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VOLUME 39 NUMBER 8 • PH. 813-737-NEWS (6397) • E -MAIL : FARMR ANCHNEWS@AOL.COM • W W W.FARMAND R A N C H N E W S .C O M

Agriculture’s Most Trusted Source For News, Views and Advertising Since 1974 2012-13 Harvest Queen Kallee Cook

Florida FFA’s Clay Sapp Elected National FFA President 2012-2013 National Officer Team President: Clay Sapp - Florida; Secretary: Kalie Hall - Georgia; Central Region Vice President - Brennan Costello - Nebraska; Eastern Region Vice President - Joenelle Futrell - Kentucky; Southern Region Vice President - Wiley Bailey - Alabama; Western Region Vice President - Lindsey Anderson - California.

18-year old Kallee Cook of Plant City was recently crowned Hillsborough County Fair’s Harvest Queen for 2012-13. The Hillsborough Community College freshman is a member of the Florida Junior Angus Association and the Florida Junior Cattlemen’s Association. She is the daughter of Kent and Cindy Cook. Her future plans include studying Animal Science at the University of Florida.

Jr. Harvest Queen Haley Riley

Haley Riley, an 8th grade student at Tomlin Middle School was crowned the Jr. Harvest Queen for 2012-13 at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds on October 13. The 13-year old is the daughter of Heather and Billy Riley of Dover.

From an early age, Florida student Clay Sapp knew he was a good communicator and teacher. But it wasn’t until he took some agricultural education classes and joined FFA that he discovered how he wanted to channel those two skills. He learned about the country’s need for great teachers who could teach agriculture. He determined that his passion lies in school. administration “I want to teach high school agricultural education and then obtain a master’s degree in educational leadership,” he said. “My goal is to become a school administrator so I can encourage classroom innovation and motivate students to become better scholars and young people.” On October 27, to conclude the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Sapp was elected National FFA president for 2012-13. Joining him on the 2012-13 National FFA Officer team are Kalie Hall of Georgia as national secretary, Joenelle Futrell of Kentucky as Eastern Region vice president, Lindsey Anderson of California as Western Region vice president, Brennan Costello of Nebraska as Central Region vice president and Wiley Bailey as Southern Region vice president. For the next year, the group will travel more than 100,000 miles across the country to engage top leaders in business, government and education. The national officers will lead personal growth and leadership training seminars for FFA members. The team will help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy. A seven-year member of the Madison County High School FFA chapter in Madison, Fla., Sapp served as a Florida national FFA delegate from 2008-2010 and won his state’s prepared

p u b l i c speaking competition in 2010. He was student body president his senior year in high school, salutatorian of his graduating class and a varsity baseball and tennis player. “As a national FFA officer, it will be my mission to activate change and growth in the National FFA Organization,” he said. “I plan to develop strong relationships, be a champion of FFA and agricultural education and seek new ways to strengthen student experiences within FFA.” Dual enrollment hours he accomplished in high school enabled Sapp to graduate from North Florida Community College with an associate of arts degree in just one full college semester after high school. Today, he is a University of Florida at Gainesville student pursuing a major in agricultural education and communication. “I intend to serve and give of myself as a leader and role model,” he said. “I realize that not all of my hopes and dreams for our organization may be feasible but in a year from now I want to know that I planted seeds to advance the National FFA Organization’s mission for the future of agriculture.” Sapp is the son of Ed and Gina Sapp; his father was his FFA advisor in high school.


Hillsborough Commissioner Al Higginbotham Gets Unanimous Approval For Land Development Code Amendment To Assist Local Farmers Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, District 4, and the Board of County Commissioners voted October 25 to unanimously approve an amendment to the Land Development Code to allow farmers to continue their agricultural operations in land rezoned to Planned Development (PD). In the Land Use meeting on May 14, Commissioner Higginbotham

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sponsored, and the Board of County Commissioners approved, a motion to direct the County Attorney’s Office to research the amendment in response to a rezoning application on the agenda. The County Attorney’s Office presented their report during the Land Use meeting in June. This amendment was included in the second cycle of amendments to the Land Development Code. A Planned Development is defined in the LDC as “land under unified control to be planned and developed as a whole in a single development operation…” Examples include subdivisions, town homes, apartments, mixed used developments, medical complexes, and

