Page 1

JUNE 2014

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Heartland In The Field Magazine


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system that prevents seed and fertilizer overlap, controls the rate of material applications, monitors seed delivery and fertilizer blockage, and controls the height of spray booms. Overlapping inputs will increase your costs and creates nutrient deficiency in soil due to overpopulation of seed. The Field-IQ system controls planter clutches and a variety of air seeder systems by automatically turning sections on/off based on non-farm zones and previously planted areas.

Contact Ag Technologies, the Southeast’s leading precision ag dealer. Andrew Bryan 941-725-8046 | Ken Lodge 239-322-8357 877-585-4GPS |


Heartland InThe Field Magazine

Authorized Ag Dealer

June 2013

June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine


JUNE 2014

June Features 20

8th Annual Women in the Outdoors


Living with the Land, Not Off the Land: Rafter T Ranch By Levi Lambert


Raising Quality Cattle with Rocking S Ranch By Levi Lambert


Who’s Got BEEF with High Cattle Prices? By Audra Clemons


The Austere Autumn By Bud Adams


United Feed Co-Op By Robbi Sumner


A Conversation with Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation Chairman Jim Strickland


Travel Feature: Sarasota & Agritourism By The Getaway Girl® Casey Wohl


Florida Cattlemen’s Association Sweethearts



Cattle Ranching: Melding Traditions of Yesterday with Today’s Technology By Dixie Thomas

SW Florida Gulf Coast Fishing Report By Capt. Chris O’Neill


Heartland’s Fishing Report By Capt. Mark King


Florida Cur Dogs: Cow Hunters Extraordinaire By Cindy Cutright


Citrus Update: A Summer Opportunity By Justin Smith


An Original Florida Cracker: Jacob Summerlin By Levi Lambert


Florida Cattlewomen’s Association Recipe: Mojo Beef Kabobs


Florida Mineral, Salt & Agricultural Products By Jim Frankowiak


Kids Corner: Cow Puzzler Provided by Florida Dairy Farmers


Coy Smith: On the Cutting Edge of Competition By Cindy Cutright


Happenings in the Heartland


Circle S Rodeo: Bulls, Broncs, Barrels and Bring Family By Dixie Thomas


Ag Calendar


Fort Myers Hosts PRCA Pro Rodeo Article and Photos By Kathy Gregg


Manatee Cattlement Hold Annual Ranch Rodeo Article and Photos By Kathy Gregg

Cover photo by Silver King Photography


Look out next month for

Annual Sportsmen Edition! 6

Heartland InThe Field Magazine

Outdoors in the Heartl


June 2013

HEARTLAND’S Marketplace


Hardee Ranch Supply Get Ready for Father’s Day! Maui Jim Sunglasses, Yeti Coolers, Case Knives 15% Off Hardee Ranch Fishing Shirt with Ad!

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863.471.FEED Heartland In The Field Magazine


Publisher Rhonda Glisson Karen Berry

Executive Editor

Editor’s Note Some would say stepping onto a cattle ranch is like stepping back in time. Looking around, you see old, chipped paint wooden barns, the same chutes that were there when your great grandfather was branding his herd and all the cowboys are still on horseback. Then you look a little closer... chutes? Instead of the traditional hot brand, it’s electric. And that cowboy on horseback? He’s got an iPad tracking data to make sure his operation is running smoothly.

Business Manager Nadine Glisson

Art Directors Carrie Evans Olivia Fryer Staff Writers Ron Lambert Levi Lambert Brian Norris Kyndall Robertson

Contributing Writers Bud Adams Audra Clemons Rusty Hartline Laurie Hurner

I am so thankful to grow up in an area that still appreciates those old traditions, or as we at Heartland Magazine like to call, A Way of Life. We are also willing to adapt to the new technology that can only improve the family farm. I was interviewing one of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association’s Sweetheart contestants, Alli Thomas of Hillsborough County, and she said it perfectly: “We won’t lose the touch of the farmer. No robot is going out to check cows; we will always have the cowboy!” This month’s cover article takes a look at Cattle Ranching: Melding Traditions of Yesterday with Today’s Technology where we feature several ranchers from around our area, some with decades of experience and some freshly out of college. Read more about the changes they have seen over the years and new perspectives on page 46. This issue also features recognized names in cattle ranching such as Jim Strickland, Chairman of the Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation, Jimmy Wohl of Rafter T Ranch and Marcus Shackelford of Rocking S Cattle. On page 52, we highlight Florida Cur Dogs: Cow Hunters Extraordinaire and the important role these canines play in herding and working cattle. June a big month for the Florida cattle industry; the Florida Cattlemen’s Association Convention and Allied Trade Show is June 16th-20th on Marco Island and looks to be another one not to miss! During the week, they will also be choosing the 2014 Florida Cattlemen’s Sweetheart. Be sure to read about each of the contestants on page 40. We wish all the girls the best of luck and the industry is blessed to have these ambassadors around the state with a true passion for raising awareness about cattle and beef.

Dr. D. Keatley Waldron, D.C. Matt Warren

As always, we love to hear from our readers and if you have a story idea or an event you think we should be covering, please let us know! E-mail me at morgan@ or give me a call 863-381-8014.

Casey Wohl

We’ll see y’all In the Field,

Capt. Chris O’Neill

Social Media Director Brian Norris Photography Karen Berry

Russell Hancock Nell McAuley Brian Norris


Heartland in the Field Magazine is published monthly and is available through local businesses, restaurants and other local venues within Hardee, Highlands, DeSoto, Charlotte, Glades, Hendry, Okeechobee, Lee, Manatee and St. Lucie Counties. Letters, comments and questions can be sent to Heartland In the Field Magazine, P.O. Box 3183 Plant City, FL. 33563 or you are welcome to e-mail them to or call 813-708-3661. Advertisers warrant & represent the description of their products advertised are true in all respects. Heartland In the Field Magazine assumes no responsibility for claims made by their advertisers. All views expressed in all articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of G Five Publications, Inc. Any use or duplication of material used in Heartland In the Field Magazine is prohibited without written consent from Berry Publications and G Five. All contents Copyright 2014. No part of this work may be copied, transmitted, reproduced or reprinted without the express written consent of the publisher. Annual subscriptions to receive Heartland A Way of Life at your home or business is $25 annually. For advertising, subscriptions or editorial questions please call 813-708-3661 or email Heartland® A Way Of Life In The Field publication has been in print since 2008.

Heartland InThe Field Magazine

June 2013


June is


June Dairy Month started in 1937 as a way to help distribute extra milk when cows started on pasture in the warm summer months. Today the tradition continues with people from across the country celebrating the industry in a variety of ways. So, this month indulge your dairy craving with an extra glass, slice, or scoop of your favorite dairy product. Relax with a deliciously refreshing Orange Cream Chiller and enjoy the following dairy industry facts, provided by the Florida Dairy Farmers. Dairy Industry Facts: •

Most of the dairy cows living in Florida are Holsteins (the black and white cows).

Lafayette is Florida’s leading dairy county with 21 farms; Okeechobee is second with 19.

Most Florida dairy herds range in size from 150 cows to 5,000 cows.

The state’s more than 130 dairy farms are primarily owned and operated by second- and third-generation farmers.

Florida dairy farmers recycle about 170,000 tons of byproducts such as citrus pulp, brewers’ grain and whole cottonseed that

There are about 118,000 dairy cows in Florida that collectively produce about 2.1 billion pounds of milk a year.

The total represents 253 million gallons of Florida-produced milk in grocery stores.

Each Florida dairy cow produces about 18,600 pounds of milk annually or about six to eight gallons of milk each day.

Milk has played an important role in America’s history since

The average dairy cow weighs 1,400 pounds, which is about the same size of a mature male polar bear.

Cows drink 25-50 gallons of water a day.

Cows chew their cud at least 50 times per minute.

Cows can go up stairs, but not down stairs.

Cows have ID tags on their ears to identify them and record how much milk they are producing, plus other important information about the animal’s health.

According to ancient records passed down through the centuries, the making of cheese dates back more than 4,000 years.

One gallon of milk is approximately 345 squirts of a cow’s udder.

Orange Cream Chiller Ingredients:


3 ounces orange juice concentrate 1 cup low-fat milk ½ cup nonfat Greek style plain yogurt 1 small frozen banana or 3 frozen strawberries 1 teaspoon honey ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator.

June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine


MAY 2014

Index of Advertisers




Hardee County Cattlemen’s Ranch Rodeo


Helena Chemical


Hicks Oil


LaBelle Feed


Lee and Associates


Lemon Grove Customs


Marmer Construction


Michael G. Kirsch

Cattlemen’s Livestock Market

Farm Credit


FCA Foundation




Florida Mineral


Newton Crouch


Okeechobee Livestock Market


Florida Forestry


Glade and Grove




Walpole Feed


21st Gear

lee and Hendry

Corporate, polk & HillsborougH

Morgan Norris

Tina Yoder

Cindy Cutright

Danny Crampton

Hardee & desoto


okeeCHobee, glades & st. luCie

Robbi Sumner

Morgan Norris

Levi Lambert

Robbi Sumner

Morgan Norris Rhonda Glisson


Heartland InThe Field Magazine

June 2013

June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine






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Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 863.494.3636 941.624.3981 • Fax: 863.494.4332 OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE


President…………....Jim Selph Vice President……….Jeffrey Adams Sec./Treasurer...... Matt Harrison

President……David B. Royal Vice President…Greg L. Shackelford Sec./Treasurer……..Bo Rich

DIRECTORS FOR 2012-2013 Jim Brewer John Burtscher Mike Carter Steve Fussell

Lindsay Harrington Richard E. Harvin Ann H. Ryals Mac Turner

Bryan K. Beswick Ken Harrison

DIRECTORS FOR 2012-2013 Joseph B. Cherry Corey Lambert Daniel H. Smith

Steve A. Johnson Bill Hodge David B. Royal

Greg L. Shackelford Bo Rich Scott Henderson

Mary Jo Spicer

Rhonda Willis



Agency Manager: Cameron N. Jolly Agents: Dawn A. Hines, Clint Brown

Agency Manager: N. Jay Bryan Agents: George L. Wadsworth, Jr.



FARM BUREAU 6419 US HIGHWAY 27 S. • SEBRING, FL 33876 Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 863. 385. 5141 • Fax: 863. 385. 5356 OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE President………Scott Kirouac Vice President…Doug Miller Secretary………..Carey Howerton Treasurer……..Frank Youngman

DIRECTORS FOR 2012-2013 Sam Bronson Steve Farr Charles Guerndt

Mike Milicevic Emma Reynolds

Trey Whitehurst Jeff Williams Marty Wohl

FARM BUREAU 5620 TARA BLVD, STE 101 • BRADENTON, FL 34203 Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 941-746-6161 • 941-739-7846 : OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE President……Gary Reeder Vice President…Jim Parks Secretary……..Ben King Treasurer……..Robert Zeliff

DIRECTORS FOR 2012-2013 Carlos Blanco Gary Bradshaw Jerry Dakin Ralph Garrison

Ken Hawkins Alan Jones Vick Keen Bruce Shackelford

Jim Strickland Hugh Taylor Dan West

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Agency Manager: Chad D. McWaters Agents: Joseph W. Bullington


Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 863. 773. 3117 Fax: 863. 773. 2369

Heartland InThe Field Magazine

Agency Manager: Branden Bunch Agents: Doug Dierdorf, Mike Shannon

June 2013


Thank You... To Highlands County Farm Bureu’s Heritage Sponsors

District 6 Update From the Desk of Andy Neuhofer

Membership is a priority for Farm Bureau. If you are a member, thank you. If you are not a member, please call me at 352.318.2506 or call a member. Farm Bureau members engaged in agriculture between the ages of 18 – 35 are eligible to participate in the Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) program. There are three contests on the state level available to members. The YF&R Discussion Meet is a contest at the where participants can gain further knowledge about issues that affect their livelihoods. The Discussion Meet topics are now available. Please e-mail me at andy. opportunity to express one’s views and to persuade others. It also provides the opportunity to learn. The Achievement in Agriculture award highlights the best young farmers in the state. The application is lengthy and requires a great deal of information. It is the most prestigious of the three contests. The Excellence in Agriculture award features good farmers who make less than 50% of their income from production agriculture. Contestants There are prizes for the winners of these contests and applications are now available. If you are an interested Farm Bureau member within the 18 to 35 age bracket, please call me at 352.318.2506 or e-mail me at As mentioned in past months, the Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward with efforts to illegally expand their authority under the guise of connectivity by using the Clean Water Act. Farm Bureau strongly opposes this effort. An FBACT alert has been sent out and Farm Bureau members need to send a message to Washington, D.C., to stop this abuse of power. This is round three regarding this issue. The American Farm Bureau Federation has set up a website on the issue. The address is You are encouraged to learn more about the matter as it can have serious consequences to American agriculture. worked on through this session is available. Issues included protection for Agricultural Assessment, which is more commonly known as tax exemptions on irrigation equipment did not pass. More details can be provided. The April/May issue of the FloridAgriculture, the Florida Farm Bureau magazine for members, had two articles of interest. One of the articles discussed the issue of raising the minimum wage and why such a move would be harmful to agriculture, rural towns, small business and to the The second article I wish to mention gave a good review of the potential careers in agriculture. College students with an agricultural degree are getting good paying jobs before their counterparts in other majors. Hiring is taking place in production agriculture, management, business, science, engineering, forestry, education, communication and government. For young people in school, agriculture has a bright future.

