Page 1

April 15 - May 15, 2011 ®

President Charles Clark

Polk County Cattlemen’s Association

Covering What’s Growing

April 2011


Instant Rebates up to $5000

The best reason to buy a Kubota M126X may not be the one you think. Yes, the M126X has an impressive list of deluxe features that come standard. And Kubota’s reliability and innovation are world-renown. But the best reason to buy an M126X is because you care about a job well-done. And you know this versatile mid-size tractor will deliver premium performance the first time, and every time. When there’s no substitute for a job well-done, there’s the Kubota M126X. • Powerful 4-cylinder, 108 PTO HP Kubota diesel engine • Fuel-efficient Common Rail System (CRS) • 16F x 16R IntelliShift transmission with 8-speed DualRange powershift

w w w. G u l f C o a s t Tr a c t o r. c o m



April 2011

April 2011


From the Editor

Sarah Holt


Polk’s AGRICULTURE Magazine

VOL. 5 • ISSUE 8


Cover Story Publisher/Owner

April 15 - May 15, 2011

Karen Berry


“I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring. Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?” —Edward Giobbi April is National Gardening Month! According to the National Gardening Association, gardeners know and research confirms that nurturing plants is good for us, attitudes toward health and nutrition improve, kids perform better at school and community spirit grows. What can you do to celebrate? Plant an herb garden with greens and herbs near your back door. Get a window box and fill it full of brightly colored annuals. Learn about houseplants that clean the air. Learn about invasive plants. Plant extra vegetables for freezing, canning or storing. And, as always, purchase Fresh From Florida food. Don’t forget, Ag Literacy Day is April 26. Thanks to Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, the Ag Literacy Day books and materials are provided to readers free of charge through funding received from sales of the Ag Tag. On this day, registered participants, including Cattlemen and Cattlewomen, FFA teachers and students, and others in the agriculture industry, will read to students throughout Florida. A very special thank you to our advertisers for your continued faith in us. We enjoy covering what is growing and getting to know those involved in the agriculture industry in Polk County. If you have story ideas please let us know! Until Next Month,


Editor-In-Chief Al Berry


Senior Managing Editor/Associate Publisher

Polk County Cattlemen’s Association

Covering What’s Growing

April 2011



PCCA President Charles Clark 34 7 Did You Know? 8 Advertisers Index 10 Grub Station Cuzzin’s Corner Kitchen 12 Recipes 14 Business Upfront Gulf Coast Turf & Tractor


Patsy Berry

Office Manager Bob Hughens

Sales Manager

Danny Crampton


Tina Richmond Danny Crampton W. Russell Hancock

Creative Director Amey Celoria

Juan Carlos Alvarez

24 Rocking Chair Chatter

Sandy Kaster James Frankowiak Kayla Lewis Sean Green Mark Cook Ginny Mink

40 Citrus Update: What are Citrus Health Management Areas (CHMAs) 46 Woman in Agriculture Margie Wood 58 Kathleen Heritage Day

Staff Writers

Contributing Writers Dick Loupe Bridget Carlisle


Karen Berry W. Russell Hancock

In The Field® Magazine is published monthly and is available through local Polk County businesses, restaurants and other local venues. It is also distributed by U.S. mail to a target market, which includes members of Polk County Farm Bureau, Florida Citrus Mutual and Polk County Cattlemen’s Association. Letters, comments and questions can be sent to P.O. Box 5377, Plant City, Florida 33563-0042 or you are welcome to email them to: or call 813-759-6909.

Advertisers warrant & represent the descriptions of their products advertised are true in all respects. 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 Berry Publications, Inc. Any use or duplication of material used in In The Field® magazine is prohibited without written consent from Berry Publications, Inc. Published by Berry Publications, Inc.



April 2011

Eat Better. Love Life. Live Longer.


16 Fishing Hot Spots

28 Polk County Cattle History

The LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. Numbers 6:25

Sarah Holt

Mpril A arch 2011 2011



CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION PO Box 9005 • Drawer HS03 Bartow, FL 33831-9005

Just a quick note of thanks to everyone who attended the Trade Show/Ranch Rodeo. Attendance was up again this year. Also, I really appreciate the sponsors of the rodeo events, the team sponsors, and those who provided buckles and saddles. Without your support this fund raising event would not have grown to be so successful. The trade show participants have been loyal to the event and we certainly appreciate the time spent by them on a day off to come support us. The rodeo committee, headed up by Fred Waters, spent many hours planning for this event, as well as getting the stock in place, setting up the arena and putting up temporary bleachers. All the volunteer hours spent are greatly appreciated. Hopefully, I have left no one out, if so forgive me. We have a new Polk County Cattlemen’s Association Sweetheart. Shelby Freeman will be representing your County Association for the next year and will participate at Marco Island in the state competition. Along with her Sweetheart submittal packet I had to send in a letter of recommendation to the state association. With her credentials, this was a very easy letter to write. She is a very accomplished young lady and will represent us well at the state competition. She attended the FFA Beast Feast and served steak to a steady line of hungry FFA supporters. She is ready to attend all of our future functions and help promote BEEF and lend her support in any way she can. If you have been on our website lately you have noticed it is outdated. Very soon this will all be updated. About a month ago I was contacted by one of our newer members to offer his services in bringing the web site up to date. He is more computer literate than we cowboys and has already contacted our web person. He is excited about the process and is currently gathering all the correct information. Chris Nelson is the volunteer and we certainly appreciate his interest in doing this. If you have any suggestions as to ways to improve the web site let us know about them, and after consulting with our web person, we will try to implement them.

Charles Clark

The United States has an estimated 211,600 beekeepers.

Honey bees are not native to the USA. They are European in origin and were brought to North American by the early settlers.

American Indians called honey bees the “White Man’s Fly” because they were brought to North America by colonists.

The ancient Greeks minted coins with bees on them.

There are about nine different known species of bees that make honey.

Honey has been used for millennia as a topical dressing for wounds since microbes cannot live in it. It also produces hydrogen peroxide. Honey has even been used to embalm bodies such as that of Alexander the Great.

OFFICERS & BOARD OF DIRECTORS President – Charles Clark (863) 412-8349 Vice President – Dave Tomkow (863) 665-5088 Secretary/Treasurer - Justin Bunch (863) 425-1121 Al Bellotto (863) 581-5515

Propolis is a sticky resin mixed with wax to make a sticky glue. The bees use this to seal cracks, glue things so they don’t vibrate and repair their hive.

Ray Clark, (863) 683-8196

A honey bee can only sting a person once and then it dies because its stinger is ripped out during the stinging process.

L.B. Flanders, DVM (863) 644-5974

Mead is a wine made from honey.

A honey bee can fly up to 15 miles per hour.

Mike Fussell (863) 698-8314

Due to the high level of fructose, honey is 25% sweeter than table sugar.

One antioxidant called “pinocembrin” is only found in honey.

Honey has the ability to attract and absorb moisture, which makes it remarkably soothing for minor burns and helps to prevent scarring.

Honey contains vitamins and antioxidants, but is fat free, cholesterol free and sodium free.

The brain of a worker honey bee is about a cubic millimeter but has the densest neuropile tissue of any animal.

Honey bees collect approximately 66 lbs of pollen per year, per hive.

Charles Clark Polk County Cattlemen’s Association President


Dewey Fussell (863) 984-3782

David McCullers )863) 528-1195 Moby Persing (863) 528-4379 Ned Waters (863) 698-1597 J. B. Wynn (863) 581-3255 Alternate - Howard Yates, 2501 Arbuckle Lane, Frostproof, FL 33843-9647 Standing Committee Chairs: Membership- J.B. Wynn Events- Kevin Fussell (863) 412-5876 Rodeo- Fred Waters (863) 559-7808 Cattlewomen - President Sherry Kitchen (863) 221-0230 Extension – Bridget Carlisle (863) 519-8677

Woody Ellison of Ellison RBM



April 2011

April 2011

Sheriff’s Dept. – Sgt. Howard Martin


The Polk County Cattlemen’s Association would like to extend a very special thank you to Morrison Ranch, Betty and Billy Morrison, Gold Sponsor for the 2011 Polk County Cattlemen’s Ranch Rodeo.

Index of


Andy Thornal Company .................... 43 Arrington Body Shop, Inc. .................. 61 Atlas Mattress Factory ....................... 29 B&L Pool Resurfacing, Inc. ................ 49 Broke & Poor Surplus Materials ......... 43 Brownlee Citrus & Garden Center ...... 61 Burns Flooring & Kitchen Design ....... 49 By Unique Designs Ministries ............. 45 C&J Equipment Sales, Inc. ................. 41 Carlton & Carlton, PA ....................... 31 Circle Bar J Feed & Tack .................... 61 Country View Realty & Dev. .............. 29 Country Village Power Equipment ...... 23 Cypress Insurance Management ......... 61 Discount Metal Mart ......................... 37 Ellison RBM, Inc. .............................. 45 Express 1040, Inc. .............................. 61 Fancy Farms ...................................... 35 Farm Credit of Central Florida ........... 23

Fields-Huston .................................... 15 Florida Farm & Ranch Supply ............ 61 Florida’s Natural Growers .................. 47 Fred’s Market ....................................... 5 Fun Bike Center ................................. 21 Grove Equipment Service ................... 39 Gulf Coast Turf & Tractor .................. 2 Haines City Paint & Body .................. 61 Helena Chemical -Tampa ................... 37 International Market World ............... 27 Lay’s Western Wear & Feed ................ 27 Lightsey Cattle Co. ............................ 47 Mana-Abba Crop Protection ................ 9 Mary Adsit Co., Inc. .......................... 43 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney ............ 47 Mosaic .............................................. 41 Oglesby Auctions ............................... 59 Polk County Cattlemen’s Assoc. ........... 7 Precision Citrus Hedging & Topping ... 19

Precision Pump Services .................... 19 Precision Safe & Lock ........................ 45 Prestige Homes .................................. 35 Red Rose Inn & Suites ........................ 32 Rhizogen ........................................... 64 Ride Now Motorsports ........................ 3 Roadrunner Veterinary Clinic ............. 31 Seedway Vegetable Seeds .................... 49 Seigler Funeral Home ......................... 49 South Florida Baptist Hospital ........... 17 Southeastern Septic ............................ 39 Southwestern Produce ........................ 13 Stephanie Humphrey .......................... 49 Stingray Chevrolet ............................. 63 Tampa Bay Steel ................................. 45 The Bug Man ..................................... 61 Truckmasters ..................................... 45 Wishnatzki Farms .............................. 25

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InTheField® Magazine P.O. Box 5377, Plant City, FL 33563-0042 All Entries must be received by May 3, 2011. Winner will be notified by phone. You Too Can Be A Winner - Enter Now! 8


April 2011

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April 2011


Clockwise from top left: Half pound juicy ground chuck cheeseburger, Falling off the bone ribs with beans and great slaw, Corner crossroads by Cuzzin’s and next door Five Points Tavern, Bait shop sign, Five Points Tavern & Bait Shop, Philly cheese steak on whole wheat roll

by Cheryl Kuck

Above: Owners Deborah and Terry Roberts serving up some down-home country cookin’. Right: Taking a peek inside the kitchen; owner Terry Roberts with Cuzzin’s chef, his son Justin