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other projects that require greater flexibility than otherwise provided by the Code. Hillsborough County Development Services estimates that there are approximately 2,500 planned developments in the county. Many times, the applicant will include a condition to allow all agricultural uses in the interim until the PD is developed. This allows farmers to continue their operations on the land until the developer begins the construction. “This is truly a team effort by the Board of County Commissioners, who all realize the value the agriculture community adds to Hillsborough County,” said Commissioner Higginbotham.

“With the approval of this amendment, we will increase the utilization of these vacant parcels across the county.” The amendment will become effective once it’s filed with the Florida Department of State, which will occur within 10 days of the Oct. 25 adoption. The detailed staff report on this issue from the Oct. 25 meeting can be found online. Hillsborough County’s Agriculture Industry Development Program estimated that in 2010, agriculture contributed $815 million to the Tampa Bay economy. A majority of the acreage resides in District 4, represented by Commissioner Higginbotham.

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the davis report By Roy Davis- Associate Editor

Your vote for Davis and Collins Will Help our Farmers! A couple of issues ago, I wrote about the value of the Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Soil and Water Conservation Service. I am sure that you all know that our general election will occur on Tuesday, November 6th. It will be a wonderful day when we can get back to our normal TV commercials and we can forget about all these political commercials. When you are in the voting booth and you have worked your way down toward the end of the ballot, you will find the name of Roy G. Davis on the slot for District 4 of the Soil and Water Conservation Board. Betty Jo Tompkins has served (admirably) in that seat for a number of years. Betty Jo ran for the Florida House of Representatives District 59 seat, and was required to resign her seat on the SWCS board in order to run. My opponent in this race is a young man named Joe Wendt. This young man is said to be 22 years old. Two major planks in his platform are (1) He is running for the position so that he can take whatever action he can in order to abolish the board; and (2) this board utilizes a small amount of its budgeted money to conduct a few youth activities such as a statewide youth speech contest, a poster contest and the “ envirothon” whichnis open to all students in Hillsborough County. Winners receive awards such as college schol-

arships. Mr. Wendt says that he intends to eliminate these youth events, as they are a wasteful use of federal funds, and should be trashed. I support events such as these for our youth. I believe that SWCS provides many useful services to our agricultural producers. They help by engineering the installation of surface water ponds, by furnishing grant money that will help farmers pay for the construction of these ponds, and by helping the farmer through the cumbersome permitting process. This, in turn, is a service to everyone by capturing and utilizing surface water for irrigation and thereby conserving groundwater that is pumped from our Floridian Aquifer. These ponds are expensive. Few farmers can afford to dig them on their own. Joe Wendt clearly states that he would work to eliminate this service if we elect him. t should be stated here that this position on the District 4 Board pays no salary. There is no financial benefit for anyone to run for this office. I am willing to serve in order to protect this valuable asset that farmers can rely on, and that our youth can savor. One other member of this board is now up for election. That member is Sharon Collins. Sharon is serving on the board now and she is willing to serve another term. Her opponent is Shane Holman. Mr. Holman also claims that he intends to work to eliminate Soil and Water Conservation Service in Hillsborough County if he is elected. If you wish to see the Soil and Water Conservation Service continue to serve farmers in Hillsborough County, then you should vote for Roy G. Davis and Sharon Collins on November 6th.

the davis report- update Up-date on Arrest of Local “Cattle Farmer” on Animal Cruelty Charges This case continues to move forward each day. The Hillsborough County State Attorney’s office has not yet agreed to take the case to trial. Look for “The Davis Report” in our next edition and I will be able to give the final result of this case. Note: I believe it looks pretty good for the McDaniels at this moment. See ya’ll next month. Roy Davis