June 2014

Please support these businesses! Heartland In The Field Magazine



SARASOTA AND AGRITOURISM By The Getaway Girl® Casey Wohl

As a native Floridian, I had been to Sarasota, but had not spent much leisure time there. So, when an opportunity came up for me to experience a Girls Getaway to Sarasota, I took that chance. I arrived in Downtown Sarasota for lunch with my friend Heather at Patrick’s 1481 that is located on Main Street. The Downtown area has something for everyone...from upscale and luxurious to some of the best people watching anywhere. Downtown’s Main Street offers a quaint a charming small town vibe.

agricultural operations that has been in the agriculture business since 1946. They grow yellow squash, Florida sweet onions, golden zucchini, zucchini, melons, peppers such as cubanelles, poblanos, jalapenos, banana peppers, strawberries, blueberries and more. They handpick the crops daily and sell them in the on-site retail location. They provided a tour of this family-owned operation, a sample some of their strawberry shortcake and an opportunity to pick some fresh berries. Our next stop, during our argitourism tour, was Dakin Dairy Farms. As a multigenerational Florida dairy farming family, the Dakins produce superior quality, wholesome, farm fresh dairy products from healthy cows using environmentally sustainable practices and state-of-theart methods. They also offer farm tours that provide a unique experience and memories that will last a lifetime. Visitors learn “Where Milk Comes From,” get to watch milk travel from the cow to the bottle, and taste fresh Dakin milk. Kids love the hayride, corn maze, petting zoo area, picnic/playground, fossil dig and pig races the Dakins have on site.

The next morning was an early one as we traveled to the Sarasota Farmers Market to stroll through the stands of locally farmed produce and crafts. We all loaded up on some fresh coffee and grabbed a bite to eat to get our day started. We found there is something for everyone as this market is a weekend ritual for locals and visitors alike.

company that engages in both the retail and wholesale


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After our morning spent on the farm, it was time for lunch to savor some of the agricultural products we had seen. The Forks & Corks University Wine Luncheon took place at Michael’s on East where four courses were designed and prepared by local, independently-owned restaurants and paired with wine from around the world. Our palette was tantalized by the Root Beer Braised Short Ribs served over Cheesy Stone Ground Grits presented by Crow’s Grilled Pineapple Relish presented by Bijou Café, the Mini Crab Fritter and Cactus Salad with Queso Blanco presented by Savory Street and Tres Leches presented by Ceviche as the Grand Finale! June 2013

After a lot of wine, we wanted to visit Siesta Key Beach. Famous for its white sandy beaches, clear warm waters and authentic beach town feel, the 8-mile, barrier island of Siesta Key attracts visitors as a favorite place for barefoot sunsets. We just had to put our toes in the sand of what Dr. Beach named the #1 Best Beach for 2011. It was hard to believe it was time to eat again, but we were all excited to dine at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota’s new restaurant, Jack Dusty. Who is Jack Dusty, you ask? The restaurant’s name harkens back to nautical lore and was an 18th century shorthand term for the naval store clerk. the bow of a ship and later became a general term for sailor (Cracker Jack). “Dusty” comes from “Jack of the Dust” who was once the Purser’s steward working in the the “Purser” was responsible for doling out the daily lot of rum, or “grog” to sailors on board ship. In later years, the Jack Dusty was assigned the task of meticulously maintaining the inventory of the ship’s rum and food stores. Today, Jack Dusty is a symbol of camaraderie and community, festively gathering together to enjoy a good meal and drink. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Jack Dusty was recently re-designed to be a restaurant the locals would love to visit that just happens to be at the Ritz Carlton address. Its upbeat and trendy atmosphere lends itself well to the various clientele, from local hipsters to hotel guest and families. Later the next morning, we traveled to the 20-acre John and Mable Ringling Musem of Art, for the Forks & Corks Grand Tasting presented by The Sarasota –Manatee Fresh Originals. During the four-hour tasting, we explored the museums grounds, visited the Circus Museum and Ca d’Zan (Home of John Ringling) and the impressive galleries of priceless art all donated to the state by John Ringling. The Circus Museum was my favorite as they have artifacts from the actual Ringling Brothers circus, as well as a room where you can try out into a clown car and acrobatics on top a horse...all of which I had to try out. June 2014

The Circus Museum celebrates the American circus, its history, and unique relationship to Sarasota. Established document the rich history of the circus. View colossal parade and baggage wagons, sequined costumes, and a sideshow banner line that document the circus of the past and of today. The cornerstone of the Circus Museum’s Tibbals Learning Center is the world’s largest miniature circus, The Howard Bros. Circus Model. The model is a replica of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1919 – 1938. It was created over a period of more than 50-years by master model builder and philanthropist Howard Tibbals. Also impressive and interesting is the Ringlings’ dazzling palatial mansion, which is a tribute to the American the splendor and romance of Italy. Described as “the last of the Gilded Age mansions” to be built in America, Ca’ d’Zan with art and original furnishings. In 1924, construction began on Ca’ d’Zan, which means “House of John” in Venetian dialect. The house was completed just in December 1925, at a cost of $1.5 million. In April 2002, comprehensive restoration and conservation was completed on Ca’ d’Zan that spanned six years and $15 million. Just before a food coma set in, it was time to leave Ringling, the Forks & Corks Festival and Sarasota. I was impressed, and will be back once again. Thank you to VISIT Sarasota and the Ritz Carlton Sarasota for a fantastic visit in your lovely city. Casey Wohl is the Travel Correspondent for the nationally syndicated Daytime TV Show, is the author of the Girls Getaway Guide travel book series, and is a Travel Expert/Blogger. She also owns and manages Gray Dog Communications, a strategic marketing, public relations and branding company based in Sebring, FL with clients economic development and real estate. For more information, visit Heartland In The Field Magazine




By Captain Chris O’Neill

TARPON SEASON is in full swing here in the silver king capital of the world. Due to unseasonal blustery early to mid-May conditions, things kicked off much slower than usual. With that said, expect a longer spawning cycle that should last well into July in and around Boca Grande Pass. Lately, the bite has been excellent throughout The new, legal and improved Boca Grande tarpon jig is doing very well with hookups when drifting the pass. Newly enacted laws (Sep 2013) require the hook be lower than the weight and it allows the deployment of both circle and j-style hooks. When NEARSHORE AND OFFSHORE reef and a good idea to have both and random local’s an added bonus. Thousands of tarpon are scattered throughout the Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island estuaries, as well as the entire beach. We have an amazing team of professional guides, so give us a call today if you want to hook up with the silver king before the season ends. INSHORE ANGLERS are enjoying waters far less traveled by guides and recreational anglers. This time of year most guides are targeting tarpon and other larger coastal species, affording you a less disturbed heading through the back bays to toss a topwater bait on my way to the beach or Boca Grande pass. Just as the sun rises, working a Bomber Saltwater Grade Badonkadonk topwater plug across schooling mullet and Snook are away from the mangroves during the early morning hours working amongst the mullet as they forage through the grass. Mullet stir up crab and shrimp while schooling which provides a food source and additional protection from the dolphin and sharks.


Heartland InThe Field Magazine

summer months. Permit, shark, grouper and many others hang around natural and cut bait or frozen chum blocks will really help add variety to your catch. Expect all of the local snapper species to appear in your chum slick, as well as shark and other sized goliath grouper to be lurking around your catch. Many times, the goliaths attach

Captain Chris O’Neill Saltwater Outdoors radio show.

is a


Water Adventures, Florida Sportsman, Mark

tip is to reel your catch up very fast when the time goliaths won’t expend the energy to swim very far from the reef. Great bait Florida coast is smaller tarpon crab, cut bait, shrimp, squid, etc. BOOKING A CHARTER this time of year is a great opportunity to spend the day “catching”. My company offers inshore and offshore charters with a hand-picked team of world-class guides to satisfy your private receive complementary Tail Chaser t-shirts as well as the best service in the business.

a retired U.S. Army hovercraft pilot, he has accrued over 25 years of saltwater experience His Reel Saltwater Outdoors Seminar Series has become the largest in the state and he speaks to thousands of anglers annually. His can always expect to have a great adventure

To book a charter visit www.tailchasercharters. com or for more information. You can listen to his FISH ON FRIDAY radio show via www.wengradio. com or the WENG app from 4-6pm weekly. Capt. Chris operates out of the world-class Gasparilla Marina in Placida, FL, just minutes from Boca Grande Pass (the tarpon capital of the world) and Charlotte Harbor.

June 2013

Available in different colors and YOUTH shirts too! Order at or at Glisson’s Animal Supply

June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine



FISHING REPORT Captian Mark King


ummer is here on Lake Okeechobee with hot days and warm nights. The water level is down to 12.79 feet above sea level and the wind has been blowing non-stop for I have been pulling duty both here on Lake

in June also. It has been a great season so far this year and I think the rest of the year is going to be even better. Let’s start with the bass on Okeechobee; I have been catching them on both wild

bite will actually get better then the live bait bite. I have been starting out in the morning throwing spinnerbaits and chatterbaits catching schooling bass and then moving into the outer grass line and pitching jigs and craws to reed heads and peppergrass patches. You can expect to catch a good number of bass this time of the year, but the size will usually be a little smaller then during our winter months. Now is a good gets up high in the sky, it is usually time to get Try areas like Ritta Island, East Wall, West Wall and on the shoal.

Captain Mark King

put your muscles to the test and are one of the

left for May and June. And while in the Florida Keys, be sure and spend some time enjoying all the Florida Keys has to offer from diving, beautiful water I have ever seen.

mostly around the Bahia Honda Bridge area using live crabs and mullet on the incoming and outgoing tides. I do morning and evening trips and can accommodate up to three persons.

Remember it is summer here in South Florida so drink plenty of water, use sunscreen and just enjoy the outdoors! Until next report, good luck, tight lines and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

is a full time guide and tournament angler guiding out of the world famous Roland Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston Florida and also in the Florida Keys out of Marathon area. Mark the Florida Guide Association and the Florida Outdoor Writers Association. Captain Mark is sponsored by Bass Pro Shops, Evinrude Outboards, Roland Martin’s Marine Center, Power-Pole, Minn Kota Trolling Motors, Gambler Lures, 13Fishing Rods, Hoffmann’s Protection Products, Moon Shine Attitude Attire, TFO Fly Rods, and Yeti coolers. Mark can be contacted to book a guide trip, seminars, personal appearances, test rides a tournament with him at 863-677-0983

Roland Martin Marine Center is a full service marina including boat, motor, and tackle sales and boat and motor service by one of the top service crews in South Florida. Are you looking for a new or used Ranger boat or maybe you just need a new outboard to put on a boat you already have well than a new Evinrude E-Tec would put you right back out on the water. They have the hottest tackle on the market in the story with names like Gambler, Reaction Innovation, Charlie’s Worms, Duckett rods, Lews Reels, and Live Target Kopper. They also have all your boating needs from oils to anchors and everything in between. With two full time mechanics and a fully stocked parts room getting your boat back out on the water will be no problem. They also have minnows, worms, crickets, sodas, beer, and ice at all times. If you are looking for a one stop marina than Roland Martin Marine Center is the place to go. They are conveniently located just before the ramp in Clewiston on world


Heartland InThe Field Magazine

June 2013

June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine


Women Outdoors IN THE

8th Annual Women in the Outdoors Quail Creek What another fantastic year for those who attended the 8th annual Women in the Outdoors event on April 26th at Quail Creek Plantation in Okeechobee. With an unprecedented 28 classes to choose from, close to 300 ladies took full advantage in learning new skills such as trailer backing, soap making, camping, shotgunning and many, many more. In addition to the great classes, this year’s attendees could shop the General Store for cute merchandise, have a snack during the day at the Farmer’s Market, take a load off their feet at the Hay


Heartland InThe Field Magazine

Relaxation Station, bid on great live and silent auction items that even included an autographed guitar by Luke Bryan! It is easy to see how this event has won Best Event in the Nation the past 2 years in a row. Ladies have already saved next year’s event date of April 24-25, 2015 in their calendars and there is already a waiting list to stay at Quail Creek’s coveted accommodations. For more information, or if you are interested in attending next year’s event, please contact

June 2013



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June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine


by Justin Smith


A Summer Opportunity School is out for summer and that means the grove is in full swing. For those who have grown up in the world of citrus, the hot days of summer just meant more work. There is nothing quite like having a summer job. It makes memories and also creates a great work ethic. Agriculture is such an awesome opportunity for young people to get those types of privileges. The idea of getting up and going out into a grove on a day you already know will be almost 100 degrees is not easy. But, it builds the character which will last a life time. Statistics have shown that children raised in agricultural settings (on the farm) are more than twice as likely to be successful in any walk of life they choose. Even more important, they are healthier and happier adults. A European study from 2011 better immune systems. They were also 41% less likely to and so many more, why wouldn’t anyone want to have their children working on the farm or in the grove? Citrus growers like so many other agricultural producers summer, those growers have at least one thing to give them some piece of mind while they are teaching their kids more about the family’s way of life. That one thing is the market price for citrus this past season. Never in history have the growers seen prices like this year. A great part of this is due to the drastic decrease in production.


Heartland InThe Field Magazine

June 2013

A decreased production is sort of a double-edged sword. For some, it means they have not produced enough to sustain business. But, it also means the value is so much greater for every piece of fruit. What a time to be able to teach your children an economics lesson, and the importance of keeping an eye on every little thing. Keeping an eye on everything is much more important this year than it ever has been in history for an orange grower. Although the prices are up for citrus, so is everything else. The costs of fertilizer, pesticide and every other input are at all-time heights, not to mention there is more going out into the grove than ever before. Higher costs, as always, mean higher risks and the more possibility for problems. Yet another good life lesson for the kids to learn. Every possible problem also comes with an opportunity. Not very many people in the world get the opportunity experience of risk management or business. As young people spend part of their summer days learning work ethics and family traditions, they also need to get the real life stuff. Business is hard and in the global and unstable economy we all live in, it is not getting any easier. is also the risk of business side and how better to expose kids to it than right in the middle of the grove. Citrus, although undergoing major changes can still be one of the greatest learning experiences we can pass on to our kids. Diseases, production and prices preoccupy grove owners all over the state. Make sure not to allow those things to stop you from giving your children the exposure and education that is at your disposal. The time passes so quickly and before we know it, the last school day will be the last one they will ever know then it’s off to the real world.

