Central Florida Ag News November 2022

Page 1

www.FloridaAgNews.com

vol 13 | issue 5 | november 2022

Ag inedition Art MEMORIES TO MASTERPIECES

SEBRING PAINTER BRINGS FLORIDA SCENES TO LIFE

The Voice of Agriculture for Our Region

WHERE ART, SCIENCE MEET

PHOTOGRAPHER WORKS TO PROMOTE CONSERVATION

AG ACADEMICS

STRONG START FOR ELEMENTARY AG SCIENCE PROGRAM

SWEET RESCUE

DONATION EVENT HELPS FEED 1.6 BILLION BEES

RECIPE SPOTLIGHT

Permit No.FL 335 TAMPA, PERMIT #2118 Lakeland, Fl. PAID PAID

PRESORT STD PRSRT STD U.S. Postage US POSTAGE

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CONTENTS | n o v e m b e r 2 0 2 2

The Voice of Agriculture for Our Region www.Flo

ridaAgN

On the Cover

vol 13 |

issue 5

| nove mber 2022

The Voic e of Agr

iculture

Monica Turner of Sebring takes the visions of her clients and transforms them into vibrant works of art. Often, those scenes depict hog hunts or images of old Florida. Here, she has turned a cow skull into a masterpiece. Learn more about Turner and her work on page 14.

Ag in Art edition

M E MO MAS RIES TO SEBRIN TERPIEC G FLORIDA PAINTER BR ES IN SCENES

GS TO LIFE

PRE SOR PRSR T TSTD STD U.S. US POS Post age TAG E PA PAID ID Perm TAM it No. PA, FL 335 PERMIT Lake land #211 , Fl. 8

photo by JESSICA McDONALD

FloridaAgN

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for Our

WHER SCIENCE ART, E MEET

PHOTOG PROMOT RAPHER WOR KS E CONS ERVATIO TO N

AG AC A

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SPOTLIG IS IT GE TT HT IN HERE ING CHILI ?

Conservation photographer Carlton Ward Jr. may have found his calling by accident, but his work to promote the importance of natural Florida has been intentional and powerful, to say the least. We spoke with Ward to learn more about his work and his conservation communications company, Wildpath.

12 AG ACADEMICS

Jessica McDonald PROJECT MANAGER David Kiessling ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Juanita Halter CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Paul Catala, Grace Hirdes, Teresa Schiffer, Carol Corley, J. Scott Angle, Kristen Guevara, Brad Buck CONTRIBUTING COLUMNISTS

The students at Willow Oak are part of the Polk County School District’s first Elementary Agriculture Science Program. Under the direction of teacher Danielle Emmons, they are taught age-appropriate lessons that foster a deeper understanding of Florida agriculture.

15 LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY

Agriculture is an integral part of Florida’s economy, directly contributing more than $10 billion in sales revenues annually and supporting more than 133,000 jobs. But farmers face numerous challenges: pests, diseases, labor, rising costs, and more. UF/ IFAS is increasingly leveraging technology driven by artificial intelligence to protect crop yields and the environment. To that end, UF/IFAS will build a 19,000-squarefoot AI hub at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm.

20 FEEDING THE BEES

When Hurricane Ian came roaring through Southwest Florida, it disrupted or destroyed tens of thousands of bee colonies. Many feeders were destroyed, along with the bees’ natural forage, leaving at least 1.6 billion bees without any food sources. That’s why Greater Good Charities recently spearheaded a beekeeper relief effort.

Departments

4 | CFAN

1

MANAGING EDITOR

S

STRONG ELEMEN START FOR PROGRATARY AG SCIEN M CE

10 AT THE INTERSECTION OF ART, SCIENCE, AND CONSERVATION

Publisher’s Letter President’s Letter Signs of the Season In the Heartland AgriShopper Calendar Angle’s Letter

PUBLISHER Nelson Kirkland

CFAN |

5 7 9 14 18 22 24

Region

w w w. FloridaA gNews.com

26 28 30 31 34 36

Recipe Spotlight Ag Community Ag-Rec Classifieds FFA Corner From the Editor’s Desk

Baxter Troutman, Mike Roberts, Dr. Katie Hennessy, Marty Higgenbotham, Tommy Thayer CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Carlton Ward Jr., Jessica McDonald, Tyler DiGiovine CONTRIBUTING ARTIST Dawn Lewandowski DELIVERY DLS Distribution

PUBLISHED BY

56 Fourth Street Northwest, Suite 100 Winter Haven, Florida PHONE (863) 248-7537 Copyright © 2022 Central Florida Media Group. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This issue of Florida AgNews is a trademark of Central Florida Media Group. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents of this magazine without written permission is prohibited. Florida AgNews makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of content published. In the event of an error found herein, however, neither the publishers nor advertisers will be held responsible, nor do the publishers accept any liability for the accuracy of statements made by advertisers in advertising and promotional materials.

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PUBLISHER LETTER

When Art Imitates Ag Life FOR A LOT OF FOLKS in the ag community, a perfectly kept farm or ranch is a distinct thing of beauty. If you’re like me, you can envision one of God’s artistic agricultural masterpieces in your mind’s eye as you’re reading this. We’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge all the intentional artwork that highlights the beauty of agriculture that the good Lord gave us. This month’s Ag in Art edition of Central Florida Ag News celebrates the talented artists who create works of art from the world around us. We hope you find the works on these pages as stunning as we do. As the end of the year approaches, let’s make sure you’ve got these exciting events on your calendars: • 52nd Alafia River Rendezvous (January 11-22, 2023) This event is a living portrayal of pre-1840 America held in Homeland each year. An estimated 1,400 participants dress in clothing and stay in tents and shelters that

would have been seen in that time. There are designated days for visitors: January 2021. You can learn more at the website: www. alafiariverrendezvous.org. • Florida Flywheelers’ Christmas in the Village (December 9-10 & 16-17) This is a charity event that features an antique village decorated as a winter wonderland covered in lights. The best part is you can drive through the village from the comfort of your own vehicle, so those who have mobility concerns can still enjoy the event. • 35th Annual Antique Engine & Tractor Swap Meet (January 18-21) This is a great opportunity to buy, sell, and swap engines, tractors, parts, and pieces. Antique engines will be on display, and there will be a pedal tractor pull for kids, antique car and tractor parades, and functioning sawmill demonstrations.

NELSON KIRKLAN D, Publish nelson@c er entralflori damediag roup.com

Don’t forget to check out our calendar for even more events you won’t want to miss. On behalf of all of us here at Central Florida Ag News, we wish you a happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season! ag

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Columns

15 COMBATING PHYTOPHTHORA IN THE WAKE OF HURRICANE IAN

Hurricane Ian caused a lot of flooding in Florida citrus groves, and this created ideal conditions for phytophthora, which caused diseases like foot, crown and root rot, and fruit brown rot. Phytophthora is caused by two fungus-like organisms — Phytophthora nicotianae and P. palmivora. Griffin Fertilizer’s Mike Roberts discusses treatment of groves that were flooded.

17 TREE DEFENDER IPCS APPROVED FOR COSTSHARE PROGRAM If you’ve heard the buzz and have been curious about Tree Defender’s Individual Protective Covers for citrus trees, Tommy Thayer has some exciting news! Thayer talks about the recent formal approval from the Natural Resource Conservation Service that makes Tree Defender IPCs eligible for a cost share up to approximately $1000 per/acre for new citrus plantings.

18 HORSE OWNERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EQUINE INFECTIOUS ANEMIA

Also called “swamp fever,” Equine Infectious Anemia is a viral disease that causes a range of clinical signs from no apparent illness to extremely severe, including collapse and death. Positive cases tend to be diagnosed when movement requires a Coggins test to be performed. Dr. Katie Hennessy explains how the clinical signs of EIA are non-specific to the disease itself and can be similar to a number of other diseases or illnesses.

20 THE CHANGING SHAPE OF AGRIBUSINESS

Agribusiness is an emerging term for the business sector that encompasses farming and all farming-related commercial activities. This includes every step in the process that delivers agricultural products to the market — production, processing, and distribution. Baxter Troutman delves into the various types of agribusiness opportunities.

34 BLESSED TO BE RECOGNIZED FOR RECENT SUCCESSFUL AUCTION

Auctioneer Marty Higgenbotham shares his joy and gratitude during these trying times. A recent successful auction for the Oregon Department of Corrections earned praise for the whole company and even secured a future auction for Higgenbotham Auctioneers.

FARMERS + CONSUMERS =

STRONG COMMUNITIES #farmcityweek

November 16-23, 2022 863-533-0561 • www.PCFB.org • Facebook.com/PolkCountyFarm Bureau 6 | CFAN

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Polk Polk County County Farm Farm Bureau Bureau Protecting & Promoting Protecting & Promoting Polk Agriculture since 1942 Polk Agriculture since 1942 www.pcfb.org www.pcfb.org

Phone: Phone: 863.533.0561 863.533.0561

Member Member Services Services

p r e s i d e n t ’s c o l u m n

Carole McKenzie Carole McKenzie Executive Director Executive Director

Greetings! 2022-2023 2022-2023 Board Board of of Directors Directors Leigh Ann Wynn Larry Black Leigh Ann Wynn Larry Black President Brett Costine President Brett Costine Counter Michael Matteson Charles Counter Michael Matteson Charles Kenny DeVane Vice-President Kenny DeVane Vice-President Leslie W. Dunson, III Leslie W. Dunson, III Dean Evans Dean Evans Dean T. Evans Past President Dean T. Evans Past President Ellis Hunt, Jr. Ellis Hunt, Jr. Corby Myers Scarlett Jackson Corby Myers Scarlett Jackson Treasurer Jack James, Jr. Treasurer Jack James, Jr. Kirkland Christian P. Spinosa Nelson Kirkland Christian P. Spinosa Nelson Daniel Lanier Secretary Daniel Lanier Secretary Ed Lassiter Kateland Raney Ed Lassiter Kateland Raney David Lawson, Jr. YF&R Chair David Lawson, Jr. YF&R Chair Kyle R. Story Kyle R. Story Scarlett Jackson Matt Story Scarlett Jackson Matt Story Women’s John W. Strang Women’s John W. Strang Committee Chair Robert Teston Committee Chair Robert Teston Kevin M. Updike Kevin M. Updike Keith Walter Keith Walter

Location Location 1715 U.S. Hwy 17 South 1715 U.S. Hwy 17 South Bartow, FL 33830 Bartow, FL 33830

Offi Office ce Hours Hours

Monday-Friday Monday-Friday 9 9 a.m. a.m. to to 5 5 p.m. p.m.