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“The Green Weanie” When I was in FFA at Gainesville High School, our great rival chapter was over at Santa Fe High. Of course, they didn’t think of us as a rival, it was more like we aspired to rival them. For two or three years we did it. I remember Santa Fe FFA had what they referred to as “The Green Weanie Award.” It was a large trophy that was awarded only on special occasions, as I remember, with a green felt wrapped piece of wood on top in the shape of a hot dog. It was for the student who had made a great effort with a project that failed. “What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first step to something better,” Wendell Phillips. I’ll let you judge the following for “The Cracklin’ Green Weanie.” One of the most valuable printed books in the world today is the Gutenberg Bible. To say nothing of the invaluable revelation it contains, the physical work itself, printed in 1456 and considered the first book of movable type ever printed, is usually considered the most desirable of collectible books. Only 48 are known to exist. In 1987 an incomplete version sold for $4.9 million and in 2007a single leaf went on sale for $74,000. Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. The Bible was sure to be a great success as producing printed copies of the most popular book in the world, even in the 15th century, would be genius. Every church and noble would

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need one! But just 180 were produced before Gutenberg went bankrupt from the enterprise. The book cost so much to print, it was actually as cheap to hand copy. But Gutenberg’s failure taught one of his helpers to profitably print cheap religious leaflets and 500 years of mass communication, that still impacts the world, was born. “Wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss, but cheerily seek how to redress their harms,” William Shakespeare. I hope that my sister-in-law doesn’t read this. Bubba, protect me. No proud graduate of Florida Southern will like this next bit. Florida Southern College is the home of the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world. Some of them are pretty spectacular. But the Wright architecture has problems. Moisture seeps through the sand and cement blocks Wright specified to build the chapels, library, planetarium, classroom, and administrative buildings. The iron support bars knitting the blocks together rust and swell, causing walls to buckle. The marvelous campus centerpiece, the “Water Dome” never worked because its design was unsupported by the technology of the day. It took almost 60 years for the machinery to come along that made it useful. But it was Frank Lloyd Wright! Wright never accounted for air conditioning vents in his buildings, but not because he didn’t know about the technology. He just didn’t think it necessary in the Florida heat - he liked nature. But, hey, what’s a little sweat when you can sit in a Frank Lloyd Wright!

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Wright designed buildings with leaky roofs all his life. The college president who hired Wright found out the hard way. As Ludd Spivey sat in his office, he began to feel drips of water. Horrified, he looked up and saw the skylight was leaking all over his desk. Spivey tried to get it fixed, but the drip continued. Losing his patience, he picked up the phone and called Wright. “The skylight keeps leaking and I have water all over my desk,” Spivey said. “What should we do?” Wright replied: “I guess you are going to have to move your desk.” I understand that there is still at least one building with a leaky roof on campus. It can’t be fixed – the leak is designed in. But it is still (the father of form follows function!) Frank Lloyd Wright! “Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure,” William Saroyan. The travel host Rick Steves tells about an experience he had riding a bus from Munich to the infamous concentration camp of Dachau. He sat beside an elderly German woman to have his smile returned by a sneer at his camera. “You tourists come here not to learn but to hate,” she began. She showed him where a bullet had ripped through her upper arm. “When I was a girl, a bullet cut straight through my arm,” she said. “Another bullet killed my father. The war took many good people. My father ran a Grüss Gott shop.”

“ G r ü s s Gott” was a common greeting before the Nazis. It literally means “greet God” and can be translated as “God’s greeting (to you)” or “praise God.” The sacrilegious Nazis, who wanted to eradicate all the conventional religious sentiments and replace them with their own version of Germanic honoring activities, hated it. Where shopkeepers had regularly greeted customers with “Grüss Gott” It became much safer to say “Seig Heil.” It was a hard choice. Each shopkeeper had to make it. Everyone in Dachau knew which shops were Grüss Gott shops and which were Sieg Heil shops. qAt her stop, pausing as if mustering the energy for one last sentence, she stood up and repeated, “My father’s shop was a Grüss Gott shop,” then stepped off the bus. Psalm 150:6 (ASV) Let everything that hath breath praise Jehovah. Praise ye Jehovah.

