2017 1Q and 2Q,Sees Decline in Hillsborough/Polk Environmental Horticulture Production Output

I just ran the numbers for the estimated output of the environmental horticulture industry value for the first and second quarter of 2017 and was surprised to find a decline in value for both Hillsborough and Polk Counties.  With all the construction that is being done around the area, I was sure that the numbers would have increased.  What is a bit surprising, is that in the 2016 estimate, annual output was down about 8.4% in Hills. Co. and almost 9% in Polk County.  The beginning of this year we are looking at about a 2% decline in Hills. Co. and about a 3% decline in Polk County compared to 2016, at an annualized rate.  This will erase all the gains we have seen post-recession for the industry in these two counties.
There are some assumptions with these estimates: labor productivity is staying about the same for the years and is calculated at 37.5% of total expenses and about half of the industry doesn’t report labor costs to the state. These numbers are also before the hurricane season and it will be interesting to see what the annual numbers turn out to be in six months’ time.
According to the DPI list of registered nurseries in 2017 (which can be anything from a back yard to a full blown wholesale operation), we are down about 50 in Hillsborough to 350 (-12.5%) and 30 in Polk to 207 (-11.9%).     


Old/Outdated Pesticide Collection and Disposal Event

If you have some old or outdated pesticides that are only taking up room in the pesticide shed and would like to dispose of them in a responsible manner, please consider the following event that has a solution to your problem...

Hillsborough County Offers Free Agriculture Pesticide Collection January 30 Collection Day Reduces Public Health Risk and Educates Agriculture Community on Best Practices

Hillsborough County, Fla. (Nov. 30, 2017) - Hillsborough County agricultural operations can dispose of stored pesticides that are out-of-date, suspended, or unusable during a free Agriculture Pesticide Collection and Education Day on Tuesday, Jan. 30, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., at US Ecology, 7202 E. 8th Ave. in Tampa.

The collection effort is part of an initiative to provide farmers a safe and efficient way to dispose of unusable pesticides, and to avoid the potential public health and environmental risks associated with long term storage of these pesticides. The initiative also educates agricultural pesticide users on proper handling, storage, and management practices.

The Agricultural Pesticide Collection and Education Day is hosted through a partnership between the Hillsborough County Economic Development Agriculture Industry Development Program, the Hillsborough County Extension Service, and the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County. The five previous county pesticide collection events, held between 2003 and 2017, have resulted in the safe disposal of 96,143 pounds of agricultural pesticides.

Funding for the collection is being provided through a grant from the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County Pollution Recovery Fund. This funding is limited, and the collection will be closed when funding is exhausted.

Pesticide manufacturers and distributors, homeowners, universities and government institutions, including state, county and local government pesticide users, are not eligible to participate.

For more information on the collection, contact Simon Bollin, Agriculture Industry Development Program Manager, Hillsborough County Economic Development Department, at (813) 276-2735 or BollinS@HCFLGov.net

UF/IFAS Extension Production Field Day at Hibernia Nursery

Don't forget to register for a production field day at Hibernia Nursery.  Visit with the folks at Hibernia and learn some new things with UF/IFAS Extension. 

An irrigation control system has been developed at the University of Florida, IFAS. The irrigation control system called CIRRIG uses onsite weather and leaching fraction information to automatically adjust irrigation run times daily. You will learn how CIRRIG works and see plants grown with overhead sprinkler and micro-irrigation.

A watering station is used to irrigate plants immediately after planting. The watering station complies with new Best Management Practice guidelines for mitigating nutrients in runoff water.

Pest control at Hibernia Nursery is accomplished with the Airtec Sprayer. The efficient delivery of pesticides and precision control of pests have reduced costs.

The event will be on December 7, 2017, at 09:00 and run until 13:30 with a lunch being served.  Tickets are free but you must preregister for a spot.  Registration is limited to 40 people
and closes Dec. 5, 2017. Please register to receive lunch.  Here is the link if you would like to attend.  www.tiny.cc/Hibernia_BMP

Here is the agenda...
9:00 a.m. - Check In
9:15 a.m.  - Introductions and Overview of Technologies
10:00 a.m.  - Visit Field Sites
12:15 p.m.  - Lunch
1:00 p.m.  - Concluding Comments

The location will be at HIBERNIA NURSERY 1176 C. 478A, Webster, Florida 33597

Participants requiring special accommodations contact 352.569.6862 five days prior to event.


Fall Ornamental Pest Update--From Syngenta

This information is provided from Lee Bloomcamp with Syngenta which I am relaying to you. If you would like to find more information about a specific pesticide label you can visit this site <http://www.cdms.net/Label-Database>.

Disclosure -The use of trade names or registered products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information.  UF/IFAS does not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication do not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition.  All chemicals should be used in accordance with directions on the manufacturer's label.  Use pesticides safely.  Read and follow direction on the manufacturer's label. 

Weather extremes have had significant impact in Florida in recent months.  Heat, drought, monsoons and hurricanes have affected nurseries all over the state, and pest and disease management problems continue as well.   Current issues are addressed below.


This time of year it is not unusual to find  large white grubs in both in-ground and container tree and shrub roots.  The grubs are immature scarab beetles, mostly Masked chafers, Green June Beetles, and May Beetles, some have multiple-year life cycles.  Adult beetles deposit eggs in moist rich soils, and  irrigated areas full of peat, bark and juicy roots attract egg-laying females.  Grubs feed all summer, then move to the soil surface to pupate in the fall, making them more visible to growers. The mature grubs are hard to kill since they are not eating- DuraGuard drenches may work, but most treatments are not cost effective.  Best strategy for control starts in early summer.  Adult beetles emerge in spring, then mate, and lay eggs.  May-early July drenches of Mainspring GNL or Flagship or other labeled products readily control smaller grubs, preventing root damage and plant stress.   Entomopathic nematodes and milky-spore bacteria are also used in grub IPM programs.  Scarab beetles often return to the same areas to breed, so watch for grubs and root damage and prepare for drenches next year.