Jimmy Jimmy Williams Williams Agency Agency Manager Manager

Bartow Bartow Offi Office ce Agents Agents Phone: 863.533.0561 863.533.0561 Phone: James L. L. Moser, Moser, Jr. Jr. James Jimmy Jimmy Williams Williams

Haines Haines City City Offi Office ce Agent Agent 203 203 S S Dixie Dixie Drive Drive Phone: Phone: 863.421.4545 863.421.4545 Rhonda Rhonda Ambrose Ambrose Winter Winter Haven Haven Offi Office ce Agents Agents 3039 Cypress Gardens 3039 Cypress Gardens Road Road Phone: Phone: 863.299.3892 863.299.3892 Barry Barry Walker Walker Jason Jason Yates Yates

Polk County Farm Bureau delegates recently attended the Florida Farm Bureau Annual Meeting to represent our members at the “Rooted in Resilience” themed event. In addition to resolutions adopted as policy for 2023, the meeting included award and recognition programs to honor outstanding young farmers and ranchers, state lawmakers, county Farm Bureaus, and individual members for their service to agriculture. Polk’s own Maddie Dvorak (now a member of the University of Florida Collegiate Farm Bureau) won the Collegiate Discussion Meet Award, and our Senator Ben Albritton was a recipient of the Legislator of the Year Award. A most special celebration of his many contributions to the agriculture community was enjoyed when William D. “Will” Putnam III was posthumously honored with the prestigious Distinguished Service Award. In addition, Polk County Farm Bureau has received the following Florida Farm Bureau recognitions: • Excellence in Legislative/Policy Implementation • Excellence in Public Relations • Excellence in Organization & Management • Excellence in Education/Agriculture Promotion • Excellence in Leadership Development In October, the Polk County Farm Bureau elected two new board members. Rob Teston is a returning board member having previously served both on the board and as an advisor, and Brett Costine is past chair of the Polk Young Farmer and Rancher Committee. Welcome, Rob and Brett! Farm-City Week is November 16–23. This week is designated to celebrate and recognize the beneficial partnerships between rural and urban communities that make our food supply safe and plentiful. The Polk Young Farmer and Rancher Committee is once again sponsoring a Farm-City Week Essay contest for 4-H and FFA students in 9th – 12th grades. The essay topic is “Natural disasters have become a major topic among business leaders, policy makers, and consumers. As an industry that depends on the weather, what are some ways that city and state governments can help ensure our farmers and ranchers have the assistance they need during natural disasters?” The winner will receive recognition in our publications and a $100 Visa gift card! Applications are due to carolem@pcfb.org by December 16 at 5 p.m. Get the application on the Polk County Farm Bureau or Polk Young Farmer and Rancher Facebook pages, or at pcfb.org/farm-city-week-essay-contest/ . On behalf of the PCFB board of directors and staff, we wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving. Sincerely,

Calling Calling from from Lake Lake Wales Wales 863.676.3187 863.676.3187

FloridaAgNews.com

LEIGH ANN WYNN President, Polk County Farm Bureau CFAN | 7


9 out of 10 consumers are more likely to purchase products labeled “Fresh From Florida”

Go with The Logo They Know

Join the “Fresh From Florida” Program Membership Fee is $50/year For more information, contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services IndustryMKT@FDACS.gov | 850-617-7399 | FDACS.gov 8 | CFAN FloridaAgNews.com


SIGNS OF THE SEASON FLORIDA GRAPEFRUIT PRODUCTION DOWN, BUT NOT OUT

Grapefruit, the black sheep of the citrus family, is Florida’s lovable oddball. What other fruit is so deliciously sour and cheerfully bitter while simultaneously presenting remarkable nutritional benefits and also unique health risks? Only the plump and hearty grapefruit!

A MYSTERIOUS HISTORY Grapefruit is thought to have originated on the island of Barbados. It probably came into existence by 1750, when Welsh naturalist Griffith Hughes wrote The Natural History of Barbados, which contains descriptions of the myriad citrus fruits that grew on the island. Among those are described the “shaddock,” “golden orange,” and “Forbidden Fruit,” three entries suspected of referring to grapefruits. The word “grapefruit” wasn’t recorded until the 1830s, so it’s uncertain whether Hughes was truly referring to grapefruit with his descriptive terms. Experts are also not sure exactly how the term “grapefruit” even came to be. There were no grape vines on Barbados at that point in time, but there was a plant called “sea grape,” which, while not a grape at all, does produce clusters of grapelike fruit known to have a tart, somewhat bitter flavor, similar to the taste of a grapefruit. The grapefruit is a cross between a pomelo and a mandarin, and once it was discovered it immediately gained great popularity. It quickly spread to the American mainland, most likely brought to Florida by a French settler named Odet Philippe in the 1820s. Over the next century, it drew numerous entrepreneurs to Florida to establish groves from which to supply the world with this novel treat. Grapefruit remained popular throughout the 20th century and was often incorporated into low-calorie

diet plans. Then, in the late 1980s trouble started brewing for the favored fruit of the health-conscious when a researcher studying the effects of alcohol on a certain medication being developed inadvertently stumbled upon a major drawback of the fruit.

GRAPEFRUIT TODAY The Florida climate, complete with sandy soil, ample rainfall, and copious sunshine, is perfectly suited for grapefruit. A majority of the state’s grapefruit come from the Indian River region along the east coast. In the 1970s, Americans consumed an average of 8 pounds of grapefruit each year. These days, that number is down to just 1.5 pounds per year. Households with incomes over $100,000 annually tend to purchase grapefruit more frequently than those with lower incomes. Florida still leads the U.S. in grapefruit production despite the decline due to greening. In 1976 Florida produced 75 percent of U.S. grapefruit. In 2021, that number was down to 41 percent. The USDA has predicted a 40 percent drop in grapefruit production for this season, at 2 million boxes, down from 3.33 million boxes last season. by TERESA SCHIFFER Sponsored by Farm Credit of Central Florida

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FEATURE | e d i t i o n

At the Intersection of Art, Science, and Conservation Photographer Carlton Ward Jr. Uses His Work to Emphasize the Importance of Conservation by KRISTEN GUEVARA

C

photo by VERONICA RUNGE

CARLTON WARD JR. discovered his calling to the art of conservation by accident while studying abroad. The eighth-generation Floridian and conservation photographer was studying biology and anthropology at Wake Forest University when an opportunity arose to study abroad in Australia. A camera purchase intended to merely document his experience birthed his passion for photography. Upon returning to the States, Ward completed his bachelor’s degree in biology and continued his studies at the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. There, he earned his master’s degree in ecology with a concentration in photojournalism. Ward’s education expanded even further outside the classroom. He served three internships with different branches of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, including an invaluable experience that at one point took him to Africa. “This put me at an intersection of art, science, and conservation,” he says.

ESTABLISHING WILDPATH

As a multigenerational Florida native with a passion for his home state, he founded a conservation communications company called Wildpath. The premise was simple yet powerful: Tell stories that inspire the appreciation and protec10 | CFAN

tion of wild Florida. “We seek to tell powerful stories that raise awareness of conservation issues that inspire policymakers, businesses, communities, and citizens to take action,” the website states. Some of the projects that Wildpath is working on include Path of the Panther, Florida Wildlife Corridor, Camera Trap Network, and Chasing Ghost. The Florida Wildlife Corridor has been Ward’s project of focus for the past decade and a half. The corridor consists of 18 million acres of land, only 10 million of which are currently protected. “One of the goals of the Florida Wildlife Corridor (Project) is recognizing that we have a connected habitat corridor that runs through the middle of the state,” he says. “The main goal is to encourage land conservation funding to help keep it that way.” According to National Geographic, “Habitat

Fragmentation, caused by roads and development, is one of the most critical but least recognized threats to biodiversity.” “As a multigenerational Floridian, I have had the privilege of seeing and understanding Florida beyond the beaches and amusement parks. With that comes a responsibility to tell that story,” Ward exclaims. Ward has trekked more than 2,000 miles FloridaAgNews.com


across Florida and beyond exploring the land and waters while photographing wildlife through the support of National Geographic expeditions. The first expedition was 100 days of hiking and paddling, and the second was 70 days. The Tampa resident is proud to say he’s experienced much of the Florida Wildlife Corridor first-hand. “Wild Florida is hidden in plain sight,” he says. “We have this amazing heritage of coastal marshes, cypress swamps, oak hammocks, pine forest, rivers and springs, and seagrass meadows. They are not features that you can see from your house in the city or suburbs and know they are there. You can grow up in Florida and live your whole life not knowing about these wild places.” This knowledge and passion have led Ward on a mission to conserve the land and the beautiful creatures that inhabit it. He uses his photography to bring awareness and tell a visual story of these natural wonders. Ward’s photographs have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as Audubon, Smithsonian, Nature Conservancy, and National Geographic. His photos can also be found online at wildpath.com, nationalgeographic.com, and carltonward.com. Ward has received the Conservation Leadership Award from the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida for his conservation efforts, and Florida Trend magazine named him a Florida Icon. According to National Geographic, “Florida made conservation history by enacting a bill and securing $400 million in funding to help protect the state’s vast network of natFloridaAgNews.com

ural areas.” This bill is known as the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act, and much of its success in passing is due to the efforts of Ward and his conservation photography projects.