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Term-limited State Representative Rich Glorioso Seeks Supervisor of Elections Post

Glorioso in House of Representatives

I’m running for Supervisor of Elections because I believe that the foundation of our government starts at the ballot box. After a career based on integrity, and protecting our Country and Constitution, I now want to protect the voting process. I want to insure that no ineligible people are on the voting rolls, thus canceling the votes of other Florida residents.

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My wife, Judy, and I were married while in college and have been married for 45 years. We have two sons and six grandchildren. Our sons are both continuing our tradition of service. Richard, our oldest, is a Hillsborough County Firefighter/EMT and Fire Inspector. Our youngest, Jeff, is a Firefighter/Paramedic in St Louis, MO. I served in the United States Air Force (USAF) for 27 years and earned the rank of Colonel and Commander. I held various Command positions including, Command Pilot, Flight Commander, Squadron Commander and Logistics Group Commander. In logistics I planned and executed long and short term operations including multi-national, multi-service military operations where efficiencies and effectiveness saved dollars and lives. I am very proud of the work I’ve done while in the Florida House of Representatives to improve the lives of children. I sponsored and passed bills keeping sexual predators away from our children, helping foster children make

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the transition to self-sufficiency and giving assistance to grandparents raising their grandchildren. I earned positions as Chairman of the Infrastructure (Transportation) committee, the subcommittee controlling the $9 billion budget funding Transportation and Economic Development and the subcommittee controlling the $5 billion budget funding our Civil and Criminal Justice system. I’ve reduced budgets over 10% through consolidation and efficiencies. I will bring a fresh viewpoint, education, experience, and a new management style to the Supervisor of Elections office. I know how to lead and my team and I will be out in the community listening and learning. If elected, we will be more involved in outreach programs in our schools, businesses and neighborhoods. We will work hard educating our voters. As we review our processes, we will put an emphasis on cleaning up the voter data base. Currently, there are ineligible people on the voting rolls, and they didn’t get there overnight. We will be working to under

Glorioso: as an officer in the Air Force

stand how this is happening and will develop a solution to the problem. We will reach out to the community to help in determining polling locations so voters are not unnecessarily inconvenienced when seeking to cast a vote. We will make sure the Supervisor of Elections office is run in a non-partisan manor with integrity, competency and transparency.

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Local riders form “Army of Heaven” Motorcycle Ministry By Justin Parker

In the past I have been blessed to write several articles for the Farm & Ranch News about my foreign mission trips and the great things we have seen God do on these trips. I am happy to say that I am writing about another great ministry taking place, but this time the Lord is working a little closer to home. I want to share with you the story so you can ask yourself if the Lord is calling you to do something crazy for His sake. About two years ago I started to really notice people riding motorcycles; I didn’t have one and I had never ridden one before. But I was suddenly very interested in them and began to learn more about what it took to get the endorsement on my license. I took a class with some friends and got my endorsement. At around the same time I was talking to a friend, Scott McIntosh, about it and he offered to give me an old 1986 Yamaha he had in his garage that didn’t run anymore. My friend, Dave Smith, and I fixed it up and spent 3 months cleaning carbs and replacing float needles, hoses, filters, and just generally rebuilding the engine and repainting the bike. When we were done I had a good running bike that would get me around town. So, I started to ride with friends and we all talked about starting a club. The guys that wanted to start it moved away and the dream died for a while. Then one day, clear as a bell, I hear the Lord telling me to start the club. I gathered the bikers at my church, Church on the Rock in Plant City, and we began to pray and plan. After some work and a lot of fun motorcycle rides, the “Army of Heaven” motorcycle ministry was born. We have a mission statement rooted in gospel to “go and make disciples”; we just “go” a little faster than those early disciples did. They went by sandals and we go by Vtwin engines and hundreds of horsepow page12

“Army of Heaven” founder Justin Parker with his Suzuki Boulevard.

er. God can use anything and everything to His glory if you will only surrender it to Him. We have been around for just a couple of months, but already we have a great fundraiser planned to kick off our ministry. On November 17th you can come by the church at 301 East Alsobrook St. at 9 a.m. to register for a Scrabble Run; a motorcycle ride to gather letters to play on a big scrabble board at the end of the ride for prizes. The funds will be used to cover the expense of our local outreach to the Plant City area. In case you were wondering about that, we already have one of those planned, too. On December 20th we will host our “Chrome-plated Christmas” event where we will tell a Biker version of the Christmas story and have hot chocolate and cookies for everyone and stockings for the kids. We will reach out to the community this Christmas for the simple reason that Jesus loves them and so do we. So, come check us out! The website is www.armyofheavenpc.com Feel free to join up and take a look at our pictures and events calendar. (Editor’s note: Justin Parker is the Missions Pastor at Church on the Rock and the Road Captain of the Army of Heaven motorcycle ministry).

