Page 1


Agriculture’s Most Trusted Source For News, Views and Advertising Since 1974

Biggest Donation In History to United Food Bank Presented at Plant City Daybreak Rotary Cracker Fest By Stephanie Farmer-Member Plant City Day Break Rotary With the sound of bluegrass music and crackling kettles of jumbali, fried deer, elk and other wild game, a historic moment in the betterment of the community took place at Plant City Daybreak Rotary’s Cracker Fest. Unity in the Community, a charitable organization in which Steve Hurley of Stingray Chevrolet is president, presented a check for $30,000 to the United Food Bank. Never in the history of the United Food Bank have they received such a generous donation. This Unity in the Community gift fills a huge need as our economy in taking a downward dip has dragged many unsuspecting families along with it. Plant City Daybreak Rotary’s Cracker Fest was also a fundraiser enabling other charitable acts, such as bikes to a local school for youth with perfect attendance, picnic tables to help the handicapped at Camp Rotary, youth scholarship to attend a Rotary leadership camp and other community needs. Rotary is all about aiding others.

This event hosted a silent auction with items such as a membership to Anytime Fitness and YMCA, autographed sports memorabilia, ferns donated by Tampa Wholesale Nursery. Higgenbotham Auctioneers donated the use of one of their auctioneers who auctioned off items such as an air boat ride, sailboat trip, vacation package and plane ride with Representative Rich Glorioso. Even the Mayor of Plant City, Dan Raulerson, was auctioned off for a day of mowing at the MacDonald Center in Plant City, a nonprofit organization providing on the job training and opportunities to those with special needs. Rotary, a worldwide organization has the motto “service above self”. While taste buds were served a variety of delicious tasting food, the main theme was clearly serving others. If you would like to learn more or join Daybreak Rotary in Plant City visit their website at

Rotarian Gary Sears has been serving up his famous jumbali at fundraisers for over 15 years.

Unity in the Community’s historic $30,000 donation to the United Food Bank Bluegrass was the perfect music for Cracker Fest

Putting others before self: Susan Hardin, Mayor Dan Raulerson, Jim Chancey, Dave Updike, and Mike Hardin.

Rep. Rich Glorioso and his wife Judy review the items up for auction.

Stingray Chevrolet’s Steve Hurley looks at the silent auction racing memorabilia.


Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

By Stephanie Farmer

Often seen as a blur at the Hillsborough County Fair, there are hundreds of volunteers who give countless hours to making this event a success. Here are some snapshots. Nat Storms, the father of Senator Ronda Storms, is always lending a helping hand in the background.

Susan Reed and Don Hastings spend countless hours coordinating the sheep show. Putting together a show is a lot more than just bringing in entries and throwing up a showring.

Behind the sea of red shirts are interspersed adult and youth volunteers who helped with the educational tours.

From Mike Dry, looking for swine bids, to FFA members holding boards; without the volunteers the swine show would be just a group of pigs running around a show ring.

According to Sally Alford her Jack Russell terrier has put in countless petting hours over the years. Many youth who do not have a dog actually get to pet one.

Above: Josh Burgin and Ken Anderson Above: Mickey Oliver and Ken Anderson

Ticket sales was done by a host of volunteers such as the Bay Area Bandits Shooting Club.

The Fair does take time to recognize their volunteers with a special dinner and presentations to some of their outstanding volunteers such as Mickey Oliver who hauled over 20 tractor trailer loads of wood shavings.

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Josh Burgin was thanked for re-instituting a very successful Harvest Awards this year. So, the next time you recognize or know of a Hillsborough County Fair volunteer, take a moment to tell them, “Thanks!” Because without them there would be no Fair.

This photo encapsulates two volunteers in one man: Ken Anderson, the Fair President, is a volunteer seen here overlooking the rodeo crowd, who is also a member of the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse that helped with parking and security.


State Working to Improve Fast-Track Permitting Process for New Farm Land

In the October addition of the Farm and Ranch News, I wrote about the new Florida State Statute, passed by the 2011 Legislature and signed by Governor Scott. This was an Agricultural Bill that began as HB 421. It was declared that the purpose of this statute was to simplify the process that a farmer must go through in order to bring new farm land into Agricultural production. It was pointed out to me that the way I explained the process as created by HB 421, was not very accurate. This is the way it really works. All of the agencies that now process information and eventually issue the permits for such new farm creation will continue to do just what they do now. If the farmer feels that the current process is flawed and a decision that suits his farm plan and his financial ability to create his new farm has not been rendered, this farmer can contact FDACS ( Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) and ask for them to review the findings of the state agencies. Those agencies include SWFWMD, EPC, DEP and others. At that point, FDACS will review the application and make a final decision. Yes, this does sound like it just adds more time and more red tape to the process. I have spoken with the FDACS supervisors who manage this program, and they assure me that this will speed up the permitting process and not make it more complicated. Mr. Noel Marton represents FDACS in West Central Florida and Mr. Marton attended the October Hillsborough County Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee (CEAC) meeting. The CEAC committee is the 17-member citizens committee (of which I am a member) that meets monthly and advises the Hillsborough County EPC on matters such as this as well as other things. It was kind of an odd result that came out of Mr. Marton’s presentation to the committee. He first stated that when FDACS agreed to review a permit application, the FDACS decision would be the final finding over SWFWMD, EPC, or any other state agency. The EPC attorney, who was in attendance at this meeting, stated that EPC does not operate under the same state statute as does other agencies; therefore, FDACS does not have the final say over EPC permitting decisions. It should be noted here that EPC is not a state agency, but is a county agency that is authorized by the State. It appears that the statute created by HB 421 does not affect EPC. Mr. Marton back-tracked on his statement and agreed that the EPC attorney was probably correct. He stated that EPC was probably not affected by the new statute. After I had a day or two to ponder these thoughts, I called Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam’s Chief of Staff and reviewed this with him. He agreed that this interpretation was probably correct, even though the intent of the law was to bring all state