June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine


By Leigh Ann Wynn, Bankers South

Through our AgAmerica Lending Program, Bankers agricultural land loan: • Lower monthly payments • Receive lower interest rates • Alter the maturity of your farm loan

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Schedule F Income Manufactured Housing Ag-Exempt Status Home to Land Value Ratio Ag Zoning Restrictions Poor Credit

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Some of the agricultural loans we offer include: • Commercial farm loans • Ranch loans • Row crops • Timberland lands • Citrus loans Bankers South is committed to getting to know all of our customers. We are here to gain a comprehensive understanding of your business intentions, answer any and all questions, guide and inform you throughout importance, discover the ag loan that is right for you. Visit us at to get in touch with one of our knowledgeable staff members and learn more about our AgAmerica lending program.

June 2013

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June 2014

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Rafter T Ranch By Levi Lambert

On Monday, May 19, I made a visit to Rafter T Ranch on Arbuckle Creek in Highlands County to interview Jimmy Wohl. Ranch names or cattle brand designs oftentimes are accompanied by an historic background, which follows them through the decades. Rafter T Ranch in Sebring, Florida is a perfect example of this since it has been a well-known Florida ranch for over 50 years. Jimmy Wohl recalls the story his father told him about the name purchased and the Wohl family became Florida Ranch owners. His father said that he came up with the name because he was a building contractor and his name is Tommy. Today the ranch is


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a participant in a program that is helping to improve the water quality in the immediate area as well as that critical area known as the Everglades. In the early years of Florida’s development, hydrology was not clearly understood nor how dramatic an area could be affected by drainage. Many of our current water issues that we are faced with today are directly related to decisions that were acted on over the last 100 years. Up until the 1960s, landowners were prone to drain marshes and wetlands with the belief that the area would be a more productive piece of property. Rafter T Ranch did just that by off the ranch. Florida is a naturally wet state, but with the proliferation of man made drainage designed to keep urban June 2013

areas, farmland, and ranches dryer, problems were created for

nutrients going to the Lake are also adversely impacting the downstream water bodies such as the Everglades and the St Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries during an extreme rainy season. As a result, we are seeing algae blooms and adverse impacts to downstream wildlife. The past century of agricultural and urban and other water-control projects to allow the rapid growth that we have seen all over Florida, particularly in south Florida and on coastal areas. Lake Okeechobee now harbors excessive nutrient levels in Lake Okeechobee caused by drainage has affected the rainfall season, the nutrient rich freshwater has to be pumped into canals to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries which carry the excess to the Indian River Lagoon and the Gulf of Mexico, respectively. The algal blooms and negative water quality conditions are detrimental to the marine life in the estuaries and contribute to changes in the coastal salt water.

storage to hold the excessive rainwater during a high precipitation season, the manmade water control systems take over, funneling the majority of the freshwater into the ocean. As a result, the Everglades no longer receive a well balance of nutrients in the water and the area is receiving only a fraction of the quantity of water to support the health of the Everglades. The need to act was recognized; research was put into motion and is continuing in attempt to help resolve the issues.

program started the joint effort of the northern ranches being able to retain water. This provides the water time to naturally intake important phosphorus and nutrients, rather than wash away in marine estuary or other fragile marsh. The project started with eight ranches and over the 6-year pilot phase of the FRESP, the project has raised considerable supportive interest and money. As this initial project began to wind down, a new plan with a much broader approach is underway. With the implementation of the Northern Everglades-Payment for Environmental Services Program, the FRESP is able to be phased out.

Recent hydrology studies have brought us an option of which Rafter T Ranch accepted and implemented about 5 years ago. Jimmy Wohl said, “I was raised to live with the land, not off of the land.� He enlightened me a bit further as he showed me how he participates in the Florida Ranch-lands Environmental Service Project or FRESP for short. This water management project was designed to provide a cost effective approach to resolve the excessive nutrients that are causing problems in the lake and downstream (everglades and estuaries) caused by excessive million acres of storage in the Northern Everglades, which is the Kissimmee Basin and the Fisheating Creek Basin. This would not only prevent the emergency releases from the lake during extreme precipitation events but also sequester nutrients from the water before it enters the lake. Today, Jimmy uses the dike he helped his father build in 1962 to hold water in a 1,400-acre marsh. By doing so, along with a group effort with other ranch owners north of Lake Okeechobee, the water levels can be controlled and maintained. While water still June 2014

participating in this project. Such as during the dry season when his local friends are claiming their grass is dry and wilting in the summer heat; the grass on his ranch is thick, moist, and green. He has done nothing more than allowed the land to return to a more natural state. While we sat on the south side of the dike on the edge of the serene Arbuckle Creek with the occasional splash of a hungry alligator or the thundering prop of a passing Airboat, he pointed out the obvious natural Florida habitat that has been restored on his ranch. I was enlightened on the side of a rancher’s perspective that I have yet to have the privilege to learn about thanks to Jimmy Wohl, family and staff at Rafter T Ranch. Heartland In The Field Magazine


Raising Quality Cattle with Rocking S Ranch By Levi Lambert Recently, I was invited to Rocking S in Hardee County to learn about the Shackleford family ranch. Joining Marcus Shackleford at his ranch was a real pleasure and included a great deal of condensed Brahman education for this country boy. I always enjoy chatting with our Heartland neighbors with the hope to one day share those experiences with y’all. The Shacklefords have been in the cattle business in Hardee County since 1860. Marcus’s Great-Great Grandfather was

his family to raise Brahman cattle. He got his start in ranching while he was teaching vocational agriculture at Hardee High School. His father, L. M. Shackleford, a local grocery store owner agreed to put together some land with Marcus. In 1972,


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Marcus was primarily considering just raising F1 cattle. By the mid to late 70s, he decided the need for purebred Brahmans undoubtedly would continue to increase. Marcus was quoted in an interview that was printed in the March 2012 Brahman Journal when he was inducted into the ABBA (American Brahman Breeder’s Association) Hall of Fame; “Trying to breed Brahman cattle was one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do. I was used to breeding crossbred cattle and crossbreeding cattle can cover up a lot of mistakes. I still don’t have the purebred breeding down after all these years, but I am getting better at it.” From my viewpoint, Marcus Shackleford has accomplished a great deal as a cattlemen. Marcus’s cousin, Greg Shackleford recognized that the future of breeding purebred Brahmans would be an ideal business move if he was able to have more control over the bloodline. Brahman blood has helped develop Florida cattle herds into a superior animal able to withstand Florida’s harsh environments and insect population. Once Rocking S Ranch began to change the primary production approach of the ranch, the goal was to develop and uphold a strong breed of Brahman Cattle in Florida. Research and understanding market development is used to meet the production expectations of several large commercial producers. Rocking S Ranch’s bulls have been capable of offering the desirable type of quality beef cattle the growing market demands. Over the years, Marcus has selected from entire herds just to get a few cows that he really liked. Those sold. They have followed strict guidelines to build up the herd by using strong females that produced high quality bulls with the best characteristic possible. June 2013

The Rocking S Ranch mindset is to produce cattle with characteristics that customers can set out in Florida pastures and not have to worry of them losing weight or facing other major problems. They wish to provide the buyers with cattle that will not suffer a setback from being moved to a different area. Cattle that come out of Rocking S Ranch are heavily culled in order to uphold their standards. Marcus graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. His education and ontherefore, allowing him to improve his beef cattle herd. Marcus judged cattle during college, eventually serving as an ABBA judge and held that position for over 30 years. He judged the International Brahman Show at Houston in 1992, the National Brahman Show in 2000, coast to coast throughout the United States, and even in other countries. He served on the ABBA board for 33 years and in 1987 was elected President, making him one of the younger ABBA Presidents. He remains active in the day-to-day operations of Rocking S Ranch and is a well-known supporter of the local FFA chapters and youth stock shows at the Hardee County Fair. He is in high demand as a master of ceremonies and auctioneer at fund raising events. Marcus is a gifted speaker who is often asked to lead funeral services here in our area. I enjoyed my visit, learned a lot, and met a man who always seems to have a warm word and a ready smile. June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine




or producers, the selling price of cattle is historically the highest it has ever been, which means consumers, on the other end, have some beef with their beef prices. When consumers scream for change, a slow shift in the economy occurs. However, contrary to popular belief, there are a myriad of factors that contribute to these high prices; let’s explore them. Simple economics show that when product demand is high and supply is low, the product price will also be high. Currently, cattle inventory in the United States of America is the lowest it’s been since 1945. This coupled with high land prices due to land development, drought conditions and environmental protection policies have reduced herd size. On the other end of the spectrum, demand has increased because of population growth in our country; better economic conditions in the Asian market; and leaner, healthier cuts of meat being offered due to ramped-up research and development. Input costs to maintain a cattle herd also contribute to the price tag of meat in the grocery store. Higher costs of feed, fertilizer, fuel, animal health services and government product – meat. Corn is another contributor. The most fundamental commodity in the food chain is corn. Corn used to be so cheap that farmers had to be subsidized by the government to stay in business. The Federal government came up with the CRP (Crop Reduction Program) to lower the amount of acres of corn being planted. The Federal government actually paid farmers NOT to plant corn in order to raise the price on the market.


Heartland InThe Field Magazine

The green economy also comes into play when mentioning corn. Trucks and cars were scorned for running on gas, and bio-diesel was considered to be the more environmentally friendly, alternative choice. With the price of oil being exorbitant, our country was dependent on foreign oil to meet country’s needs. Hence, a mandated ethanol blended gas. Where does ethanol come from? Corn. And, what did the high price level of corn do to the cost of beef? Made it go higher, of course. When corn goes high, it has a drastic effect on the price of all food because it is used in so much of what we eat. When consumers became concerned about the high food prices, the Federal government reduced the level of mandated ethanol are being discovered but there is controversy over whetheror-not harm will be done to the environment if these lands are drilled for oil. The bottom line here is don’t make fuel out of food.) This brings us to the new World Market, also a large contributor to high beef prices. As third-world countries reach an economic level and have the ability to modify their

Pact being negotiated now will further enhance our country’s ability to export beef at a more competitive price by lowering tariff rates. In conclusion, all of these factors combined play a role in the high beef prices we are experiencing. Furthermore, and going by a standard economic structure, we can expect to see these beef prices remain high until a level is reached where the cattle herd increases to meet the consumer demand. And, that’s the dish on beef prices! June 2013

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The Austere Autumn By Bud Adams

Many years ago, Rachel Carson wrote “The Silent Spring�. It was about the inter-relationships of man, wildlife, crops and pesticides. It was embraced by some, ignored by some and ridiculed by others. Today, agriculture, industry and the public accept many of her theses. Since that time, many famers and cattlemen have aged, gone broke or turned their land over to ranchettes, bio fuel, parkland and recreation. The number of cattlemen in particular has declined. Along with these cowmen, the number of breeding cows has declined. In the last 40 years, cow numbers in the U.S. are at their lowest point. This is in spite of a larger human Australia and other countries were shipping beef to the U.S. market. Now, the U.S. is shipping beef to Korea, Japan, Mexico and Canada.


Heartland InThe Field Magazine

producers. The volume of beef was not affected as their superior producers were getting more beef per cow. In the interim, the value of the U.S. dollar was declining. Oil prices were going up and workers were hard pressed to buy gasoline to get to work. Congress came to their rescue and offered subsidies to convert corn into ethanol to burn in cars. This caused severe increase in price of animal feed. Chickens and hogs in particular are totally dependent on corn and feed grains. This caused a drastic price rise in eggs, chicken, turkey and pork. Cattle were also affected, but to a lesser extent, as much of our beef is produced on ranches and stock farms with grass. The last gain in feedlots is dependent on grain. As thousands of ranchers were leaving the land, others prospered. Stockers who bought calves from ranchers could and order buyers continued to make money. Feedlots and packers operate on margins and make money as well as retailers. Everyone was making money except the rancher. His cow numbers dwindled; soon it became apparent that everyone was making money except the producer. June 2013

This included fertilizer companies, chemical companies, feed dealers and county tax collectors. The beef industry is the largest item in our supermarkets and it was becoming apparent that nothing would happen until the cattlemen placed a bull with a cow. In order to increase the cowherd, heifers must be withheld from feedlots to go back to the ranches. This is when the feedlots and meat packers worried about how these feedlots

Then the greatest drought in 60 years hit Texas and forced further liquidation of the cow herds. Many young cows were slaughtered or failed to breed.

doing well, and said we would sell oil for food, but not for credit. Food riots began to break out in cities. Small towns near farms and ranches fared better. The President ordered price controls so the price of meat went down, but there was no meat. Cattlemen who had begun to rebuild their herds could not produce beef at a loss, so they quit. A wise economist said, “If we have a free market based on supply and demand, we could recover.� Unemployed veterans from the Middle East began to grow food and leave the cities. The U.S. will recover, but the damage has been done.

We could turn to Australia or Mexico for beef. Mexico’s growing population and our cheap dollar attracted no beef.

History has repeated itself. As populations grow, people turn to primarily plant food. The Irish did this with a potato diet. They could feed an increasing population with potatoes until the potato famine caused mass migration and starvation.

What of the future? We do not have to have a high protein diet. Asian people of small stature can live on rice, beans and sugar. However, our larger framed people require the amino acids, vitamins, minerals and protein of beef.

Orientals have existed on a primarily rice diet, with small amounts of food or meat. Today they are competing in athletics and are consuming more meat. They are also getting taller.

Many young people will experience malnutrition. We love our cars and cheap gasoline, but we cannot burn up our food supply in order to drive 75 mph.