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Scenes from 2012 Hillsbo

Cheezeits are the favorite treat for her pygmy goats, Zena and Midnight, according to Lindsey Roberts of Sickles FFA.

Senator Ronda Storms with Turkey Creek 4-H members and their 1st Place Decorated Hay Bale

Hillsborough County Extension hosted t popular yard art contest.

Beef exhibitors showing the results of their hard work and efforts.

FNGLA Plant Auction raised funds for agricultural scholarships.

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Cork Crac Frizzle Coc as an exhib

Nicole Rice and Grace Pipkins clean up their chapter baby doll sheep for show. Lower feed costs are one of the main reasons Sickles FFA shows pygmy goats and baby doll sheep, enabling them to reap the benefits of developing life skill sets in their members.

4-H member Carissa Retter patiently w start of the whip popping contest, where place.

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orough County Fair

cker 4-H member Michael Kelly with his chin named Frizz. This was his second year bitor.

their ever

waits for the she won 2nd

Photo contests are a great and often unique snapshot of our world.

The talents of those who can paint such beautiful pictures were displayed.

Antioch Critters 4-H member Blake Frier with his dressed up rabbit reminiscent of the famous rabbit of Alice in Wonderland.

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Photos by Stephanie Farmer

FFA State Officer David Walden volunteers at the pig auction during the Hillsborough County Fair. Many do not realize that 99% of the people involved in making the County Fair happen are volunteers!

The beauty of handmade quilts is always popular at the Fair.

Patchwork 4-H member Tara Mecum holds sign for 4-H Bar B Que

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“HAS ANYONE SEEN MY CAR?”

Haught Funeral Home’s Smart Car, on display at the Hillsborough County Fair, is dwarfed by the giant John Deere tractor, provided by the Everglades John Deere Farm Equipment dealership of Plant City. The two vehicles provided a stark contrast in modern transportation and modern agricultural equipment.

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Opportunities Available Now for Conservation Assistance and Funding Apply before November 16, 2012 cut-off date Plant City, FL, October 16, 2012 -The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida is encouraging landowners, farmers and producers to visit their local NRCS office now to receive more information and apply for conservation technical assistance and possible cost share opportunities. Although applications are accepted on a continuous basis, Florida NRCS has established a cut-off date of November 16, 2012 for the acceptance of cost share program applications for the 2013 program year. “I urge agriculture producers in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties to visit with me as soon as possible to discuss their conservation needs and land management goals and objectives and the opportunities for financial assistance,” said Jennifer Abbey, NRCS district conservationist. Cost share programs may help eligible participants pay for conservation practices to prevent soil erosion, improve water quality, ad-

dress water quantity, and provide habitat for wildlife. The NRCS office is located at 201 S Collins Street Suite 202, Plant City or call 813-752-1474 x 3 for an appointment. NRCS works with landowners through conservation planning and assistance designed to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, and animals that result in productive lands and healthy ecosystems. Cost share funding is available to eligible applicants for the following Farm Bill programs: • The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a conservation program that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers who face threats to soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. Through EQIP, NRCS develops contracts with agricultural producers to voluntarily implement conservation practices. Persons engaged in livestock or agricultural production and owners of

non-industrial private forestland are eligable for the program. Eligable land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, private non-industrial forestland, and other farm or ranch lands.

resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by undertaking additional conservation activities; and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities.

• The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for developing or improving high quality habitat that supports fish and wildlife populations of National, State, Tribal, and local significance. Through WHIP, the NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to eligible private and Tribal landowners for the development of upland, wetland, aquatic, and other types of wildlife habitat.