PATH OF THE PANTHER PROJECT

The Path of the Panther project also has been at the forefront of Ward’s focus for the past seven years. This project has been supported by grants from National Geographic and other partners. “The Path of the Panther project requires a team effort utilizing camera traps and camera trap technicians,” Ward says. The Florida panther represents Florida as Florida’s state animal and is the last big cat living in the Eastern United States, making it a federally endangered species. Camera traps placed by Ward and his team have captured photographs and footage of the first female Florida panther documented north of the Caloosahatchee River since 1973.” “It can take two to five years to capture a photograph that captures the elements suitable for National Geographic publications,” Ward explains. Having spent 10 years documenting the Florida panther, Ward hopes his work will enlighten the public and politicians. “If we don’t focus more on conservation, it’s all going to be surrounded by development,” Ward warns. “The agricultural land is the connective tissue that holds the green lands together.” ag CFAN | 11


FEATURE | e d u c a t i o n

Ag Academics

Elementary Agriculture Science Program Off to a Strong Start at Willow Oak story and photos by PAUL CATALA

T

THE CHILDREN IN DANIELLE EMMONS’ FOURTH-GRADE CLASS walk to their seats at the tables. A few minutes after sitting down, they begin to line up for the delicious mouths-on lesson of the day: homemade vegetable soup.

Danielle Emmons and student

12 | CFAN

“Welcome to the Blue Jay Café, where we’ve been learning how to classify vegetables. Who can remember the five parts of a plant that are edible?” she asks the “restaurant’s” pupil patrons. It’s not a typical question a patron would be asked when dining at a typical restaurant, but the children eating soup in Willow Oak School’s “Blue Jay Café” aren’t there just to eat — they’re there to learn. Willow Oak School is the first pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade public elementary school in the Polk County School District to participate in the district’s new Elementary Agricultural Science Program (EASP). Willow Oak, with about more than 900 pupils, opened in August 2021, built on what was once a strawberry field. Willow Oak is the pilot site for the EASP, says Emmons, as she watches her students serve themselves soup. At the school, she works with children in second to fifth grades and is in her 13th year teaching in Polk County. That follows a year of instruction at Kingsford Elementary in Mulberry and 10 years at Kathleen Elementary in Lakeland. She was the school district’s regional CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

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Highlands County

In The Heartland

Memories to Masterpieces

Highlands County Painter Brings Florida Scenes to Life by TERESA SCHIFFER photos by JESSICA MCDONALD

T

THE NATURAL WORLD has long been a fertile source of inspiration for artists. Even in this modern age, there is a serene beauty to be found in scenes of greenery, a primal thrill in seeing the hunter take his prey, and nostalgic charm emanating from bucolic images of rural life in pastoral settings. Monica Turner has made it her life’s work to capture such enchanting sentiments in every piece of artwork she creates. Turner is a Florida native who was raised immersed in agriculture and art. She was sketching before she could speak, her innate creativity nurtured by supportive family members who quickly recognized her talent. With no formal training or education in artistic pursuits, Turner’s skill with a pencil, brush, or wood burner is truly captivating. Growing up, Turner was homeschooled and was also active with the 4-H Club. She drew banners and posters for various 4-H events, and her art was featured in the local

newspapers several times. This exposure is what earned Turner her first commissioned art job when a florist requested that she paint some clay flower pots for their shop. In time, Turner tried her hand at doing murals. Soon, businesses and individuals all over the Highlands County area were delighted to be displaying her original artwork on their walls. The Lake Placid Mural Society commissioned two large murals for the town, and Toby’s Clown Foundation and School, a beloved Lake Placid museum and tourist attraction dedicated to spreading the joy of clowning around, proudly boasts colorful murals created by Turner. More recently, Turner has turned her attention to creating works of art on a smaller scale. Motivated by an interest she shares with her husband and former high school sweetheart, Crockett Turner, the innovative artist had a flash of insight one day, and a new creative venture was launched. CONTINUED ON PAGE 25

Kiwanis Treehouse

14 | CFAN

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FEATURE | r e s e a r c h

COMBATING PHYTOPHTHORA IN THE WAKE OF HURRICANE IAN

HURRICANE IAN CAUSED a lot of flooding in Florida citrus groves, and this created ideal conditions for phytophthora, which caused diseases like foot, crown and root rot, and fruit brown rot. Phytophthora is caused by two fungus-like organisms, Phytophthora nicotianae and P. palmivora. The spores of these organisms are attracted to roots, and the root damage caused by flooding gives these spores easy access to the tree. UF/IFAS recommends that Florida citrus growers consider taking measures against phytophthora —especially in those groves that have a history of infection.

Leveraging Technology

Phytophthora in the Groves

AI Center to Provide a Boost for Agriculture by BRAD BUCK, UF/IFAS correspondent

A

DANA CHOI & KEVIN WANG

AGRICULTURE IS AN INTEGRAL PART of Florida’s economy, directly contributing more than $10 billion in sales revenues annually and supporting more than 133,000 jobs. But farmers face numerous challenges: pests, diseases, labor, rising costs, and more. To protect crop yields and the environment, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is increasingly leveraging powerful tools such as technology driven by artificial intelligence (AI). In an effort to expedite such development, UF/IFAS will build a 19,000-square-foot AI hub at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC) in Balm, about 25 miles southeast of Tampa. The Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture, as it’s now known, will serve as a world-class research, Extension and development facility. “The center will be our most important facilities investment in a generation,” says Scott Angle, senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources and the administrative leader of UF/IFAS. “It will add momentum to a movement. It will be a declaration that Florida’s farmers are in the vanguard of feeding the world in a more sustainable way and the epicenter of accelerated evolution of agriculture from human-labor-intensive to technology driven.” AI and robotics can autonomously accomplish many tasks that traditionally require manual labor. By developing these technologies, AI can increase the number of technology-driven, competitive-paying jobs on the farm. FloridaAgNews.com

Another advantage: Applying AI to challenging problems often leads to startup companies that could benefit Florida’s economy. “Companies in other states may want to join us,” notes Angle. At the hub, AI scientists will work with researchers throughout UF/IFAS to study ways to breed plants that resist pests and disease, thus boosting crop yields for farmers. These AI scientists also will work to help ensure growers use fewer chemicals to grow their crops. Center Director Jack Rechcigl and his associate director, Nathan Boyd, have been planning the AI hub for well over a year. Plans call for a state-of-the art research shop, equipped with everything needed to design and build robotic technologies for agriculture. The hub also will include office space, as well as areas designed to encourage conversations to build teams for AI research and Extension. Those discussions are critical. Center-based faculty will develop technologies for many Floridians, whether they work in agriculture or other economic sectors. Rechcigl estimates the center will directly employ 65 people, including computer scientists, mechanical engineers, CONTINUED ON PAGE 29

UF/IFAS maintains that standing water that has remained for longer than 72 hours can cause acute root damage that makes citrus trees much more susceptible to phytophthora infection, so growers with groves that suffered flooding for three days or longer should consider treating for phytophthora. Megan Dewdney, a UF/IFAS associate professor of plant pathology at CREC, shared that phytophthora is unlikely to become a problem after flooding if there is no history of phytophthora with high propagule counts of 10–20 propagules/cm3 of soil, but that for groves with a history of phytophthora, it is advised to apply treatments as the soil dries. Additional phytophthora guidance from Dewdney for Florida citrus growers concerning phytophthora include: • Watch toppled trees that have been uprighted because scion bark that has come into contact with the soil can develop lesions on scaffold limbs. • Splashing that has occurred due to flooding in a grove with a history of phytophthora—particularly P. palmivora—can lead to brown rot on mid-season fruit. • The Florida Citrus Production Guide has detailed treatment options for phytophthora. • Product options for treating root rot include phosphite salts, Aliette, Ridomil and Presidio, and there is a newer product, Orondis, that holds promise for treating phytophthora, especially for groves with high populations of P. palmivora. • Make sure to consult the labels for specifics, especially for those products that require irrigation after application. • Only a product labeled as a fungicide is legal to use for disease management when choosing a phosphite product for root or foot rot. • Check the label for concentration levels to ensure you are applying at a rate that gives the best efficacy for the cost. • If already treating for phytophthora, continue with your existing treatment’s planned rotations of products to combat resistance development. • Treatments for root rot should also help with foot rot, but scions tend to be more susceptible, so products may not work as on the root system. • It is likely too late to apply a phosphite fungicide or Aliette for brown rot if it wasn’t done in August if enough fruit remains for an application; a better alternative is a foliar spray of a copper fungicide, or a newer fungicide, like Orondis, Revus and the premix Orondis Ultra, which can be applied 0 to 1 day prior to harvest and applied by air if a fast applicaby MIKE ROBERTS tion is required. This column is sponsored by Griffin Fertilizer Co., and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers. BIO: Mike Roberts is the Vice President of the Frostproof, Florida-based Griffin Fertilizer Co. Roberts joined the company in November 2011. He has spent the majority of his career in the fertilizer/agchem industry. Roberts earned a Bachelor of Science degree in citrus production from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. For more information, visit griffinfertilizer.com.