Heading out past Lakeland on Highway 92, we stopped and asked some folks how to get to Cuzzin’s Corner Kitchen on Old Lake Alfred Road. No one seemed to know until we mentioned it was next door to Five Points Tavern. Everybody knew Five Points, “Go past the park, turn at the Shake Shack and follow the road past Auburndale High School, it’s on the corner of the Old Lake Alfred intersection.” Since Auburndale sits between three lakes, it somehow made sense to find a bait shop inside a tavern with a kitchen trailer hooked up adjacent to it. Just looking at the fire engine red kitchen trailer with the Cuzzin’s logo of a smiling pig wearing a chef’s hat and hefting a mug of frothy beer, gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling. That feeling only comes when anticipating some good ole’ downhome and hearty country cooking on a hot and dusty day. On meeting Cuzzin’s and Five Point owner Terry Roberts, his wife Deborah and son Jason, I was astonished to learn none of them had ever lived anywhere but Auburndale and plan on staying around to see a few more generations putting their fishing poles in Lake Alfred’s water. Terry’s dad graduated from Auburndale High School in 1947, Terry graduated in 1979 and Jason was a 2004 grad who is now in his last year at the University of South Florida working his way to a degree in business and marketing by wearing the chef’s hat for Cuzzin’s. When asked how he came up with the name Cuzzin’s Corner Kitchen, Roberts said, “Well, it’s on a corner, we have a kitchen, and when your roots are this deep in one place, you’ve got a lot of cousins. When folks have known you for so long, they start treating you like family. After a while you just end up with lots and lots of cousins.” “I remember when there was nothing out here but a shack and some chicken wire. We started first with the tavern and added the kitchen in 2010. The bartender takes food orders for the customers and we’re developing quite a take-out business. Fishermen come early for bait. Some order sandwiches or ribs to-go with a few cold beers for lunch. But we still need people to know we have added a kitchen. Every item on the menu is freshly made and cooked-to-order, most are ready within 15 minutes.” The Roberts family believes in giving back to their community, whether it’s by purchasing meat and produce locally to holding an annual summer pool tournament to benefit hospice. They have been known to give fish fry parties for Auburn10 INTHEFIELD MAGAZINE

April 2011

dale residents in need. Nothing is more southern-country than fried chicken livers and gizzards. Outside of a couple of delis in New York, I’ve never seen them regularly on menus above the MasonDixon Line. After sampling some popcorn-crispy livers, I ordered a box to keep me contentedly snacking all the way home. Pork ribs are one of the Cuzzin’s specialties and are falling off-the-bone tender with Cuzzin’s secret spice-rub. The ribs are left to absorb the spices then are cooked and wrapped to steam in their own juices. Another surprise is the three-page menu featuring appetizers, fish, shrimp and chicken baskets, as well as a variety of sandwiches including a customer favorite, the tasty, hefty Philly cheese steak sandwich on a fresh wheat hoagie roll served with fries and Cole slaw at $6.75. However, as tough as the competition is, their half-pound super juicy ground chuck cheeseburger is so perfect it looks like an advertisement that’s almost too good to eat…but try. Even if you can’t finish it, and you probably can’t. If you like Cole Slaw with crisp cabbage that has a crunch to it and is not drowning in dressing or is overly sweet, you will be a happy camper. All that extra sugar takes away from the flavor of the cabbage and adds unnecessary calories. This vegetable is a star side on Cuzzin’s platters, tastes good and is good for you. It not only helps your digestion, cabbage reduces the risk of eye cataract, colon, stomach and lung cancer, plus reduces the risk of heart problems. Eating fresh Cole Slaw prepared properly, as it is here, is a good way to get your antioxidants, minerals and fiber. Prices from $3.00 to the top price of $7.95 for their signature rib plate. Most baskets are around $6.50. Cuzzin’s menu is definitely for lovers of finger lickin’ food.

Cuzzin’s Corner Kitchen Signature red Cuzzin’s Corner Kitchen trailer (adjacent to Five Points Tavern & Bait Shop) Features take-out, outdoor picnic tables and orders for tavern Location: 1210 Old Lake Alfred Rd in Auburndale Phone: (863) 221-6454 Cuzzin’s Country Kitchen Hours: Tues., Wed. and Sun. 11:00am–8:00pm and Thurs., Fri. and Sat. 11:00am–10:00pm Price Range: Moderate Five Points Tavern Hours: Open daily 7:00pm– 2:00am. Serving beer, wine coolers, soft drinks and iced tea. Tavern Entertainment: Karoke every Fri. night at 7:30pm. In the outback party area behind the tavern; live entertainment Sat., starting at 4:00pm and Sun. from 3-7:00pm Bait Shop Hours: Mon. – Fri. from 7:00am– 4:30pm. Open at 6:00am on Sat. and Sun. April 2011


Perfectly Fresh. Perfectly Priced. VEGETABLE SALE

Fri. & Sat. April 15th & 16th • 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Call in your order today, or just drop by and see us!

Recipes Courtesy of The Florida Department of Agriculture

Tomato Linguini Sauté Ingredients 2 pounds ripe tomatoes 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 bunch fresh basil, hand torn (or 1 tablespoon dried) 1/2 cup olive oil 1 lemon, zested and juiced 1 pound whole-wheat linguini (or your favorite pasta) freshly grated Parmesan cheese kosher salt to taste fresh ground pepper to taste Preparation Wash and rinse tomatoes. Dry tomatoes, then core and cut in half. Use a spoon to remove most of the seeds. Chop tomatoes coarsely. Add chopped tomatoes to a colander, sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and let them sit so they can release some of their water. This should only take a half an hour and can be done ahead of time. Combine drained tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic into a large sauté pan. Heat tomato mixture over low heat. The idea is to warm the mixture and not cook it. Cook and drain pasta according to package directions. Combine pasta and tomato mixture together in a bowl. Add fresh basil and parmesan to pasta dish. Taste for seasoning and adjust with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve warm with crusty bread or chill for later. This pasta recipe is a great way to enjoy that fresh tomato taste. May be used as a side dish or add any seafood to make it a main course. Add your favorite vegetables if desired. Remember to always season the just-cooked pasta with salt and pepper.

Southwestern Produce Company 1510 Sydney Rd. • Plant City, FL

(813) 754-1500 or (813)757-0096

Yield 4 servings

Fresh from the Farm to your

Watermelon and Shrimp Cocktail Skewers Ingredients 1/2 medium-sized watermelon, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 32 cubes) 32 large shrimp, cleaned, poached and chilled 1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon dried) 1/4 cup peanut butter 1/2 cup rice vinegar (or mild-flavored vinegar) 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce kosher salt to taste fresh ground pepper to taste 8 6-inch bamboo skewers


Preparation In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and the peanut butter until completely blended. Add in the garlic, ginger and soy sauce until fully combined. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour most of the dressing over the shrimp, reserving some sauce for dipping. Chill marinated shrimp for 1 hour. To assemble, alternate shrimp, watermelon cubes and torn basil leaves on 8 skewers. Serve skewers with leftover sauce. Yield 4 servings


April 2011

Eating at Home More? Come See Us!

Baby Butter Beans ............... $13. Green Beans ....................... $13. Pole Beans .......................... $13. Speckled Butter Beans ......... $13. Blackeye Peas ..................... $13. Butter Peas .......................... $13. Conk Peas ........................... $22 Crowder Peas...................... $13. Green Peas ......................... $13. Mixed Peas ........................ $13. Pinkeye Peas....................... $13. Sugar Snap Peas ................. $15 White Acre Peas .................. $13. Zipper Peas ......................... $13. White Corn .......................... $12 Yellow Corn ........................ $12 Cream White Corn 4# ...........$ 6 Cream Yellow Corn 4# .........$ 6 Collard Greens.................... $12 Mustard Greens .................. $12 Turnip Greens ..................... $12

Spinach ............................... $12 Cut Okra ............................. $12 Breaded Okra ..................... $12 Whole Okra......................... $12 Sliced Yellow Squash .......... $12 Sliced Zucchini .................... $12 Brussel Sprouts ................... $12 Chopped Broccoli 5# ............$ 5 Broccoli ............................... $13. Cauliflower ......................... $13. Mixed Vegetables ............... $12 Soup Blend.......................... $12 Blueberries 5# .................... $15 Blackberries 5#................... $15 Raspberries 5# ................... $15 Cranberries 5# ................... $15 Mango Chunks 5# .............. $15 Pineapple Chunks 5# ......... $15 Dark Sweet Cherries 5#...... $14 Rhubarb 5# ........................ $10 Green Peanuts ................... $13.


Give us a call to be placed on our mailing list for monthly notification.

April 2011


Business UpFront

Gulf Coast Turf & Tractor by Mark J. Cook For 11 years Gulf Coast Turf and Tractor has been serving central Florida with the areas best selection of outdoor equipment, and their attention to detail has set them apart from the competition. Vice President and General manager Kevin Hansut and David Reeves the Branch Manager explained the company’s philosophy and the ongoing commitment to customer service. “Under promise and over deliver is what we expected from our dealership when we began,” Hansut said. “We have attempted to go above and beyond the customers expectations and now 11 years later we see the attention to customer satisfaction has paid off.” Gulf Coast Turf and Tractor, owned by Mike Rowe, began in 2000, concentrating on the agricultural market in eastern Hillsborough County. The first dealership opened June 1, 2001 in Plant City and later expanded to a second dealership in Land O’ Lakes. Both dealerships have expanded over the 11 years to become Florida’s premier Kubota Dealerships. “Our growth has always been driven by customer needs and desires,” Hansut said. “Our Plant City facility is conveniently located just off I-4 and Highway 39. The Land O Lakes facility opened to serve the demand in Pasco and western Hillsborough Counties.” Gulf Coast in Plant City offers several leading brands of equipment for agriculture and commercial land care. “We have recently been appointed the Vermeer Dealership. Customer demand for a quality hay and forage manufacturer lead Gulf Coast to add Vermeer to our offerings,” Hansut said. “We are proud to offer this new line of hay and forage equipment by the industry leading Vermeer Corporation.” Gulf Coast Turf and Tractor is an authorized dealer for several of the industries highest rated and most dependable outdoor equipment manufacturers. Leading manufacturers such as Kubota, Gravely, and eXmark are just some of the brands their customers have come to depend on. “We aren’t just dealers in the sense, we sell it then send you on your way,” Hansut said. “We have a full parts and service center dedicated to servicing the products we sell. Our service and parts operations will assist our customers by working on any make or model. The staff recently serviced a tractor that was nearly 30 years old so we can take care of most requests.” One who has seen the quality of service that Gulf Coast


April 2011

Turf and Tractor provides is John Kurtz of Cornerstone Solutions Group. “I have been a customer with them for several years and have had nothing but good experiences,” Kurtz said. “I’ve dealt with them on a number of things and always get the service I’m looking for. If they don’t have what I need I know they will have it the next day.” Besides sales and service, Gulf Coast Turf and Tractor has a rental department to assist customers with short term equipment needs. “Some of our customers have jobs that require additional equipment for a short time period and that is why our rental department has taken off,” Hansut said. “One thing we like to let people know is our rental products are top of the line and in excellent condition. We provide products that are well maintained and ready to work. We rent it for a while then replace it with new equipment. There is no need for our customers to spend $20,000 for a short term project when our rental department can supply a solution.” The challenging economy has affected many local businesses and Gulf Coast worked hard to weather the storm. Now the economy is improving and they look forward to increased business and a bright future. “In business, managing overhead is a big part of success and we continue to upgrade and improve as the market demands so we can keep expenses at bay and pass the savings on to our customers,” Hansut said. “However we are always looking for ways to improve our business. Come by and visit often to see the upcoming changes and improvements designed to benefit the customer and consumers in our area.” “Gulf Coast’s Plant City and Land O’ Lakes locations have been fortunate to grow and prosper, so Mr. Rowe and his family continue to give back to the community. Gulf Coast is involved with The Angelus, Big Brothers Big Sisters, University of South Florida and many other not for profits in the Bay area. “We look forward to serving our communities, the bay area and the central part of the state for years to come.”

April 2011


Mobility Is Everything


Take a Lesson from Nature stringer picture courtesy of Field & Stream

There are a number of ways the fish population can be altered … for either the good or the bad. Some ways occur from nature … some occur by man. But we need to become aware of both. First I think it would be good for you to understand the impact that the fishing industry has on the state of Florida. Florida is considered the “Fishing Capital of the World.” This title is backed up by surveys done every five years by the US Census Bureau. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the economic impact is somewhat staggering. Overall retail sales are $4.4 billion (yes, that’s billion) with freshwater sales making up $1.5 billion of that. It supports 75,736 jobs, of which 23,480 jobs are in freshwater, yielding $728,646,722 in salaries, wages, and business owner’s incomes. Non-resident fishing expenditures total $1 billion, for a total economic output (ripple effect) of $7.5 billion. What that means for the state directly is $550 million in state and local tax revenues … more than three times the revenue from oranges! Florida has 2.8 million anglers, with 885,000 being non-residents.