Red Imported Fire ants increase activity in the fall.  Less rain, cooler temperatures and plenty of food stimulate colony growth.  Broadcast baits are the best way to control RIFA in areas larger than ½ A.  Award II is labeled for nurseries, and Advion RIFA bait can be used around structures, lawns and non-production areas.  Advion is extremely fast and effective, and will be available for use in nurseries soon.  Treating for RIFA  now will reduce winter survival, and lead to fewer ant problems in the spring.


‘Tis the season for mildew, both Powdery and Downy.  Cooler evenings, mature foliage and drier weather all promote these diseases.  Both can be hard to identify, and easily mistaken for other problems.  Many species get powdery mildew, and downy is expanding its host range as well.  Attached are recommendations for both.  Downy mildew is a big problem on basil- Micora, Subdue Maxx and Heritage are all labeled for control of DM on this crop.  Most DM products also control phytophthora.


Core Pesticide Class Opportunity

A class entitled "Pesticide Safety Jeopardy" will be offered at the the Hillsborough County Extension office 10:30 am-12:15 pm, November 28, 2017.
This class is a Jeopardy-like game.  Playing the game will strengthen your knowledge and skills in the areas of signal words, hazards, formulations, calibration and spills. Use pesticide and fertilizer labels, SDS and basic math skills.  Here is the registration link.  www.prohort.eventbrite.com
FDACS CEUS: 2.0 Chapter 487 or 482 Core.

Private Applicator Exam Training and WPS Classes at Balm, FL

Classes will be held for Private Applicator Exam Preparation and WPS Train-the-Trainer Class at Balm, FL at the UF/IFAS GCREC on Dec. 7th and 8th.

CORE - Applying Pesticides Correctly
Exam Prep 12/7/17, 8:30am - 10:30am
Exam Session 10:30am - 12:30pm

Review of General Standards Topics Including:
Pesticide Law
Principles of Pest Control
Pesticide Labels
Environmental Hazards
Harmful Effects and PPE
Mixing, Loading and Application
Transportation, Disposal and Spill Cleanup
Pesticide Application Procedures
CEUs:  2 Core

Private Applicator Class
Exam Prep 12/7/17:  10:45am - 12:45pm
Exam Session 12:45am - 2:45pm

Review of Private Applicator Topics Including:
Licensing of Private Applicators
Pests and Pest Control
The Worker Protection Standard
Application Equipment and Calibration
Dilutions and Site Sizes
Pesticide Labels
Calibration and Dilution Mathematics
CEUs:  2 Private

Worker Protection Standard Train-The-Trainer Workshop
 12/8/17, 9:00am - 1:30pm
(lunch is included)
Review of Worker Protection Standard Topics Including:
Basic pesticide information and regulations
The Worker Protection Standard (WPS)
WPS Agricultural Worker and Pesticide Handler Training
How to conduct training
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Inspection and Enforcement Perspective
4 Private Applicator
4 Aerial Application
4 Ag Row Crop
4 Ag Tree Crop
4 Forestry
4 Ornamental & Turf
4 Soil & Greenhouse Fumigation

Registration - Registration is required.
CORE: https://core2017balm.eventbrite.com
PRIVATE:  https://private2017balm.eventbrite.com
WPS T-T-T:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/commercial-wps-train-the-trainer-balm-tickets-30924974431

Cancellations - If your class is canceled for any reason you will be notified no less than 24 hours prior to class start. We will provide a full refund for cancellations made by Manatee County Extension. Refunds may take up to 30 days to process.
Refunds - Refunds will be made in the event of a class cancellation or if the registrant requests a refund 24 hours prior to the class time.
If you have any questions please contact Martha Glenn at mglenn7@ufl.edu or 941-722-4524.


New Production Technology Field Day

Join us for a field day at Hibernia Nursery where UF/IFAS Extension will demonstrate new production technologies in irrigation, watering stations and pest control.

An irrigation control system has been developed at the University of Florida, IFAS. The irrigation control system called CIRRIG uses onsite weather and leaching fraction information to automatically adjust irrigation run times daily. You will learn how CIRRIG works and see plants grown with overhead sprinkler and micro-irrigation.

A watering station is used to irrigate plants immediately after planting. The watering station complies with new Best Management Practice guidelines for mitigating nutrients in runoff water.

Pest control at Hibernia Nursery is accomplished with the Airtec Sprayer. The efficient delivery of pesticides and precision control of pests have reduced costs.

The event will be on December 7, 2017, at 09:00 and run until 13:30 with a lunch being served.  Tickets are free but you must preregister for a spot.  Registration is limited to 40 people
and closes Nov. 30, 2017. Please register to receive lunch.  Here is the link if you would like to attend.  www.tiny.cc/Hibernia_BMP

Here is the agenda...
9:00 a.m. - Check In
9:15 a.m.  - Introductions and Overview of Technologies
10:00 a.m.  - Visit Field Sites
12:15 p.m.  - Lunch
1:00 p.m.  - Concluding Comments

The location will be at HIBERNIA NURSERY 1176 C. 478A, Webster, Florida 33597

Participants requiring special accommodations contact 352.569.6862 five days prior to event.


