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Kaitlyn Gill Crowned 2011-2012 Florida Cattlemen Association’s Sweetheart By Stephanie Farmer-Associate Publisher

Every year the Florida Cattlemen Association hosts their Florida Cattlemen Association Sweetheart Contest. This is a tough competition. Contestants take a knowledge test of the cattle industry, and present a PowerPoint presentation demonstrating their ability to produce speeches They are then put on the “hot spot” by having to draw a question out of hat and answer it in front of a crowd of about 1,000 people, testing their ability to answer tough questions in a stressful and public type situation. They make special door wreaths out of a lasso for a fundraising auction and more! These ladies then move on to represent the industry throughout the year at various school and other events with the purpose of educating the public about the beef industry. Becoming a Sweetheart is tough, but well worth the major learning curve of experiences they will encounter throughout the year.

Hillsborough County’s Kaitlyn Gill learns she wins!

Left to right above: Cindy Young, Sumpter County; Florida Cattlemen Sweetheart Kaitlyn Gill of Hillsborough County; Runner-up Sweetheart Shelby Freeman, Polk County; and Miss Congeniality-Kayla Crosby of Clay County.

Kaitlyn auctioning off her homemade wreath.

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Welcome to Belinda Chason’s Replacement- Amy McAllister By Stephanie Farmer

Congratulations to Amy McAllister (blue shirt), an experienced Florida FFA advisor and ag teacher in her new position as Belinda Chason’s replacement. Among her diverse duties, she will also be overseeing more than 15,000 Florida FFA members. Amy is seen here with former FFA member and State


Representative Leonard Bembry, ranking member of the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, Belinda Chason Retiring State Program Director Agri Business and Natural Resources Education, and State FFA President Clay Sapp who is from Rep. Bembry’s home county.

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Hillsborough County Fair Receives $500,000 Grant from Phosphate Severance Fund The Greater Hillsborough County Fair recently received a $500,000 grant from the County Commission’s Phosphate Severance Fund to enable the fair to complete existing infrastructure and begin additional improvements at the Fairgrounds, located at Hwy. 60 and Sydney Washer Road. The vote was 6-0 with one member absent. “This money will be used for improvements to the grounds and to assure compliance with the American Disabilities Act, permitting and fire suppression equipment, along with other improvements on a priority basis,” said Fair Manager Tom Umiker. The county commissioners will be voting later on a proposal to construct buildings to be funded from the Community Investment Tax (CIT) in the amount of $2 million dollars. “We have combined Phosphate Severance Fund dollars, private contributions and thousands of volunteer hours to create the current facility on formerly rough unreclaimed phosphate land,” said Umiker. “The land is county-owned and is operated with a lease agreement administered by the Parks and Recreation Department with the Fair,” Umiker said. Pictured Left: Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, above left, County Fair President Ken Anderson, center, and State Senator Ronda Storms meet at Fairgrounds on July 14.

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News


A Note from DJ: THANK YOU everyone for supporting me and helping me work towards achieving this goal to attend the Jr National Young Leader Conference (JrNYLC), this fall. I am grateful for all the support I have received from all my friends, teachers and family. I have already raised $1121 so far, with your help! I will be sending thank you letters to all who have helped me go to Washington at the end of my fundraiser, so be sure to fill out the address box when making contributions online. I am now enrolled and will be going to the Jr National Young Leaders Conference in November 5-10th! I have till August 8th to raise $769 for the remaining balance of the tuition, and have till October to raise the remaining balance of $880 to cover transportation attire, lunches and incidentals.

(Editor’s note: DJ is doing all he can to raise the money he needs. Some of you may have seen him and his family working at CiCi’s Pizza in Lakeland to raise money. He also is doing chores in the neighborhood and selling Dominoes Coupons. You can visit to get information on this event, learn more about DJ or make a contribution. We accept all forms of payments online or send a check to 3390 Wren Lane, Mulberry, FL 33860. Thank you for your generosity).