CFAN | 15


Ag Academics continued from page 12

science coach in 2015. Emmons says although the 2022-23 school year is young, her students are already learning and accomplishing a lot in their agricultural book and hands-on studies. Around her classroom are posters and flyers highlighting various agricultural and farming facts. Emmons says her second-graders are learning the basics of agriculture through lessons like “Agriculture Pays,” which explores careers in agriculture; “A Day Without Agriculture,” which delves into consumer wants and needs; and “Right This Very Minute,” which explains how food gets from farms and fields to the dinner table. For the third-graders, Emmons says the focus is more on learning about farm animals. Her classes participated in an Adopt-a-Cow program, which assigned a calf to Willow Oak, and students were able to follow the growth virtually and Zoom via live video in real time with the farmer raising the calf. The lessons cover milk safety, dairy in the community, and dairy in the environment. Lessons for fourth-grade students are geared more toward plants and plant cultivation. She says her classes discuss structures and functions of plants; how to classify vegetables through roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit; and how to dissect and learn about seeds Her fifth-graders study aspects of hydroponics, such as what plants need to survive and whether they can grow with or without soil. “Since the program started here, I really enjoy it,” Emmons says. “We were lucky enough to get the program here for the county,” says Emmons. “It’s very applicable to kids here because — for many of them — it’s their families’ livelihoods, so it’s applicable inside and outside of school.” There are several ways Willow Oak makes the EASP applicable to real life. At the school, all third- through fifth-grade classes have filled outdoor garden beds with soil and plants that they are responsible for maintaining throughout the school year. She says by December, the plan is to fix a big salad once everything is harvested, including spinach, onions, tomatoes, and green peppers. Tomatoes and lettuce will be harvested from the hydroponic gardens. The EASP made it to Willow Oak after meetings last summer with Emmons, Principal Michelle Townley, and Polk County school administrators, including Elementary Regional School Superintendent Benjamin Henry; Deputy Super16 | CFAN

intendent Wayne Green; Senior Director of K-12 Mathematics Joe McNaughton; Senior Director of Technology, Adult, and Multiple Pathways Education Steven Cochran, and Agriculture Curriculum Specialist Jessica Anderson. Since then, Emmons and Townley say the EASP has been a fun, successful way to help bring crops into the classroom. Townley, a fifth-generation Floridian who grew up in Mulberry on a small farm with cattle, citrus, and gardens, says Willow Oak was perfect for the EASP pilot site. “I think because of the (agriculture) industry in the area and the availability of space for the gardens and small animals, we were a good fit,” she says. Those attributes did indeed factor into Willow Oak’s EASP participation, which should soon begin to include other schools in the county, Anderson says. She adds that she hopes the Florida Department of Education will continue to expand agricultural offerings statewide in the future. “We are thrilled to bring this opportunity to our elementary students. We hope by offering agricultural education at an earlier age we can produce informed consumers who are more aware of how agriculture affects their everyday lives,” Anderson says. Inside Emmons’ classroom and outside her windows, students are eating and taking time to learn about the origins of what’s going into their stomachs. One of them, 10-year-old Kayti Robbins of Mulberry, says she’s been especially interested in learning the different ways in which plants can grow and how they survive different environments. “With ag, it’s also really cool learning how they would do it back in the old days and how they do it now. It’s changed a lot,” says Kayti, who says her father grew up on a farm. “It’s important you

should know also how to grow your own food instead of always having to rely on others.” Emmons says the lessons will continue to expand. She says future EASP plans include building a chicken coop, getting students to sell the eggs, and having a small greenhouse constructed. “The kids love to come to the program classes and if they’re happy and learning, then it’s a success,” she says. ag FloridaAgNews.com


TREE DEFENDER IPCs APPROVED FOR COST-SHARE PROGRAM IF YOU’VE HEARD THE BUZZ and have been curious about the patented Tree Defender Individual Protective Covers for your citrus trees, we have some exciting news in this month’s column! We have received formal approval from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) that Tree Defender IPCs are now eligible for a cost share up to approximately $1000 per/acre for new citrus plantings. The NRCS provides financial assistance to eligible participants on different programs, the most common of which is the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). Under EQIP, there is a suite of practices that producers can select to adopt for their operation based on resource concerns however psyllid exclusion technology like Tree Defender utilizes offers the only currently available technology that can give a grower the complete confidence that their young trees will reach a producing age 100% HLB free. Now that the option of the NRCS cost share shouldering a significant portion of this initial planting cost is available, this could play a crucial role in helping to rebuild the Florida citrus industry. One of those practices mentioned above — The Conservation Practice 595 — includes Pest Management Conservation System (PMCS). A PMCS is a system that combines an Integrated Pest Management decision-making process with natural resource conservation to address pest and

environmental impacts. The Tree Defender was built to face issues related to conservation, pests, and environmental impacts that Florida growers have been facing for years. We initially started this company in 2014 as a way to fight back against the spread of greening and the devastation it was bringing to the worldwide citrus industry. Our patented infusion-treated, breathable mesh has been proven to protect young and producing trees from a variety of pests as well as the Asian Citrus Psyllid. Additionally, the Tree Defender IPC technology has now been awarded a fourth patent related to water reduction, herbicide reduction, and nutrient runoff reduction which will open the door for further cost-share opportunities. This Tree Defender design has the ability to reduce irrigation and liquid fertilizer usage by up to 80 percent in young citrus plantings and is effective in containing and preventing excess runoff of slow-release fertilizers. In order to take advantage of the cost share program, a producer needs to reach out to the local NRSC office and apply for EQIP, selecting the IPC practice. This practice is available under the general EQIP program as well as the Emergency EQIP program in the counties designated as a result of Hurricane Ian. The difference between regular and Emergency

EQIP is that once you apply for the practice under the Emergency EQIP, the grower can proceed with the work without waiting for approval. Under the general EQIP, the application would have to be approved before the work starts and approval is not guaranteed. If you have any questions related to the Tree Defender IPC or need assistance with this cost-share program, feel free to get in touch with us. We’re all in this together for a healthier, more productive Florida Citrus Industry.

by TOMMY THAYER This column is sponsored by Tree Defender, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers. BIO: Tommy Thayer is the co-owner of Tree Defender and owner of Southern Citrus Nurseries, which has been in business since the 1970s. Both companies are based in Dundee, Florida. As a native Floridian, he is a fifth-generation citrus grower who graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Resource Economics. For more information, visit thetreedefender. com

Sign up

for a FREE On-Farm Readiness Review The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR) inspections have begun. Sign up now to request a free On-Farm Readiness Review (OFRR), offered in partnership by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and University of Florida IFAS. The OFRR is an educational opportunity to help individual farms align practices with the PSR regulatory requirements in preparation for inspections.

For more information on FSMA and to sign up for an OFRR, visit FDACS.gov/FSMA or call (863) 578-1900. To take full advantage of the OFRR and for PSR compliance, one farm representative should first attend a Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training. Upcoming trainings can be found at: crec.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/events This publication is supported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award U2FFD007446 totaling $1,166,732 with 100 percent funded by FDA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by FDA/ HHS, or the U.S. Government.

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CFAN | 17


HORSE OWNERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EQUINE INFECTIOUS ANEMIA ALSO CALLED “SWAMP FEVER,” Equine Infectious Anemia is a viral disease that causes a range of clinical signs from no apparent illness to extremely severe, including collapse and death. Positive cases tend to be diagnosed when movement requires a Coggins test to be performed. Clinical signs of EIA are non-specific to the disease itself and can be similar to a number of other diseases or illnesses. The more common signs are intermittent fevers, depression, jaundice, anemia, and increased heart and breathing rates. EIA also causes hemorrhage on the mucous membranes and eyes, dependent edema, weight loss, epistaxis (nose bleeds) and bloodwork shows low platelet counts. There’s no cure or antiviral treatment for EIA, although supportive nursing care may get a horse through an acute episode. The majority of horses diagnosed with EIA are euthanized due to the severity of the clinical signs or due to non-feasible isolation requirements for the life of the horse. Horses diagnosed with EIA are lifelong carriers as there are no successful treatment options available. Horses without clinical signs act as reservoirs for the virus and when bitten by flies can perpetuate the disease among the equine populations. The virus may also be spread through blood and body fluids and tissues. This means equipment must never be shared with a horse known to have EIA and fresh needles and syringes etc should always be used between horses (regardless of EIA status). Mares can also transmit EIA to foals in utero. If a horse has been diagnosed with EIA, it must be kept isolated at least 200 meters from all other Equidae including donkeys for the duration of its life. Prevention of EIA is possible through annual testing. A Coggins test should be performed yearly and is required for the movement of horses. All new horses arriving at a facility should show proof of a current negative Coggins test. Fly control is also essential and should include insect repellents and insecticides etc. You should practice proper hygiene and disinfection of any equipment used between horses, particularly dental equipment, and never use needles and syringes more than once.

by DR. KATIE HENNESSY

This column is sponsored by Polk Equine, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers. BIO: Dr. Katie Hennessy graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008 with a degree in large animal health and equine medicine. She completed an advanced internship at The Equine Medical Center of Ocala and is currently the owner and practicing veterinarian at Polk Equine. Her expertise ranges from small and exotic creatures to large animals, specializing in equine medicine.

18 | CFAN

AGRISHOPPER SHOPPER Let Nature Nurture Your Interior Design by GRACE HIRDES

If you’re looking for an inexpensive, natural way to add some seasonal decor to your home, all you have to do is step outside your front door. This may sound all too simple, but don’t be deceived. There’s also more to decorating than simply gathering some twigs and popping them in a vase. There’s a delicate balance between simple fall decorations and barnyard explosion. Here are some ways you can incorporate nature into your fall and winter decor this year, plus tips on how to make them come together seamlessly. Leaves While Florida doesn’t have the beautiful changing colors on our trees, there are still some gorgeous leaves to be found outdoors this fall. This is, by far, the easiest way to decorate your room. Collect your assortment of leaves and stick them in a vase on any coffee table, side table, end table, or entry table and you have an instant natural fall decor. Pine cones This is also a very simple decoration, and it’s one your kids can even participate in. Take them on a nature walk and collect some pine cones. Then take them home and get to decorating. There are a million ways to decorate them whether it’s with glitter, paint, or leaving them completely natural. You can then place them in a bowl or use thread to tie upside-down pine cones to a clean white ribbon and string it across your fireplace or doorway. Dried corn The speckled colors of Indian corn are a colorful yet simple way to bring nature inside. You can stack them in a basket or string them on a wire with some burlap for garland. Fruit Apples, oranges, and berries are in abundance this time of year, and they are a fantastic way to bring nature inside. Scope out your local farmers market and pick up some fruit as well as unusual varieties of carrots, beans, and heirloom tomatoes in oranges, reds, purples, greens, and yellows. Leave them out in fruit bowls until you start to get hungry—they’re too pretty to hide away. You can also get creative and assemble your own combination of fruit, leaves, and twigs on your mantle. Birch logs While birch doesn’t smell as nice as pine, it is really beautiful. Try cutting it up into similar heights no larger than 12 inches. You

can either stand them up on end and drape them with a garland or cut out divots in the logs and use it to hold candles or other fall decorations. . Long, skinny branches Try adding three study branches one under the other on a wall to use as shelves. You can add some garland, fake moss, or leaves to decorate the branches or leave them as is. Grain stalks Adding some grain stalks or thick stalks of oat grass to a large vase can add a gorgeous touch to any decorations. I’ve had the best luck finding these on the side of a country road. Pumpkin Nothing says fall quite like the classic pumpkin. We love the pop of color it adds to any room, but it’s time to think outside the box. Try hollowing out a pumpkin and using it as a vase to hold flowers or you could even put dirt in it and use it to plant your inside herbs. Or if you’re tired of the plain orange pumpkin try a fun-shaped, multicolored squash or dried decorative cobs of purple maize. Leaves as a wreath Pinterest has hundreds of different ideas for DIY wreaths made from leaves, twigs, pine cones, etc. My favorite design uses all three mentioned above with the pine cones coated in glitter. It adds a nice sparkle to allnatural decor. No matter what part of nature you decide to use in your decoration this year, be sure to sit back, relax, and enjoy it after it’s all hung up, set out, or carved. You can even make yourself a nice cup of hot tea or a pumpkin-flavored drink to enjoy while you watch. Nature truly is beautiful.