Finally, as health problems arise in young people lacking amino acid protein, and older people suffering from osteoporosis, mothers remembered what they were taught from their mothers: A meal consists of a serving of meat, a starch (potato, rice, bread), a green salad, a cooked vegetable plus dessert.

Our corn farmers in the mid-west have grown corn on topsoil by Bison and grazing animals over tens of thousands of years. We must have an animal industry to return this organic matter to the soil. For sustainability we must have a balance of plant life and animal life. It has always been this way.

Young men, many who were veterans, returned to the land. They expanded cow herds, rebuilt dairies and farmed to grow crops for humans as well as the farm animals that enabled them to balance animal life with their plant life.

Our plants, our livestock and our energy are all related.

can conserve energy, but we cannot destroy our food supply. Customers went to the meat cases in the supermarkets and they were bare. Panic began to set in and when a shipment of meat arrived, it was quickly bought and hoarded.

Nutritionists began to recognize that humans needed meat as part of their diet to develop to be strong, athletic, mentally sound and long-lived. Birds, animals and people at the top of the food chain all used a high-protein diet with meat as an essential part of it. Universities supported diet research, people ate more protein and obesity declined. This is because their hunger

At the same time, workers were receiving increased paychecks, providing they had a job. However, their money in the government printing more and more cheap money that would buy less and less. Panic began to set in. diplomats turned to China to buy more U.S. bonds. The Chinese said we have enough already.

The latest research indicates that heart disease, cancer and diabetes are not caused by red meat, but they are caused by sugar, cane or corn. As is true with most fads, consumers returned to a balanced diet, farms and ranches provided good food and the United States continued to lead the earth.

dragging the European Union under. The Middle East was June 2014

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Heartland InThe Field Magazine

June 2013

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June 2014

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Douglas Burnham and Larry Davis in front of the new mill


s the dairy industry began relocating from South Florida, the dairy feed business followed it. United Feed Cooperative was formed in Okeechobee in April 1979 by a group of local dairy farmers who wanted a less expensive way of obtaining feed for their cattle. The goal of the Co-op is to provide high quality feed at the lowest cost to to members in the form of an annual patronage check. Over time, Co-op membership has expanded and contracted along with the local dairy industry. “Originally there were 15-18 members, but today we have nine including one beef cattle operation,” shared Douglas Burnham, current President of the Co-op. I recently had the opportunity to visit with Douglas, General Manager Larry Davis, and Chief Financial recently re-constructed feed mill. While no one I spoke with is certain exactly when the original mill was constructed, its beginnings date back to at least the 1950s when the building belonged to Broward Feed and Grain. “Somewhere along the way it became Hughes Feed and Grain, and that’s who the Co-op bought the property from,” said Douglas.


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Old feed mill, taken August 2011

destroyed the operation in what is remembered by many

help, but there wasn’t much they could do other than contain June 2013

The decades-old lumber acted like lightern and the roof-over

be spontaneous combustion of whole cottonseed, one of the feed ingredients on hand.

for delivery drivers because they aren’t waiting for the feed to be mixed when they arrive. Another enhancement for drivers is the bank-type tube system that allows them to send their paperwork up to the mill operator and have it returned without anyone climbing the stairs. Production of feed is calibrated and monitored by staff utilizing a Human Machine Interface (HMI) software program that was custom written by Easy Automation, Inc. The mill produces over 100,000 tons of feed annually, with some members receiving deliveries three times a week and others up to three times a day, depending on the needs of their cattle operation. All feed is formulated by a trained nutritionist, and each member’s order is mixed individually

Other local mills including Syfrett Feed, Walpole Feed, Gator production needs. According to Douglas, “The cows never on the phone with other mills making plans for the next day’s feed production.” The mills are known to work together on an ongoing basis, sometimes trading commodities, and mixing for each other when needed. Sharon stayed busy maintaining Cooperative records and payments during that time. She also of the new construction which began in May 2012 and was completed in July 2013. Gary Winsett of Winsett Engineering in Atlanta was chosen to design the new mill based not only on his expertise in the industry, but also on his unique tie to the old mill. “He had a copy of the original mill plans and had worked with that engineer,” shared Larry. “He had also designed several mills around the country, including one in Eatonton, Georgia that Douglas and former Co-op President Bill Berman visited and were impressed with.”

New United Feed mill, taken October 2013

In addition to its role as a vital part of the area’s agriculture community, the United Feed Cooperative mill also serves as an Okeechobee landmark, situated one block west of Highway 441 North on the south side of the railroad tracks. The 150training exercises, and it can be seen from miles around. Its solid concrete and steel construction ensures that this mill will survive to serve the cattle industry for generations to come.

Compared to the old mill which operated on an “in-line” system, mixing feed in an auger and dispensing directly to delivery trucks, the new state-of-the-art mill utilizes a fully automated batch mixing system. Each ingredient is weighed then combined with a ribbon mixer, allowing for much greater accuracy and reduced costs. A micro-feeder even weighs the small ingredients like vitamins A & D, and iodine before being added. The new mill also allows for up to four loads to be mixed and held, which improves the loading time June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine


A Conversation with Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation Chairman Jim Strickland


organization with a threefold mission: to support beef cattle research; support education related to beef cattle and the development of young leadership in order to ensure a bright future for the industry; and document, present and preserve our unique cattle ranching history and culture. Hundreds of volunteers are the backbone and lifeblood of the Foundation. My job as chairman is to guide and direct the tremendous efforts of these great folks in order to make the most of their hard work, talents and resources. This is a great privilege and a responsibility I take very seriously. The Foundation’s board of directors is composed of nearly two-dozen men and women highly skilled in ranch management, environmental stewardship, publishing, give freely of their time and talents, but also generously support foundation projects with their own funds.

FUND RAISING Our largest fund-raising event is the annual Ranch Rodeo Finals and Cowboy Heritage Festival held each fall at Osceola Heritage Park/Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. Now in its seventh year, this multi-faceted event continues to grow each year in terms of total attendance and net revenue. In addition to generating revenue for the Foundation, it is a valued and effective means of informing the general public of the rich history and


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Florida’s beef cattle industry. More than 350 volunteers work tirelessly at the two-day event, many of who serve on committees that meet several times during the year. Dozens of craft demonstrators, re-enactors, musical performers, poets, emcees and others volunteer their time and talents to make the Cowboy Heritage Festival a huge success. Several of the county Cattlemen’s Associations participate in competition for a beef brisket cook-off, and proceeds from their food sales contribute substantially to event revenue. Last year we added a steak dinner, which was a huge success, so the number of meals will be increased this year. In addition to all the volunteers, sponsors have contributed immensely to the success of this event. Youth participate in and enjoy the Cowboy Heritage Festival and Ranch Rodeo Finals. FFA and 4-H members and their leaders do an admirable job in helping operate the food and beverage concessions, a substantial revenue source. The Whip Popping Contest is a major Festival highlight that celebrates our Cracker heritage and increases awareness and pride in that heritage among the young participants and the public. The Ranch Rodeo Finals demonstrate and celebrate the occupational skills of the hearty men and women who qualifying rodeos that feed into it are the result of the hard work of dozens of volunteer judges, arena men, stock suppliers, clowns, announcers, and other hard-working folks. Several sponsors, large and small, contribute generously to make these events and the associated awards possible.

MAJOR DONORS AND FUND-RAISING PROGRAMS While there is not enough space in this publication to acknowledge those individuals and organizations that have contributed to the Foundation, I want to mention a few who are especially outstanding. Don Plagge made a gift of $100,000 through his estate planning, half of which is earmarked for the University of Florida’s Range Cattle Research and Education Center at Ona, the other half for developing youth leadership skills. The Doyle Carlton III family has given large annual contributions, Alan Hitchcock donated $50,000, and the Wes and Darin

June 2013

Williamson family has made a sizeable donation to fund a classroom at Warner College. Hardee County Farm Bureau insurance agent George Wadsworth has contributed substantial sums for the past two years as an expression of gratitude to the ranching community. Dean Saunders of Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate (CBCSRE) established a “Saunders Gives Back” program that gives FCA members the opportunity to contribute to the Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation through listing real estate with CBCSRE. In April 2014 the Foundation received a check for $38,000 from the sale of a listed property, the second such check from Saunders. The annual Florida Cattlemen’s Association Convention, held on Marco Island every June, provides opportunities to the Foundation for fundraising and service to cattlemen. The Silent Auction concluded the convention under the capable and tireless leadership of Emily Hobby, and typically generates $20-30,000 in donations. At the 2013 convention, FCA past-president Bert Tucker recommended a Foundation Herd program be initiated. Participating cattlemen would designate one calf annually for which the sale proceeds would be donated to the Foundation. Fifteen ranchers donated at the convention and more have followed since. Also, at the 2013 convention a “Hall established to provide advice and guidance to convention attendees.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS In early 2013, we accomplished two related projects that have done much to inform the general public about Florida cattle ranching history and celebrate our rich ranching traditions: The installation of the 2,400 square foot museum exhibit Florida Cattle Ranching: Five Centuries of Tradition for long-term display at the Florida State Fairgrounds and the publication of a 120-page exhibition catalog book (with an enclosed DVD) of the same name. To date, we have distributed 3,500 books, and are working with 4-H and FFA groups to sell additional and the Foundation. Our exhibit coordinator is working with public libraries, historical societies, and the Florida Humanities Council to give PowerPoint presentations about the exhibit, and has bookings extending into 2015. He also writes monthly articles about selected cattle

June 2014

ranching community members for the Florida Cattleman magazine. Communications is an important and rapidly growing her skills to enhance our website and Internet presence and developing the “News You Can Use” electronic newsletter and otherwise ushering us into 21st century communications and networking. Recently, we have engaged the services of Kilroy Communications to further our media presence and enhance our public relations. One of Kilroy’s initial projects is working with renowned nature videographer Jeff Palmer and producer Leslie Gaines to create brief television spots that focus on the positive interaction of cattle ranching and natural habitats. The videos will be broadcast of WUSF-TV, and should be picked up by other public television stations. Be sure to look for them in the coming months. The Foundation has made a sizeable donation to conduct research on the reproductive disease trichomeniasis, a collaboration of pharmaceutical company Boehinger Ingelheim and the MacArthur Agro-Ecology Research Center at Buck Island Ranch. The Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation provides a vital role in helping to ensure a prosperous and secure future for the beef cattle industry and our cherished way of life. Serving as Foundation chairman and working with these talented, dedicated, hard working and generous folks has been a great pleasure and personally rewarding on many levels— more so than I ever imagined at the outset of my tenure. Through our group efforts, we have given the Foundation a tremendous start that will serve to give us the impetus and resources to continue growing into the future. Because of the dedication and generosity of the Florida cattle ranching community, we have an exciting future ahead of us. I give my heartfelt thanks to all for your hard work, talents and gifts. To support the Foundation and help preserve the history, heritage and ideals of the Florida cattle ranching industry for future generations, please contact info@

Heartland In The Field Magazine







Emily Hughes is a senior at Hardee Sr. High graduating on June 7. She is currently dual-enrolled at South Florida State College and plans on

Cassidy Lee is a senior soon to be graduating from the Kings Academy in Clewiston. After graduation, Cassidy will be starting college at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers where she will be studying elementary education. Although she will not be going directly into agriculture, Cassidy was raised in the industry with her father being a long-time cowboy and she grew up on several ranches.


before transferring to the University of Florida to major in Food and Resource Economics. After college, Emily wants to work for an ag-related company. She is interested in business and economics. The most important issue Emily sees facing the cattle industry today is the herd tracking and COOL system. She sees the possibility of it being very good outweighs the negative regarding this topic. Emily said that she sees the future of the industry following along with our tech-savvy society. She sees many technological advancements from equipment to tracking to research and it only evolving the industry for the better.


Heartland InThe Field Magazine


Cassidy said that the most important issue she sees is how the non-ag public views both the beef and ag industry as a whole. In the future, Cassidy sees ranchers in the cattle and beef industry getting themselves ‘out there’ and involved with policy by going to Tallahassee and Washington. She said she sees only positive things happening in the future and nothing moving backwards.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY at Indian River State College and is headed to Gainesville in the fall. She is currently studying general ag as she just knows she wants to be involved in the agricultural industry in some capacity and said she could see her self in the classroom teaching ag one day. When asked what she thinks is the most important issue facing the cattle industry today, Allyson said it is important for the public to know that ranchers are working with government agencies and doing research to bring down carbon emissions and become more environmentally friendly. She said they shouldn’t be faulted for something they are constantly working

Allyson sees the future of the industry growing; as the human population increases, so will the cattle and beef industry to keep up with demands. She also sees the industry continuing to work towards being economically friendly as they are building larger cow herds and always working towards being the best it can be for the environment. June 2013




Hailey Tomkow is currently attending Polk State College and plans to enroll in the University of Florida’s Animal Science program. After graduation, she is interested in becoming a drug rep for an animal pharmaceutical company and one day down the road, Hailey wants to run her family’s livestock market, Cattlemen’s Livestock Market in Lakeland.

After graduating from Pasco High School, Josie Tomkow is attending Sante Fe College in the fall and then plans to enroll in the University of Florida the following fall. While at UF, she plans on majoring in Political Science with a minor in Ag Law.

Katey McClenny recently received her AA Degree from Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia and plans on continuing her education at the University of Florida where she wants to study agribusiness. She is interested in the ‘political side’ of the ag industry and said she is possibly interested in being a lobbyist for the industry. She has an interest in conservation as well, so she said that may be where her focus is in lobbying.


Hailey says there are two important issues she sees in the cattle industry right now. One being cattle ID and tagging on a state level and the other being national beef prices at an alltime high, which she says is great for producers! Looking towards the future of the cattle industry, Hailey sees technology playing the industry for example, how auctions will work. No matter what, Hailey said things are going to change, “technology may change it for the better, or it just may become more confusing, but things will change.”