A Testimonial Letter to the Editor Mr. Bill Somerlott Bill’s Transmissions 13350 Hwy 92 E Dover, FL 33527 Dear Mr. Somerlott, My family and I would like to express our gratitude for the transmission service you provided for our Ford Freestar recently. When our van’s transmission went out, it was very upsetting. First the extra cost, and the difficulty in locating someone whom you can trust. We went to other transmission shops for quotes, and met with people that would be working on our van. After speaking with Farm & Ranch News’ George Parker, we were reminded that you are a reliable trust- worthy source and that he himself has used your services in the past for his own vehicles. After some thought, we took the van to your shop and you not only gave us the best quote but you were able to diagnose the problem almost immediately. It was very reassuring to leave our van with someone who knew what they were talking about. Also I would like to note that we observed your shop is very clean and organized. All of your staff is very friendly and helpful. Thank you first for your honesty, that’s not easy to come by this day and age, but also for your reasonable rates and friendly service. We will make sure others know about you! Thank You, The Finley Family Mulberry, FL June 17, 2011


Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News


More Than Just Picnic Tables, These are Tables of Opportunity By Stephanie Farmer- Associate Publisher

What you might see as picnic tables are actually “Tables of Opportunities” for the students at Simmons Career Center in Plant City and youth attending Rotary’s Camp Florida in Brandon. Simmons Career Center is a


high school whose focus is to help teens graduate and get a career. Graduates, often with the help of their Program Advisor, move on to attend college, becoming nurses, carpenters, plumbers or other types of career and technical jobs.

Under the guidance of their new principal Cleto Chazarese, the school is expanding to include Army ROTC and FFA, opening more doors of opportunity. Many of these students say if not for this school they would have become drop outs, not to mention how farfetched the idea of going to college would have been. When a student graduates from Simmons, according to the Principal, they “leave with tools and skills they can take with them”. Program Advisor Sheila Washington said they tell the kids, “It’s not where you begin. It’s where you end.”

Rotary Camp Florida is a nonprofit 18-acre campground for children with medical, physical, mental and emotional illnesses and challenges. Here kids have opportunities to enjoy nature, swim, archery, canoe and more with others like them. It is a place that builds fun memories and friendships. So, when Plant City Daybreak Rotary heard there was a need for picnic tables designed for those with special needs, they took this need and developed multiple opportunities. Simmons Career Center built the tables, giving teens more opportunities to learn construction, plus giving the school extra funds so they could work on more projects expanding their construction learning curve. Next, they delivered these tables to Rotary’s Camp Florida giving youth the opportunity to laugh, play and eat with more picnic tables. To learn more about Plant City Daybreak Rotary go to

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News



Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News


2011-2012 Florida FFA State Officers

Congratulations to the 2011-2012 Florida FFA State Officers. This year’s officer team hosts Florida’s first-ever African-American State President, Charlie Brown from Avon Park FFA. Haley Webb, Charlotte FFA, the sister of former State Officer Hillary Webb, is Vice President. The other State officer team members are Sydney Stone, Sneads FFA; Kaitlin Donaghy, Middleburg FFA; Julia Morgan, Pine Ridge FFA; Shelby Oesterreicher, Bartow FFA; John Modrow, Riverview FFA; James Sharpe, Okeechobee Brahman FFA. These officers will be busy visiting Chapters around the State, put together and give leadership seminars, attend the National FFA Convention and will travel overseas to enhance their agricultural learning curve as well.


Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News



Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

New Handbook Available FREE to Florida Teachers, Home-Schoolers

Teachers and home-schoolers looking for ways to teach children about agriculture while improving their academic skills may want to try the Gardening for Grades handbook, just released by Florida Agriculture In The Classroom Inc. The 142-page guide is available free in digital and hard copy formats from http://www.flagintheclassroom. com/gardening.html. Designed for use with students from pre-K through 8th grade, it includes practical information on preparing and growing school gardens, along with lesson plans that use gardening as a spring-

board to reading, writing, mathematics, science and other subjects. “Students and teachers may not be able to relate to farming, but they can relate to gardening,” said Lisa Gaskalla, FAITC executive director. “I really think this will be the tool to help us reach more teachers with the message of the importance of Florida agriculture.” When the fall 2011 semester begins, FAITC will offer workshops to help teachers use the guide. For information, contact For more information on FAITC, visit

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News


Home Canning Classes to be Offered in Plant City Preserving food at home may seem like a complex or even frightening process. But by attending one of Hillsborough County Extension’s home canning classes, getting fruits and vegetables from the garden to the jar can be easy and fun. Hillsborough County’s Extension Office has scheduled additional classes to be held at the Plant City Planteen Recreation Center, 301 Dort Street in Plant City. Classes demonstrate equipment and procedures. Participants will receive recipes and information enabling them to go home ready to begin canning. A $5 donation is


requested to cover costs. Jam and Pickles · Thu., Aug. 25, from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Registration: http://jampicklesplantci Vegetables · Thu., Sept. 8, from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. http://canveggiesplantcity090811.event For more information, contact Mary Keith, (813) 744-5519, ext 136 or the Hillsborough County Extension Office, 5339 CR 579 in Seffner.