To learn more about conservation plans, financial incentives and how you can get help creating a conservation plan for your farm, ranch or forest lands, please visit the NRCS office or go to www. fl.nrcs.usda.gov. Contact: Jennifer Abbey, District Conservationist, 813-752-1474 x 3

• The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land. CSP encourages producers to address resource concerns in a

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2013 Hall of Fame Inductees Announced Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Foundation Announce 2013 Hall of Fame Inductees Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Foundation have announced the four agricultural leaders in Florida who will be inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. The Agricultural Hall of Fame recognizes men and women who have made outstanding contributions to the state’s agriculture industry. “The 2013 Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees all exhibit dedication, service and commitment in improving their specialties, but also to educating the future

leaders of Florida’s agriculture industry,” Commissioner Putnam said. “I commend each of these Floridians for their dedication to the betterment of the agriculture industry and our state.” The annual induction ceremony and banquet will be held February 12 at the State Fairgrounds. Tickets will go on sale in January. They may be obtained at the Foundation website http://floridaaghalloffame.org This year’s inductees are:  Daniel A. Botts – Maitland, FL: For more than three decades, Botts has been a leader in pesticide policy and a vital advocate on behalf of Florida growers and minor crop producers. Through his leadership on national pesticide policy, Botts has ensured the continued avail-

ability of critical products, such as methyl bromide, that make growing fresh fruits and vegetables viable in Florida. Botts serves on many important government and agriculture industry committees, including the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Food Safety and Security Advisory Committee. Charles H. Bronson–Kissimmee, FL: A fifth generation Floridian, Bronson served as Florida Commissioner of Agriculture from 2001 to 2010 and is a past Florida Senator and President of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture in 2006. During his tenure as Commissioner of Agriculture, Bronson negotiated the settlement with BP to remedy effects of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill in 2010 and initiated the “Farm To Fuel” effort to position Florida as a leader in the production of alternative energy. Bronson currently owns and operates 1,333 acres of timber and perennial peanut hay in Madison County, Florida. Dr. Paul L. Nicoletti– Gainesville, FL: Dr. Nicoletti’s field studies on bucellosis, or “Bang’s Disease” led to modifications in the use of brucellosis vaccine, which in turn saved the Florida cattle industry millions of dollars and ultimately led to the eradication of the disease in the state. Dr. Nicoletti continued his positive impact on the industry through education as a professor at the College of Veterniary Medicine at the University of Florida for more than 25 years. Dr. Eugene E. Trotter- Gainesville, FL: The late Dr. Trotter dedicated his life to agriculture education and to increasing the leadership capacity of Florida agriculture. He established the Florida Leadership Program for Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida, which became the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources in 2002. Dr. Trotter raised more than $2 million to ensure the viability of the program.

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Billy Graham Urges Americans to Vote Biblical Values on November 6 www.LC.org Washington, DC – Rev. Billy Graham is running full-page advertisements in a number of newspapers across the country, urging voters to vote for candidates that support biblical values of life, natural marriage, and religious liberty. “We are at a crossroads and there are profound moral issues at stake,” Rev. Billy Graham said. “I strongly urge you to vote for candidates who support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and woman, protect the sanctity of life, and defend our religious freedoms.” “The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren and this great nation is crucial,” Graham said. “As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last. I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel,” he said. “Pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.” “This statement by Rev. Billy Graham is incredibly important for many reasons,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Billy Graham has publically recognized how critical this election is for biblical values of life, marriage, and religious liberty and urges people to vote in support of these values. This is unprecedented for the world’s best-known evangelist.