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THE CHANGING SHAPE OF AGRIBUSINESS AGRIBUSINESS (a portmanteau of “agriculture” and “business”) is an emerging term for the business sector that encompasses farming and all farmingrelated commercial activities. This includes every step in the process that delivers agricultural products to the market — production, processing, and distribution. In any country with land that can be worked, agribusiness is an important aspect of the local economy, as agricultural products not consumed locally can be exported, bringing more commerce to the area. Agribusinesses have to respond to market forces as well as natural forces. Increased demand for grassfed beef may direct ranchers to modify their feeding practices. Consumer tastes can change the mix of fruits and vegetables that a grower raises. Weather patterns or disease may limit the availability of products and drive up the cost of what does make it to market. However, in a global food market, local growers may end up competing with worldwide producers. This is especially true for commodities – such as corn, wheat, or soybeans – which yield similar results from a wide variety of growing environments. In these instances, it’s not the quality of the product that leads to being competitive but finding ways to innovate, such as investing in new agricultural technologies or working to optimize the fertilizing or watering process. Among the emerging technologies in agriculture is the use of drones. These can be simple tasks, such as visual inspection or soil/field analysis, up to advanced tasks, including irrigation, spraying, or even planting. Although safety and privacy concerns may still limit drone use in some areas, the use of technology in agricultural operations will only increase. And lastly, agribusiness is a term applied to a wide range of operations in scale — from large corporations to small family operations, from chemical manufacturing to agritourism. If a business has ties to food production, it can be classified as an agribusiness. Speaking of agribusiness, I have some incredibly exciting and impactful news that I will be sharing with you in the coming months. Check back next month so you can join me on the journey.

by BAXTER TROUTMAN This column is sponsored by Labor Solutions, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers. BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, Arcadia, and Plant City. You also can visit his Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch online at www. DH-LR.com. A cattle rancher and citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.

20 | CFAN

FEATURE | h u r r i c a n e

Feeding the Bees Emergency Donation Event Organized to Help Florida Beekeepers Affected by Hurricane Ian story and photos by PAUL CATALA

W

WHEN HURRICANE IAN came roaring through Southwest Florida in late September, its powerful winds and storm surge damaged more than homes and businesses. It disrupted or destroyed tens of thousands of bee colonies.

That damage, in turn, severely impacted the livelihoods of area beekeepers. Many feeders were destroyed, along with the bees’ natural forage, leaving at least 1.6 billion bees without any food sources. That’s why Greater Good Charities spearheaded an emergency donation event with the help of Mann Lake, Cargill, the Florida State Beekeepers Association, UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory, Florida Beekeepers Research Foundation Inc., and Apalachee Beekeepers Association. On October 21, Greater Good Charities (GGC) — a Seattle-based international nonprofit that works to help people, pets, and international communities by mobilizing to respond to needs and crises — held a beekeeper relief effort. Mann Lake Bee in Winter Haven hosted the event, providing manpower, logistics, and lunch. According to GGC, five tanker trucks filled with 275,000 pounds of syrup and 52,000 pounds of bee pollen substitute were delivered to the beekeepers most impacted by Hurricane Ian’s wrath. John Peaveler, vice-president of field operations for GGC, helped to coordinate the relief effort throughout. He said this was the second statewide beekeeper relief event sponsored by GGC. The first was held in 2018 in northwest Florida after Hurricane Michael. “Since then, we learned to grow in scale, and

this is our largest bee-feeding event so far,” said Peaveler, who is based in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. “Bees are particularly susceptible to hurricanes; they need flowers to feed and thrive.” The event was one of three other donation events held along the coast of southwest, southeast, and northeast Florida throughout October. Overall, an estimated 1,500 Florida beekeepers were impacted by Hurricane Ian, and approximately 100,000 hives were destroyed, according to GGC. Brooke Nowak, GGC vice president of People & Planets Programs, said that by November 3, a total of 508,800 pounds of syrup and 96,900 pounds of bee-pollen substitute had been distributed in 2022. As Nowak stood in the Mann Lake parking lot directing beekeepers to various sources, she said relief efforts were launched earlier in October in Arcadia and Fort Myers, where four tanker trucks delivered 55,000 pounds of syrup each. A total of seven Cargill trucks made stops at Mann Lake in the two weeks leading up to the emergency donation event. Local and state beekeeper associations in Florida reported that surviving bee colonies require large volumes of sugar syrup and pollen replacement to survive. “We (GGC) are unique in our help because we are able to go into an area where there’s no non-profit presence with such a setup. Just see-

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Polk County & The Historic

ing how happy the beekeepers are to be able to go out and feed the bees is great,” Nowak said. “We want to get the food out to the bees; they have hardly anything right now.” Mann Lake CEO Rob Wright calls beekeepers “the forgotten farmers in the economy.” Knowing some of them would have to restart their businesses from scratch, he decided to help by lending his property for the event. “For some (beekeepers), it will be hard to get government assistance. Some weren’t directly impacted (by the hurricane), but foraging for the bees is gone,” he said. “We certainly can’t solve the problem, but we’re doing what we can. I’ve been pleased to see all the outreach.” Eli Mendes, owner of Tropic Honey Bee Farms in Fort Myers, said being able to access outreach sources to support beekeeping businesses was what made the operation so critical. He said it will take at least three to five years for the state’s beekeeping industry — including his own business —to recuperate. His business lost roughly 500 of its 5,000 beehives. Mendes, vice-president of the Florida State Beekeepers Association, has been in the beekeeping business for more than 40 years. The Alva resident said Ian’s winds blew lids off his hives, scattering bees and inundating the hives with water. “That could’ve put me out of business, but we’ll survive, and (beekeepers) appreciate this effort,” he said. “We’ll take anything they can give us, whatever it is, it will benefit. It’s beekeepers helping beekeepers, and Greater Good Charities is helping make it all work.” Another beekeeper, Wainsworth Brown of Lauderhill, lost about 640 of his 1,700 hives. He said he was able to salvage about 240 hive boxes, but the event helped him recover more quickly. “The government (aid) is slow, so this is a great benefit,” Brown said. “This gives us a heads-up and quickens the road to recovery.” ag Beekeeper Wainsworth Brown

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www.garrisonland.com

Agriculture Is Our Passion The Story Companies are comprised of Florida agriculture management entities. Since 1945, these family owned and operated corporations have provided services to Florida agriculture including land holdings; citrus, peach and blueberry caretaking; and marketing of various commodities on over 7,000 acres. For over 70 years the Story’s have been providing superior service with outstanding returns. Please contact us to see how we may be of service to you.

100 West Stuart Avenue | 2nd Floor | Lake Wales, FL 33853 Telephone (863) 638-1619 | Fax (863) 638-0512 Email info@storycompanies.com Website www.storycompanies.com

CFAN | 21


N OV E M B E R — D EC E M B E R 2022 NOVEMBER 5, 12, 19, AND 26, DECEMBER 3, 10, 17, 24, AND 31 GRADY GOAT YOGA TAMPA BAY

NOVEMBER 5, 12, 19, AND 26, DECEMBER 3, 10, 17, 24, AND 31 DOWNTOWN LAKELAND FARMERS CURB MARKET

Every Saturday from 10 – 11:30 a.m., Grady Goat Farm hosts a fun and relaxing yoga class featuring their famous goats. Tickets are $37 for each attendee. This delightful event benefits Project G.O.A.T. (Global Offensive Against Trafficking), a charity that works to protect children. Grady Goat Farm is located at 12551 Franklin Rd in Thonotosassa. Learn about this incredible farm and all that they do by visiting their website at www.gradygoat.org.

NOVEMBER 12 SPCA FLORIDA AUCTION FOR ANIMALS

This vibrant, eclectic market brings the community together every Saturday in Downtown Lakeland with fresh, local produce, live plants, and a variety of hot foods and handcrafted wares. It is located on the 200 block of N. Kentucky Ave. in Lakeland from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. every Saturday (except in August) and is a production of the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority (LDDA). Learn more at downtownfarmerscurbmarket.org.

NOVEMBER 10 – 12 FISH TO HONOR TOURNAMENT

This is SPCA Florida’s largest fundraiser of the year and will take place at the Florida Air Museum at 5175 Medulla Rd in Lakeland from 6 – 10 p.m. A five-star, five-course dinner catered by Terrie Lobb and paired with exquisite wine will be served. Marty Higgenbotham is auctioneering, and Ken Suarez and Melissa Marino will serve as EMCEES. Event tickets start at $125 each and can be purchased easily online by going to www.one.bidpal.net/spca/ welcome.