At-Home Bakers Can Now Sell Their Products The Florida Cottage Food Act recently became a state law giving budding chefs the freedom to get their businesses started at home. Previously, at-home chefs were required to prepare their foods out of a commercial kitchen and obtain special licensing, which could be expensive to new food entrepreneurs. The new law allows small business enterprises to prepare their food products in their own kitchens without obtaining a food permit from the Department of Agriculture as long as annual gross sales don’t exceed $15,000. The bill allows cooks to bake cakes, cookies, breads; or prepare jams, jellies, vinegars and several other products in their own home and market them. The new law does have certain requirements including not selling the products via the internet, by mail order or wholesale to restaurants or food stores.

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

After 41 years with FFA, Belinda Chason moves on to become Florida’s Director of Career and Technical Education By Stephanie Farmer-Associate Publisher

Florida FFA deeply touched and honored Belinda Chason by presenting her first-ever Blue and Gold Florida FFA jacket as her family, friends and members she has touched applauded. “ History in the Making” was this year’s FFA convention theme and it really was as Belinda Chason, Florida’s FFA State advisor for 41 years and State Program Director of Agri Business and Natural Resources Education moves on to become Florida’s Director of Career and Technical Education. Some call it retirement, but in reality it is another move up for a woman who wholly supports Florida’s youth and the opportunities hands-on educa-

tion gives them. Former FFA state officers (seen in the background of the family photo) were invited to join in a special program honoring and thanking her for her contributions over the years. In 1970 Belinda’s career began with the Florida Department of Education. Since that time 291 people have become State officers, 2,000 have received the American FFA Degree, 3,500 have received the Florida FFA Degree and over 100,000 have become members of Florida FFA. This woman has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of people not only across our State but also Nationally as she was the firstever elected female to the National FFA Board of Directors too! Many wonderful things were said about her during a special reception and in the convention hall which was filled with a “who’s who” of FFA and education. Here are some excerpts. National FFA Board of Directors member: “She has incredibly strong leadership. She has the courage to speak the truth and engage issues squarely and fairly. Belinda cares about ag education, staff, teachers, parents and students.”

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Ag teacher Robert Philpot: “She is a unique individual, she will ask your opinion, but you don’t have to agree with her. She has done a lot for ag teachers in Florida and has had their back. Her goal is to make better teachers and better programs.” Former State Officer Erin Best from her first State Officer Team: “She has a presence about her. She is tough, professional and straightforward. Thank you for fighting for FFA and Ag education in Florida.” Erin considers Belinda as a role model for herself personally. Board member Robert Raulerson: “She feels like every State Officer was her own child. If she was cut, she would probably bleed blue and gold.” Mary Mott Florida, Nursery Growers and Landscape Assoc: “Her reputation precedes her. She knows how to make connections and friendships.” Ronnie Simmons, Executive Director FL FFA & Former State Officer: “She cares about every student in every classroom. Florida FFA is what it is today as she is the rubber on the road. We appreciate what you do.” Ray Land, who ran for State Officer, but never became one, yet today owns a multimillion dollar busi-

ness: “My success is due to FFA. Of all the owls out there, she is the big hoot owl.” Loretta Costin, Florida Chancellor of Career and Adult Education: “Belinda is a true professional. I have worked with her for 26 years. She has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met. On behalf of the Florida Dept. of Education we thank you. Florida Senator Greg Evers sent a special proclamation in her honor via overnight delivery. The most poignant statements of the evening came from Belinda Chason herself as she addressed her friends, family and supporters. She said, “Getting an education is the best thing you can do. Accept challenge, accept risk and don’t let the naysayers get in your way…. Be honest, fair, consistent every day and never let them see you sweat.” Farm & Ranch News also wants to thank Belinda Chason for her commitment to Florida’s youth, not only in the past but also in the future with her new position as Florida’s Director of Career and Technical Education. She is a true advocate of agriculture and Florida’s youth.