Mother Nature’s “Cleansings”?

It’s not just the over-catching of these fun and tasty creatures that have caused this. Natural causes have also had their effects on Florida. The hurricanes of a few years ago took their toll as various news media made it clear that these immense storms can cause devastation, but it may be difficult to see how hurricanes and tropical storms could affect fish. Yet it becomes evident when you see fish kills following a major storm event due to several occurrences. There can be changes in the saline content in freshwater due to a saltwater storm surge. Flooding waters can carry fish into low lying areas and, once the flood waters recede, the fish are left in pools that eventually dry up, leaving dead fish. Low oxygen content is the most common cause of storminduced fish kills. This happens from excessive wind pushing the surface water to one end of the lake. Then the water from the bottom rises to the surface, bringing all of the bottom debris with it, which is naturally low in oxygen. In addition, this bottom water may include hydrogen sulfide which, when in high enough concentrations, can be lethal to fish and can be detected by any “rotten egg” or “sewage” odors. Bacteria present in the sediments brought to the surface also use up oxygen. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “The lake has turned over.” Florida, known as the Sunshine State, rarely has long periods of cloudy days, except for storms of this type. During this


April 2011

time, photosynthesis in organisms and aquatic plants is reduced. Therefore, these oxygen-producers use up what’s already in the water, causing an overall depletion of oxygen, leading to fish kills. Although we do normally get a lot of sunshine, it’s not always associated with heat. Recent cold snaps have affected Florida’s freshwater and marine fisheries as water temperatures dropped below normal for extended periods. Hundreds of reports of cold-related fish kills occurred across the state last year. Fish may either die from cold stress or become more susceptible to disease. Warm-water species are more vulnerable to cold temperatures. In fresh water, some native fish have been impacted, although most deaths occurred among non-native species, such as tilapia. As a reminder, harvesting distressed or dead fish for consumption is not advised under any circumstances.

Disease Infestation

The largemouth bass virus, LMBV, is the only virus to have been associated with a lethal disease of largemouth bass. While LMBV has been isolated from a lot of other species of warm-water fish, the disease response has only been observed in largemouth bass. Since 1995, LMBV has been implicated as a source of mortality in more than 25 fish kills in the United States, specifically throughout the Southeast and the Midwest. Fortunately, evidence suggests that fish populations develop immunity following exposure to the virus. Fish kills associated with LMBV have also declined over time, and to our knowledge, none have been observed over the past two years. In fact, fish kills, which may be a result of LMBV, have been rarely reported in Florida during the past 10 years. Although, in the past three years, three fish kills in Florida were evaluated as potentially being caused by LMBV. A bass die-off in a private pond near Tampa was diagnosed as being caused by low oxygen levels. A second disease event at Lake Butler in Orange County in 2003 was associated with an outbreak of bacteria. In 2004, a die-off of largemouth bass at Lake Hollingsworth in Polk County followed a lake-wide alum treatment by the county, and the results of the investigations were inconsistent with LMBV disease. Research of LMBV is ongoing at the University of Florida, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Auburn University, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation. Disease and fish kills in bass have not been linked to LMBV in Florida. However, buoyancy problems and swim bladder lesions, symptoms associated with the virus, and an antibody response to the virus were observed

Arthritis, Joints and the Aging Body Scott E. Goldsmith, MD Orthopedic Surgeon

Thursday, April 21, 6pm Courtyard Tampa Brandon 10152 Palm River Road, Tampa

Join orthopedic surgeon Scott Goldsmith, MD, at an informative seminar to find out about new treatments and surgical techniques for arthritis and knee/hip joint surgical repairs. Dr. Goldsmith will provide valuable information about these subjects including: • Symptoms and development of arthritis • Screening guidelines • Diagnosis and treatment • Treatment and surgical options A question and answer session will follow the presentation. Light refreshments will be served.

To reserve your space: (813) 402-2345 or

Free Seminar • Convenient Parking • Light Refreshments

April 2011



in bass following a bass-only fish kill in Lake Harris in the early 1990s. The bass virus was also isolated from bass that had been collected from Lakes Weir and Holly during a disease episode in this same period of the 1990s. Tissue and blood samples collected from bass in 45 water bodies since 1999 indicated that the virus, but not the disease, is widely distributed throughout Florida. Results of laboratory studies strongly suggest that many bass become immune upon exposure to LMBV. A distinction should always be made between fish that are infected with LMBV and fish that are diseased as a result of the virus. Almost all of the populations sampled in Florida and included in this data were not experiencing disease problems or fish kills. There are limits as to how many game and nongame freshwater fish you can keep and retain, and this varies from one body of water to another. In addition, there are various regulations on the methods of taking freshwater fish. To find out these regulations, pick up a Florida Freshwater Fishing Regulations booklet at your local tackle or marine dealer. The restrictions are much tighter on Florida’s largemouth bass than on panfish, such as bluegill, sunfish, crappie, shellcracker, etc. But due to a number of factors, the limits have been reduced on them, too. Although we have such a widely dispersed population of freshwater fish, being able to fish within a 30-60 minutes drive of anywhere in the state, conservation is more paramount than ever. Information gathered lately shows that the resources have been slowly eroding. If you talk to anyone who has fished Florida for many years, they will tell you that it’s not “like the good ol’ days” when they could catch stringers upon stringers of bass, not to mention the coolers full of panfish. The trophy populations of all freshwater fish have also declined severely. That is why catch limits have been reduced … to protect one of Florida’s greatest forms of entertainment and revenue resources, the fishing industry. The “Law of the Wild” says kill only when you are hungry. A photographer captured these amazing pictures a couple of years ago and said he was astounded by what he saw: “These three brothers (cheetahs) have been living together since they left their mother at about 18 months old,” he said. “On the morning we saw them, they seemed not to be hungry, walking quickly but stopping sometimes to play together. At one point, they met a group of impala who ran


April 2011

away. But one youngster was not quick enough and the brothers caught it easily.” These extraordinary scenes followed. Then they just walked away without hurting him. When fishing, we too should only keep what we are going to eat, and release the rest. This is why I am so adamant about Catch, Photograph, Release (CPR). That is what this lady, Sheila Daniel of Charlotte, NC, has done every year for over 10 years, as she comes to fish with me every spring … and has caught at least one bass over 8 lbs every year. Note that even the cheetahs realize that the younger meat is the best, so let your trophies go to make more babies … for your babies to be able to grow up and catch them! Best Fishes and God Bless,

Capt. Dick Loupe Sheila Daniel

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April 2011


Debra Howell:

The Master Gardener Here

in central Florida, we are quite blessed with a nice selection of trees with colorful flowers or foliage with which to adorn our yards. Feel free to select trees such as Flowering Dogwood, Chickasaw Plum, Saucer Magnolia, Tabeuias in yellow and pink, and Red Maples for awe-inspiring fall/winter color displays in your Florida-friendly landscape.

When planting your Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), plant in part shade with protection from afternoon sun. Native to the eastern part of U.S., the dogwood is the state tree of Virginia, occurring in zones 6-9. It is an understory tree in the wild, and grows in association with and is being protected by larger trees along forest edges. Dogwoods grow best in slightly acidic, well-drained soils. These trees will live up to 40 years in good conditions. It flowers in March and April, with large white bracts surrounding tiny flowers of greenishyellow. Flowers are replaced by shiny red fruit, which appeals to birds. Many cultivars exist, including pink and red ones, however, “Weaver’s White” cultivar is recommended. They produce more profusely when grown in partial shade


April 2011

and are troubled occasionally by borers, club gall and a fungal disease called anthracnose. Chickasaw Plum (Prunus angustifolia) is a memorable part of my childhood, and I can still picture my Guernsey 4-H dairy heifer pausing by our Chickasaw Plum right before she stepped through our pasture fence into the neighbor’s yard. Mature at about 12 feet tall, Chickasaw plum is hardy in zones 5-9, and bears small, fragrant white flowers in the spring, which yield edible fruit. I have found that the birds, especially Cardinals, are fond of its fruit and the bushy, thicket quality of its growth habit. The flowers come out before the leaves in the late winter or very early spring on the previous year’s wood. They will cover the entire bush and have a mild fragrance when al-

April 2011


most nothing else is in bloom. The fruits, which are tart to the taste buds, are used to make jelly now and then. Native Americans and early colonists ate the plums and dried them for safe keeping. This tree has also been used for bonsai due to its lovely bark. Tabebuias (yellow Chrysantha and pink heterophylla) offer a colorful show with their abundant trumpet shaped blooms. Flowers then provide a dense understory carpet of color as they drop from the tree, giving the impression that tree and trumpet and ground are dressed for a fancy ball. Also called Golden Trumpet and Pink Trumpet trees, they flower in late winter and early spring bearing fragrant flowers which last about a month. The golden tabebuia is great for small yards and won’t grow out of scale. These plants require little maintenance, and won’t be plagued by pests. My saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana), also known as Japanese magnolia or Tulip tree, seemed to take a long time to “take off”. Then it was hit by a huge Live oak limb on New Year’s Eve 2008. This year, though still small, it is spectacular. An early spring bloomer, the flowers vary in color from purple to pink to white, and are quite large when opened in the saucer position. The waxy petals appear in a goblet shape. Mature trees may reach 30 feet in height, with form and shape depending on variety. It loves rich, well-drained, moist soils. This tree, with its smooth, gray bark, is one of

the most dramatic deciduous flowering trees. Although known as a foliage tree, I’ve included Red Maples (acer rubrum) in with this colorful company due to the superior fall display put on by my mom’s maple last season. In April, Mrs. Velma will turn 99 and is yet an avid gardener. She’s kept close scrutiny of the maple and can tell you how tall it is using a little formula she has for determining such things: six feet of tree for every ten feet of extended shadow. Her tree is now 40 feet tall. This past fall was its personal-best season. You may be interested to find that many of the pigments that contribute to autumn’s bright colors are present in the spring leaves. The orange, yellow and brown-colored leaves are expressions of carotenoid pigments. Red, blue and purple anthocyanin pigments are responsible for the red and purple color of dogwood, sweet gum and Red Maples. These are but a handful of suggestions for your yard, with most being native or Floridafriendly. The satisfaction of planting beautiful, shady trees is outdone only by the exuberant surprise of their colorful palettes in season. If your landscape is a little lack-luster, phone the Master Gardener Office at (863) 519-8677 extension 118 for assistance. The Master Gardner Program is part of the University of Florida IFAS Program. Polk County Master Gardeners wish you successful gardening!