UF Poinsettia Trial and Greenhouse Field Day

The Poinsettia Industry Trials at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL is now open for pre-registration.  The event will take place on Dec. 5, 2017 at the Environmental Horticulture Greenhouses at Fifield Hall.  The event highlights 148 new poinsettia varieties from Beekenkamp, Dummen Orange, Selecta/Ball, Suntory, and Syngenta, along with University of Florida research on a range of greenhouse topics.  Here is a link to register.  http://tinyurl.com/FLPoinsettia17 .  It will cost $50 (plus processing fee for preregistration).

Here is an agenda for the day. 

9.00:  Registration and greenhouse walk-through
9.30:  Welcome and introductions
9.45:  Poinsettia cultivar trials (George Grant, UF)
11.00:  University research presentations, including heat delay and natural day flowering, Klasmann-Deilmann and Pindstrup wood fiber growing media, coleus varieties, superfoods (ginger, turmeric), CT scanning of roots, and biofilm management
12.00:  BBQ lunch (includes vegetarian options)
12.45:  Commercial breeder presentations by Beekenkamp, Dummen Orange, Selecta/Ball, Suntory, and Syngenta
2.00:  Finish


Do Tailwater Recovery Ponds Help Growers?

SWFWMD and farmers may have slightly different ideas on the purpose of tailwater recovery ponds.  In fact, even I was under a big misconception regarding the purpose of these ponds.  Many growers are operating on a false assumption that ponds are a way to capture and store excess water for use whenever needed or in amounts above their water use permit (WUP).  SWFWMD sees them as a way to reduce groundwater pumping from the aquifer.
The development of surface water and tailwater recovery reservoirs are effective BMPs to achieve both water quality improvements and groundwater conservation. These reservoirs are typically excavated below ground level at the low end of a farm to collect excess irrigation water and storm water run-off. The use of these reservoirs for irrigation is effective in reducing or "offsetting" the amount of groundwater that is withdrawn from the Upper Floridan aquifer for irrigation and frost/freeze protection. They also improve water quality of the downstream watershed by reducing irrigation runoff of mineralized groundwater applied to crops.
To incentivize implementation of farm ponds as a source of irrigation water, the FARMS Program and the producer share the total project costs of the components and materials used in the construction of pump stations that withdraw water from the reservoir and feed it into the irrigation system. This includes, but may not be limited to: surface water pumps; power units for the pump; materials for the foundation and protective structure; filtration systems, fuel tanks, and flow meters; culverts and control structures that enhance tailwater recovery; intake/mainline piping and any other necessary appurtenances to connect the surface water pump station to the existing irrigation system. Although excavation of the reservoir itself is not considered a FARMS eligible cost, it can be included in the total project cost and go towards the grower’s required contribution.
Before the new farm pond is operational the grower will need to modify his/her Water Use Permit to include the new surface withdrawal. The amount of water that is withdrawn from the pond is identified on the Water Use Permit as a surface withdrawal and those same quantities will be shown as stand-by on the new permit.
 First let’s use an example of a nursery that is permitted for ten acres, puts in a one acre pond.   For starters, the nursery now has nine acres of production, so the WUP is decreased by one acre since there are only nine acres of production land.  So the total quantity allocated to the farm is lowered.  Some of the water that was allocated on the WUP will be taken off the ground water and moved to the surface water of the pond and that same quantity will be a standby quantity on the ground well should the pond go dry.  Let’s just say that is 10% for example sake.  So your total allocation must be met with surface water first and then ground water secondly.  If your surface water supplies more than the 10%, you can pump from the surface water and reduce the groundwater pumping, however, you still cannot exceed your total WUP (surface + ground cannot be greater than 100%) allocated to the 9 acres.   This is where growers find difficulty.  If you supplied half of your WUP with your surface water you cannot pump the 90% allocated on your permit from the groundwater.  You would be exceeding your total WUP (50% surface and 90% goundwater= 140% of total WUP).    Always read and ask questions about your WUP before you sign it to eliminate conflicts down the road.  Ponds may work well when there is too much pressure on ground water resources in an area or if there are issues with ground water quality but may take out potentially productive land. District staff are available to assist any grower with questions/concerns about the use of alternative water supply projects.  Growers are encouraged to contact Reed Putnall, Hydrogeologist, FARMS Program, (941) 377 – 3722, ext. 6546.

Waste Disposal Survey

A senior at UF is looking for some help with her research project on waste disposal in agriculture.  If you could take a brief survey it would greatly help her out.

Waste disposal is an area of growing concern in the US. Please take the to complete a short survey that is attached. It's purpose is to explore waste disposal practices and attitudes towards waste disposal in agriculture across Florida. This survey is part of a research project being conducted by a senior at the University of Florida. It will be used to help solve environmental quality issues and help promote the presence of agriculture in the state for future generations.  Thank you.


FNGLA Tampa Chapter Fall Social

FNGLA Tampa Chapter will be having a Fall Social at Kelly Days Firehouse Tavern
1708 E 7th Ave. Tampa, FL 33605 at 6:00 pm on Thursday, October 26, 6-8 pm.  Admission is a $10 donation per person which includes food, drinks, entry for door prices and unlimited networking opportunities! 