This is a 2-person team tournament in which one member of each team must be a veteran or an active duty service member. It’s a full weekend of fun for everyone at Camp Mack, a Guy Harvey Lodge, Marina & RV Resort, located at 14900 Camp Mack Rd in Lake Wales. To learn more, please visit www. guyharveycampmack.com/fish-to-honor-tournament.

NOVEMBER 5, 12, 19 AND 26, SATURDAY NIGHT RODEO

This fun, family-friendly rodeo takes place every Saturday from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo, located at 3200 River Ranch Blvd in River Ranch. Enjoy the antics of cowpokes and bronco busters as they show off their skills in trick riding, bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing, and more. Kids are invited into the rodeo arena toward the end of the night to participate in a real “calf scramble.” Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for children ages 5 – 12, and children ages 4 and under are free. For more information, please visit westgateresorts. com/hotels/florida/river-ranch/westgate-riverranch-resort/activities/rodeo/.

22 | CFAN

NOVEMBER 12 AND 26, DECEMBER 10 AND 24 DOWNTOWN FARMER’S MARKET IN LAKE WALES

The Lake Wales Downtown Farmer’s Market is sponsored by Lake Wales Main Street and takes place every second and fourth Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 20 N Market St in Lake Wales. This producer-only market specializes in locally grown, pesticide-free produce and plants, baked goods, local honey, Florida grove pepper sauces, cheeses, award-winning BBQ sauces and rubs, homemade jams and jellies, natural pet treats, plus a ton of crafts, clothing, and jewelry. For more information, you can contact Lynn Greenfield at (863) 676-8782 or visit www.lwmainstreet.com/farmers-market.

FloridaAgNews.com


C A L E N DA R

compiled by TERESA SCHIFFER

NOVEMBER 15 – 17 HIGHLANDS COUNTY AG-VENTURE, INC.

This three-day program is an excellent opportunity for third graders to learn about local agriculture in a fun way. All public, private, and home schooled third grade students are able to participate, and the program is free for the students and schools. This year, there is also an Evening Ag-Venture being offered on November 16 at 4 p.m. to fourth grade kids to make up for missing last year’s program. You can find complete details for this agricultural and educational adventure at www.highlandscountyagventure.com.

DECEMBER 9 – 10 AND 16 – 17 FLORIDA FLYWHEELERS CHRISTMAS IN THE VILLAGE

NOVEMBER 30 SWFREC OPEN HOUSE – BEFORE THE BOUNTY: THE SCIENCE OF CROP PRODUCTION

Find out what the team at UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) is up to these days at this annual open house that will take place from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. There will be laboratory tours, trolley tours of the farm facilities, and fascinating science demonstrations. RSVP today by going to www.swfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/openhouse2022.

For two weekends, from 6 – 9 p.m., you can enjoy a journey through an Antique Village delightfully decorated as a Winter Wonderland from the comfort of your own vehicle. You’ll receive sweet treats and seasonal refreshments (like hot cocoa, cookies, eggnog, and cider), and have the opportunity to get a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus, This is a charity event that benefits the community, so for admission the Flywheelers request canned food, toys, and/or monetary donations. The address is 7000 Avon Park Cut Off Rd in Fort Meade. If you have any questions, you may contact (863) 285-9121, or visit the website at www.FloridaFlywheelers.org/events/.

DECEMBER 1 VERMICOMPOSTING 101 (COMPOSTING WITH WORMS) NOVEMBER 18 – 19 PLANT CITY PIG JAM

A Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) sanctioned competition where teams compete in professional and amateur divisions. Lots of amazing food, live entertainment for the whole family, vendors with jammin’ merchandise, and more make this annual event incredibly fun! Find the good times at 1401 Gordon Food Service Dr in Plant City from 5 – 10 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is only $10 per carload. For more information, please go to www.plantcitypigjam.com.

NOVEMBER 29 – DECEMBER 2 HACCP FOR FLORIDA FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLE PACKINGHOUSES

Register for this virtual food safety workshop presented via Zoom by UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center at Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at https://haccp112922. eventbrite.com. Only 20 spots are available. The course fee is $250. Questions regarding registration can be directed to Sarah McCoy at sarahmccoy@ ufl.edu. For questions about the training, please contact Taylor O’Bannon at taylorlangford@ufl.edu.

FloridaAgNews.com

Worms are an awesome way to boost your compost – and you can learn all about how to care for them and how to harvest the castings for use in your own garden. The $45 registration fee includes one worm composting kit, but you can get a free ticket if you don’t want the worm composting kit. This workshop is being presented by UF/IFAS Extension Polk County and the City of Lake Alfred/Mackay Gardens, and will take place from 10 – 11 a.m. at Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve at 945 Mackay Blvd in Lake Alfred. For more information, please visit www.sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/polk/.

DECEMBER 8 • TAMPA BAY BEEKEEPERS MONTHLY MEETING

Gather with other local beekeepers to learn the ins and outs of keeping honey bees at this potluck meeting (please bring a dish!) while a guest speaker discusses a relevant topic with everyone. This meeting will be held at Hillsborough County Extension Office, located at 5339 County Rd 579 in Seffner, in the meeting hall behind the main offices, from 7 – 9 p.m. For more information, please go to www. tampabaybeekeepers.com.

DECEMBER 10 DIRT DAYS: TERRIFIC TREES

This is a fun, free, educational program filled with engaging activities for elementary school-aged children. From 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., kids will learn all about the important role that trees play in the native ecosystems of Florida from representatives from the Florida Forest Service, Florida Master Gardeners, and Friends of the Parks, at Polk’s Nature Discovery Center Classroom at Circle B Bar Reserve, located at 4399 Winter Lake Rd in Lakeland. The whole family is welcome, but tickets are limited, so sign up today on www.eventbrite.com (search for “Dirt Days: Terrific Trees”), or go to www.polknature.com/discoverycenter/programs to learn more about this and the other great programs offered by the Parks and Natural Resources Environmental Lands Program.

CFAN | 23


FROM THE DESK OF

Dr. Angle

Scott Angle is the University of Florida’s Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources and leader of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).

J. Scott Angle jangle@ufl.edu @IFAS_VP

Local 4-H Legends Inducted into Hall of Fame THEY’VE LONG BEEN LOCAL 4-H LEGENDS. Now they’ve been inducted as Florida 4-H Hall of Famers: Judy Raymond of Polk County and Carl and Dee Dee Grooms of Hillsborough County are among this year’s inductees. UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Director Nicole Walker and 4-H agent Shreemoyee Ghosh nominated Raymond with compelling support letters from several 4-H parents, including those of SarahGrace O’Leary. SarahGrace spent so much time with Raymond’s Home Grown Club that one day when she was about 12 years old, she asked Raymond, “Will you be my grandma?” Raymond didn’t casually answer yes. She grandmothered all the way: going to birthday parties, driving to the movies, inviting SarahGrace over for snacks—all the things “real” grandmas do. And in SarahGrace’s case, it would mean nurturing a child so shy that she’d cry when she had to say her name publicly. It took years, but SarahGrace went from fear of saying her name before an audience to confidently delivering a speech at her high school graduation. Between 4-Hers like SarahGrace who adopted Raymond as their grandmother, and the children of Raymond’s own children, about 20 youths knew Raymond as “Grandma Judy.” Raymond still drives members around in the type of vehicle she has always bought for its capacity to carry 4-Hers. She’s on her fourth Ford Club Wagon in 35 years of volunteering. The Grooms family cemented their status as 4-H legends in a moment of crisis for Hillsborough County 4-H. A local farmer who had volunteered his field for a U-pick fundraiser had to back out at the last minute. Hillsborough 4-H Foundation leader Betty Jo Tompkins turned to Carl and Dee Dee with a request—can we send a few hundred people to 24 | CFAN

your farm to pick your bushes clean and keep for 4-H the money they spend for the berries? Just one time. To Carl and Dee Dee, berries are business. But they’re also service. When Dee Dee took that call from Betty Jo, they were 25 years into a 4-H friendship that began with Betty Jo’s club gleaning the Fancy Farms fields to supply food banks and other charities with berries. And, after all, it was just one time. Betty Jo called again the next year. And the next. And the next. Sixteen annual calls later, they have raised $100,000 raised for 4-H. This year Betty Jo surprised them by “crashing” the event where the Grooms family was being honored with the 2022 Outstanding Project of the

Judy Raymond and Scott

Year Award from the Hillsborough County Soil and Water Conservation District. She announced that Carl and Dee Dee’s next ceremony would be the 4-H Hall of Fame induction in Gainesville. The Grooms family’s generosity has paid for a lot of residential summer camp scholarships and 4-H University scholarships, trips to Tallahassee for 4-H Legislature, as well as trips to state, regional and national judging events. 4-H programs in Hillsborough and Polk counties are strong because of volunteers like Judy, Carl and Dee Dee who give decades of time to it.