Dan Raulerson Seeks State House of Representatives Seat

Candidate Dan Raulerson, County Commissioner Ken Hagan and farmer Carl Grooms By Stephanie Farmer- Associate Publisher

Dan Raulerson a well respected busi- 2. Florida passed over 200 new laws last year. nessman and Mayor of Plant City has decided to It’s time we look at taking some laws off the throw his “hat” in the political arena and seek the books. There are too many laws and reguDistrict 62, State House of Representatives seat. lations that are ineffective. Florida needs to Rep. Rich Glorioso currently holds the district 62 focus on what’s more relevant. seat, but is term-limited in 2012. Raulerson’s knowledge, ranging from a 3. Any decision that can be kept out of Talhusband and father of two children, (a son 17 and lahassee should be kept out of Tallahassee. daughter 20 who is the reigning Miss Florida and Dan said that there is a need to disperse in the running for Miss America) to finances as a decision-making power. For instance: local CPA, and government as a two- term mayor gives government is a better judge of what their him quite a spectrum of knowledge in many difneeds are than Tallahassee. While some isferent levels. Currently, he told me, he is running sues are better handled by the State, we need on a three prong platform: to take a closer look at Florida’s decisionmaking power. 1. Tallahassee needs to learn to operate on less money

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Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Family Vacation Time at the FFA Leadership Training Center By Stephanie Farmer Assoc. Publisher

“Set Your Goals High Enough So You Can Fail Successful”:

State Rep. Bembry- Never a State FFA Officer, Yet Still Successful By Stephanie Farmer-Associate Publisher

Shown left to right: Rikki Hardin, Jonathan Childers, Matthew Farmer, Myles Layman and Marcus Farmer

Family vacation at the FFA Leadership Training Center? Yes! I recently took my family and their friends to the FFA LTC and we had a blast! My nephew, Jon, brought his boat which enabled us to go tubing and knee boarding on the lake. Afterwards, we kept busy swimming in the pool, throwing horse shoes, volleyball, grilling hamburgers and more with lots of laughs. So, the next time you think family vacation, think beyond FFA events and book a cabin for a few family days at the FFA LTC. It’s another way of supporting the FFA LTC too! For more info go to

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

In 1961 a young Leonard Bembry ran for FFA State Officer and lost. In fact, he chuckles and says he lost miserably! But, today that same man is a member of Florida’s House of Representatives and the ranking member of the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee! Every year many youth run for FFA State Office, but only seven are

chosen. Yet, those youth move on to make a difference in the lives of others whether in their family, as husbands, wives, mothers and fathers, in their community and/ or in the political arena. Rep. Bembry is no different. This year he addressed over 3,000 Florida FFA members at the convention. He said that State Officer Clay Sapp was the first FFA President to ever be chosen from his home county. He talked about how he ran for state FFA officer, but lost. “Yet, time waits for no one. I encourage you to decide what you want from life. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Set goals in your life high enough that you can fail successful. While in FFA I participated in livestock judging, par pro, public speaking and more. I’ve spent over 35 years in ag production. I enjoy every single day that I work IN agriculture or FOR agriculture.”



Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News



Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News



Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News



Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

“Opportunities” by Myke Morris - Contributing Editor

At a Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers meeting last summer, Jimmy Scarborough from Hardee County (he grew up in Bartow), related a story he said he had heard from Mr. Herman Beville. Seems Mr. Beville was one of the original breeders of purebred Brahmas in Florida. He ranched in Sumter County where you can still find Beville’s corner (C R 48 & CR 471) north of Webster. He had someone come in, according to Jimmy, “from Texas or South America, or one of those other places” to buy a bull. He looked over Mr. Beville’s purebreds and picked one out. Mr. Beville told him that bull would cost $5,000. The fellow said he really didn’t want to pay that much and he thought he’d look some more. After touring other ranches in Florida, the man came back. “Mr. Beville, I believe I’ll buy that bull after all.” “Fine,” said Mr. Beville, “he’ll cost $10,000.” “Why, just last week when I looked at him you said he’d cost me $5,000!” “Well,” Mr. Beville replied, “that was when you should have bought him!” Sometimes opportunities don’t last very long. Ye know (and the reason I say “Ye” every now and then is to keep from a repetition of “Y’all”), ye know I get into a little Latin sometimes because it can be so instructive. I don’t know any Latin. I do know a little Greek. My friend Ekaterina is a very little (and very lovely) Greek, too!

