You will also be able to get CEU's to round off your pesticide license.  Click on this link for more information,an agenda, a map, and a link to register.  http://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/fieldday/


Coffee Anyone?

This may be of interest to you.  It was forwarded to me via UF email from Duck Lake Growers.  Their price is $10 per yard or $30 per 3 yard scoop.  Their website is ducklakeonline.com

We have several thousand tons of spent coffee grounds available to organic and conventional growers. We are located centrally in Dade City,Pasco county. Can you help us reach those who could benefit from this fine organic resource?

We also have finished compost from a mixture of wood chips from tree trimming(Davey Tree Inc.),coffee grounds and high calcium limestone(Jahna mine Hernando county)

We have been using our compost for our potting soil and as the largest grower of Zamia floridana(coontie) in the world we have earned the reputation as the premier growers of this rare material. We want to make our resource available to all foreword thinking farmers and ranchers, as well as citrus,grape,peach,blueberry and ornamental growers, any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated by us and I am sure by those who can use these products. We have loaders and may be able to provide delivery throughout the state.

Thank you
Jacque Klein, Duck lake trees and shrubs
12507 duck lake canal rd.
Dade City,Fl. 33525
Ph. 352 567 9809

Invitation to Bid on Eucalyptus

Here are some new opportunities for tree producers from UF Forestry Breeding Research...

Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc. (FFSP) is announcing this Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) for the exclusive licensing opportunity of the 'G1', 'G2', 'G3', 'G4', and 'G5' eucalyptus grandis cultivars. These cultivars were developed by the forestry breeding program at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences School of Forest Resources and Conservation.

For more information about these eucalyptus cultivars, please click here. http://ffsp.net/resources/ITN12-03-07.pdf

FFSP encourages technology transfer to be an open process among all interested external parties. Because this germplasm may be exclusively licensed, the award of this exclusive license will be handled through our ITN process. If you or your company are unfamiliar with the ITN process, please click here for more information.

There are three (3) principles used to guide the entire FFSP ITN process. In order of importance, these principles are:
For the good of the State of Florida and its people;
For the good of the University of Florida and IFAS; and
For the good of the breeding program and the breeders.

These three (3) principles are to be addressed at all levels of discussion in the ITN process.

All interested parties are encouraged to submit comments and/or proposals. In order to submit comments and/or proposals, you must first complete and submit the ITN Acknowledgment Form to FFSP via fax or mail (Fax - (877) 839-9162, Mail - 1059 McCarty Hall D, PO Box 110200, Gainesville, FL 32611-0200). The ITN Acknowledgment Form can be found at the end of the ITN Announcement Packet. After FFSP has received your signed Acknowledgment Form, your company will be sent a questionnaire, which may be used as a template for your proposal.

All proposals and comments must be received by FFSP before 12PM EST on Friday, June 1, 2012. Proposals and comments received after this time will not be accepted or considered.
To request more information about any other proprietary cultivars available for licensing, please visit the FFSP website. To receive ITN announcements and other important updates regarding other cultivars, please sign up for FFSP News Alert.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact FFSP (jwatson@ffsp.net, Phone: (352) 273-3656).

ITN Proposal Checklist

Fax or Mail the Acknowledgment Form to FFSP (Fax - (877) 839-9162, Mail - 1059 McCarty Hall D, PO Box 110200, Gainesville, FL 32611-0200).

Send in Completed Proposal and/or Comments by Friday, June 1, 2012 at 12 PM EST.


Boxwood Blight

Picture from NPND News, Vol.6, Issue 12

As far as I know boxwood blight (Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum) has not been found in Florida but I wanted you to be aware of it.  This disease is very destructive on boxwood starting with black spots and lesions that coalesce to eventually kill the plant.  It has also been found on plants and landscapes in Connecticut, Virginia, Maryland, Oregon, Ohio, New York,  Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and North Carolina.  So be aware and cautious about moving plants back and forth across the Florida state line.  The disease is common in the UK.  It affects all cultivars and species of Buxus to one degree or another and the same disease has been found on Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis).  If you are interested in reading more about it boxwood blight, here is a great article about the disease from Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station.    http://tiny.cc/boxblight 


FNGLA Tampa Chapter Environmental Horticulture Scholarship

The FNGLA Tampa Chapter is now taking applications for the Carl F. Cowgill Youth Scholarship.  If you know somebody who is a college student from Hillsborough County that is pursuing a degree that will lead to employment within the environmental horticulture industry, this scholarship would apply to them.  The FNGLA awards up to 5 scholarships each year based upon the merit and needs of the students.  The FNGLA holds a plant auction at the Hillsborough County Fair and has a golf tournament to raise money for the scholarships.  The deadline for application is July 15 (no exceptions).  If awarded, the scholarship can be up to $1000 depending upon available funds.  If you would like an application please email me ststeed@ufl.edu