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Billy Graham has always steered clear of politics. In reality, Billy Graham has merely raised his prophetic voice like any preacher should when biblical and moral values are placed in jeopardy by politicians,” said Staver. Liberty Counsel has developed a voters’ guide, suitable for churches and other 501(c)3 organizations. “We encourage voters to educate themselves on where the candidates stand on the issues and then share that information with their friends,” said Staver. Staver continued, “Rev. Graham is boldly modeling what Liberty Counsel has been telling pastors and churches. Pastors and Christian ministry leaders have a high calling to speak the truth from the Word of God. There is an ongoing struggle for the soul of America. Many people look to pastors and Christian ministry leaders for guidance on important moral and social issues. Liberty Counsel applauds Rev. Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.” Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

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Research Aims to Extend Strawberry Growing Season in Mid-Atlantic Region By Sharon Durham Growing strawberry plants in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region beneath canopy-like structures called low tunnels can allow the season to start earlier and continue through the summer and fall, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists. At the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Genetic Improvement of Fruits and Vegetables Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., geneticist Kim Lewers is testing some strawberry cultivars in the new production system designed to extend the growing season in the northern and eastern United States. Lewers’ research partners are horticulturist John Enns and support services staffer George Meyers. ARS is USDA’s chief

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intramural scientific research agency. Low tunnels are canopies made of long sheets of plastic laid over support hoops that hold it about 30 inches above the strawberry bed. Strawberries are planted beneath these structures, which protect the fruit from rain, provide shade from damaging infrared and UV light, and can capture warmth during the cooler spring and fall seasons. By protecting the plants from rain, the tunnels help to minimize two important diseases of strawberry, Botrytis and anthracnose, which thrive in the rain. Botrytis occurs in cool, wet conditions, while anthracnose takes hold in hot, wet conditions. According to Lewers, high tun

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nels also are used by growers, but they can be problematic because the humidity is higher in the tunnel, which causes more Botrytis and more powdery mildew, another strawberry disease. But in low tunnels, the humidity is the same as outside the tunnel when the sides of the tunnel are up. The Maryland peak strawberry season is usually mid-May to mid-June, but in Lewers’ low-tunnel production system, strawberries start earlier and continue through the fall—essentially a whole new season. In some months, yields in the low tunnels can be as high as those from the same cultivars when

they are grown in California, where they were developed. All of the strawberry plant material developed in Lewers’ research program has been and still is freely available. The plants are not patented, so they are available without special license to any nursery that wants to grow them.

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Florida Dairyman Receives Prestigious Regional Award An elite team of judges has named Dale McClellan the 2012 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. The award recognizes superior farm production and management as well as community leadership. McClellan and his family operate a dairy in Citrus County and a processing facility in Hillsborough County. A commitment to outstanding quality and safety has enabled the family to become the provider of milk and other foods to multiple school districts in Florida. Along with 140 employees the dairyman has built a business that also follows the highest standards of animal care. Terri Whitacre, food service director for Charlotte County schools, closely monitors the items served to area young people at breakfast and lunch. The foods supplied by the McClellans “are just top quality,” Whitacre said. “The fact that they have their own dairy cattle and they have higher standards for their dairy than what is required by the

USDA gives us that much more confidence in the products.” McClellan has been an effective leader in the Citrus County Economic Development Council, the Citrus County Agricultural Alliance and the Chamber of Commerce. He also previously served as president of the Hillsborough County Farm Bureau. Earlier this year McClellan was selected as the 2012 Florida Farmer of the Year. At an Oct. 16 awards luncheon held at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga., he received the nod as the regional winner from among 10 state winners. His win marks the seventh time a Florida agricultural producer has earned the regional award since the program was established in 1990. Pictured Left:

Dale McClellan, center, the 2012 Swisher Sweets/ Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year, and his wife, Mary, receive congratulations from Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam at the Expo’s awards luncheon in Moultrie, Ga. on Oct. 16.

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Hillsborough County Fair’s 2012 Harvest Award Recipients

Lifetime Achievement Award Elton & Vee Hinton (posthumous) Presented to the Hinton Family

Outstanding Public & Community Service

Farm Family of the Year The Ed Swindle Family

The Mosaic Company Award presented to Diane Youmans by Harvest Awards Chairman Josh Burgin.

Agribusiness of the Year

Urban Agriculturalist of the Year

Gus Muench, Gus’s Crabby Adventures Award presented by School Board Member Stacy White to Gus Muench.

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Seminole Heights Community Garden Presented by Tampa City Councilman Mike Suarez.

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FRNEWS V39 Issue 8