Bio: Debra Howell • Master Gardener since 2005 • 1998 graduate - University of South • Master Gardener of the year (Polk Florida - Tampa campus Co.) 2010 • Amateur archaeologist • “Commitment to the Environment” • Chairman, Ft. Meade PRIDE Curb Polk Volunteer winner 2012 Appeal Committee 22 INTHEFIELD MAGAZINE

April 2011


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Come Grow With Us 100 Stearn Ave. Plant City, FL 33563 Tel: 813.752.5111 Some months back I wrote about my wife’s open heart surgery. She did very well with the new Cox-Maze Process. I was thinking about the numerous visits and time sitting in the waiting rooms waiting to see the doctor. On our third visit to Dr. Dworkin, Patsy’s heart surgeon, we had a side-spitting time listening to two old fellas talking about getting old. Don’t remember their names, but we’ll call them Fred and Bill. Fred, talking rather loud for the sake of Bill’s hearing impairment said, “Bill, you know I am getting so old that I don’t buy green bananas! Another thing, that snap, crackle and pop in the morning ain’t my Rice Krispies.” “You’re just wear’n out Fred,” Bill said. “If you think you’re having problems, I am so old that whenever I eat out, they ask me for money up front. You know when I was younger all I wanted was a nice BMW. Now, I don’t care about the W.” “And another thing, all last week my wife Mildred kept hounding me to take her someplace expensive like the good old days.” “Where did you take her Bill?” Fred asked. “I took her to a gas station.” Those two old roosters would make a good stand up comic team at Sun City. On one of our visits before her operation we were escorted into the examining room. Before they shut the door I noticed an elderly women in the room across the hall. The doctor walked into her room and shut the door. Moments later she ran out of the room hollering at the top of her voice. When the doctor came in to see Patsy she asked him what caused the woman to get so upset. Doc chuckled and said, “Well


April 2011

I told her even though she was 77 years old she was pregnant.” About that time a nurse stuck her head into the room and said, “What did you tell that poor old lady to get her so upset?” “I told her she was pregnant.” “You should be ashamed of yourself Doc, she is really upset.” “Maybe so, but I’ll bet she doesn’t have the hiccups any more,” he replied. One day while sitting in the waiting room I decided to strike up a conversation with a much over weight middle aged lady. I asked her how her day was going. She said, “Not so good. You see I am on a weight loss program and it is not working. The doctor told me to walk every day and it would add months to my life. The way I see it I’ll be spending more time in a nursing home at $7,000.00 a month and frankly the only way I like a walk is when they are taken by people who bother me.” I asked her if she had tried to watch what she eats, and she said, “Oh yes, but I am addicted to chocolate. Here I am 68 years old, and really I have a lot to be thankful for. For instances my wrinkles don’t hurt, and the older I get the tougher it is to lose weight, because by now my body and fat have gotten to be really good friends.” As she slowly walked into the doctor’s office Patsy turned to me and said, “I’ll bet at communion she goes back for seconds.” In a few minutes a woman rolled an elderly man in a wheelchair into the waiting room. As she went to the receptionist’s desk, the man sat there, alone and silent. About the time I was thinking I should make small talk with him, a little boy slipped off his mother’s lap and walked over to the wheelchair. Placing his hand on the man’s knee, he said, “I know how you feel, my mom makes me ride in the stroller, too.”

Have you heard the story about the 88-year-old man that pulled up next to a doctor at a street light on his moped? The old man looked over at the sleek shiny car and asks, “What kind of car ya got there, sonny?” The doctor replies, “a Ferrari GTO. It cost a half a million dollars!” “That’s a lot of money,” says the old man, “Why does it cost so much?” “Because this car can do up to 220 miles and hours,” the doctor said with pride. The old man on the moped asks, “Mind if I take a look inside?” “No problem,” replied the doctor. The old man proceeds to poke his head in the window and looks around. Then, sitting back on his moped, the old man says, “That’s a pretty nice car, all right….but I’ll stick with my moped!” Just then the light changes, so the doctor decides to show the old man just what his car can do. He floors it, and within 30 seconds the speedometer reads 150 mph. Suddenly, he notices a dot in his rear view mirror. It seems to be getting closer! He slows down to see what it could be and suddenly WHOOOOSSSHHH! Something whips by him going much faster! “What on earth could be going faster than my Ferrari?” the doctor asks himself. He presses harder on the accelerator and takes the Ferrari up to 180 mph. Then up ahead of him, he sees that it’s the old man on the moped. Amazed that the moped could pass his Ferrari, he gives it more gas and passes the moped at 200 mph. Now he’s feeling pretty

good until he looks in his mirror and sees the old man gaining on him AGAIN! Astounded by the speed of this old guy, he floors the gas pedal and takes the Ferrari all the way up to 220 mph. Not five seconds later, he sees the moped bearing down on him again! The Ferrari is flat out, and there is nothing he can do. Suddenly, the moped plows into the back of his Ferrari, demolishing the rear end. The doctor stops and jumps out and unbelievably the old man is still alive. He runs up to the banged-up old fella and says, “Is there anything I can do for you?” The old man whispers, “Unhook my suspenders from your side view mirror!” After we left the doctor’s office we went to a local drive through restaurant to get my wife a salad with light ranch dressing. I got a chicken salad sandwich and a couple of side items. I then gave the young lady a ten and a five dollar bill, plus a quarter. The total was $14.25. She said, “You gave me too much money.” I said, “Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back.” She sighed and went to get the manager who asked me to repeat my request. I did, and he handed me back the quarter, and said, “We’re sorry but we cannot do that kind of thing.” The clerk then proceeded to give me back seventyfive cents in change. DUH!!!! Last month I went to Dr. Salvato for my yearly physical. My blood pressure was high, my cholesterol was high, I had gained some weight and I didn’t feel so hot. Doc said eating right doesn’t have to be complicated and it would solve my physical problems. He said I should think in colors. Fill my plate with bright colors. Greens, yellows, reds, etc! So I went home and ate some M&M’s.

April 2011



ropical fish farmers have been hard hit the last two years as freezing temperatures resulted in industry crop losses as high as 75 percent. Fish farm crops are not able to be insured as other crops so the majority of producers rely on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) when low yields or loss of inventory occur or planting does not take place due to natural disasters. An eligible producer is a landowner, tenant or sharecropper who shares in the risk of producing an eligible crop. Tropical fish are an eligible crop and a freeze is considered an eligible natural disaster. Coverage must be applied for each year and includes completion of an “Application for Coverage” plus payment of applicable service fees at their local FSA office. Once approved, coverage begins 30 days after the application closing date and ends the earlier of: • 10 months from the application closing date • The date the crop harvest is completed • The normal harvest date for the crop • The date the crop is abandoned; or • The date the entire crop acreage is destroyed Producer losses from a natural disaster such as a freeze must exceed expected production of the crop by more than 50 percent and the covered farmer must follow detailed NAP loss reporting guidelines. NAP payments are limited to $100,000 per crop year per individual or entity. “The NAP payment is particularly important since it enables farmers to get new fish back into their ponds,” said Art Rawlins, president of The Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association (FTFFA) and owner of Rawlins Tropical Fish in Lithia. “It takes a minimum of six months after a freeze to produce a new crop for sale.” The 44-year-old association has over 230 members and represents professional ornamental tropical fish and aquatic plant breeders in gov-


April 2011

ernmental matters, provides a cooperative for purchasing necessary materials to produce member products and supports research and development for the production of ornamental species. The challenge for fish farmers the last two years is that the NAP program relies on an antiquated computer program that must be updated each year. This process usually takes from January to April, affecting winter crops, primarily aquaculture in Florida, since most other crops are dormant. Most recent losses due to the mid-December freeze were reported by farmers in January through the filing of a Notice of Loss with their local FSA office and local FSA committee, a two step process for claim approval. Efforts of elected officials and understanding regulators resulted in adjustments to the process whereby FSA manually cut claim checks totaling $1,167,000 for fish farmers in Hillsborough County, while their counterparts in Polk County received payments that totaled $365,000. These payments were mailed near the end of March. Among those elected officials who assisted tropical fish farmers with this process was Congressman Gus Bilirakis. “The congressman and his staff worked with the FSA to ensure that fish farmers received their insurance payments in a timely manner,” said Rawlins. “Last year, payments to farmers were delayed because of out-ofdate payment processing equipment used by the FSA, and we were concerned that this would be the case again this year. However, the congressman and his staff began working with FSA so the delay for those critical payments would be minimal. “We are also indebted to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Leslie Palmer, director of the Division of Aquaculture, for their extraordinary assistance and support, as well as that of a number of FSA staff members,” added Rawlins.


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April 2011

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Map of Central Florida during the Seminole Indian Wars

livestock. During the wars the U.S. military captured and killed more Indian cattle than Seminole in an effort to starve the tribe from Florida. The first ranchers of European descent moved into Polk County from Hillsborough County beginning in 1848. Early Florida cowmen should not be confused with the cowboys seen in western roundups and cattle drives on Hollywood movie sets. In the nineteenth century the cattle drives started in March and lasted until August. Cow Camps were scattered over the woodlands about one day apart. They consisted of crude shelters and log pens to gather wild cattle. The animals had to be flushed from the Florida palmetto scrub and swamps with whips, dogs, and horses. The men who accomplished that difficult and dangerous task were known as cow hunters. Wolves, bears and panthers frequently spooked the cattle and killed strays. It was a tough job keeping the skittish wild cattle together.

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Historians believe that the domestication of cattle followed sheep, goats, pigs and dogs as early as 10,000 years ago. Remains of domesticated Prehistoric cave paiting of a horse and an auroch cattle from 6,500 B.C. have been found in Turkey and other sites in the Near East. Modern domestic cattle evolved from a single early ancestor, the Auroch. Prehistoric paintings depict the appearance of the Aurochs. Cattle and horses were introduced to the continental United States by Ponce de Leon in 1521 when he made landing on the west coast of Florida. On this expedition he was mortally wounded by Caloosa warriors. The fate of the cattle and horses is unknown. In the 1600s ranches surrounding Spanish Missions in North Florida contained some 20,000 head of cattle. Native Americans learned to raise cattle from the Spanish and acquired their own herds. By the early 1700s British soldiers and their Indian allies destroyed most of the early Spanish Missions. When Spain ceded Florida to England in 1763 the British introduced the English Longhorn. Escaped Spanish Andalusian cattle and English cattle mixed in the wilderness and became known as “piney-woods” or “cracker cows”. Weighing about 600 pounds the cracker cow was tough enough to survive Florida’s Ponce de Leon swamps and woodlands. The first ranchers in Polk County were members of the Seminole Tribe. One reason for the Seminole Wars in Florida was control of grazing lands and

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When artist Fredric Remington visited Florida in the late 19th century he produced several illustrations including a Florida cowman, or cow hunter, with his horse and dog. Remington described a rough and ragged lot that, in his opinion, did not compare with the dashing, romanticized cowboys of the West. In an article published in the August 1895 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine he wrote: “…they are picturesque in their unkempt, almost unearthly wildness.” During the Civil War Florida supplied an estimated 50,000 head of cattle to the Confederacy. The beef was described as stringy and unappetizing, but the only source of proFrederic Remington’s depiction of a Florida cow hunter. tein available to soldiers. A tax roll dated 1862, indicates the size and number of herds in Polk County: John Lanier, 2,700 head; N.R. Raulerson, 2,515 head; William Holden 1,800 head; W.H. Willingham 1,550 head; Berrian Platt, 1,015; J.M. Pierce, 830 head; John Skipper, 730 head; Albert J. Hendry and George Washington Hendry, 590 head. Drovers pushed their range cattle northward following old military roads. They moved toward Gainesville, then to rail lines at Baldwin, Atlanta and Savannah. Cattle were driven north from Central Florida prairies at the rate of 600 a week from April to August. The drive took about 45 days. A 700 pound animal lost about 150 pounds in the process. A considerable number of cattlemen supported the Union Army because they could sell their cattle at Fort Myers for United States currency. Others found ways to run the Union Blockade and sell their cattle to other countries. By 1863, Union raiding parties and Confederate deserters were hampering cattle drives, rustling over 400 head. By early 1864, from Fort Myers, Union soldiers were raiding up and down the Peace River Valley. They burned homes and other buildings,

destroyed crops, took horses and cattle and other supplies that would be useful to the Union Army. In Polk County a skirmish occurred just south of Ft. Meade. On April 7, 1864, the Little Battle of Bowlegs Creek was fought between Co. B. 1st Battalion, Fla. Special Cavalry, C.S.A., the “Cow Cavalry” and Company “A” Second Florida Cavalry, U.S.A. One Confederate soldier, Jim Lanier, was killed and probably buried on site in an unmarked grave. Henry A. Crane, Captain of Union troops stationed at Fort Myers, stated in a letter written April 13, 1864, “The detachment sent to Fort Meade in my last had a fight with the Rebs and drove them from the place Thursday last destroying all their stores complete, and killing a leading Guerilla named Lanier and rounding out several others with horses and without any loss whatever.” In the ten year period after the Civil War an estimated 1.6 million head of cattle were sold to the Spanish in Cuba. Spanish gold boosted Florida’s economy at a time when paper currency was virtually useless. With the coming of the railroads the tradition of the cattle drive began to fade away. The cattle trade with Cuba began to die out in the early 1900s with competition from Texas and South America. Cattle were moved north by rail to yards in St. Louis and Chicago. For almost 500 years, the cattle industry has contributed significantly to Florida’s economy and natural resources. Today almost a quarter, perhaps 12 million acres of all Florida’s acreage is grazing land for an estimated 1,740,000 cattle. Nearly one-half of all Florida agricultural land is involved in beef and dairy production. By the 1960s, due to many years of introducing new breeds, and crossbreeding with Brahman, Hereford and Angus bulls, only a few examples of historic cracker cattle remained. While there are more than 70 recognized breeds of cattle in the United States, in Florida the vast majority of cattle are either Brahman or some sort of Brahman composite. In 2005 Polk ranked as the fourth largest cattle county in Florida with nearly 100,000 head. Many of Florida ranches are cow-calf operations. Ranchers breed and raise calves for six to 12 months. When they reach about 400 pounds they are auctioned and shipped out west, closer to the Corn Belt, where they grow to a finished size of around 1100 pounds. Florida cattle producers are good “stewards of the land” as owners and caretakers of thousands of acres of pristine native range and pasture land. Multi-generational family ranches have cared for the land provided employment for our residents and contributed greatly to the local tax base.