Judy On Stage 4H Hall of Fame

FloridaAgNews.com


Memories to Masterpieces continued from page 14

“My husband and I are hunters,” she recounts. “I had done murals before having kids, then when I had kids I stayed home with them. Then I wanted to paint something for him – I hadn’t done painting before on paper – as a Christmas gift, so I took his hunting dogs and put them in a picture to make it custom. That turned out well, and then when I shared it a lot of people seemed to want their own dog in a picture, or their own scene or hunting landscape, or even their own farm.” Turner did not have an established fan base at that point yet, so she created a Facebook page in order to offer her artistic services to the public. Initially, her goal was to create a series of works depicting Florida wildlife and game, something she could potentially market prints of to commercial buyers, such as outdoor equipment retailers. However, when people saw her work, they wanted something different from her. “They wanted to order their own pictures, so instead of me being able to sell prints, I was too busy selling custom art,” Turner says with a chuckle. “People like their own special thing in their painting. They don’t want to buy some generic picture. So this is the niche that I’ve found.” People love their dogs, so Turner has painted more canines than she can count – duck dogs, hog dogs, cow dogs, beloved pets, and more. It can be a challenge to capture a good quality photograph of a dog when they are always in motion, but Turner excels at taking those blurry shots and transforming them into crystal clear visions that truly portray the image of the beloved companions as they will always exist in their human’s memory. “Most of my work is done from hog hunters,” she explains. “Usually what they want is, ‘Can you put my dog in a scene with another dog that I have, and make them actually baying a hog?’ So that’s what I usually do, put them into a background or a scene of action that they wouldn’t actually be doing in the photo.” Another specialty of Turner’s is the customized skulls that she paints for hunters. Hunters provide her with the skull of an animal they’ve killed to have it decorated as a unique, commemorative trophy. She’s also done a number of homestead pictures, nostalgic pieces of how a property looked in generations past. CONTINUED ON PAGE 29

FloridaAgNews.com

photo provided by MONICA TURNER

photo provided by MONICA TURNER

CFAN | 25


Recipe Spotlight Is It Getting Chili in Here?! by CAROL CORLEY

S

SOMETIMES EASY IN THE KITCHEN can be healthiest. Like chili — it may take a lot of time and use a lot of ingredients, but overall, it can be easy. Put a bunch of ingredients you love in a pot, cook for the prescribed time, then enjoy and reap the benefits. One of chili’s main ingredients — capsaicin — is considered a powerful antioxidant. Chili is also full of protein, fiber, vitamins, iron, and is generally low in sugar. For more than 6,000 years, people have used spicy chili peppers to bring interest to their food and even prevent food from spoiling in the days before refrigeration. If your stomach isn’t brave enough for chili, it can even be made with a host of other ingredients that are not spicy — like peanut butter, chocolate, and beans, among others. As for meats, you can use ground beef, ground bison, sausage, or even turkey and chicken. Plus, if you choose lean meats, your chili can even be low in fat.

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI

(Adapted from cookingclassy.com)

SMOKY PEANUT BUTTER CHILI

(Adapted from tasteofhome.com)

Ingredients Lean ground beef, 3 pounds Peanut butter, 2/3 cup creamy Green pepper, onion, peeled carrot, 1 large of each, chopped Olive oil, 1 tablespoon Tomato sauce, 30 oz Tomatoes, 28-30 oz canned, diced, with basil, oregano, undrained Garlic, 2 cloves, minced Salt and smoked paprika to taste Green chiles, 8 oz chopped, or to taste Ancho chile pepper, 1 tablespoon ground, or to taste Smoked cheddar cheese shredded, sprinkling on top when served Peanuts, chopped, sprinkling on top when served Directions

Cook the ground beef in batches using a large skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil. Crumble the beef as it cooks for about 7-10 minutes. Remove beef with a slotted spoon and drain. Then add green pepper, onion and peeled carrot and cook for another 2 minutes, then add garlic and cook for another minute. Put all, including beef, in a slow cooker. Combine the remaining ingredients except toppings (cheese and peanuts), and cook covered on low for about 4 hours, until vegetables are to the desired doneness.

26 | CFAN

Ingredients Chicken, 3 cups shredded, pre-cooked Chicken broth, 2 14.5-oz cans Onion, 1 medium, diced Garlic cloves, 2 minced Olive oil, 1 tablespoon Green chilis, 1 7 oz can diced, if to taste Cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon, if to taste Cumin, 1-1/2 teaspoon Paprika, dried oregano, ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon each Salt and pepper to taste Corn, fresh or frozen, 1-1/2 cup Cannellini beans, 30 oz canned Light cream cheese, 1 8-oz package cut into small cubes Lime juice, 1-1/4 tablespoon fresh Chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons for cooking, 1 teaspoon for serving Monterey Jack cheese for serving Avocado slices as desired for serving Tortilla chips as desired for serving Directions

In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté onion in olive oil for about 4 minutes, add garlic for a few seconds, then add broth and flavorings except cilantro. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse beans then take 1 cup and place in a food processor with 1/3-cup of the cooked broth. Puree until smooth and add to soup, along with remainder of whole beans, with light cream cheese and corn. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Finally, stir in pre-cooked chicken, fresh lime juice and cilantro. Heat until the chicken is to temperature.

FloridaAgNews.com


MEXICAN CHOCOLATE CHILI

(Adapted from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients Beef, can be round or sirloin, 1 pound ground Kidney beans, black beans, whole-kernel corn, 15-oz can each, rinsed and drained Chocolate chips, 1/2 cup semi-sweet Tomatoes with garlic, 2 14.5-oz cans including liquid Onion, 1 cup chopped Water, 1 cup hot Chili powder, 1-1/2 teaspoons or to taste Cumin, 1-2 teaspoons ground, according to taste Oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried Olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon Salt to taste Directions

Combine ground beef and onion in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, using a bit of olive oil. Cook for about 5 minutes until browned. Place in a slow cooker and add remaining ingredients. Cook on high until it begins to bubble, about 15-20 minutes, then reduce to low heat and cook another 2 hours until thick.

EASY SLOW-COOKER CHILI

(Adapted from thespruceeats.com)

Ingredients Ground beef, 1 pound Onions, 2 chopped Red kidney beans, 2 15-oz cans, rinsed and drained Water, 1 cup Diced tomatoes with green chiles, 3 14-oz cans Chili powder, 3/4 tablespoon or as desired Cornstarch for thickening, if desired Directions

Using a large skillet, brown then drain ground beef. Add to the crock pot with remaining ingredients, cover and cook on low for about 8 hours. Can thicken with cornstarch, if desired.

We’re the key to making life easy for you! A management company for homeowners associations & condominiums

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community Zooming in on agriculture in your community.

Florida Blueberry Growers Association

Fall Short Course & Trade Show October 20, 2022 | Howey-in-the-Hills, FL photos by TYLER DIGIOVINE & JESSICA MCDONALD

BRITTANY LEE

KASEY CRONQUIST

CONGRESSWOMAN KAT CAMMACK

28 | CFAN

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Memories to Masterpieces continued from page 25

The ability to preserve other people’s memories in such a meaningful way is an aspect of Turner’s work that brings her great satisfaction. “I really like that I can take a poor quality photograph, from somebody’s old photo album, or a blurry picture, or even a screenshot, and be able to make it better – to improve the memory that they have beyond a little piece of paper. They recorded it with their camera, but that doesn’t really capture the moment. It just captures what’s going on in the picture,” Turner says of her commissioned artwork. This type of tribute portraiture is also requested by families who would like to have a memory created that never had the chance to take place in real life. Turner describes a typical request she receives fairly often, “I’ve done a lot of pictures where Grandpa has died, and Dad is not doing too well, and they’ll ask, ‘Can you put them in a painting with my daughter, because they never got to meet?’ And that’s just kind of neat, that’s real special to me. I like that.” Check out more of her work on Facebook at “Head Turner Art Studio by Monica Turner,” or her website, MonicaTurnerArt.org. ag

photo provided by MONICA TURNER

Leveraging Technology continued from page 15

electrical engineers, AI specialists, graduate students and support staff. Economic benefits for Hillsborough and Manatee counties from the center include: • AI will improve agricultural production and lead to more technology-focused jobs. • New research and teaching faculty. • Resources and expertise needed to support tech start-ups that will draw new industries into Florida. • Training programs for farmers, students, and the public. “The economic impact will be widespread,” Rechcigl says. “The center will strengthen the agricultural industry but will also support current manufacturing industries and the formation of start-up entities focused on AI-based and robotic technologies.” He cited a similar center in Boston that played a pivotal role in forming 120 robotic companies and many new jobs. Hillsborough County has already pledged $1.5 FloridaAgNews.com

JACK RECHCIGL

million to the center. The UF/IFAS advancement team is seeking private support and backing from other sources. UF/IFAS is a leader in the university-wide AI initiative. The institute has hired 15 faculty members in the past year or so who study and conduct outreach on how AI can help improve technology for agriculture and natural resources. The University of Florida also has the fastest AI computer in U.S. academia, a gift from NVIDIA. GCREC already has a head start on hiring AI faculty for the center. In the past year, Kevin Wang and Dana Choi both joined GCREC as as-

SCOTT ANGLE

sistant professors of agricultural and biological engineering. Wang helps plant breeders statewide, while Choi is working with farmers to help them grow while preserving the environment. Research by Wang, Choi and other AI scientists at UF/IFAS will help keep farmers in business. “The survival of our agricultural industries like fruit and vegetable production depends on the development of new technologies utilizing AI to assist growers in production,” Rechcigl says. ag CFAN | 29


a d i r Flo ag-rec

ag-recpdate U

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

myfwc.com/hunting/regulations/birds/

Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations 2022-2023 Florida Migratory Bird Hunting Season Dates and Bag Limits SEASONS AND DATES may not apply to wildlife management areas. Species/Season

Season Dates

Daily Bag Limit

Possession Limit

No Limit

No Limit

Crow*

Aug. 13-Oct. 30 (Sat. & Sun. only) • Nov. 11-Feb. 18

Rail (King and clapper)

Sept 1 - Nov 9

15

45

Rail (Sora and Virginia)

Sept. 1 - Nov. 9

25

75

Common gallinule (Moorhen)

Sept. 1 - Nov. 9

15

45

Canada goose (W)

Sept. 3-25 • Nov. 19-27, Dec. 1 - Jan. 30

5

15

Duck (W)

Sept. 17-21 (teal and wood duck only) Sept. 22-25 (teal only) • Nov. 19-27 • Dec. 10-Jan. 29

**

3 times the daily bag limit

Dove (Mourning and white-winged)

Sept. 24-Oct. 16 • Nov. 12-Dec. 4 • Dec. 19-Jan. 31

15

45

Snipe

Nov. 1 - Feb. 15

8

24

Coot

Nov. 19-27 • Dec. 10 - Jan. 29

15

45

Light Geese (Snow, blue and Ross') (W)

Nov. 19-27 • Dec. 10 - Jan. 29

15

No Limit

Merganser (Common, red-breasted, hooded) (W)