When Lightning Strikes--Lightning Fact Sheet for Agriculture Producers

Florida agriculture has many challenges, some of which are managing our particular environmental conditions.  Managing these challenges successfully can advance our family's or business' interests.  One environmental challenge that producers face during the summer rainy season is the workplace danger of lightning.  Protecting employees and yourself from the dangers of lightning is extremely important living in the "Lightning Alley" corridor of Florida.  In fact, Florida leads as the number one state for lightning fatalities.
I have received questions like:  "When do I need to pull workers from the field?" "When can my employees return to work after a storm?" "What do I need to do for OSHA in terms of lightning?" and "Can my workers wait in a greenhouse until the storm passes?" A fact sheet was created for agricultural operations to answer these questions and other information on the dangers of lightning, types of lightning and how injury can occur, how to protect oneself from this danger, how agricultural operations are required to protect employees, and a lightning safety plan.  To read more about lightning related to agriculture here is a link to the fact sheet.   http://hillsborough.ifas.ufl.edu/documents/pdf/ornamental_production/A-Z_pubs/17_Hillsborough_Lightning_Safety_FS_EMAIL.pdf

BMP Projects Wanted

Attention Growers:  UF/IFAS BMP Program is seeking growers with ideas for BMP implementation.  If you would like to implement a BMP project on your farm, UF/IFAS Extension can help.  You pick the project, we collaborate on implementation.  Extension will write the grant.  You get 100% of the cost covered up to $10,000 if it is funded.  Then we have a field day to demonstrate your project.  Please read the information below if you would like to participate.

Request for proposals – BMP Minigrant Program
October 17, 2017
Deadline: November 10, 2018
As in past years we are requesting proposals for on-farm demonstrations related to BMP implementation. The deadline for these proposals is November 10, 2017 by reply email. There is no limit to the amount requested, however the target amount is $5,000 to $10,000 each. Grower evaluation of the BMP(s) are critical to this program. Therefore, the proposed project should be for a single year, involve a grower cooperator, conducted on their field and culminate in a grower attended field day. Any applicable BMP can be demonstrated on any crop or animal within a published BMP manual.
The format of the proposal is the same as previous years and contain the following elements: 1) 2 to 4 pages in length, 2) provide the BMP and crop in the title; 3) a background section containing the reason for the proposed demonstration; 4) list of objectives, outcomes and projected impact of the demonstration; 5) complete list of materials and methods; 6) projected field day agenda; 7) description of potential audience (makeup and size) of the field day; and 8) complete budget including all personnel costs (salary and fringe), costs of materials and equipment, and 10% overhead.
The demonstration project should result in a grower field day at the demonstration site, and a final report (due no later than June 15, 2018). The agenda and announcement for the field day must be received at least two weeks prior to the event. In addition to grower invitations; FDACS, NRCS, water management district and other state agency personnel must be encouraged to participate in and attend the grower field day.  The final report must contain a summary of: the demonstration site; interactions with the cooperator; attendance list; final agenda; copies of presentations and handouts; and outcomes. The writing of EDIS documents, magazine articles and other publications are encouraged. The BMP program will assist in writing and publishing of these documents.
Suggested topics
1) Fertilizer rates, 2) irrigation scheduling, 3) use of soil moisture sensors, 4) soil and tissue testing, 5) variable rate fertilizer applications, 6) irrigation automation, 7) use of drone based technologies, 8) fertilizer management with soil electrical conductivity sensors, 9) on-site water retention/treatment, 10) any other applicable BMP


Private Applicator Exam Prep Class and CEUs

UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County is offering Private and Core Pesticide Applicator Licenses Preparatory Classes on October 19, 2017 at the Hillsborough County Extension Office in Seffner, FL.  These are review/training classes for those wishing to pass the Core and/or Private Pesticide Applicator License Exam (Restricted Use Pesticide License) from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  You also may receive Pesticide CEUs if you already have a license.  We will offer 4 CEUs for the trainings.  You may register for either training alone or for both.  Core Exam Review will be from 8:30-10:30 and Private Applicator Review will be taught afterwards from 10:30 until 12:30 pm.  We will offer the Core and Private Exams after each training. Please contact Shawn Steed for any questions or special needs regarding this event 813-744-5519 ext. 54147.  Classes may be canceled due to low registration.  In this instance you will be notified.  Here is the link to register.


Disaster Relief Funds Available

Family farmers in Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands can now access much-needed relief following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Farm Aid has partnered with Florida Organic Growers & Consumers, Inc. (FOG) to distribute emergency relief grants of $500 to help farmers meet household expenses. Families who rely on farming for their income, live in the declared disaster areas, and are experiencing hardship as a result of the storm are encouraged to complete an application, even if other relief such as crop insurance or FEMA funds have been made available.

There is no deadline to apply, although applications are reviewed as they are received and there is a finite amount of funding available. Applications will be reviewed by a team of community members and FOG staff. Approval is based on the applicant qualifying as a family farm and demonstrating economic loss. Please note: you do not have to be an organic farm to apply.

Applications are available online at www.foginfo.org and at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FLFARMAID 

Applications can also be completed by phone.  Email david@foginfo.org or call 352.377.6345 to set up a phone interview.

Digital applications can be downloaded here: http://www.foginfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/FOGApplication.pdf, and then emailed to david@foginfo.org or printed and mailed to:

Florida Organic Growers
ATTN: Hurricanes Irma and Maria Relief Project
P.O. Box 12311
Gainesville, FL 32604

Donations to support these efforts can be made to Farm Aid's Family Farm Disaster Fund (https://give.farmaid.org/checkout/donation?eid=54454). If one wishes to specifically support organic farmers in Florida, please donate at http://www.foginfo.org/get-involved/supportus/.


Hurricane Recovery

This message about disaster losses was from Gene McAvoy an agent in Hendry Co.