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Large Animal Vet Services General Practice Specializing in Equine Dentistry • 24 hr. Ambulatory Service • Routine Care: Coggins, • Servicing Central Florida Vaccinations, Teeth • All Farm Animals Treated Floating, etc. (excluding cats & dogs) • Advanced Equipment: • Colics, Wound Care, Portable Digital X-Ray, Founders, Emergencies, etc. Ultrasound, Endoscope, etc.

914 E Knights Griffin Rd., Plant City, FL 33565 813.951.0118 cell • 813.752.0224 office 813.719.1913 fax •

Left to right: a Brahman bull, an Angus herd, and a Hereford calf

photo by Sam Berry


photo by Scott Bauer

April 2011

photo by Jiron

April 2011


The Premier Showplace for Talent in Florida


Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room


A dynamite crowd pleaser! P.J.Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds perform before and after the show.



A grand buffet fit for Anybunny! Freshly prepared salads, seafood, beef, ham, vegetebles and desserts (including chocolate fountains) and much more! Serving times: 12 Noon, 2:30 p.m. & 5:00 p.m. For your musical entertainment, Destiny performs. Call to reserve your table in the Ballroom.




A 2-day event that will “Rock Around the Clock” & “Shake, Rattle & Roll” in the Red Rose Ballroom with Bill Haley’s Comets. They were regulars on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, their music was featured in the film “American Graffiti” and the TV hit “Happy Days.” PJ Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds will also perform before and after the show.



Car lovers, you will be in Heaven when you see the array of cars on display! Classsic, Collectable, New, Old and Special Interest Vehicles will be shown from 12 Noon until 4 p.m. on the property.



Take mom out for this special occasion. It’s a grand buffet fit for any queen!

Richie Merritt, formally of the Marcels, will be performing in the Red Rose Dining Room.

MAY 6 BOBBY PALERMO Bobby Palermo brings you a night full of humor, impersonations and high energy audience interaction. Bobby has received numerous National Awards and has been selected Tampa Bay’s Entertainer of the Year – 2 years in row! Destiny will open and close the show.




Doo Wop At Its Best! Relive the 50s & 60s as though it was yesterday. “Forever in Love,” “Just Over the Brooklyn Bridge.” Plus, P.J. Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds.


The trio covers the top hits from yesterday to today! Also, P.J. Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds perform before and after the show.


Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room

Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room



The Mystics will perform their hits, including their number one “Hushabye.” P.J. Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds perform before and after the show.

A dynamite crowd pleaser! P.J. Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds perform before and after the show.

Please call for ticket prices Show Guests - inquire about our special room rates when staying overnight after a show!

TEL: 813.752.3141

I-4 Exit 21• 2011 N. Wheeler St. Plant City, FL 33563

Mrs. Evelyn Madonia Owner


April 2011

April 2011


Charles Clark

“Fancy Farms would like to say thanks to our broker Wish Farms for supporting the FSGA scholarship program. Our berries are #1. Thanks for supporting our stand. Wishing you the berry best until next year.”

Promoting PCCA Member Involvement & Supporting Members of the Future by Jim Frankowiak

3838 Fancy Farms Rd. Plant City, FL 33566 (corner of Rice & County Line Rd.) Tel: 813.478.3486

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County Cattlemen’s Association President Charles Clark would like to see more members of the association involved in activities that will help further the association and cattle operations in the county for the foreseeable future. For those in the business of raising cattle, but not members of the association, Clark would like you to join and become actively involved. 34 INTHEFIELD MAGAZINE


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April 2011


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Born in Lakeland to Bryant and Myrahnell Clark, Charles and his brothers George, David and Tommy moved to Highland City when Charles was six. He spent his nonschool time working with cows. As a teenager that interest turned to cars. He attended Polk Community College (now Polk State College) and then the University of Florida where he received his degree in Animal Science. After college, Clark spent four years with the UF Cattle Research Center in Gainesville and he then joined Creek Ranch at Lake Hatchineha as working ranch manager, a position he has held for the last 37 years. The ranch is primarily a cow-calf operation on 1300 acres owned by the Black family of Atlanta. Additionally, Clark and his brothers George and David own and operate a cow calf operation near Homeland. Brother Tommy passed away several years ago. “That is primarily a family operation and we all pitch in to get the job done.” Creek Ranch became involved in eco-tourism over the last few years. “Guests and small groups can rent the ranch for a period of time and experience all the ranch has to offer from a working cattle operation to skimming the lake in an airboat or just enjoying the many attributes of our natural setting,” said Clark. “It’s a chance to see and experience what old Florida was like,” he added. Married to Linda for 41 years, the Clark’s have three sons, Charlie, Justin and Wesley. Charlie is in Information Technology and lives in Atlanta, while Justin is a cattleman like his father and also works at Creek Ranch. Wesley recently received his law degree from UF and is seeking a development position with a non-profit organization. The family lived at Creek Ranch up until five years ago when they moved to Frostproof. As the working manager of the ranch, Clark oversees all aspects of the operation and that includes helping with many of the tasks that must be undertaken from working with cattle, pasture management, ordering supplies to construction, maintenance and repairs. He is most definitely a cattleman with an appreciation for the industry and a desire to see it continue well into the future. He first became involved with the association in 1976, serving as a board member for a period of time. He came back on the board in 2004, served three years as treasurer and was elected current president.


April 2011

“The ultimate goal of our association is to support as many facets of the cattle industry as possible,” said Clark. “We do that through educational activities and information exchanges and we help the various programs that have been created for the cattlemen and cattlewomen of tomorrow such as fairs, projects and judging teams.” In addition to helping assure industry succession into the future, the association sponsors an annual ranch rodeo and trade show at the Agriculture Center in Bartow early each year, which has become their major fund raiser. “Our ranch rodeo involves sponsored teams which compete in activities that are typical of the day-to-day operations of a working ranch unlike professional rodeos.” Finalists can choose to go on to the state finals held in October. Another important aspect of association work is outreach to elected and regulatory officials. “It is very important for lawmakers and regulators to understand the operations of a typical independent or family run cattle ranch as they contemplate new laws and regulations or changing those that exist,” said Clark. “Maintaining the green belt designation for ranch lands is critical, for example. Those reduced property taxes make it possible for us to raise the beef that is consumed in this country.” “That understanding comes from personal contact by members of our association and recognition that the information being shared or position being taken represents the several hundred cattlemen and their families,” said Clark. Cattle ranching is important both to the economy of the county and state and it has been that way for nearly 500 years. Today, almost a quarter of the state – some 12 million acres – is grazing land for an estimated 1,740,000 cattle. The majority are Brahman crosses making them well adapted to our hot humid climate. Polk County is typically ranked as the state’s fourth largest county in terms of cattle with approximately 100,000 head. Most ranches are cow-calf operations where ranchers raise and breed calves for six to 12 months. When they reach about 400 pounds they are auctioned and shipped out west, closer to the Corn Belt, where they grow to a finished size of about 1,100 pounds. Florida cattle ranchers take pride in being “good stewards of the land” as owners and caretakers of thousands of acres of pristine native range and pasture land. Multi-generational family ranches have cared for the land, provided employment for our residents and contributed significantly to the local tax base and economy.

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April 2011


160 Years

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Members of the association enjoy a range of benefits such as educational programs about noxious weeds and invasive plants, tours of member ranches and the Ona Research Station, as well as courses on branding, pasture management and cattle vaccinations. Future courses are to include animal identification and country of origin labeling. The association also provides it members with a quarterly newsletter and access to its online presence, The association also keeps members abreast of legislative actions and laws and has a close working relationship with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department Agricultural Unit. There is also an annual legislative appreciation dinner with elected officials and state representatives, which is a joint activity with Polk County Farm Bureau. In addition, in conjunction with the Agriculture Extension program and other agriculture groups, a field trip is planned each year to visit three or four local enterprises and always includes a cattle operation. This gives local officials a chance to personally experience the scope of agriculture in the county. There is ongoing support of the Junior Cattlemen’s Association, fund raising support of the Polk County Youth Fair, and sponsorship of the Cattlemen’s Sweetheart to help send a young lady from the county to the state competition. Children of members who exhibit beef animals at the Youth Fair receive monetary rewards for their efforts. The association also maintains close communication with FFA advisors throughout the county, as well as the Polk County Extension Office and its broad range of resources. The association also offers an Associate Membership for a company or business that does not own cattle, but is involved in agriculture, does business with people engaged in agriculture or simply wants to be involved with agriculture and the association. “We take pride in being the largest cattlemen’s association in the state,” said Clark. “I would like to see more of our members using their individual talents to help us and the many things we do to support cattle ranching. And for those involved in the industry, but not members of our association, I ask that they join today and become involved.” For more information about the Polk County Cattlemen’s Association, visit


April 2011

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April 2011


Citrus Update:

What are Citrus Health Management Areas (CHMAs)? by Justin Smith The world of citrus management is much different today than it was just a few years ago. There are so many techniques growers are utilizing which are not traditional. Thanks to Citrus Canker, Greening or HLB, and now the arrival of Citrus Black Spot it seems there is a never ending spray cycle. One of the non-traditional methods gaining attention are coordinated spray programs. In an effort to fight HLB we target the Citrus Psyllid, the little critter which carries and transmits the HLB bacteria. Coordinated spray programs are proving to be extremely effective in controlling psyllid populations in large areas. Popular enough that the UF/IFAS and FDACS have developed a program named Citrus Health Management Areas (CHMAs). These are groups of citrus growers in an area who have agreed to work together in the coordination and management of psyllid control. Coordinated control is of great importance to the vitality of the citrus industry. The coordination is of timing and mode of action (MOA) of the pesticide. The timing is important to maximize the effectiveness of sprays. If there is no pest presence it is a waste to spray. On the other hand if an area is not sprayed within the life cycle time frame of a population, about two weeks for psyllids, they will simply continue to thrive. The results being only limited time periods of lower populations in a small area. If one grower sprays and his neighbor waits two or three weeks before spraying the pests are simply moving from one grove to another in between spray applications. These little bugs are not concerned about property lines. The pesticide selection is the other essentially important part of the CHMA existence. This is the coordination of the MOA being used. The MOA is how a pesticide interacts with the targeted pest. By coordinating and rotating the MOA there is a much lower incidence of pest resistance to certain chemicals. If neighboring growers use different types of MOAs at one spray and then rotate on the next spray they are essentially working against one another. We can unknowingly be doing more future harm to not only our self but the industry as a whole than we are aware.