June 2014


The most important issue Josie sees facing the cattle industry today is the Cattle ID Rule. She was recently in Texas where they have the same rule in effect and she sees both sides to the issue. Josie stressed that she does see it being a good thing to ensure the beef producers or livestock markets. Josie said that she sees the future of the industry being the younger generation getting involved. “Before, people thought you had to be a farmer to be in ag, but there are so many ways young people are getting involved now.”


Katey said she thinks that education is the most important issue for the cattle industry right now. Katey said, “It is amazing how many people don’t know about the industry and where their food comes from.” Focusing on high school education and awareness in ag classes is important to Katey. She also said that conservation is another important topic as we need to make sure the industry and our land is still around for future generations. As for the future of the industry, Katey said she sees it continuing to grow and she sees the importance of ranchers getting involved at a national level combatting the current “anti-beef/ meat” movement. Heartland In The Field Magazine







Bailey Lyons is about to graduate from Desoto High School and go on to South

Alli Thomas is currently attending Hillsborough Community College where she is receiving her AA degree in

Jessica Embach recently graduated from Lakewood Ranch High School and plans to attend Hillsborough Community College to receive her AA degree.


degree. After SFSC, she plans to attend the University of Florida where she is interested in agribusiness. She said of her future career plans that she would love to be a crop broker or anything on the business side of ag! Bailey thinks that the most important topic facing the cattle industry today is the implementation of the Florida “This program will help protect the beef industry from the spread of diseases and will also assist producers in meeting the requirements of the new USDA animal disease traceability rule. As for the future of the cattle and beef industry, Bailey said she thinks there will be a movement towards the importance of ag communication as well as she sees tagging becoming mandatory throughout the industry.


Heartland InThe Field Magazine


would like to go on to attend either the University of Florida or Texas A&M to study ag communications with a minor cattle industry and likes the versatility a degree in ag communications provides. Alli sees education being the most important issue for the cattle industry right now. “In order to keep the industry alive, we must tell it,” she said. “Starting from elementary age up to parents, it is important for them to know how vital it is to have beef in your diet.” She also said it is important to educate that agriculturalists were actually the original stewards of the land! The future of the cattle industry as Alli sees it is moving towards becoming more technological, “but not losing the value of tradition.” She said we need to embrace technology while seeing the importance that we won’t lose the touch of the farmer. “No robot is going out to check cows; we will always have the cowboy!”


transfer to ABAC to study agricultural education. “My ultimate goal would be to teach agriculture so I can share my love for this industry in the classroom with future generations.” When asked what the most important issue facing the industry today, Jessica said, “Many of the challenges I see in the Florida beef industry stem from the lack of correct information of the industry and the misconceptions that the general public have about who we are and what we actually do. The average American consumer does not understand the full progress of an animal from calf to plate.” Jessica sees the future of the industry expanding. She said that consumers want choices and something different. She sees the industry coming up with new things, new economical products for our falling economy, a product that is more for less.

June 2013

June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine



Total Recipe Time: 40 minutes Makes 4 servings

Mojo Beef Kabobs

Cubes of steaks are threaded on skewers with lime and onion then grilled to perfection. A sauce of citrus, herbs and spices provides the finishing touch.

Ingredients: 1 pound beef Top Sirloin Steak boneless, cut 1 inch thick 1 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper 1 large lime, cut into 8 wedges 1 small red onion, cut into 8 thin wedges 1 container grape or cherry tomatoes (about 10 ounces)

Mojo Sauce: 1/4 cup fresh orange juice 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon minced garlic 3/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions: Whisk Mojo Sauce ingredients in small bowl. Set aside. Cut beef steak into 1-1/4 inch pieces; season with pepper. Alternately thread beef with lime and onion wedges evenly onto four 12-inch metal skewers. Thread tomatoes evenly onto four 12-inch metal skewers.


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Place kabobs on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill tomato kabobs, covered, about 2 to 4 minutes or until slightly softened, turning occasionally. Grill beef kabobs, covered, 8 to 10 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill 9 to 11 minutes) for medium rare (145째F) to medium (160째F) doneness, turning once.

Serve kabobs drizzled with sauce.

June 2013

Solution on page 77 June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine



he image of the traditional Florida cowboy or “cow hunter,” that usually comes to mind is the man with a droopy cowboy hat and tattered clothes, riding a

and lariat. We picture him cracking his whip and chasing cattle through palmettos and thickets with his dogs, shooting weather to get to a train station. Today’s Florida cowman or cowwoman comes riding up on a slightly larger horse with a less droopy cowboy hat, carrying a nylon whip, a Smart Phone and an iPad. Today’s rancher still relies on some of the simple tools used a hundred years ago, such as whips, ropes, chutes, pens, spurs and the like, but a few new tools have come along.

Cattle Ranching:



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testing, ultrasounds, computer software for record keeping Florida beef cattle industry has a colorful history that has held to useful traditions and adapted new technology as times have changed.

who introduced cattle to America in the 1500’s. Cracker cattle, a smaller framed breed that is well adapted to the Florida scrubland and climate, are believed to have originated from these Spanish cattle. In the 1600’s the Spanish organized and expanded their cattle herds; they established four distinct ranching areas, presently where Tallahassee, Gainesville, St. June 2013

Augustine and near where the St. John’s River are located. One of the central headquarters for the Spanish cattle ranchers was on the site where the University of Florida now stands. From southward and trade routes through Cuba developed. In the 1820’s, settlers came to Florida and began raising cattle. During the Civil War, Florida cattle ranchers developed a continued trading cattle to Cuba for gold. The Spanish, British and Americans have recognized the great potential of Florida’s lush grasslands and mild climate to provide an excellent environment for raising cattle and having cow-calf operations. In the 1950’s and 60s,’ the cattle industry prospered in Florida and cattle numbers increased, largely due to improved pasture grasses and pasture irrigation and fertilization. Today, Florida produces approximately 940,000 calves every year. According to the USDA in 2014, Florida ranks as number 18 in cattle producing states in the U.S.

In some ways, not much has changed in the Florida cattle industry. Branding, grazing and riding horses are traditions that are still a part of the industry. Branding remains an effective way to identify who the cow belongs to and can be used to keep track of the cow’s age, though many ranchers have started using electric brands instead of traditional hot brands. Cattle no longer roam on an open range since the fence laws went into effect in 1949, but grazing cattle on land is still a mainstay in the industry. Starting in the 1920’s, more attention was given to improving pasture and cattle nutrition, which continues today. Ranchers have started more intensive grazing programs where land is divided into smaller blocks and cattle are frequently rotated. The smaller blocks of land allow the cattle to be more readily managed, and gives the pasture more time to rest and regrow after grazing.

The traditional cattlemen or “cow hunters” of the 1800’s and early 1900’s were known to carry leather whips, which they “cracked” to chase cattle out of the woods, or to sound an alarm if something was wrong. These cow hunters were also skilled at roping and shooting. Before the open range was fenced, a rancher had to be able to drive cattle to the necessary destination and rope the calves in order to brand them or doctor them. Branding was essential to identifying to whom the cow belonged, and horses and dogs were valuable and necessary tools for moving and rounding up the cattle. When the range was open and unfenced, cattle roamed on prairies, swamps, and roadsides, and simply grazed the native forages. Most of the cattle were bred with Cracker cattle or Brahman cattle to help them tolerate Florida’s climate and parasites. Richard Kersey, a cattle rancher in Manatee County, recalls some of the “old days.” Mr. Kersey leased land out on Rusty Pot Ranch in Myakka City and has been in cattle ranching all his life. “I’m 73 years old and never done nothing else. I was born and raised in it,” he says. Kersey remembers when screwworms were an issue and newborn calves and wounded cattle had to be treated immediately. Screwworms were similar to maggots,

so a chemical solution and tar-like substance would be applied to the calf’s navel. The calf would be roped from a horse, or as Kersey describes it, someone would either grab the calf or rope the calf from a jeep while riding along in the pasture, and then the calf could be treated inside the jeep. But doctoring a calf was still dangerous this way. “Sometimes if it was an open top [jeep] the cow would jump right in with you,” Kersey says,

June 2014

Even though cattle no longer need to be rounded up from the open range, horses are still indispensable and used in most cattle operations. “One of the biggest traditions, I believe, comes with the horse,” says Jessica Iwanowski, the herd health “Horses are still heavily relied upon for moving, sorting and doctoring cattle. While you may lose some speed, you gain accessibility, sure footedness, and maneuverability with the horse that an ATV or pickup truck cannot provide,” Jessica explains. Jessica is a Manatee county native, and a recent Heartland In The Field Magazine


graduate from the University of Florida, with a degree in Animal Biology. She recognizes the value of technology and said, “Technology opens new doors for the cattle industry every day.”

Of all the innovations in the industry, Renee believes that combined vaccines, the hydraulic squeeze chutes and electronic dad vaccinate cattle when she was a kid, and the cows would the vaccines. “The poor girls (cows) were like pin cushions back then,” she said. “I am grateful for combined vaccines.” Hydraulic squeeze chutes were developed in the mid-70s’ and have truly expedited the processes of branding, dehorning, castrating and doctoring cattle. Before the hydraulic squeeze chutes, it took two people to work the chute-one to work the head gate, and one to squeeze the chute and close the rear gate. If someone were quick and coordinated, they could do all three, but having hydraulic levers makes catching the cows much easier.

Most cattle ranchers have combined traditions of yesterday with today’s technology. Jim and Renee’ Strickland of Strickland Ranch in Manatee County are a prime example. The Stricklands are fourth generation cattle ranchers with a vast amount of experience in the cattle industry and agriculture as a whole. Jim is a past president of The Florida Cattlemen’s Association, current chairman of the Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation and sits on a number of agricultural advisory boards. Renee’ is currently the secretary/treasurer of The Livestock Exporters Association of the U.S. and chairman of the Foreign Trade subcommittee for the Florida Cattlemen’s Association. Jim and Renee raise Brangus cattle and also export cattle internationally, primarily to the Caribbean and South America. At their ranch, the Stricklands combine many traditions with newer technology. Keeping with tradition, horses are still used on their ranch for moving cattle. “Cows are more comfortable with the horse than the 4-wheeler,” Renee explains, “and cows driven with 4-wheelers are the most unruly cattle.” The

being run through the chutes and pens, and ranchers can more

Electronic ID tags are a recent innovation, and have proved to be useful to the Strickland’s exporting business. The electronic ID tags save time when loading cattle on a ship or plane, and ensure that the cow comes with a record. “Wherever that cow goes, there’s a permanent record that goes with her,” said Renee. These electronic ID tags are microchips that can be implanted into a cow’s ear and then read by electronic readers, or “wands.” As soon as a cow comes down a chute, the wands can be quickly waved over the cow and it automatically brings up data assigned to the device. These electronic ID tags facilitate tracking data such as age, source, and medical history. Computer software compatible with an iPad and laptops are available to help store the data. “I believe the most recent and most important piece of technology introduced into the

the whole herd or that one cow into the pens.

Iwanowski of Quincey Cattle Company.

their branding. Some of the newer technology the Stricklands have incorporated includes a paint ball gun that shoots balls of guns, combined vaccines, electronic ID tags and the hydraulic squeeze chute. Renee explains that the tranquilizer gun and


Heartland InThe Field Magazine

June 2013

Other technology available today in the cattle industry

to Dr. Copeland, one of the biggest concerns related to cattle disease today is preventing and curing Trichomoniasis.

ranchers, especially those who raise breeding stock utilize (AI), as buying the semen is cheaper than buying the $100,000 bull. Dr. Johnnie Copeland, a respected veterinarian in Sarasota and Manatee counties, explains that the technology for cattle

symptoms other than the fact that a cow with the disease often becomes infertile and may not become bred. To make matters worse, no vaccine or treatment exists for Trichomaniasis other than antibiotics, which are often ineffective.

years. Portable ultrasound machines can be brought into a set of cow pens and ultrasounds can be done on a live cow to

Communicable diseases and cattle traceability have recently become greater concerns for consumers who buy beef. “The spread of communicable diseases in cattle being imported, exported and co-mingled at livestock markets is a war we

the ultrasound, a rancher can determine if an animal is ready for slaughter and also decide the animal’s nutrition needs. Dr. Copeland says that local ranchers are also using liver biopsies to check the mineral content in the liver. The biopsy indicates the reserves of zinc, selenium and cooper in the cow’s body to help determine if the cow has enough of the proper minerals to cycle and rebreed after having a calf. DNA testing is used to help identify a calf’s sire, to trace genetic factors, determine an animal’s feed convertibility, and predict a calf’s growth rate. Genetic data can be collected from a calf’s blood or tissue and sent to a lab. This genetic information can also be helpful when selecting a bull for a breeding program. Past and present, disease management has been an ongoing issue in the cattle industry. In the early 1900’s, screwworms and ticks were a huge issue. Fortunately, screwworms were eradicated between 1959 and 1960, and ticks became easier to control with new paracides and wormers like Ivomec. Vaccines have also helped prevent diseases such a Blackleg, Leptospira, Vibriosis, and Bovine Viral Diarrhea. According June 2014

properly immunized on the cow at a young age to protect against these diseases are healthier, perform better, and produce a better quality product for the consumer.” Fortunately, vaccines have been developed to help prevent the spread of a number of diseases. Ranchers also have more advanced methods of record keeping to aid in disease traceability, including the electronic ID tags and computer software. Renee Strickland believes that the using the electronic ID tags “could make an better leg up in the rest of the world when consumers are so concerned for disease traceability and food safety.” So what does the future hold for the Florida cattle industry? To some extent, consumers hold the answer to that question. Many consumers want to know where their food has come from, are concerned about animals being treated humanely, and more are interested in organic and natural meats. As a result, ranchers will need to be on top of their game in record Heartland In The Field Magazine


meats are also opening up. Since the national cattle numbers are at their lowest in 60 years, demand and prices for beef will probably continue to rise. Russ Putnal, a graduate of the University of Florida and a cattle rancher in Manatee County for over 30 years, said, “At this point, cattle numbers are the lowest they’ve been since 1951 and prices are up. American people are cutting beef consumption by 40 percent. Still, beef is the prime source of protein, and I think there will always be a market for what we produce.” He added, “I think food, anything for human consumption, is going to be valued more than ever before because of an increasing world population.” Russ’s son, Zachary Putnal, also a cattleman in Manatee County and a UF graduate, shares his thoughts on potential challenges for the Florida cattle industry in the future. “In conjunction with government regulations, development is always going to be an issue because Florida is a desirable place to live,” he said. Zach added, “Peoples’ disconnect from agriculture could be a threat [to the industry] because people who make regulations often don’t have an Ag background and don’t understand the cattle industry.” What’s the solution? Zach said, “I think people in the Ag and cattle industry need to educate the public and get publicly involved. Having an educated consumer will be more important as time goes on.”

around us, educating others and ourselves. Florida cattle ranchers have left a legacy of hard work, grit, love of the land and livestock and innovation. They have times. Despite what the future holds, rain or shine, the Florida cattle industry will do what it has done for hundreds of years: ranchers will adapt and meld tradition with technology.