Farmers and Ranchers Affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma Granted Extra Time, Procedures, to Document and Claim Disaster Losses

USDA announced special procedures to assist producers who lost crops or livestock or had other damage to their farms or ranches as a result of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Also, because of the severe and widespread damage caused by the hurricanes, USDA will provide additional flexibility to assist farm loan borrowers.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), is authorizing emergency procedures on a case-by-case basis to assist impacted borrowers, livestock owners, contract growers, and other producers. The measures announced today apply only to counties impacted by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-determined tropical storm, typhoon, or hurricane, including Harvey and Irma that have received a primary Presidential Disaster Declaration and those counties contiguous to such designated counties.

Financially stressed FSA farm loan borrowers affected by the hurricanes who have received primary loan servicing applications may be eligible for 60 day extensions.  Full details are available at https://go.usa.gov/xRe8V.

A more complete listing of all of the special farm program provisions is posted at https://go.usa.gov/xRe8p.

Among the actions announced today are lengthened deadlines for certain provisions under the Marketing Assistance Loan (MAL) program, the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program (FSFL), and the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP), the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP).  Emergency grazing may also be authorized under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for up to 60 days.

In addition, the deadlines to file a loss for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP) are extended, and special provisions are provided for “acceptable proof of livestock death and inventory for livestock losses.”

Farmers and ranchers affected by the hurricanes are urged to keep thorough records of all losses, including livestock death losses, as well as expenses for such things as feed purchases and other extraordinary costs because of lost supplies and or increased transportation costs.

Producers with coverage through USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) administered federal crop insurance program should contact their crop insurance agent for issues regarding filing claims. Those who purchased crop insurance will be paid for covered losses. Producers should report crop damage within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days. The Approved Insurance Providers (AIP), loss adjusters and agents are experienced and well trained in handling these types of events.  For more information see https://www.rma.usda.gov/news/stormdisaster.html.

As part of its commitment to delivering excellent customer service, RMA is working closely with AIPs that sell and service crop insurance policies to ensure enough loss adjusters will be available to process claims in the affected areas as quickly as possible.

In anticipation of flooding due to Hurricane Harvey, RMA took several proactive steps to ensure the efficient and reliable delivery of the crop insurance program.   RMA authorized the use of emergency loss adjustment procedures to streamline certain loss determinations on specific crops and accelerated the adjustment of losses and issuance of indemnity payments to policyholders in all Texas and Louisiana counties impacted by Hurricane Harvey. RMA is reviewing the need for additional measures in response to Hurricane Irma.

USDA encourages all farmers and ranchers to contact their crop insurance agents and their local FSA office, as applicable, to report damages to crops or livestock loss.  Additional resources to help farmers and ranchers deal with flooding and other damage may be found at www.usda.gov/disaster

Local FSA Offices are
Hillsborough County Farm Service Agency
Plant City Service Center
201 S Collins St. Ste 201
Plant City, FL 33563
(813) 752-1474
(813) 754-7297 fax

Polk County Farm Service Agency
Bartow Service Center
1700 HWY 17 S
Bartow, FL 33830
(800) 243-9912
(863) 533-2051
(855) 475-8047 fax


Hurricane Information

Image from NOAA

As we prepare for the approaching hurricane, I hope we are all spared the worst of possibilities.  Here are a few resources that might be helpful pre/post hurricane.

National Hurricane Center Website
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/  Official source for tropical storm/hurricane updates and predictions

Dr. Yeager's storm preparation document for nurseries.

UF's hurricane information blog.  This site has a multitude of information on storm updates and resources like protecting agricultural animals, disaster information, services, and recovery documents.

Recovery Documents
      Preventing Further Damage to your Flooded Home
      Mold Prevention Mitigation
      Disaster Recovery Resources

Hillsborough County Farm Service Agency
Plant City Service Center
201 S Collins St. Ste 201
Plant City, FL 33563
(813) 752-1474
(813) 754-7297 fax

Polk County Farm Service Agency
Bartow Service Center
1700 HWY 17 S
Bartow, FL 33830
(800) 243-9912
(863) 533-2051
(855) 475-8047 fax

Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center http://flvbeoc.org/  Resources and Disaster Recovery for Businesses

Stay Safe!


Greenhouses for Sale in Plant City

Here is an opportunity I was notified of from a local real estate agent (Chase Wolf with Signature Realty). Click on the link below for more information.  

HUGELY UNIQUE PROPERTY for either an investor or a horticultural business. The property consists of a single wide mobile home fronting on Knights Loop with over an acre of land and seven large greenhouses. The mobile home will require work to be fully usable. However, it could serve as a residence, a caretaker/worker part time home, an office/showroom or any other combination of the aforementioned. The current owner did not do the work, as the layout/finish is highly dependent upon the use. The greenhouses are metal framed, have irrigation throughout, wood plant shelves and timber columns. Although they need some work to be fully usable, all of the infrastructure is in place. Could be an amazing plant nursery. An investor could also utilize this as a rental property. A short drive to I-4 exit 21, providing access to the Hard Rock, downtown Tampa and Orlando. Priced to sell...