April 2011

To aid in the decision of when to spray the FDACS will scout any established CHMA areas and make recommendations as to timing. FDACS will also provide up to date maps of CHMAs for growers and applicators. UF/IFAS will work with the growers to make recommendations as to the most effective treatment plans. UF/IFAS also hosts a website for each CHMA. The website contains a map and various other information including the planned pesticide applications, psyllid scouting reports and contact information. Each CHMA will have a local voluntary team leader with in its defined area. This leader will work to coordinate information between UF/IFAS, FDACS and the participating local growers. Coordination meeting will be held jointly with all participants who want to attend to help in the planning stages. The team leader will then be the contact person for all growers in their area. It is important to note that this is a voluntary involvement. There is no regulation or mandate to participate. Even if you decide to participate there is no requirement to follow the recommendations. If some growers in your area decide to spray and you do not agree it is the correct decision you are under no obligation or commitment to do so in your operation. You are not required to use any certain product, vendor or application method. This is simply a way to communicate among a local area of growers and attempt to make the best decisions for our industry. There are several designated CHMAs. To find out if there is one in your area you can contact your local Extension Agent. They can put you in contact with your local management person. If there is not a CHMA in your area and you are interested in starting one your Extension Agent can help with that as well. We are at a crucial point in our industry. The decisions and actions we make today will define our future. Being involved in a CHMA can be one step to making sure we have an industry for the next generation.

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April 2011



NCBA’s Recommended Change to CME Feeder Index Reflects Realities On Feb. 22, 2011, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) issued a letter to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group’s (CME) Commodity Research and Product Development Department to affirm a NCBA policy change relating to the weight specifications of the CME’s feeder cattle futures contract. In order to improve the capability of the CME feeder cattle futures contract as a risk management tool relating to cattle placements in feedlots, NCBA President Bill Donald said NCBA supports the removal of the 650-699 pound category from the calculation of the CME Feeder Cattle Futures Index. Donald said the inclusion of an 850-899 pound feeder cattle category makes sense given the current reality of the marketplace. “With record grain prices, more cattle are remaining on forage for as long as possible before going to the feedlot,” Donald said. “The realities of the marketplace vary year to year and as a producer, I respond to those changes. The intent is to adjust the index in order to more accurately reflect the realities of the marketplace. We need the CME Feeder Cattle Futures Index to adjust as well in order to serve as a viable risk management tool.” According to a CME representative, an adjustment to the index would not be unprecedented. The cash-settled contract has had various changes in weight ranges throughout the last 25 years including the following: 600-800 pounds from 1986-1992; 700-799 from 1993-1999; 700-849 from 2000-2005; and 650-849 since June 2005. The index is designed to reflect changes in the marketplace. Donald, who is a Montana rancher, said that unsubstantiated claims that the modification to the index would break the

feeder cattle market and cause direct financial harm to cattle producers who market feeder cattle are “bizarre.” Insinuating that the removal of the 650-699 pound category would transfer “millions or even billions” of dollars away from feeder cattle producers to packers and their cattle feeding operations is careless and inaccurate, according to Donald. “It looks to me like a little education is needed. NCBA’s intent has been maliciously misinterpreted. For roughly 25 years, this has been a cash-settled index based on a series of different weights created from a composite of cash transactions that have already taken place. Our members recommended a change through our grassroots policy process that started at the state level and was ultimately approved during NCBA’s annual convention. The index does not change the price cattle are traded at, but rather provides a reliable risk management tool for cattlemen to use. The lighter weight calves being dropped from the index should now trade at a stronger basis.” NCBA Vice President J.D. Alexander, owner of an independent feedlot in Pilger, Neb., knows firsthand that most cattle aren’t entering the feedlots until they reach the 800 pounds or more. “I have not placed a steer in my feedlot under 800 pounds for five years,” said Alexander. “It is no different than changing the specifications on live cattle contracts to reflect the current actual weights being sold, which is around 1,400 pounds. This doesn’t affect the profitability of packers or feedlots and isn’t going to negatively impact cow-calf producers. It simply reflects realities, which translates into improved accuracy when managing risk for all of us in the industry.”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has represented America’s cattle producers since 1898, preserving the heritage and strength of the industry through education and public policy. As the largest association of cattle producers, NCBA works to create new markets and increase demand for beef. Efforts are made possible through membership contributions. To join, contact NCBA at 1-866-BEEF-USA or



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April 2011

April 2011


Polk County Farm Bureau Announces New Executive Director

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Polk County Farm Bureau President Larry Black has announced the selection of Carole McKenzie as the association’s new executive director. She replaces Heather Nedley, who has accepted a position as Public Affairs Manager with Mosaic in its DeSoto County operations. “Agriculture’s economic impact on Polk County is a direct result of our industry’s ability to incorporate sustainability with innovation,” said Black. “We’re well positioned with new opportunities to advance production methods, enhance our workforce and strengthen our communities. The role of Polk County Farm Bureau and its executive director is to represent the members’ interests while capitalizing on these opportunities.” McKenzie has held the position Vice President of Public Affairs for Clear Springs Land, Clear Springs Farms and Clear Springs Packing in Bartow since 2007, where she has represented the company in community, political and educational forums. McKenzie’s previous experience also includes Promotions Manager for Citrus Industry Magazine and Public Affairs Manager for Florida Citrus Mutual. Her family owns citrus and cattle operations in Polk and DeSoto counties. McKenzie graduated from Florida Southern College in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and is also an alumnus of Polk State College. She is a member of the current Leadership Polk IV class, a graduate of the Bartow Leadership Program and serves on numerous industry and community boards including Florida Ag in the Classroom and Polk State College’s Corporate College Advisory Board. “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to serve and represent Farm Bureau and its membership,” McKenzie said. “I have great respect for those in the agriculture industry. I believe their entrepreneurial spirit is unmatched, they’re determined, and they embrace challenges. I’m passionate about communicating that message and advocating for the industry.” The Polk County Farm Bureau’s mission is to protect and enhance the viability and profitability of commercial agriculture in Polk County. With over 4,500 members, Polk County Farm Bureau is one the largest county farm bureau in Florida.

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Margie Wood

611 US Hwy 27 South Sebring, FL 33870 direct 863 451 4035 fax 863 382 2212 toll free 800 962 2548






by Ginny Mink



We place a lot of value in first impressions. There are people we meet and instantly like. Perhaps it’s because we share similar interests or the other person makes us laugh, sometimes it’s simply because the other is just plain nice. Margie Wood falls into that “just plain nice” category. There is nothing pretentious or boastful or even remotely self-centered about her demeanor. In fact, she’s quite soft-spoken and humble for a woman whom is well admired by those who know her. Margie is a “third generation farmer.” Her grandfather started off growing strawberries but he also had a few cows. When her father took over he grew gardens on five acres and according to her, his produce “fed us and the neighborhood.” Eventually he got into citrus and then moved into cattle. Theirs is a farming family with a vast array of agricultural experience. In fact, Margie says, “I don’t have to worry about eating because I know how to grow everything.” She further explains, “Daddy grew our meat, hogs, beef and chickens, there wasn’t much we had to buy. We had a milk cow and we made butter. We just worked hard my whole life.”

Her mother, Mavis Ritter, 85, is a great inspiration in her life. “I’ve seen her take nothing and put it on the table and it would be wonderful.” While she says, “Daddy taught us things and he was a great man, the most I learned about ag was from Mom, we spent a lot of time with her.” With regard to the cattle they raised she says her mom used to scare her to death because she’d be out among them when she could hardly walk. “She taught us to be careful but don’t have fear.” Margie’s dad died in ’02 and her mother suffers from dementia. Margie takes care of her 24/7. She and her husband are buy-


April 2011


Cattle • Truck Farming • Citrus • Game Hunting

1401 Sam Keen Road Lake, Wales, FL 33853 863.692.1013 ing her parents land. It’s 180 acres and is located north of Polk City on Greenpond Road. Forty acres of the land is hay field, they grow their own but have it cut. The rest is home to the 80 head of cattle and 30 calves they have on the ground now. They raise their Angus bulls and cross-bred cattle for “beef, freezer meat,” and they grow heifers for replacement. In addition, they take care of their own veterinary needs including giving shots. Margie and her siblings “all grew up showing cattle.” In the seventh grade she had a grand champion steer in the youth fair, an accomplishment that still brings a smile to her face. Both her daughters showed steer, lambs and rabbits. Apparently the lambs had a special impact on them because she recalls, “hauling lambs in the back of an ’83 Blazer because it was cold and all we had was an open trailer.” When it came time to part with the lambs, “everyone was crying, we almost had to buy ‘em back to bring ‘em back home.” The girls were worried the lambs would be going to a slaughterhouse but the buyer ended up putting them in his pasture instead. Margie and her husband, Brian, have been married for 35 years. “He is a wonderful man, an iron worker at Crystal River Nuke Plant. I don’t know how I could do anything without him, he’s my best friend. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t amaze me.” Interestingly enough, Brian doesn’t come from an agricultural background so everything he’s learned about farming has come from Margie, though she’d never claim such a thing (this is strictly the author’s assertion). Margie’s friend, Wanda, her “left hand,” comes to help Margie take care of her mother when she has to go out on the farm (or sit through a grueling interview). Wanda has no problem expounding on Margie’s awesomeness. “She can do anything. I want to be her when I grow up, everyone gravitates toward her, she helps everyone. She cooks family dinners at the drop of a hat and takes every opportunity to have family time together.”


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This is evidenced by her devotion to her mother and the fact that she takes care of her grandkids, five-year-old, Macy and sevenmonth-old, Masen, three days a week. With all that responsibility one might wonder not only about how she stays so cheerful and calm, but also about how

she manages to balance farming, care-giving and her role as the Vice President of the Polk County Cattlewomen’s Association. Her answer? “I have a very simple life, it’s busy but simple.” Since we’re only given what we can handle, it is this author’s opinion that Margie Wood epitomizes Wonder Woman.

April 2011


By Sandy Kaster, M.S. Clinical Medicine, B.S. Nutrition Science The Florida sweet onion is a juicy, delicious springtime treat. At its peak now, sweet onions have a limited season of a few months, so enjoy them now while you can. A member of the allium family, along with garlic and shallots, onions are high in vitamins, minerals, and a host of nutrition-boosting compounds, such as flavonoids and polyphenols. Some of these compounds may help combat heart disease, strokes, and cancer, as well as lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Compared with storage onions, sweet onions have a higher water content and a lower sulfur content, making them less pungent, less tear-producing, and more easily digestible. They are delicious eaten raw or cooked, unlike storage onions, which are mainly eaten cooked. Sweet onions in Florida are sometimes grown around the perimeter of strawberry fields as a natural way to deter pests. Sometimes called “strawberry onions” these onions tend to exceptionally sweet and mild. According to the USDA, U.S. farmers harvested 148,560 acres of onions in 2009, producing more than 7.4 billion pounds of onions. Onions are one of the three largest crops in the country, along with lettuce and watermelon.

Nutritional Profile

Florida sweet onions are low in calories and have no fat, sodium or cholesterol. They contain a myriad of active compounds that may help ward off cancer, heart disease, high blood glucose, and strokes. Onions may also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and support the immune system. Like garlic and other alliums, onions have antibacterial and antifungal properties. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, one cup of raw, chopped onion (160 g) contains 60 calories, 1.9 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 13.8 g carbohydrate, and 2.9 g of dietary fiber. It also provides 20.7 percent of the Daily Recommended Value (%DV) for chromium, 17 percent for vitamin C, 11.5 percent for dietary fiber, 11 percent for manganese, 10.7 percent for molybdenum, 9.5 percent for vitamin B6, 7.2 percent for potassium, and plentiful amounts of other B vitamins, as well as magnesium, calcium, iron, and iodine.

Phytonutrients Fight Disease

Onions contain high levels of different phytonutrients, organic compounds in plants that may boost health. Among the phytonutrients, flavonoids (especially quercetin), are plentiful in onions, and are mainly concentrated in the outer layers of the flesh. The quercetin in onions is better absorbed than that from other sources, such as apples. Studies have shown that quercetin protects against cataracts, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Onions have very high levels of these disease-fighting compounds, putting it alongside other veggie superstars such as broccoli, parsley, and shallots. As with most other nutrients, eating whole vegetables yields more benefit than taking supplements. Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant that acts to block the formation of cancer cells. Several servings per week of onions may lower the risk of colorectal, laryngeal, ovarian cancer. Oral and esophageal cancer may also be decreased by high onion consumption.

Healthy Heart

Onions are very flavorful, thanks to their sulfur compounds. These compounds pack a big health punch as well. They may help prevent clumping of platelet cells in the blood because they possess substances with fibrinolytic activity. Additionally, these sulfur compounds may play a role in lowering blood pressure cholesterol and triglyceride levels. All of these benefits translate into a healthier heart.