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June 2013

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The Florida Cur Dog is a breed that has ingratiated itself as an integral part of many large cow-calf operations in the state. Believed to have been brought to Florida by Hernando DeSoto in 1539, these dogs played a dual role as ‘catch dogs’ by day and guard dogs by night. Today, they are bred solely for the purpose of herding cattle, something at which they instinctively excel, and have become the unsung hero of Florida’s half billion dollar cattle industry.

David Milburn and two of his dogs, Slim and Hippie.

Florida Cur Dogs:

Cow Hunters Extraordinaire By Cindy Cutright Photos by Carlton Ward Jr / Photos taken at Babcock Ranch, Punta Gorda

The sprawling Babcock Ranch, located in Punta Gorda, uses Florida Cur Dogs extensively by those who work within its Cattle Division. David Milburn, the division’s manager has about a dozen that he owns and uses to herd cattle on the ranch. Training for the pups begins at around seven or eight months of age and is accomplished by working with older, seasoned dogs. “Most of them pick it up pretty quickly because we are very select about how we breed our dogs. They already have the instinct to work.” He said the dogs learn all they need to through OJT (on the job training) and most the ranch, the dogs are rotated so different dogs can be used each day or some are worked in the morning and others in the afternoon, a schedule that helps keep all the dogs well rested. David said his dogs could remain productive for as long as seven or eight years before relinquishing their duties to the younger generation. They are extremely well for and when


Heartland InThe Field Magazine

June 2013

aggressive ancestors, most Florida Cur Dogs are friendly and playful. While the dogs clearly enjoy the part they play in the day-to-day operations of the ranch, it is not without peril. Accidents, barking at the heels of skittish cattle can be dicey at times, and even alligators put them at risk. “We have to be very careful when we go to water our dogs,” he remarked.

driving the herd. If a cow starts to pull out, they’ll (the dogs) will bring her back. They know those cows are supposed to be in a wad and they are looking all the time.” David said the dogs are so necessary to this undertaking that even the cows know if the dogs aren’t there, which according to him, is very seldom. “All cowboys like their dogs and we all like to take our dogs

Well-trained dogs are paramount to the herding of cattle in Florida, which requires a certain amount of expertise. David explained that, “cows often want to leave when they hear a trailer or a horse or a person. So we park on the downwind side where the cows can’t see us. We slip through the woods and if there are any cattle we try to ease them out to the grass patch.” And that is precisely when the dogs come into play.

(to work the cattle).” On a good day, he says it is even enjoyable. Because this particular breed of dog is so vital to the local cattle industry David, as President of the Lee County Cattleman’s Association, along with other association members, approached the Lee County Commission last December when a new dog ordinance was being considered. The ordinance would have mandated the spaying or neutering of all dogs over six months of age that were not law enforcement animals or registered with a nationally recognized dog club.

“Our dogs are trained to go all the way across (the pasture Then they’ll begin barking to bring the cows together and a wad. When your cows are ‘dog-broke’ like most of our cows are, when they hear the other cows lowing, they start coming together.” Once that process has begun, the riders begin rounding up other cows that have strayed. The herd is Finally, the cowboys begin the push to move the cattle. “We have one man in the lead and the rest of us will start June 2014

David impressed upon the commission what a devastating effect that portion of the ordinance would have on local cattle ranchers. He explained that his Florida Cur Dogs – as well as others - are not, “A.K.C., they are C.O.W.” It was a point well taken. Through the efforts of the Cattleman’s Association and the support of the Lee County Commission, the breed was given an agricultural exemption. The input provided by the delegation of cattlemen was instrumental in modifying the ordinance according to Heartland In The Field Magazine


Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann. “We actually held up the adoption (of the ordinance) for a month, maybe six weeks, while that group of rancher representatives could meet with Animal Services and our attorneys to see if there was a way to preclude the working cur dogs as an exception and we got the necessary language. I’m pretty certain it was a unanimous passage and not controversial.” Commissioner Mann, who was empathetic to the cattlemen’s concerns, said he fondly remembers when he and his brother, Pat, worked cows on their father’s ranch and those of neighboring ranches back in the 50’s in what is now Cape Coral. “One of the guys who worked with us frequently had a cur dog that helped round up the cows. So having worked with dogs, I knew clearly what they (the cattlemen) were talking about. They were tough dogs and hard working. And they were valued by the cattlemen. This goes back 200 years when they were shipping cows through Florida from Punta Rassa to Cuba. So this is not new in Florida.” The exemption reinforces the importance of the Florida Cur Dogs to area cattle ranchers who depend on them to help move large herds of cattle over open terrain. They are smart, eager to please and truly amazing to watch in action. Tenacious in nature, the breed gives new meaning to the term, ‘work like a dog’.


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June 2013

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An Original

Jacob Summerlin By Levi Lambert

Florida Crackers or Cow-hunters are remembered each year at festivals and events throughout Florida. Pioneer Park Days in Hardee County always has a show of some expert whip popping at some point each day as part of portraying how things were back in the “good old days.” Cracker Country at the Florida State Fair gives an outstanding recreation each year of different examples of everyday pioneer life. In any case, all of these events attempt to preserve and clarify the origins of the oftenmisused term ‘Florida Cracker.’ All that being said, in all that has been passed down and written about old-timer pioneer cattle-men, Jacob Summerlin was the one man who truly deserved being titled the king of the crackers. Jacob Summerlin was on the edge of borderline myth and left a trail of legendary tales all over Florida. One very popular novel is based on a lead character whose exploits follow rather closely the real life ac-complishments of Jacob Summerlin. Thanks to the extensive research and time spent to put together the book “Jacob Summerlin: King of the Crackers” by Joe and Mark Akerman, his true story can be shared with all those who have an interest in pioneer Florida. Thanks to the generosity of a wonderful family friend who loaned me his autographed copy of the book, enabled me to put together a few interesting facts about Jake’s life in the Florida pinewoods. Jake was born in Florida in 1820. His family originally settled around Alachua County. D.B McKay wrote that Jake at 7 years old was able to crack a whip and ride a horse as well as most grown men who had been cow hunters for years. Another biographer stated that when Jake was in his teens, he was


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that he could read a trial like an Indian. He learned his skills from his time playing and hunting with the Seminoles in his childhood years. Long before Florida’s pastures were divided by barb wire fences or cleared of the majority of the wooded terrain, Jacob Summerlin had began to build a herd of cattle that numbered in the thousands and ranged over many thousand acres of open range. Summerlin became one of the youngest and of Florida’s most prominent cattlemen, his business contacts also rapidly expanded. During the pre-banking age, he stored his gold and money in sacks and trunks that he stashed in various locations. He purchased many tracts of land that also included a wharf at Punta Rassa in Lee County. Today, Summerlin Road is a major artery through Ft Myers. He was very generous in donations to schools, churches and struggling small town governments. One outstanding example was providing the total amount needed to construct a new courthouse in Orlando after the original was destroyed by sons later named Lake Eola. In Bartow, he provided 40 acres for the an institute of learning that is now Bartow High School (est. 1887), 40 acres for estab-lishment of a county seat and 20 acres to each of the town’s two churches (Methodist and Baptist). My friends, the list of contributions made to the state of Florida and its citizens by this man goes on and on. The book that contains such an interesting account of this visionary man along with his life as a Flor-ida Cattlemen and a Veteran of 3 wars, all packed into an important era in Florida history. I highly rec-ommend this book to anyone with an interest in old Florida history. June 2013

June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine


FLORIDA MINERAL, SALT & AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS: A Family Business Helping Agriculture Feed the Hungry By Jim Frankowiak


Heartland InThe Field Magazine

The Clark brothers, Mike, Steve and Greg, own and operate Florida Mineral, Salt & Agricultural Products, LLC (FMS), a company formed in 1991 that provides vitamins, minerals and protein for livestock in the Southeast and beyond via their own brand and private label initiatives for other companies. “Ours is a family business that can trace its beginnings to the summers my brothers and I spent on the farms of our grandparents, both on our mom (Lena) and dad’s (Carl) side of the family. After our father retired from the Air Force while at Mac Dill Air Force Base, his last post, he went to work for Purina Mills in Ybor City, and later managed the feed mill operations of Tampa Independent Dairy Farmers Association (aka TIDFA, and presently known as Southeast Milk Inc., aka June 2013

hand and appreciate the hard work of dairy farmers, cattle ranchers and farmers and we are committed to helping them produce the food that is vital to us all.” Mike and Greg were brokers and distributors for North American Salt (NAS), which owned Huco Minerals (where Steve worked for over 15 years) in the late 1980s. NAS decided to get out of the minerals business and emphasize the water softener salt and grocery salt side of their endeavor. “The mineral side of the business produced too much dust that covered the bagged grocery salt and they decided to get out of that business,” said Mike. The Clark’s bought the business from NAS and that marked the birth of Florida Mineral, Salt & Agricultural Products. FMS is located on the east side of Tampa on a three-acre site that had been the home of a Cargill Nutrena plant built in the late 1950s. In addition to nearby highway access to I-4 and I-275, the site has railroad link, though it is currently inactive. Mike serves as president and operations manager of FMS, Steve is general manager and secretary/treasurer, while Greg is sales manager and vice president. “As a family business, we all wear many hats and share multiple responsibilities,” said Mike. “When we were considering the purchase, our father was particularly helpful guiding us to the non-complete feed side of the business which he thought offered a better opportunity June 2014

for us, and he was right,” said Mike. Other attractive aspects of the transaction were an existing customer base, plus the Clark Brother’s product knowledge and customer relationships. FMS manufactures high quality vitamin, mineral and protein supplementation products for beef, dairy, equine and other livestock species. The company is Florida’s only manufacturer of pressed protein blocks and poured molasses blocks for livestock. FMS also offers livestock supplements in bulk, bagged and liquid form.

an existing customer base, the brother’s hard work and commitment to their customers has helped to expand its distribution well beyond Central Florida to the balance of the state and others in the Southeast and Puerto Rico. “In addition, we manufacture private label products for mills and feed companies in Florida and throughout the Southeast. We recently entered into a new private label agreement that will take our products into states well beyond those we currently serve,” said Mike. FMS products are now available at mills, feed and hardware stores. With regard to continuing the legacy of FMS, Mike and his brothers have offered their children the opportunity to learn to work hard, “but the decision to join the business long term is up to our kids,” said Mike. “Presently my daughter Stefani Heartland In The Field Magazine


assists us by managing our website, Facebook, Twitter accounts, and is instrumental in creating our advertising for this publication, as well as others. We also are fortunate to have friends of the family who share our commitment and work with us to carry on the business,” said Mike. The Clark brothers are active in industry associations. Mike is currently a vice president with the Florida Feed Association and Greg and Steve are both engaged with the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, the Hillsborough Cattlemen’s Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “We also support the Florida State Fair, Florida Strawberry Festival, 4-H, FFA and several churches and their mission outreach efforts, both locally and internationally.”

The Clark family would like to offer a special thank you to several valuable staff members, Dorothy Love and Norman Popp for 22 years of service, Frank Cisco for 12 years of service, Brent Butler for 5 years of service, Zach Rodgers for 2 years of service, as well as their sons, Matt (currently working), Stevie, Taylor, Colby, Austin, and Caleb. “We would not be successful without our family, loyal employees and customers.” For more information about Florida Mineral, Salt & Agricultural

“We have also become involved with and support a program called, Drive to Feed Kids (, who’s motto is ‘Changing lives one meal at a time’ developed by Nutra Blend (one of our major suppliers) to help feed hungry people throughout the U.S. and in our local communities,” said Mike. “One aspect of the program involves the provision of backpacks with food items to feed needy children when they are not in school such as during the weekend. It’s really neat to be involved with industry people all working together to help those less fortunate. “There’s a lot of talk about various actions that must be taken to provide food for the world population that is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050. We have joined the ‘Enough’ movement at to learn more about what can be done to have a food secure world. We would like to challenge others to go to the website to join the movement, too. Realistically, it is many companies like ours and the products we manufacture that are important to agriculture as it strives to meet the growing need for food,” said Mike. “That’s a responsibility we take seriously and work hard to meet.”


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June 2013






here PP







June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine



On the Cutting Edge of Competition By Cindy Cutright

Points are added for excellence in herd work, skill in driving are subtracted if the horse quits the cow, loses the cow, changes one cow after committing to another one, fails to separate a cow from the herd, or the horse turns its tail to the cow or falls.