Polk County Irrigated Land Report

Here is an interesting report from the USGS on irrigated land in Polk County.  It is a map based delineation of the crops that were growing in 2016 along with a detailed summary.  It is interesting to look at the total consumption of ground water along with other industries and it is also interesting to note that total usage has been declining for the county among all sources of withdrawls listed.
The results of this inventory in 2016 shows, an estimated 88,652 acres were irrigated within Polk County;83,995 acres were in citrus; 2,893 acres were in other non-citrus fruit crops (blueberries, grapes, peaches, and strawberries); 621 acres were in row crops (primarily beans and watermelons); 1,117 acres were in nursery (container and tree farms) and sod production; and 26 acres were in field crops including hay and pasture.
If you would like to take a look at this report, here is a link to the USGS document set.  https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20171082


Hort Talks in Manatee County

I am teaming up with Martha Glenn in Manatee County for a session on weeds.  We will be offering up to 4 CEUs in various categories (core and private) at the Manatee County Extension Office.  Here are the details and you can sign up with the link below.  My session is an update on our latest research with weed control.  Specifically, tropical plants and herbicides that can be used with them as well as control in the usual suspects.

Hort-Talks (4 hours of various CEUs)
Thursday, August 25th - Weeds, Weeds, Weeds - the legal but invasive kind.  9:00am - 1:00pm

$25 includes a mid-morning snack

Speakers include:

Dr. Paul Mitola, Field Training Coordinator, Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services will present on Core safety topics

Shawn Steed, Environmental Horticulture Production Agent, Hillsborough/Polk Counties, will discuss Weeds and their Controls

Dr. James Cuda, Professor Biological Weed Control, UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Depart, will show us how to manage invasive weeds sustainably with a focus on biological control.

Here is the link to register.  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/commercial-hort-talks-tickets-31102747154?mc_cid=9eac086ba3&mc_eid=e616d8bed9


WPS and Respirator Use

The Worker Protection Standard rules regarding the use of respirators has changed and will need to be followed to avoid compliance issues during FDACS inspections.  Here is a very good fact sheet by Dr. Fred Fishel (UF) with the specifics on what has changed and how to comply with the new standards.  Remember that employees applying granular pre-emergence herbicides that require dust masks under personal protective equipment will need to follow these rules as well.  Here is a link to the fact sheet.  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/PI/PI27200.pdf


SWFWMD for Growers: Permit Renewal Changes

Reed Putnall from SWFWMD has asked if I could do a series of articles about misconceptions that growers might have about permits and the permitting process for nursery folk.  It sounded like a good idea and after several meetings with SWFWMD I have learned a few things that I would like to pass on.  Here is our first article of the series.

Some growers have recently stated that their irrigation quantities allocated for production were reduced or cut by SWFWMD when their water use permits went through the renewal process.  There is a little bit of confusion about how the water was allocated.  In the past, when permits were approved, farms requested amounts based on the total land area that was being farmed (including non-growing areas (ex. offices, roads, loading areas, potting areas, storage, etc)).  SWFWMD now uses GIS (geographic information system) technology that allows the removal of non-growing areas from the total farm area covered under the water use permit.  Technically, the total allocation amount does get reduced but the amount allocated to the productive area on the farm stays the same. Quantities allowable for the production of the crop on a per area basis doesn’t change; the District is just getting better at determining land areas covered under the water use permit.  So for instance, if you were previously allocated 50 inches (hypothetical amount) per acre per year for 10 acres and your permit is up for renewal things might change when a closer look is taken. SWFWMD determines that you have 1 acre of buildings and roads on the farm.  This means that they can renew the permit for 50 inches of irrigation per acre per year for 9 acres.  So in this example your application rate hasn't changed but your total allocation for the farm did decrease.  This information can be found in your permit paperwork.  If you have any questions about this or other actions of SWFWMD regarding your permit please shoot me an email.


Private Applicator Training Class in Manatee County

Core and Private Applicator Prep Classes are being offered on July 25th at the Manatee County Extension Office (1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221).
General Core Prep – This class is from 8:30 - 10:30.  2 Core CEUs available (both 482 & 487).  The cost of the class is $15.00.  The Exam follows the class if you choose to take it.  The link to register is:  https://core2017.eventbrite.com
Private Applicator Prep – This class is from 10:45 - 12:45.  2 Private CEUs available.  The cost of the class is $15.00.  Exam(s) follow.
The link to register is:  https://private2017.eventbrite.com  Please call Martha Glenn with any questions (941) 722-4524.

Tampa Chapter Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association Meeting

The Tampa Chapter of FNGLA is having a social meeting for nursery growers and landscapers to meet and greet.  The event will be on Thursday, July 27, 2017 from 6:00 - 9:00 pm at Cigar City Brewing (3924 West Spruce Street Tampa, FL 33607).  $10.00 at the door will get you entry and five raffle tickets for door prizes.  A cash/credit bar will be available.  Please RSVP to tampafngla@gmail.com  For more information check out the flyer below.


Hillsborough County Nursery Seeking Grower

A Hillsborough County Nursery is looking for a woody ornamental grower with the following credentials.  If you or someone you know is interested please email Shawn Steed at UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County.

-          Self-Starter
-          Organized
-          Knowledge of woody ornamentals
-          Develop a crop/nursery maintenance program
o   Knowledge of chemicals – When and where to use them
o   Knowledge of pests/insects – Scout regularly and know how to identify them.
o   Knowledge of fungus/bacteria
o   Knowledge of herbicides and seasonal weeds
o   Assist in conducting training programs to protect workers involved in pest/fungus/weed control. 
o    Direct all aspects of nursery production
o   Assist in managing inventory and availability – input on when and what to pot up when inventory is getting low
o   Knowledge of planting, pruning, fertilizing, and weeding, AND having the ability to direct others in these activities.
o   Provide direction to other employees and process the ability to train or teach others along the way
o   Assist in purchasing and receiving raw materials, and step up material by communicating with us on what and when you need something for production.  This includes procurement of products such as fertilizer, chemicals, pots, soil, etc.  
-          Knowledge of human resource issues in the production area – conscience of practices that are unsafe and harmful to all employees involved
-          Ability to coordinate equipment needs/service and maintenance. 
-          Assist in daily sales, and coordinate pulling orders correctly.  This includes being able to direct other employees to help in this process.
-          Oversee all orders for delivery to ensure the right plants and quantities are pulled. 