April 2011

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Onions, along with other alliums, provide important anti-inflammatory benefits. Quercetin, an important anti-oxidant, provides anti-inflammatory benefits by preventing the oxidation of fatty acids in the body. Lower levels of oxidized fatty acids translates into fewer pro-inflammatory molecules, keeping the level of inflammation lower.

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Choose sweet onions that have light golden brown skin that is shiny and uniform and free of sprouts, soft spots, or bruises. Store in a cool dry place with good air circulation or in the refrigerator. Generally, sweet onions can be stored for up to four to six weeks. Once cut, onions should be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to a week. While sweet onions can also be frozen, their texture changes, so frozen onions are best used cooked. Sweet onions cause fewer tears than most other types of onions. You can still minimize tears by chilling onions prior to slicing or running cold water over the onion while slicing.

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There are countless ways to enjoy Florida sweet onions. They may be eaten raw, sliced, sautéed, fried, or even pickled. Although commonly used in sandwiches and salads, onions can be used in a variety of dishes in many different cuisines. • More ways to enjoy onions: • Sauté in butter over low heat to make caramelized onions • Mince and mix with herbs to create a crust for roasted meats • Cut thick slices and grill for a smoky flavor • Mince and add to salad dressings, dips, or cream cheese • Make stuffed onions. Stuff whole onions with rice and spices and bake • Dice and add to egg omelets and stir-fries • Sauté with bell peppers, or with celery and carrots in a mirepoix to flavor dishes • Dice and add to salsas, pasta sauce, and other sauces Enjoy the crisp, juicy flavor of Florida sweet onions today.

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Some human research studies suggest that eating onions can help increase bone density, which is particularly important for postmenopausal women. This bone benefit may be related to the high sulfur content in onions, since many of the body’s connective tissue components require sulfur for their formation.

Onions may help reduce asthma attacks and fight off bacteria and viruses. Quercetin, found in high levels in onions, may have antibacterial properties. Some studies have shown onions may help fight the effects of Streptococcus mutans, a type of bacteria commonly involved in the production of tooth cavities. Onions also contain high levels of vitamin C and chromium. One serving of onions contains over 20 percent of your daily needs of chromium. This essential mineral helps cells respond to insulin, which is necessary for healthy blood glucose control and balance. Chromium is also used in the metabolism and storage of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates by the body. It may also help control fat and cholesterol levels in the blood.

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April 2011


A Closer Look: Eastern Lubber (Romalea microptera)

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Eastern Lubber (Romalea microptera) by Sean Green photo by April Wietrecki

By Sean Green

Photo Credit April Wietrecki Grasshoppers are one of the first insects many of us became familiar with as children. They are used in children’s stories such as The Ant and the Grasshopper (Aesop), to teach values to our children. The grasshopper Wilbur was one of the earliest Disney characters created and accompanied Goofy in his first solo appearance in 1939. For some of us, grasshoppers were among the first animals we could chase around and capture without fear of personal injury. There is an estimated 11,000 species of grasshopper worldwide, however, Florida is nearly the exclusive home to the Eastern Lubber (Romalea microptera). A closer look at this fascinating species will reveal the characteristics that set it apart from more common grasshoppers. Lubbers are members of the Romaleidae family of short-horned, tropical grasshoppers, and include species that are recognized as being among the largest grasshoppers in the world. Most species are found in Central and South America, however, the Eastern Lubber (Romalea microptera), is common to Florida. The common name Lubber comes from the Middle English word lobre, which means lazy, a fitting name for its apparent lack of energy. The Eastern Lubber cannot fly to escape danger like other grasshoppers can, though it has wings, its wings are more for display than function. A lubber’s primary means of travel is walking and even then it is at a very slow pace. The lubber would be an easy target for predators were it not for the formidable defense mechanisms that characterize this species. One of the most obvious strategies is the lubber’s color pattern. Dangerous animals often display certain colors, typically Red, Black and Yellow to warn predators away. Consider the Eastern Coral Snake (Micrurus fulvius), related to the cobra, or the infamous Black Widows (Latrodectus), even wasps, bees and hornets sport these colors as a warning. Animals (including humans) have evolved to associate these colors with danger and respond accordingly when these colors are seen. When threatened, the adult lubber opens its wings to display its hot pink and black coloration in an attempt to scare the predator off. If the color pattern does not discourage an attack, the Eastern Lubber has a chemical arsenal that effectively makes it too toxic for most predators. Some small animals such as birds die after eating a lubber. Larger animals such as opossums are known


April 2011

to become violently ill for several hours after eating a lubber. Domestic animals such as dogs and cats are similarly in danger of getting sick if they eat a lubber. There is one bird that does overcome the lubber’s defense mechanisms, it is the loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus). This species has a unique feeding habit that consists of impaling its prey onto thorn bushes or barbed wire and is known to impale lubbers for a couple of days giving the toxins some time to break down, and returning to eat only the head and abdomen and leaving the thorax (middle section) that contains the poison glands impaled and uneaten. The potent toxins that make the lubber so undesirable come from its diet. Although a lubber will feed on any green vegetation available to survive, its natural diet is predominately members of the lily family (Liliaceae) such as swamp lily (Crinum americanum) and spider lily (Hymenocallis caroliana). Members of the lily family produce toxic compounds that protect the plant from being consumed by herbivores. The lubber is not affected by these compounds and actually stores the toxins they ingest from the lily for their own defense. Lubbers share the practice of regurgitating a dark brown liquid commonly called tobacco spit, which is actually partially digested plant material that contains mildly toxic compounds that were stored in the crop region of the insect. The crop serves as a pre-stomach in much the same way as the recticulorumen in cows. The more potent compounds are produced in the thorax (middle) of a lubber and are a mixture of toxins and irritants that are released as a last resort, often with a loud hissing sound. Lubber’s natural habitat is in the open Pine Flatwoods that are common in our local park systems, but can also be found in roadside and citrus ditches. Clusters of jet black, early instar nymphs sporting a bright yellow racing stripe were a common site at the end of last month during some of my hiking trips. As these young lubbers mature they will develop yellow, brown and dark red markings closer to that of their adult stage, their forewings will develop a pink tinge and the underlying hind wings will become hot pink. When they are fully developed in the summertime the lubber will have grown to an impressive four or five inches long and be extremely colorful.

Of all the grasshoppers that can serve as an interesting pet, the Southeastern Lubber (Romalea microptera) is probably the best choice. It does not fly at all, it is slow moving, does not bite, and is one of the more colorful species one could hope to observe. This species is easy to keep alive and it is a native of Florida. New hatchlings began emerging a few weeks ago and can been seen in clusters in parks, roadside ditches, and probably in your own back yard. If care is taken, this species will easily live out its natural life of eight or nine months and if conditions are ideal, it may live longer. This month we will create a habitat for a Lubber (or any grasshopper). Its needs are simple, it needs soil to lay eggs in, it needs food, moisture, and a warm environment. Grasshoppers need room to move around if there will be more than one grasshopper in a tank, use at least a 5 gallon tank, a standard 10 gallon would be ideal for breeding.

Sprinkle grass seeds, and other vegetation seeds into the soil allowing growth before adding the grasshopper. Live plants can be added but growing the plants from seeds will reduce the chance of introducing insects and parasites that may be living in a mature plant from the wild. Add clean rocks the grasshoppers can use to help them molt. Mist the soil to keep it moist but not wet. Allow the vegetation to grow before adding the grasshopper. Grasshoppers get their water from the plants they eat but will also drink the droplets left on the side of the aquarium. There is no need to add a water dish, uncirculated water will attract mold and bacteria that create an environmental hazard for the grasshopper. The tank should be placed near a window so both the live plants and grasshopper will get at least eight hours of sunlight.


The grasshoppers are opportunistic eaters and will eat any vegetation available if their preferred food (lilies) is not available. The grasses and small plants will be a constant source of food for them. In addition to the live plants you have provided, you can supplement their diet with small portions of romaine lettuce, fish flakes, dry dog food, carrots, wheat, or even store bought cricket food. Young grasshoppers may not have the jaw strength to eat the harder food like carrots or dog food and will be restricted to soft vegetation until they mature.

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5 or 10 gallon aquarium with a screen top Potting Soil Vegetation (Grass seed and any ground cover or small woody plant that will not grow taller than the tank) * Under the tank style reptile heating pad Drainage substrate (cotton batting or fish tank pebbles) Clean Rocks (boil for 20 minutes if taken from the wild)


Tank Preparation:

Attach a small reptile heating pad to the underside of a glass aquarium to provide the grasshopper with a means to regulate its own temperature. It is important to provide heat to the grasshopper. Failure to do so will result in the growth of fungi that will kill the grasshopper. Ideally, the tank should be kept at temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Create a drainage layer about one inch thick on the inside bottom of the tank with either a cotton batting that can be purchased from a fabric store or aquarium pebbles. This will provide a reservoir for excess water that will be wicked back up into the soil when needed. Cover the drainage layer with about six inches of store bought potting soil. Soil from nature will contain microorganisms and mites that the grasshopper cannot escape from in captivity.

April 2011


UF/IFAS Meat Labels: Breaking the Code From the Purdue Food Animal Education Network

Today’s consumers are faced with more options than ever at the grocery counter. Organic, natural, 100% grain-fed 100% grass-fed. What do all of these labels really mean? Foremost, it’s important to note that these labels only describe processes. Labels such as “organic” or “100% grain-fed” do not indicate whether a product is safer, healthier or tastier. They only describe the process by which the animal was raised. Organic. To be marketed as organic, animals must be raised under the organic standards set forth by the National Organic Program of the United State Department of Agriculture. These standards focus on four main areas: housing, feed, health management, and processing/packing. In general, animals raised under organic standards must have access to the outdoors, must be fed organic feed, cannot be treated with antibiotics and must be processed by a certified organic processor. All organic farms must be certified by a third party. Again, an organic label does not indicate that a product is safer or healthier. It just certifies that the animal was raised and processed under certain conditions outlined by the USDA National Organic Program. 100% Grass-fed. All beef cattle are grass-fed a majority of their lives. The 100% Grass-fed animals must be raised entirely on grass or forage. Unlike the organic label, the grass-fed label is voluntary. If a producer can submit sufficient evidence that their cattle are grass-fed, they can label their products as such. No third-party verification is required. The USDA recently began a third-party verification system for grass-fed products, but it is also voluntary. However, producers who have their production standards verified by a third-party can label their products as “grass-fed” and include the USDA process verification seal (see the graphic above). Natural. Meat that is “minimally processed” can be labeled


April 2011

as “natural”. Natural labels do not deal with how the animal was raised or its diet, etc. These products simply do not have any added preservatives or coloring. All raw meat, poultry and fish would qualify as “natural”. Naturally Raised. This is a newer standard. It means that the animal was not given antibiotics or hormones or fed any animal by-products prior to processing. There is nothing in the standards pertaining to housing, feed, etc. Like the 100% grassfed standard, this is a voluntary program. The USDA also has a program called “Never, Ever-3”. Products carrying this label have been verified by a third party as coming from animals that were not treated with antibiotics or hormones or fed any animal by-products. Certified Humane Raised and Handled. There are also labels that are not directly associated with USDA. Products carrying the Certified Humane Raised and Handled are raised and processed under conditions set forth by the Humane Farm Animal Care Group, a private organization. In general, products carrying this seal come from animals that were not fed antimicrobials or hormones and in some cases were given more space than in conventional systems. It does not imply that products without this label come from animals that were not treated humanely.

Second Location Coming Soon! Highpointe Center on Cypress Gardens Blvd.

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April 2011


Members of the Polk County Cattlemen’s Association served as guides for this Wounded Warrior Hunt.