The mystique of the American Cowboy is an endearing one. It is a part of our heritage, our history. Just as unique and worthy of recognition is that of the American Cow Horse. Noble and hardworking, the cow horse of today is not only used just for the herding of cattle, it is at the very heart of cutting horse competition, which continues to grow in popularity. The objective of a competing horse and rider is to enter a herd, separate a cow and demonstrate their ability to keep the cow from returning to the herd. A panel that rates the horse’s performance based on a range from 60 to 80 points judges the event. To be judged favorably, the rider must not noticeably assist or cue the horse once the cow has been separated. The team has 2 ½ minutes to perform during which time the judges add or subtract points.


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While the judging of an event may be subjective, one thing is certain and that is a cutting horse performing at the top of its game is a thing of beauty. It takes a lot of hard work and just plain good old-fashioned know how to reach that pinnacle. Clearly the training of a cow horse entails more than most might think. Each horse is different, each rider is different but the one constant that both need is an experienced trainer. Enter Coy Smith of LaBelle, an NCHA (National Cutting Horse Association) trainer. Coy explained that, “The whole idea of cutting is that the horse is to draw a cow to it and then it becomes really pretty to watch. In cutting, you drop your hand and let’s see what you’ve got. That’s why I like cutting. To me there is nothing that compares to it. It is all on the horse and you.” Coy said there is not an optimum age at which a horse should start to be trained as a cutting horse. “I don’t like to start too many people try to start them in November (before they turn two). If you do your job right, you can do it in the right amount of time. It takes a year and a half to train a good one. It takes a lot of patience, but you just show them the basics and stay with the basics and they’ll pick it up.” Coy stated that he never trains more than ten horses at one time. And June 2013

Working and training horses seem to come naturally to Coy who has been breaking horses since he was just a boy. “I started breaking horses when I was eleven with supervision from my dad. When I was a kid I broke all kinds of horses. I broke whatever people brought me.” His love for competing came about at a young age and he credits his father, Jabo for that. His father made him practice for 2 ½ years before letting Coy compete at the age of twelve. “I started winning right away because of that. He was pretty tough on me but it made me better and he taught me to love it when I was young. You get hooked and then once you get hooked, you want to get better and better. And then you want to get better horses.” Coy said he owes a lot to his father who traded two

while each requires a good deal of time and effort to work, no two horses are alike. “Every horse is different. It all depends what level the rider is because that is the most important thing. Some riders can take a three year old and go win and some riders don’t need to be on that three year old until it’s

The desire to compete is still as strong as ever for Coy. At 32, he competes whenever and wherever the people for whom he trains horses, or those he rides horses for, chooses to compete. “I love competition and the only way to get better is to ride with better trainers.” Coy also has great admiration for some of his mounts. “The natural ability of certain horses is just incredible. They are the easy ones. They make you look good.” While he has ridden all kinds of horses, Coy admits to being partial to the American Quarter Horse when it comes to cutting. “This is a quarter horse industry. Thoroughbreds can’t stop and turn quick enough and while Arabians can, they are not the same caliber.”

June 2014

the two traveled extensively giving him a chance to compete at a range of venues. Finally he said, “At 17, I turned in my non-pro card and stopped competing in the youth (events).” By that time Coy knew what he wanted to do with his life. Following high school, he went to work for a trainer in Ocala and then relocated to Virginia to work for another one. Along the way, he learned as much as could from mentors within the business while honing his own skills. Coy eventually made his way back home to LaBelle where he manages to do what he loves best every day. While Coy mainly trains horses for competition, he said he also, “trains horses for the working guy, whatever they want to use the horse for. I also work cows at different ranches. I do whatever it takes.” In addition to training cutting horses and those that ride them, Coy gives riding lessons that encompass all age groups and every skill level from the beginner to the accomplished rider. He also starts ‘green’ horses, sells horses, and can help a rider evaluate whether a horse might be right for him or her before purchasing. For more information on the whole range of services he offers, as well as directions to his impressive training facilities in LaBelle go to www.coysmithcowhorses. com or call 813-239-7475.

Heartland In The Field Magazine


BULLS, BRONCS, BARRELS, AND BRING FAMILY By Dixie Thomas Photos by Allison O’Brien

events throughout Florida, including the Bull Pit Ministry and Reality Ranch Ministries. Then, in 2009, he decided to start his own rodeo production—the Circle S Rodeo.

As the evening sun fades, the bright lights go up at Circle S Rodeo arena. But before the sun goes down, you’ll likely see the red clay dust rise during the calf riding, junior bull riding, barrel racing, and mutton busting. Then comes a horse and

Another reason the Scarbroughs’ started the rodeo was to help provide an event for the community where families could come for clean fun. “We have kids. We wanted to take them somewhere where there’s not a bunch of drunks,” explains Deelayna. Consequently, Circle S Rodeo does not serve alcohol, yet the events are never lacking excitement and fun. Usually between six and eight hundred people attend the rodeo. Rachel Hughes, a barrel racer who participates in the events, says the events are “very, very family.” She adds, “Kids love it, and you can let your kids run around and not have to worry about them.” Most of the events at Circle S include many opportunities for children to be involved, such as a bounce house, the calf scramble, boot scramble, and mutton busting.

the “Star Spangled Banner.” Just before the bulls and broncs, the cowboys come out into the arena and take off their hats and bow their heads—some even kneel-- as the announcer offers up a prayer. A few moments later, after tightening all the straps and getting a good seat, a cowboy nods his head and a bronc or bull blasts out of the gate, challenging the cowboy with every twist and buck, to give all he’s got to hold on for eight seconds. Vic Scarbrough and his wife, Deelayna, started Circle S Rodeo of Myakka City in 2009. Vic grew up cattle ranching in Myakka City, and frequented all types of rodeo events as Posse Arena on 17th St. “I love rodeo,” says Vic, “I’ve been around cattle all my life. It’s in my blood.” In 2007, Vic started S&S Rodeo Productions and supplied bulls to rodeo


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June 2013

dimensions of the arena are the WPRA standard 130 ft. x 200 ft. and the arena has four bucking chutes and 17 back pens, and roping boxes are soon to be installed. Getting the arena and everything up and running for the rodeo was no small feat. Fortunately, a number of people from the Myakka community donated some poles to build the arena and lights, and people volunteered to help get things set up. Prior to the opening of the rodeo, Deelayna says, “I didn’t see Vic for two weeks because he was so busy.”

bulls (ages 15-19) , and of course they have bulls for the pro bull riders (ages 18 and up). Circle S has also held a number Dakin, a beloved community member who suffered from a brain tumor, and the recent Steer Clear of Cancer Relay for have PPR Rodeos, Pole Bending, and Team Roping. Typically, check out the website at

Deelayna raise some of their own bucking bulls for the events. Whenever they have a new bull ready to try out, Sometimes the bulls buck, and sometimes they don’t buck and they go to the market. Renegade Rodeo, Robert Swent and Matt Clemons are others who have provided bulls to Circle S. Since the rodeo opened, seven “Bulls and Barrels” events have been held. Vic had a buckle series from this past January to May, and he plans to start a saddle series this July. Other events held at Circle S Rodeo include Ranch Rodeos and “Bulls and Broncs.” Ranch Rodeos include timed events like bronc riding, team sorting, calf branding, and team roping. With “Bulls and Broncs,” young bull riders have a chance to ride calves (ages 6-11), steers (ages 12-14), junior

June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine


Fort Myers Hosts PRCA Pro Rodeo Article and Photos By Kathy Gregg


he Lee County Posse Arena was the place to be on March 22-23 for the Second Annual Fort Myers Pro Rodeo. This was a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association sanctioned rodeo event, put on by Klein Bros. Pro Rodeo Company. On the evening of Friday, March 21, the festivities began, as the Fort Myers Hooters restaurant hosted the pre-rodeo party. The cowboys, the workers and volunteers and the public mingled while partaking of the good food and drink.

Sunday afternoon, which was attended by Miss Rodeo Florida Devon Firestone. She was reunited with Klein Bros. employee CJ Brown, and bull rider Drew Flynn, from her Combee Rodeo days. followed by Miss Rodeo Florida. riders Natalie Arnold, Josie Adkins and Faith Jones performing

resident Margo Crowther, who together with her husband Kasey and their Crowther Race Horse Team were co-sponsors


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The starting event was the mutton bustin’, with the barrelman duties done by Roan Hudson. This youngster was a miniature Robbie Hodges, all dressed in his rodeo clown duds, and absolutely stole the show! June 2013

The action then turned to the roping events, with tie-down ropers trying hard to catch Brad Hartt of Sebring, who won with a time of 9.3 seconds. Charles W. “Trae” Adams III of Hardee County had a time of 10.8 seconds, but got a 10-second speeding ticket for breaking the barrier when he left the roping box. In the arena working the calves were Mackenzie Hudson and Kallie Kouba. The team roping saw Mike Sanders of Avon Park and Jay Holmes of Sarasota take third place with a time of 6.2 seconds. The pair is regular winners at most of the Florida PRCA rodeos. As usual, there were a large number of WPRA barrel racers competing. The winning time was 16.57 seconds; in addition to making sure the rodeo ran smoothly, Margo Crowther managed to place fourth with a time of 17.40 seconds. And that was the exact same time – 17.40 seconds – that took top honors for the junior barrel racers, having been won by Manatee Countian Cheyenne Nazzarese (a powerhouse in the junior barrel racing world). The action then took off with the bareback riding. Rider Matt Smith, who stands in second place in the Southeastern Circuit, was on a horse that hit the fence and bent the pole outwards, then fell and got up, and still got a score! And that was typical of the action at this rodeo! Okeechobee’s Jacoby Johns placed third with a score of 68, earning him the prize money of $461.

The bull riding is always the last event, and these bull riders put on quite a show. And for the riders that got hung up, they Lee were on the job. In one such incident, Jimmy attracted the bull’s attention away from the rider, but then lost his footing, and went underneath the front end of the bull, so Zack had to

Next up was the saddlebronc riding. And this event was won by Okeechobee’s Nat Stratton on Klein Bros. My Gal, winning him $921. Nat’s grandfather Fritz Brewer was one of the judges at this rodeo, and he was mighty proud of Nat’s ride! The steer wrestling is an event that seems to attract hefty cowboys. Rockin’ Robbie Hodges, the barrelman/clown, has a comment on this event – “there should be a rule that you can’t be bigger than the animal you’re competing with!” These cowboys take off at full speed, then slide off their horse onto a moving steer, and then have to wrestle it to the ground. A second rider (known as the “hazer”) accompanies the contestant out of the gate, with the job of keeping the steer in line for the competitor to be able to properly catch. The Florida steer wrestlers come to the Florida rodeos, with regulars Spunk Sasser (repeat Circuit Champ), Ernie Bugarin, Josh Moore and the Dymmek brothers (Hardy and Kamry). Not all of these contestants are full-time cowboys. In fact, the winner of this event was Bud Hallman of Webster, Florida, with a time of 5.0 seconds. During the week he is addressed as Judge Hallman, being a Circuit Court Judge in the Fifth Circuit of Florida. He is also the oldest of the competitors, being past the Big 60. Local North Fort Myers resident John Manson is Battalion Chief at the North Fort Fire Department. Manson completed this event with a time of 5.5 seconds, but this extra one-half of a second caused him to place outside of the money. June 2014

For a smaller pro rodeo, this one was well-run and provided a lot of excitement. I can’t wait until next year’s event comes around! (And I have to give a shout out to Hardy Dymmek, and hope that he reads this the next time he’s at the Okeechobee Livestock Market!) Heartland In The Field Magazine




aster lilies may have been blooming elsewhere, but not at the Palmetto Fairgrounds, where, on

title of winner of the Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association annual ranch rodeo. These teams, each comprised of four cowboys and one cowgirl, came from far and wide to ride, rope, brand and tie bovines in the hopes of moving on to the Florida Cattlemen’s 27 at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. The opening ceremonies began promptly at noon, with Jessie Embach, the current Manatee County Cattlemen’s introduction of the teams.

sorting. Some teams will have the same person sort out all three calves, while other teams switch out those duties, with a new person seamlessly riding into the herd while his (or her) teammate rides the prior calf across the line. Switch Ranch employed the talents of Matt Carlton as its sorter, while teammates Robert Fussell, Peck Harris, Clint Davis and Jessie Gattis held the line. They were one of only three teams to get a time, and they won the event in 1:04.


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By the time the second event started, the wind had us all scrambling for our jackets! The team doctoring requires both heading and heeling of the steer, so several team members had their ropes at the ready. The top four teams were separated by a mere 5 seconds, but it was Adams Cutting Horses (consisting of Billy Adams, his daughter Sage, his brother Jimmy, and father-and-son Carson and Cody Storey) who handed in the best time of 19.0 seconds. June 2013

Next up was the team branding, and the female team members hope that their teammates rope the calf close to the branding circle, saving them a long round-trip run in that deep dirt. And that is precisely what Donnie Crawford did for Paige Raulerson and the Raulerson Cattle team, who, with the help of Dad Clint Raulerson, Dalton Boney and Little John Davis, won in a time of 27.0 seconds.

This ranch rodeo has its own special event – the woodstying. After digging a fencepost into the ground, the teams must rope the steer, and then tie it to the post. This was J Bar 25.0 seconds, so that win went to Joe Choban, Katie Thomas, GW Crawford, Ryan Howard and Jacob Broche.

Another special part of this ranch rodeo is the Walter Mann Top Hand Award. Walter was a long-time Myakka cattleman, and beloved by all who knew him. In his honor, his wife Faye gives a special buckle to the most deserving cowboy of the day. She does all the judging, and spends the entire rodeo closely watching all the competitors. This year Raney of the Raney Cattle team and Donnie Crawford of the Raulerson Cattle team doing an excellent job. But it was Donnie’s “superb herd work” that nudged him into the Top Hand buckle (ending a three-year run by cowboys from Hardee County).