An old Latin phrase, that I won’t produce here, is the basic idea of opportunity. It referred to a boat standing off a port waiting for the tides and winds to be right so it could safely make harbor. Now, in spite of living on a peninsula, with the Mediterranean all around them, the Romans were historically late in coming to naval matters. I don’t know just when this idea came about in their language, but I’m guessing it was before Romans were skilled at seafaring so if they missed the right moment to make port, they could be in a lot of trouble. Shakespeare’s genius uses this imagery in one of the most famous passages of one of his most famous plays. Julius Caesar says: There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat; And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.

best and would be willing to teach him. Mr. Tanner said that he was willing but that he was about to have breakfast so if this man would come in they would go hunting after eating. The man said he’d had breakfast but would be happy to have a cup of coffee and wait. As they sat and talked the man kept eyeing the plate of biscuits and soon asked, “Are those homemade biscuits?” Assured that they were, he said he might eat one of those with his coffee. After breakfast, they went out bird hunting and the man began to see how it was done. Soon, this man acquired a dog he called Ol’ Roy and Mr. Tanner began to see that he could make a fine bird hunter. Sam Walton kept coming over for breakfast and hunting and eventually he brought with him an idea. He told Mr. Tanner that he thought stores like the one he ran in Bentonville could make money in a lot of other small towns and he asked Mr. Tanner if he wouldn’t like to make an

investment with him. Mr. Tanner said, “No,” he didn’t think so. Of course, you know the store became WalMart. I reckon the profits made on Ol’ Roy dog food alone would have easily justified the investment that Mr. Walton offered Mr. Tanner. Ephesians 5:15-16 translation)


Therefore be very careful how you live and act. Let it not be as unwise men, but as wise. Buy up your opportunities, for these are evil times. *****

What opportunities may await? For years, every Tuesday afternoon, my Dad visited a man named Ed Tanner. Mr. Tanner was originally from Arkansas and had been a bird hunter before he moved off the farm. Mr. Tanner told my Dad that one morning, just before breakfast, there came a knock at the door. A local store keeper was there with a request. He said that he was interested in learning about bird hunting and said that he’d been told Mr. Tanner was one of the

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News



Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News



Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News


Some scenes captured at Florida FFA’s 83rd State Convention Photos by Stephanie Farmer

Brittany Coleman with Durant FFA was a State Star Agri Business finalist

State Officer Michele Perez ended her retiring address with a big thank Jamee Townsend, Strawberry Crest FFA, was State Star Farmer Kaitlyn Gill you”card to all of FFA, a sentiment shared by all the officers. one of the finalists for State Star Greenhand. from Durant FFA

Agri Business Winner – Clifton Garcia Cortney Wingate with Braden River FFA was a State with Bartow FFA Greenhand Finalist.

State Star Discovery- Jeffrey Mitchel – Centennial Shelby Oesterreicher, Bartow FFA received the Ryan RimMiddle School FFA mer Outstanding District Officer Award and most befittingly was elected State FFA Officer!

Dallas Texas solution to Illegals… Brilliant!!!! by Don Torgersen

The City of Dallas, Texas, has an ordinance that if you are pulled over by law enforcement and not able to provide proof of insurance, your car will be towed right away. Afterward, to retrieve your car after being impounded, you must require proof of insurance to have your car released. This has made it easy for the City of Dallas to remove uninsured cars that are typically driven by mostly illegals. Shortly after “No insurance” ordinance was


passed, the Dallas impound lots began to fill up quickly and was full after nine days. Most of the impounded cars were driven by illegals. Not only must you provide proof of insurance to have your car released, you have to pay for the cost of the tow, a $350 fine, and charged $20 for every day their car is kept in the lot. I would suggest other cities across the nation to follow what Dallas , Texas is doing. Not only is it getting uninsured drivers off the road, but it is taking away vehicles driven by illegals that have no insurance.

“They Grow ‘em big in Georgia” This huge Diamond Back Rattlesnake was recently killed in south Georgia!

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News


Mosaic proudly helps grow the food we need from the land we love. The Mosaic Company is dedicated to helping American farmers grow the food our nation needs. And as Florida’s largest producer of crop nutrients, we’re honored to provide thousands of jobs to help keep our communities thriving. This Independence Day, we celebrate the opportunity to promote prosperity for America’s proud citizens.



Volume 38 • Number 6 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

FRNEWS V38 Issue 6