UF Food Safety Experts Help Give FDA Personnel Insight to Florida Produce

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Senator Alan Hays and Representative Greg Steube Introduce Legislation to Benefit Injured Veterans—Designates “Special Hunt Areas” in Honor of and for Use by Wounded Veterans

Tim Spann, an assistant professor with the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center, discusses citrus production with representatives of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other government agencies, during a tour of Central Florida farms, March 8-10. Spann was one of several UF faculty members who informed the tour group about major Florida crops, pest and disease issues, and UF research and extension efforts to assist growers. The tour, organized by UF and the nonprofit Center for Produce Safety, gave regulatory personnel a behind-the-scenes look at Florida agribusiness. (University of Florida/IFAS/Martha Roberts)

by Tom Nordlie To help federal officials understand the produce industries they regulate, University of Florida food safety experts recently took part in a cross-state tour that provided a behind-the-scenes look at growers’ operations and food safety efforts. Five faculty members gave presentations highlighting their work to enhance the safety and quality of fruit and vegetable crops. The March 8-10 tour brought a delegation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other agencies to 15 farms and packinghouses. Organizers hope the tour leaves a lasting impression, one that may prompt attendees to see regulatory issues from a broader perspective, said Martha Roberts, special assistant to the dean for research with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “It’s critical that the people regulating agricultural crops have the knowledge and experience of seeing how the crops are grown, harvested, packed, repacked, shipped and sold,” Roberts said. And with the FDA scheduled to develop new federal produce safety regulations, the timing couldn’t be better, she said. The tour was organized by UF and the Center for Produce Safety, a national, nonprofit scientific group based at the University of California, Davis. The center funds several UF food safety studies. Roberts is a member of its executive committee. The tour was the second such event conducted for the FDA and the first representing East Coast agriculture. The first tour was sponsored by CPS and took place in California in late 2009. As the tour moved from Hillsborough County to Palm Beach County, participants saw citrus, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, radishes, lettuce and leafy greens, both in the fields and being harvested and packed. Business owners and operations managers explained their efforts to maintain high food safety standards.


April 2011

UF personnel also made brief presentations. They outlined food-safety challenges affecting some of Florida’s major fruit and vegetable crops, described their work and answered questions from the agency delegates. Keith Schneider, an associate professor in the food science and human nutrition department, discussed research aimed at keeping tomatoes safe from Salmonella bacteria, which can enter fruit through cuts or bruises. Schneider also described his extension efforts, training more than 1,000 tomato industry workers on state-mandated safety practices. He began that work in late 2008, shortly after the state enacted law establishing food safety best-management practices for tomatoes. Microbiologist Michelle Danyluk, an assistant professor at UF’s Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, described her research on fresh fruit, fruit juices and vegetables. She said she was pleased that the question and answer session covered more than just food safety, because many of the attendees had little previous exposure to growers’ day-to-day activities. Other UF faculty presenters: Max Teplitski, an associate professor in the soil and water science department; citrus processing specialist Renee Goodrich-Schneider, an associate professor in the food science and human nutrition department; and horticultural scientist Tim Spann, an assistant professor at the Lake Alfred center, who discussed citrus issues such as greening disease. Growers and industry spokespeople also discussed issues with the group. Representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, state regulators and grower associations also attended. For more information on the Center for Produce Safety, visit

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Senator Alan Hays and Representative Greg Steube unveiled legislation to honor wounded veterans with access to “special hunt areas” in certain state parks. Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll and General Bob Milligan were also present at the press conference held at the Florida Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. “I would like to thank Senator Hays and Representative Steube for their leadership, and I ask their fellow members of the Legislature to please join us in this effort,” said Commissioner Putnam. “The men and women of our armed services put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we enjoy as Americans and residents of this great state. This legislation is just one way we can show our gratitude and support for the sacrifices they have made.” In addition to providing special outdoor recreational opportunities for eligible veterans, the legislation will also allow for private donations to fund the development and installation of special facilities to accommodate the needs of disabled veterans. Funding for these accommodations may be donated to the Division of Forestry through the Department’s Direct Support Organization, Friends of Florida State Forests, Inc. “It is truly a privilege to sponsor this legislation that will enhance the quality of life for our valiant warriors whom have been wounded in the line of duty. These heroes gave unselfishly

to defend our freedoms. For us to set aside these areas for them to pursue the great sport of hunting is only one small way the citizens of Florida may say, ‘Thank you for your valiant service!’ May God Bless all those serving in our armed forces!” said Senator Alan Hays. “As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and as a disabled veteran, I am honored to carry this piece of legislation for Florida veterans. This bill is a simple way for the State of Florida and all Floridians to show their support and appreciation. As a result of this legislation, wounded veterans will have the opportunity to use these areas for special outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting. I believe such activities are therapeutic and an important part of physical and mental recovery,” said Representative Greg Steube. Working with staff from the Wounded Warrior Project, the Division of Forestry within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regularly hosts weekend trips for wounded veterans to hunt in designated areas of Florida’s state forests. In the last year, more than 20 wounded veterans have hunted at Lake Wales Ridge State Forest. For more information about the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit or follow Commissioner Putnam on Facebook, adamputnam, or Twitter, @adamputnam.

NCBA: 101 Members of Congress Call for EPA to Back off Dust The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lisa Jackson received a letter on March 29 from 101 members of the U.S. House of Representatives expressing concerns about EPA’s potential revision to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Coarse Particulate Matter, more commonly known as dust. Led by Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Congressman Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), the policymakers collectively emphasized the devastating impact farmers, ranchers and all of rural America would feel if the EPA moves forward with regulating dust at unprecedented levels. “This bipartisan effort to protect farmers, ranchers and all of rural America from a burdensome, unnecessary and scientifically unfounded regulation is reassuring. We firmly stand behind and strongly support this effort to relieve farm and ranch families from the massive heap of regulations coming out of the EPA,” said Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “We hope Administra-

tor Jackson and all of the officials at EPA are listening to the continuous calls from elected leaders to use science and commonsense when proposing or even considering regulations. So far, it appears these countless pleas have fallen on deaf ears.” The potential revision of the NAAQS to a level as low as 6585 µg/m3, or twice as stringent as the current standard, is below naturally occurring levels of dust in some states. By EPA’s own admission, the number of counties in nonattainment would more than double. “At a time when the focus of the administration should be on economic development and job creation, the EPA is instead promulgating rules which may have the opposite effect. If implemented, the standards could subject farmers, livestock producers and industry to burdensome regulations, which could result in fines amounting to $37,500 a day for violations,” penned the members of Congress. “We strongly encourage the EPA not to implement the more stringent standards.”

April 2011


23rd Ann


al Polk C photos b ounty Ag y W. Rus sell Han ri­Fest cock Agri-Fe held over st, an event hoste d a County fo ten day period in by Polk County F ar February urth grad this year. m Bureau, was Polk Cou ers learn about th This even nty. Abo ed ut t interacti ve exhibit 6,000 students a iverse agriculture helps Polk ttended h s on thin in keeping, dustry in gs like cit ands on blueberr w r u o ie s rk s , , b s h hop e o e rti f The even t was held culture, forestry cattle, phosphate s and complex a , be a n t the UF/I d in Bartow FAS Polk water conservati e. on. County E xtension Service

My View From The Saddle by Dry Creek America’s First Frontier creator Les Mc Dowell What a great time Dry Creek had at the Florida State Fair this year. We were asked to be a major part of the Agriculture Hall Of Fame display. So as you walked into the Hall Of Fame building there was Dry Creek up on a big TV set. We filmed a segment from the Dry Creek set in Parrish, Florida, using the cast of Dry Creek. We welcomed Fair goers into the Agriculture Hall Of Fame building and pointed out many things they would see there. Then the cast of Dry Creek spent one afternoon meeting and greeting folks and entertaining the crowd. What a great day. We all walked away from this with a whole different understanding of Florida History and Agriculture in Florida. I must admit I walked away with a sense of pride. Being raised in Southern California, I thought Florida was just Disney World and Universal Studios. It’s sad but that is how the rest of America still sees us. The truth is that Florida Agriculture is the main money maker in the great state of Florida. Boy were my eyes opened! It all started a few months ago when I was traveling toward Orlando on Interstate Four and looked over at a lone man riding a horse gathering cattle in a field. From the fast lane and just seconds to see him before I zoomed past I felt a tug at my heart. My heart said, “He is what Florida is all about”. I saw in just a quick few seconds a Cow Hunter. That Cracker horse he rode goes back to the early 1500’s and his blood was here way before any other horse came to America. Stories of Bone Mizell the colorful Cow Hunter flooded my mind. My heart said, “This story has to be told.” So comes the second season of Dry Creek. Only this year the true real Florida story will be told. So was born Dry Creek, America’s First Frontier. The first season we were on Dish Network with 14.3 million homes. In the second season, we will be on Dish and Direct Network with over 50 million homes. Stay tuned for channels and times in your area. So if you find yourself zooming in the fast lane glance off to the disappearing fields. In those fields you’ll see the great men and women, horses and cattle, that is what Florida is really all about. I bet you’ll feel your chest filling with pride and a tug at your heart.


April 2011

April 2011


Kathleen Heritage Day

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The Polk County Cattlewomen’s Association participated in the Kathleen Area Historical Society’s Heritage Day Festival on March 19. It was a day full of old fashioned fun! The Kathleen Area Historical Society was formed February 19, 1991 to preserve the history of the area, including Kathleen, Socrum, Griffin, Gibsonia, Green Pond, Winston and Providence. 10% Buyer’s Premium


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April 2011



Polk’s Growing Businesses Annual Termite & Pest Control

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Beast Feast & Auction

The Eighth Annual Beast Feast and Auction, hosted by the Florida FFA Foundation and held at the Florida Leadership Training Center in Haines City, was held March 26, 2011. Attendees enjoyed wild game and other foods and also had the opportunity to participate in live and silent auctions and raffles. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Leadership Training Center and the FFA Foundation, Inc.


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April 2011


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MOUNTAIN TOP #185445 Located in Blairsville Ga. Fantastic mountain views, like new, 2/2 with wood burning fireplace, loft, basement, porch, second home use only from original owners! $299,000 Call and ask For Jane Baer with Jane Baer Realty. 1-800-820-7829. BEAUTIFUL CABIN #194651 A real tempter in mountain setting on 1.14 acres. A charming air comes with this metalroofed 3BR/3+BA fully furnished cabin in ideal condition with a wonderful view. Marble foyer, large rooms and loft. $385,900. Call and ask For Jane Baer with Jane Baer Realty. 1-800820-7829. •••FOR SALE••• Fertilized Bahia Hay. 4X5 rolls $25 ea. 800 rolls available. Call for pick up 863-287-3091 or 863-294-1650 NEW HOLLAND TC29 tractor / loader 29 pto hp, 268hrs. $13,000 (UT6406) Ask for David 813-623-3673 Contributing writer Write about events in your community. Immediate openings in Hillsborough and Polk Counties. Paid per article. Responsibilities include covering community events and taking pictures. Email your resume to

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ACCOUNT manager Sales, account management. Immediate openings in Hillsborough and Polk Counties. Email your resume to 1974 MASSEY FERGUSON 135 Diesel Power Steering. $3,750 Call Alvie 813-759-8722 MASSEY FERGUSON 245 with loader 42hp, recent engine overhaul,.$7,650 Call Alvie 813-759-8722 •••FOR SALE••• High Cal Lime or Dolomite delivered & or spread. No job too large or too small. Call Tim Ford 863-439-3232 •••FOR SALE••• Chicken Manure. Delivery & spreading available. Call Tim Ford or Danny Thibodeau 863-439-3232 FOR SALE HI Callime or Dolomite Delivered & or spread. No job To large or small. Call Tim Ford or Danny Thibodeau. 813-439-3232 FOR SALE Chicken Manueur. Delivery & Spreading Available. Call Tim Ford or Danny Thibodeau. 813-439-3232 FOR LEASE 275 acre vegetable farm located in Arcadia Fl. Strategic geographical location, large volume well, Excellent drainage, graded farm lanes, over 6000’ buried Pipe, packing house, offices & truck scales nearby. Organically farmed – no herbicide or chemical carry over. Long term lease (5 yrs. +) available. Call 269-268-8119

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April 2011




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In The Field Magazine - Polk April 2011  
In The Field Magazine - Polk April 2011  

Polk County's In The Field Magazine - April 2011