Then came the double muggin’ event, which usually results in cowboys getting knocked to the ground, or ending up with the steer on top of them! This was the second event win for

Then came the overall awards – with Raulerson Cattle taking home the winner’s buckles. J Bar K took second place, and Adams Cutting Horses came in third. This will be the well!

June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine



District Events Contest The Florida 4-H District X Events contest was held in Moore Haven on Saturday, May 10th. Congratulations to all participants and winners in the following categories:


Jaime Hingson, Glades County -

Blue Ribbon and Best of Category SENIOR DIVISION: Stephanie Rodriquez-Colon, Highlands County - Blue Ribbon and Best of Category

Small Animals and Pets:

Catherine Sager, Highlands County - Blue Ribbon and Best of Category JUNIOR DIVISION:

Leisure & Performing Arts:

Phebe Sager Highlands County Blue Ribbon and Best of Category


Plant Connections:

JUNIOR DIVISION: Jaxon and Morgan McCracken, Highlands

County - Blue Ribbon and Best of Category

Mechanical, Electronic Science, Petroleum Power and Small Engines:

INTERMEDIATE DIVISION: Davis Sager, Highlands County Blue Ribbon and Best of Category

Consumer Education and Money Management:


Julia VanFleet, Highlands County - Blue Ribbon and Best of Category

Shelby Ball, Highlands County - Blue Ribbon and Best of Category; Haley Richardson, Highlands County - Blue Ribbon

Earth Sciences:

Public Speaking:



White award Destiny McCauley, Hardee County - Blue Ribbon and Best of Category; Megan Sowards, Highlands County - Blue Ribbon SENIOR DIVISION:

Natural Resources:

INTERMEDIATE DIVISION: Cole Verano, Okeechobee County Blue Ribbon and Best of Category


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Jake Menendez - Okeechobee County - Blue Ribbon and Best of Category


Share the Fun Participants:

Catherine Sager, Highlands County; Phebe Sager, Highlands County; Andrew Smiley, Okeechobee County

Fashion Revue Participants: Saydee Waldron and Emmalee Waldron

June 2013

Hendry County Cattlemen’s Association Presents $11,000 to Youth! By Lindsey Wiggins

Every year the Hendry County Cattlemen’s & Cattlewomen’s Associations jointly offer a $2,500 scholarship to a deserving Hendry County graduate, pursuing a degree in agriculture. The 2014 joint scholarship was awarded to Andy McAvoy who graduated from LaBelle High School in 2013, and is currently attending the University of Florida studying Microbiology & Cell Science. He has made the Cattlemen and Cattlewomen very proud of their decision….not surprising, but Andy has only received A’s and B’s while at UF. Hopes are high that Andy will return home to pursue a career in agriculture. In addition to the joint scholarship mentioned above, the Cattlemen’s Association also awarded 5 additional students with scholarships in varying amounts: •

Brianna Davis: Veterinary Technology

Tristan Mudge: Farrier

Cassidy Lee: Education and Agriculture Business

Correy O’Ferrell: Agriculture Business

Katelyn Steelman: Animal Science

Recipients are eligible to receive the scholarship a maximum of 4 years, which gives the HCCA an opportunity to support students throughout their educational journey. The Hendry County Cattlemen’s Association encourages Hendry County youth, pursuing a degree in agriculture, to apply for the scholarship in 2015. $11,000 is a large sum of money that may leave you wondering how the Association raises it….They are one HCCA board of directors and members grilling steaks and/or frying swamp cabbage fritters at many events. In addition to their amazing cooking engagements, the dinners to raise funds for scholarship purposes.

June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine


Breezy Hill Berries Owned by husband and wife team Robert and Nettie Williams of Okeechobee, Breezy Hill Berries offers a variety of delicious products that originate from their Warthen, Georgia farm. “We were considering what we’d like to do in our ‘retirement’ years, and after a lot of research, decided that we’d enjoy doing some farming,” says Nettie. So she and Robert, owners 105-acre farm in 2004. Both blueberries and blackberries are grown on the farm located between Macon and Augusta. While a “u-pick” option is offered to people in that area, freshly harvested berries are also transported and made available for purchase from and Nettie also offer their products at local events like the Speckled Perch, Labor Day, and Christmas Festivals in Okeechobee, Brighton Field Days, and the Freedom Ranch Craft Fair in the Woods. “We’re also working to have booths at the Fort Pierce and Vero Beach Farmer’s Markets in June and July, and are available through Golgotha Ministries Produce Co-Op,” Nettie added.

like the cucumbers used to make their crispy, sweet pickles. All items are made from special recipes that have been passed down for generations, from Nettie’s grandmother Emma Jean Mobley to her mother Hazel Sessions, and now to Nettie. The delicious blueberry cream cheese pies can be reserved with just a couple of days notice and are a special treat on a hot summer day. So take advantage of these fresh treats now during their peak season! You can learn more about Breezy Hill Berries on Facebook, by visiting their website at www.breezyhillberries. com or by calling Robert or Nettie at 863.634.3332 or 863.634.0380.

The farm has become a labor of love for the entire family, with their children and grandchildren also being involved in planting, picking and processing the berries. And they offer much more than fresh berries – there are also homemade jams and jellies, sweet pickles, and even homemade pies! While their own berries are used for most of the recipes, they also purchase locally grown produce from other farmers,


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June 2014

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ebring High School FFA members read to Fred Wild Elementary students for Ag Literacy Day this year. The day is for anyone involved in the agricultural industry to read a children’s book about the Florida Agriculture Industry to students in titled Florida Farms at School. For more information about Ag Literacy Day, visit

Submit your photos and events for Heartland Happenings to


Heartland InThe Field Magazine

June 2013



keechobee County held it’s Ag Venture for fourth graders on May 14th and 15th at the Agri Civic Center. Students enjoyed activities like “garden in a glove,” squeezing fresh orange juice, and making butter while learning about alligator farming, beef and dairy cattle, citrus, soil and water, and vegetables.



keechobee 4-H Sharp Shooters Club, Lake Okeechobee Airboat Association (LOAA) and Waste Management partnered to clean up the lake on Sunday, April 27th in honor of Earth Day. Okeechobee 4-H Sharp Shooters Club Advisors and Lake Okeechobee Airboat Association President, Jeff Brockway helped coordinate the project. LOAA provided airboats and transported club members, ages 8 to 18 out on the lake to collect garbage. Members set out at 8:30 a.m. and returned at noon. A contest was held to see which team collected the most garbage. The

“Learning about earth day with our club members and helping our environment at the same time is a very rewarding experience for all,” said Carrie Muldoon. After the clean up the members enjoyed a lunch provided by the 4-H club and took home a Waste Management goody bag with information on “Recycle Often, Recycle Right” tips, a souvenir and treats for their efforts. For more information on the Okeechobee Lake ‘O’ North Shore Clean-up project or 4-H programs, please contact

Submit your photos and events for Heartland Happenings to June 2014

Heartland In The Field Magazine


Wine tasters discuss Rex Goliath Wine during the tasting in Circle Theatre



owntown Sebring was the place to be this Mother’s Day weekend as the City hosted ‘Girls Gone Wine,’ a culinary and wine festival May 9-10. The festival kicked off on May 9 with an 80s-themed wine walk from 5-8 PM. On May 10, the Festival was in full swing with a wine and cheese tasting, live music by the Landsharks Band, culinary demonstrations, mommy/daughter fashion show, food vendors, merchandise and service vendors, eateries of historic Downtown Sebring. The event included Free General Admission.

Nancy Foley of Lakeland shows her love of Downtown Sebring.

More than 100 people participated in the wine tasting inside Circle Theatre. A portion of the proceeds Foundation and the Getaway Girl Foundation, both 501c3 organizations. Culinary demonstrations by Cake Wanted, Cang Tong and Barbara Miachika, author of the Accidental Baker: A Cake for Every Crisis.

Barbara Miachika, author of the Accidental Baker: a Cake for Every Crisis, conducts a culinary demonstration

This event was coordinated by Push Event Productions and co-sponsored by the Sebring CRA, City of Sebring, Cohan Radio Network, Creative Printing, Highlands Today, the News Sun, Gray Dog Communications, Plan B Promotions, Budweiser, Highlands Co. Convention & Visitors Bureau, Brenner Pottery, Capt. Ron’s Mercantile, Dogtown USA, GB’s Formal Wear, Highlands Little Theatre, Linda’s Books and the Palms of Sebring.

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Heartland InThe Field Magazine

June 2013

The Florida CattleWomen will be having their welcome reception and fashion show on Tuesday the 17th, at 2 p.m. at the Annual Florida Cattlemen’s Association Convention and Allied Trade Show. We look forward to all members coming to our annual membership meeting on Wednesday and our membership breakfast on Thursday the 19th. We will announce the winner of the Outstanding CattleWoman award on Thursday a.m. Please make sure your dues are paid in full to be able to participate in our events.

Jason Cheng, owner/chef at Cang Tong, shows his sushi roll

Kids Corner Puzzle Solution

A special thank you to Cabot Cheese, Rex Goliath Wine, Barefoot Wine, Champion for Children Foundation, the Circle Theatre, GB’s Formal Wear and Publix.

Brandi Gonzalez, owner of Cake Wanted, conducts cupcakedecorating demonstration

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Heartland In The Field Magazine



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June 2013

Heartland’s Growing Businesses

ANNUAL FCA CONVENTION & ALLIED TRADE SHOW Marco Island, Florida June 16-20, 2014

Silver King Photography Family, Children, Weddings, Livestock

Kelley Baker (239) 672-7748 Victoria Baker (941) 380-4202

June 2014

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AG CALENDAR JUNE 1ST Country Music Barbecue Huge BBQ buffet and concert with JJ McCoy Band Royal Palm Courtyard Bonita Springs - 239-390-4398 JUNE 2ND CATTLE AUCTION Arcadia Stockyard (check website for calendar)

JUNE 11TH CORN ON THE COB DAY JUNE 11TH - 13TH Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference, Bonita Springs

JUNE 18TH 2014 Farm Bill Meeting, Apopka JUNE 12TH 7TH Annual Youth Field Day UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research & Education Center, Ona 8a - 1p 863-735-1314 Ext 204

JUNE 3RD NATIONAL EGG DAY JUNE 5TH - 8TH 6th Annual HSFC’s Lady Angler Fishing Tournament Port Orange - JUNE 6TH Economic & Environmentally Sound Beef Cattle Program Buck Island Ranch, Lake Placid JUNE 7TH 2nd Annual Dairy Day Dakin Dairy Farms Myakka City, 10A - 5p JUNE 7TH Rockin’ On The River Concert Centennial Park, Fort Myers 239-227-4405 JUNE 7TH DANIEL BOONE DAY JUNE 7TH World Ocean Day Celebration St. Lucie Aquarium, Fort Pierce JUNE 9TH - 13TH Creative Kids Camp Highlands Art League, Sebring “Mimicking the Masters”

JUNE 16TH - 20TH Annual Florida Cattlemen Association Convention & Allied Trade Show, Marco Island

JUNE 13TH Sporting Clays Fun Shoot Manatee Chamber of Commerce Ancient Oak Gun Club- SR64 E 941-748-4842 Ext 172 JUNE 14TH WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY JUNE 14TH Rugged Maniac 5K Mud & Obstacle Race - Little Everglades Ranch, Dade JUNE 14TH National Marine Day Celebration Fishermen’s Village, Punta Gorda www. JUNE 14TH - 15TH Heartland Triathlon sponsored by Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center, Sebring kids and adults events swim~ride~run~conquer JUNE 15TH FATHER’S DAY JUNE 16TH - 20TH Creative Kids Camp Highlands Art League, Sebring “Holiday Happenings”

programs 407-847-4465 Ext 3 JUNE 20TH - 21ST FNGLA Annual Convention Marriott Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach JUNE 23RD - 27TH Florida 4-H Legislature Event Tallahassee JUNE 25TH NATIONAL CATFISH DAY JUNE 27TH NATIONAL ORANGE BLOSSOM DAY JUNE 28TH Taste of Lee Event UF/IFAS Lee County Extension and the Caloosa Rare Fruit Exchange feature locally grown tropical fruits and vegetables JUNE 30TH - JULY 4TH 86th Florida FFA State Convention Caribe Royale, Orlando - 351-821-0774 JULY 4TH Red, White & Blues Festival Historic Downtown Sebring JULY 4TH Palmetto 4th of July Celebration Sutton Park Pavillion

Submit your events for the ag calendar to

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Trust. Compounded Daily.



1804 James L Redman Parkway

813-659-1234 Tampa 路 Brandon 路 Lakeland Dunedin 路 Winter Haven 路 Plant City PB-Ad-ThinkBigPC-8'75x11'25.indd 1

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Find it at your favorite equine dealer


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Fort Pierce 6150 Orange Ave. Ft. Pierce, FL 34947



906 US HWY 301 North Palmetto, FL 34221


Loxahatchee 13295 Southern Blvd. Loxahatchee, FL 33470

Fort Myers


9501 State Road 82 Fort Myers, FL 33905


Belle Glade

Corporate Headquarters

Immokalee 775 E. Main St. Immokalee , FL 34142


2017 N. W. 16TH Belle Glade, FL 33430

Naples Comming soon 2014 Naples , FL

Since 1963


Father’s Day Specials for Dad! Wine Down Wednesdays - with Live Music in Tiki 5-8pm

Heartland In The Field  
Heartland In The Field  

Agriculture magazine covering Hardee, Highlands, Charlotte, DeSoto, Okeechobee, Hendry and Glades Counties in Florida.