Nov. 19-27 • Dec. 10 - Jan. 29

5

15

Woodcock

Dec. 18 - Jan. 31

3

9

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days

Nov. 12 and Feb. 11

***

***

Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Days

Feb. 4-5

****

****

DEC . 25

Lights • Rides • Shopping Shows • Food • Santa

Get tickets @ TheWonderlandOf Lights.com

• Must have migratory bird permit (no cost) as well as hunting license to hunt all above-listed species, except crow. • Shooting hours: One-half hour before sunrise until sunset, unless otherwise noted • Taking or attempting to take harlequin ducks, brant and purple gallinule is prohibited. • (W) - Must have $5 Florida waterfowl permit and $28.50 Federal duck stamp in addition to hunting license and migratory bird permit when hunting waterfowl. • Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. No hunting license or permit is required. ag

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AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS _______________________________________ GRIFFIN FERTILIZER Here for the grower, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Offices in Frostproof, 863-635-2281, and LaBelle, 863-675-7444 _______________________________________

ANIMAL SERVICES _______________________________________ Quality Veterinary Care for your Horses and Cattle POLK EQUINE - (863) 287-8413 PolkEquine.com

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Garrison Land Management Certified and Licensed Pest Control Firm 863-439-6550 GarrisonLand.com _______________________________________

Farm Bureau Insurance Offices Throughout Central Florida! 24/7 Claims Reporting Toll Free (866) 275-7322 floridafarmbureau.com _______________________________________ Florida’s Natural Grove House Visitor Center Tour • Exhibits • Gift Shop Open seasonally October-May 20160 Hwy 27 • Lake Wales FloridasNaturalGroveHouse.com _______________________________________ Florida Flywheelers Come Explore Our Village! 7000 Avon Park Cutoff Rd. • Fort Meade 1-863-285-9121 • floridaflywheelers.com _______________________________________

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CONCEALED CARRY GUN SAFETY COURSES -starting at just $40.00 per person. Call (863) 655-1010 to register for the next class. Tell ‘em AgNews sent ya. SprayAndPrayReloading.com _______________________________________

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES _______________________________________ My Payroll Solutions LLC has over 20 years of experience in matching small businesses, Agriculture Companies and harvesters to staffing services and employee leasing companies, which provide payroll services with workers comp coverage and assistance with H2A applications for our clients. For more information contact Jeff H Futch at 863-835-1130.

• Irrigation Services of Central Florida Ag irrigation is our specialty, Jimmy Durden, Irrigation Specialist - (863) 875-5722. _______________________________________

HIRING!

Ag News magazine is looking for a creative, outgoing, and organized person to represent our brand and our suite of advertising products. If you love the rural lifestyle and the ag community and are a charming and/or a persuasive person you may be a good fit with Ag News.

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If that’s you, please send an introductory letter and your resume to Nelson@ CentralFlorida MediaGroup.com

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Stromberg’s Chicks & Game Birds Order Early! Chick Days 800-720-1134 ChickDaysFlorida.com _______________________________________ EQUIPMENT FOR RENT _______________________________________ ___________________________________________

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LEGAL SERVICES

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EMPLOYMENT

Build Your Own Classified info@centralfloridamediagroup.com CFAN | 31


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BLESSED TO BE RECOGNIZED FOR RECENT SUCCESSFUL AUCTION FRIENDS, I AM COUNTING MY BLESSINGS! I am facing the physical, economical, and political storms with a grateful heart! Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. — Deuteronomy 31:8 Faith in God leads to wisdom. He keeps his word! And the apostles said unto the Lord, increase our faith. — Luke 17:5 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship. — Exodus 31:3

There is no such thing as a self-made man. I believe in intelligent design by our supreme Maker. I believe as we work with others in this amazing life we have been given, we open ourselves to God’s many blessings. Once we know our Maker, and seek his hand in guiding our life, he uses us! He puts people in our path. He uses us in our successes and our failures as well. I have made many contacts during my 62 years of “turning clients’ assets into money.” Many become friends for life, blessing me continually. I have been incredibly blessed to attract and work with talented employees as well as fellow auctioneers and real estate professionals. It is truly teamwork that creates the synergy necessary to create a market! Our market is not confined to the great state of Florida, but we love working for fellow Floridians any chance we get! We treasure our home state and love our beautiful country that is so rich with opportunities gifted by God. Please allow me to recognize our team by sharing a recent letter of recommendation for a job well done! of Corrections I want Oregon Department your team did to of te Sta the of lf ha On be u and re outstanding work yo to thank you for the ek Correctional Facility Site, a 390.5-ac Cre ll Mi r than the r he hig .5% 27 sell the forme is ich nks ,052,187.50, wh working farm, for $9 at in and of itself is truly remarkable thato Th . ys da bid r h fou hig for nd r ou de first-r h bid tiations with the hig to Chris’ expert nego action. ns tra the consummate actly the type of quite frankly, drew ex , Your marketing plan, uld buy the property —­an experienced ho wo er (w lop ve de er/ ild bu bidder we believed ial ntial and commerc well-seasoned reside al here in our Salem market). Your smart loc City be to s en just happ in meeting with the prior to the auction elop the ev red to e tiv due diligence work ep rec cly the City would be of Salem to ensure of genius. While many other large publi e ok the str a in s d wa ste rty ere pe int re pro ilders/developers we to traded residential bu d to offload the risk of entitlements on nte wa all y t approvals en em titl en property, the for re ry two years or mo s now, we have a ve the state in waiting se escrow. As it stand money in escrow and clo uld wo y the e for be rnest of non­refundable ea . substantial amount ember 2022 ec d-D mi by w cro will close es awarded m’s great work, we’ve As a result of your tea eers a contract to auction on Higgenbotham Aucti perty, a 319-acre pro e typ mfar nd co se a ch in Central Point, ran ck sto live working metropolitan rd dfo Me the Oregon, in rd to that wa for k loo market and we . 23 auction in March 20 Sincerely, Tracy L. Wilder ger, Real Property Mana s Division ce Administrative Servi

by MARTY HIGGENBOTHAM

This column is sponsored by Higgenbotham Auctioneers International, Ltd., and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers. BIO: Marty Higgenbotham, founder and president of Higgenbotham Auctioneers International, Ltd., has conducted approximately 12,000 auctions, selling everything from cemetery lots to shopping centers and everything in between. He graduated from Reisch Auction College in 1959. Since then, he has sold in 49 states and five foreign countries. Clients include Wal-Mart, Albertson, Sinclair, AutoZone, HUD, and the states of Kansas, Missouri, Texas and Florida, to name a few. He lives with his wife in Lakeland.

34 | CFAN

R E N

A F F

R O C

Students Accept the Challenge to Promote Agriculture Literacy

by JASMYN BILLANO, Polk County FFA Federation Vice-President

F

FROM HURRICANES TO COLD FRONTS, Polk County FFA has had quite an interesting time in the past month. After the recent trouble caused by Hurricane Ian this September and October, we are glad to see many chapters back on their feet or on the road to recovery. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by these events. On another note, at September’s County Competition for Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the Polk County FFA Federation announced the current Service Project! We are excited to share that this year, we are challenging each FFA chapter to read to as many elementary school classrooms as possible. Using the books selected by Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, we hope to promote agriculture literacy, as well as increase the influence of agriculture in our elementary classrooms. The chapter that has read to the most classrooms by the time of our Federation Banquet will be awarded the “Making a Difference Award.” We encourage every chapter to participate and can’t wait to see everyone’s contributions! Another way that we are working to increase the inclusion of agriculture in our elementary schools is through the development of elementary agriculture programs. One example of this is the up-andcoming program at Mulberry’s Willow Oak School. The class will have students cover a variety of topics, such as dairy farming and hydroponics, as well as get their hands dirty at the garden beds! We are beyond excited to educate our new generations on the importance and traditions of agriculture. We hope to continue to expand elementary agri-

culture and wish our chapters good luck with their reading! As we get further into the school year, FFA members have a variety of upcoming events! These range from cattle shows, such as the recent Wrangler Round Up and Kowtown Classic, to competitive events. Many of our members are busy practicing for the fast-approaching prelims and county competitions. These competitions cover a variety of topics, including Food Science, Environmental Science, Agricultural Education, Tool Identification, Citrus, Vegetables, and more! It is always inspiring to see the hard work and passion of our members in their preparation. It is safe to say that the future of agriculture is in good hands! We wish all those who will be competing the very best of luck, we can’t wait to see the culmination of everyone’s hard work. Also approaching is our very own Polk County Youth Fair, alongside both the Florida State Fair and Central Florida Youth in Agriculture Showcase and Sale. As the dates for these events draw closer and closer, many students are hard at work with their projects, whether those be steers or blueberry bushes! We wish all FFA and 4-H the greatest success and are excited to see the product of everybody’s efforts this winter and spring. Stay warm! ag FloridaAgNews.com


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From the Editor’s Desk

Mark Your Calendars JESSICA McDONALD, Editor jessica@centralfloridamediagroup.com

THERE ARE PLENTY of learning and leisure opportunities coming up. Here’s a quick glance at what’s in store. •A g Tree Crop CEUs and Training. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. 1702 South Holland Parkway, Bartow. Instructors Luis Rodriguez, Chris Oswalt, and Ajia Paolillo will review the required information for the Ag Tree Crop exam to obtain restricted-use pesticide licenses in Florida. Four CEUs are available in private, ag row, or ag tree crop. Register at http://bit.ly/3WRsii2 • Southwest Florida Research and Education Center Open House. Nov. 30, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 2685 SR 29 North, Immokalee. The event will include tours of the laboratories and farm facilities, as well as educational science demonstrations. RSVP to swfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/openhouse2022 • HCCGA Citrus Fun Shoot. Saturday, Dec. 10 at Quail Creek Sporting Ranch. 8:30 a.m. The event will include a morning of shooting, lunch, and raffles. For more information, call 863-385-8091. ag

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36 | CFAN

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