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.