-          Knowledge of loading trucks and how to organize multiple orders on one truck.  


Important Nursery Insurance Meeting 6/27/17

This important message from FNGLA to growers who have nursery crop insurance...

A significant meeting is set for Tuesday, June 27 for Florida's nursery growers to share your frustrations with the federal nursery crop insurance policy and what's needed to improve the policy. USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) recently awarded a contract to conduct research and obtain information for a proposed new alternative nursery crop insurance policy. The proposal is the direct result of FNGLA's persistent multi-year push to overhaul the existing policy, in part, by eliminating most of the upfront burdens such as price lists, Datascape plant values, and plant inventory inspections at time of application. If adopted by RMA, the new policy crafted by FNGLA allows you to select a level of insurance coverage which makes business sense for your nursery. Sales records will need to be produced only at times of loss.

The meeting is 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Palm Beach County Extension Exhibit Hall B located at 559 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach 33415. RMA is requiring "listening sessions" be held throughout the country so input can be gathered from nursery growers. This grower session will be followed by a 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. "listening session" for Florida crop insurance agents and insurance company representatives. If you are upset with crop insurance coverage at time of loss, or believe the paperwork and plant inventory inspections at time of application are overly burdensome, then please attend this crucial June 27 meeting! If you're happy with the policy, RMA needs to hear that too.

Since Florida's growers purchase the lion's share of the nation's nursery crop insurance policies, FNGLA pushed for three sessions to be held (one each in North, Central and South Florida). Nonetheless, June 27 will be the only Florida session. So, it's important lots of nursery growers show up from all across our state! This is an opportunity to voice your concerns with the existing policy! To make it easy for you, FNGLA will have available at the meeting a one-pager of suggested talking points to help you drive home the need to overhaul the current nursery crop insurance policy. If you plan to attend, yet have not let FNGLA know, please do so ASAP by emailing info@fngla.org. If crop insurance is important to your nursery, then you need to be with us on June 27!


Flumioxazin Plant Injury

Dr. Nathan Boyd, weed scientist at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center and I have been working on tropical ornamental crop tolerances to preemergent herbicides as part of an FNGLA research grant.  He sent this picture of firebush BoradStar herbicide damage to me and thought I would share.  BroadStar can be applied to ornamental plants growing in containers, the field and in landscapes.  Mild spotting is a common reaction of tolerant plants with symptoms showing up 1-2 days after application.  Do not apply BroadStar to wet foliage, stressed plants, or some plants that can funnel the herbicide into leaf bases.  Below is his description of what is going on.

The active ingredient in BroadStar is flumioxazin.  This herbicide is a PPO inhibitor that is generally applied preemergence (before weeds emerge).  It can, however, damage plants when the herbicide comes in contact with green foliage.  When applied preemergence, the emerging seedling absorbs the herbicide and subsequently dies when the shoot is exposed to light.  Flumioxazin can also be absorbed by the root system of larger plants.  When this occurs the roots generally are not damaged as they are not exposed to light and do not contain chlorophyll.  Flumioxazin can travel through from the roots to the leaves.  Once it reaches the leaves where it is exposed to light the veins turn purple and die.  Leaf death follows soon afterwards.  Symptoms of flumioxazin damage include, purpling of the veins in the leaf, purpling or tissue death moving from the veins outward.


Nurseries Seek Forming Peer Group

A few wholesale nursery businesses are seeking interest from other nurseries to develop a peer group to evaluate production and financial aspects of operating a nursery business.  Some of the benefits that belonging to this group could be nursery visits, production chain evaluation, production finish times, finding inefficiencies in  production, financial benchmarking, finding future research and education needs to solve common industry problems,  having peers to network with to solve issues and cost/waste savings.  If you are interested in having a introductory discussion about developing a nursery production peer group please email Shawn Steed at ststeed@ufl.edu


Excellent Online Classes in Environmental Horticulture Production

The University of Florida IFAS Extension is offering five online courses for greenhouse growers this year, including a new course on Costing and Profitability. Last year they had 488 registrants take our courses from the US and overseas, with 80% completion rate. 22% of growers took the courses in Spanish, and 22% were international.
The course descriptions and registration are at http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/training/ and the attached PDFs. The registration process has also been simplified. You can easily register multiple employees and pay once. Feel free to email them at greenhousetraining@ifas.ufl.edu with any questions – they want your experience to be smooth and successful. We are offering a 5% discount from the listed fee when registering using the Coupon Code Hills17.
The Greenhouse 101 course begins June 19, so please sign up in advance so you can begin on time. There are also four other courses being offered this year:
Greenhouse 101 /
Invernadero 101
06/19 - 07/14
Nutrient Management 1 (Intro) /
Manejo de Nutrientes 1 (Introductorio)
07/24 - 08/18
Nutrient Management 2 (Advanced) /
Manejo de Nutrientes 2 (Avanzado)
08/28 - 09/22
Weed Management /
Manejo de Malezas
09/25 - 10/20
Costing and Profitability /
Costos y Rentabilidad
10/30 – 12/01b
• Introductory: Practical experience but without formal horticultural science education / Introductorio: experiencia práctica sin educación formal en ciencias hortícolas.
•• Intermediate: Some experience and training, entry university level / Intermedio: Algo de experiencia y entrenamiento, o nivel inicial universitario.
••• Advanced: Experienced, well-trained grower, upper university level / Avanzado: Productor con experiencia y bien entrenado, o nivel superior universitario.
bNo class during Thanksgiving week Nov 20-24. Limited to 50 participants / No hay clase durante la semana de Thanksgiving del 20 al 24 de Nov. Limitado a 50 participantes.
All courses are in English and Spanish, and last 4 weeks. Each individual will receive a personalized certificate for each course when they complete the requirements. The courses do not count for credit towards a university degree. Each participant needs their own email address. Feel free to email at greenhousetraining@ifas.ufl.edu with any questions.

La Universidad de Florida IFAS está ofreciendo cinco cursos de invernadero en linea este año, incluyendo un nuevo curso de Costos y Rentabilidad. El año pasado hubieron 488 participantes de los EEUU e internacional en los cursos, con una tasa de finalización de 80%. 22% de los participantes tomaron el curso en Español, y 22% fueron internacionales.
Hay descripciones de los cursos y registro en http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/training/ y en los PDFs adjuntos. El proceso de registro ha sido simplificado. Puede registrar fácilmente multiples participantes y pagar una sola vez. Por favor mande un email a greenhousetraining@ifas.ufl.edu con cualquier pregunta – queremos que su experiencia sea fácil y exitosa. Estamos ofreciendo un descuento de 5% de la cuota en la tabla al registrarse utilizando el Código de CupónHills17.
El curso de Invernadero 101 comienza el 19 de Junio, por favor regístrese lo antes posible para comenzar a tiempo. Los otros cuatro cursos estan listados en la tabla anterior.
Todos los cursos son en Ingles y Español, y duran 4 semanas. Cada individuo recibirá un certificado personalizado por cada curso al completar los requerimientos. Los cursos no cuentan para crédito hacia un título universitario. Cada participantes necesita su propia dirección de correo electrónico. No dude en enviarnos un email a greenhousetraining@ifas.ufl.edu con cualquier pregunta.
Muchas gracias por su interes en los cursos y nos vemos en línea.

Polk and Hillsborough County Drought Natural Disaster Assistance

Your nursery production might not be affected by the drought but this information might be useful.

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2017 — In response to a request from Debbie Folsom, Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) acting State Executive Director in Florida, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 8 counties in Florida as primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by a recent drought. Those counties are:

Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee, Osceola and Polk

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Florida also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are:

Brevard, Hendry, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Sarasota, St. Lucie, and Sumter
All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on May 10, 2017, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for FSA’s emergency (EM) loans, provided eligibility requirements are met.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.

FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

Other FSA programs that can provide assistance, but do not require a disaster declaration, include Operating and Farm Ownership Loans; the Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program; and the Tree Assistance Program.

Interested farmers may contact their local USDA service centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.

To find your local FSA office, go to https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=fl&agency=fsa    

Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov  


Water Restrictions

This just in from SWFWMD.  The district voted to increase water restrictions and Hillsborough and Polk Counties are now in a modified Phase III water shortage.

05/23/2017 3:00 PM EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s (District) Governing Board voted today to increase water restrictions throughout the region. The modified Phase III water shortage order affects counties throughout the District’s boundaries including Charlotte, Citrus, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter.

District hydrologists report a rainfall deficit of 11-inches since the start of the dry season last October. In fact, this is the driest dry season in the past 103 years.

Under the new water shortage order, lawn watering is reduced to once-per-week and allowable watering hours also are reduced. Micro-irrigation and hand watering of non-lawn areas are still allowed any day, if needed. Additionally, there are now limits on car washing and homeowners’ associations may not enforce any deed restrictions which could cause an increase in water use. The restrictions will remain in effect through August 1, 2017. Additional details regarding the watering of new lawns and plants, reclaimed water and other water uses can be found at WaterMatters.org/restrictions.

The District considers both natural water resource conditions and the viability of public supply when deciding to declare a water shortage order. For the past 20 years, the District has worked diligently with its partners to develop alternative water supplies. Even though the region is experiencing drought conditions, there is adequate public water supply available.

Florida’s dry season runs October through May. The District encourages water conservation year-round, and offers many tips to reduce water use and additional information at WaterMatters.org/conservation.


Pre-emergent Herbicides Inhibiting Asiatic Jasmine Growth

We have heard some word about Asiatic or dwarf jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum) possibly being affected by different herbicides.  One savvy grower decided to check on things and did a demonstration plot to see what was going on.  The grower applied two applications of either Biathlon, FreeHand, Tower or Gemini and had a non-herbicide control plot.  Liners were potted at 1/10/17 and herbicide was applied.  The second application was on 3/30/17.  Each bed was treated independently. There were plenty of replications within the block, but there were no randomizations or replications of blocks (which might lead to potential errors due to the nursery layout, (i.e. light, irrigation, etc.).  However, I feel that the demonstration is useful to caution a grower about using certain herbicides in all cases.  The picture below shows a representative example from each bed.  Notice the overall size and length of the shoots.  The bottom half of the picture shows the view at the plot level.  Notice the amount of soil showing at the top of the pot.  The grower mentioned that the affected plants are stunted (almost like a growth regulator) and are weeks behind in production time.

UF/IFAS Extension is not making any recommendations with this data; just showing the results of the small-scale demonstration. The use of trade names or registered products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information.  UF/IFAS does not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication do not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition.  All chemicals should be used in accordance with directions on the manufacturer's label.  Use pesticides safely.  Read and follow direction on the manufacturer's label.