agencies under this law and make it less burdensome to bring new land into Agricultural production. A couple of days ago I had the opBy Roy Davis- Associate Editor portunity to speak directly with Adam Putnam on the issue. He informed me that he was quite aware of this situation and that they are working to correct this anomaly. FDACS Staff informs me that they have considered a small number of such permitting problems, and that the State Water Districts,(there are 5 of them) have cooperated well in resolving any disputed issues. I can report to you that the Hillsborough County case that I outlined in our October column (Volume 38, Number 8, Page 4) has not yet been resolved, but our new NRCS representative for our area is now working on the issue. I have a degree of confidence that he will be able to work out the kinks and get this permit finally oriented to allowing us to produce strawberries on the 40 acres that was first permitted for blueberries.

the davis report

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News


Wish Farms Announces the First Strawberries of the Florida Season

Wish Farms, the largest grower and shipper of strawberries in Florida, today announces the kick-off of its Florida strawberry season, projected to be the biggest to date. With a larger supply of both conventional and organic berries, the first fruit is harvested from 150 acres and will be available at most major local grocery store chains. “This year, our strawberry acreage increased from 1,500 to over 2,000.” says Gary Wishnatzki, President and CEO of Wish Farms. “In past years, our season begins in December, so we are excited for our customers to enjoy our berries just in time for Thanksgiving.” In addition to the more traditional bare root plant, Wish Farms is harvesting plug plants— young plants grown in individual cells. Bare root plants require 9 to 14 days of overhead water, whereas plug plants require almost solely drip irrigation, minimizing water usage. When transferred to the fields with established growth, they begin to produce fruit more quickly with a greater potential for early yields. “A traditional plug plant is harvested 14 to 20


days earlier than a bare root plant,” says Wayne Moss, grower and nurseryman for Wish Farms. “When the plug plant begins to cycle down, bare root plants begin harvest, providing a wider variation of fruit production throughout the season.” The majority of the early berries will be picked from the Radiance variety, bred by University of Florida researchers and predominately grown in Florida. A full supply of berries is expected to be available by mid-December, in time for the holiday push. For more information about Wish Farms’ delicious Florida strawberries and other fresh products, please visit the company’s website ( and Facebook fan page ( About Wish Farms: Wish Farms, founded in 1922, is the largest grower and shipper in Florida and has been for over 50 years. Nationally recognized for quality and innovation, Wish Farms is a year round supplier that represents over 2,000 acres – shipping over 4 million flats of strawberries, 6 million pounds of blueberries and 1 million packages of vegetables a year. Wish Farms utilizes FreshQC™, a patented tool for traceability, to ensure quality by tying consumer feedback to the harvest time, place and picker.

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News


since 1971

Brandon 3159 State Road 60 E, * VALRICO

Auto Salvage 689-8131

Auto Services 689-8255

/&864&% "6501"354


Loetscher Auto Parts 813-752-3770 64&%"6501"354 i616--uPSi8&16--u


Installation available Warranties available


We Buy Wrecked or Junk Cars, Trucks, & Motor Homes

4306 HWY 574 W, * PLANT CITY


Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

National 4-H Council Receives $6.3 Million for National Youth Mentoring Programs

The Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has awarded two grants totaling $6.3 million to National 4-H Council. In support of its national youth mentoring programs, $5.3 million will go toward the OJJDP National Mentoring Program (NMP), and $1 million will support the 4-H Tribal Youth National Mentoring Program. The grants come as a part of the OJJDP’s national effort to strengthen, expand and implement youth mentoring activities nationwide to improve the lives of millions of young Americans. “This is an exciting and unique opportunity to deliver high-quality positive youth development resources and programs to at-risk populations in communities throughout the nation,” said Donald T. Floyd Jr., National 4-H Council president and CEO. “Moreover, through the 4-H Tribal Youth National Mentoring Program, land-grant institutions will have the opportunity to

adapt an evidence-based 4-H program that will lead to positive outcomes such as reduced juvenile delinquency and strengthened family relationships.” The $5.3 million grant will support a second year of the NMP. In 2010, OJJDP awarded National 4-H Council a $5 million grant in support of the 4-H NMP, allowing state 4-H programs to select from three of Cooperative Extension’s successful mentoring programs to implement in their local communities: 4-H Mentoring: Youth & Families with Promise, created by Utah State University; 4-H Tech Wizards, created by Oregon State University; and 4-H LIFE, created by the University of Missouri. The primary focus of the second year of NMP funding is to continue the high-quality 4-H mentoring programs started in the first year of the program, and to expand existing and new programs to serve military families and their children. The $1 million grant will support the 4-H Tribal Youth National Mentoring

Program as it adapts the 4-H Mentoring: Youth and Families with Promise (4-H YFP) program in up to 29 tribal communities, reaching 1,100 Native American youth ages 10 to 17. Developed by Utah State University Cooperative Extension, 4-H YFP is an evidenced-based program designed to decrease juvenile delinquency, improve social competencies, and strengthen family bonds. 4-H YFP utilizes 4-H club activities, family nights out, and one-on-one or group mentoring sessions to engage children, families and community mentors. 4-H is currently serving more than 60,000 Native American youth with the majority still living on reservations. Additionally, through the landgrant university network, 4-H delivers programming in partnership with the 33 Tribal Colleges. This unique affiliation and infrastructure draws upon the assets of on-campus activities and programs, college student-mentors, and university

faculty and experts in high-quality positive youth development. 4-H Mentoring: Youth and Families with Promise has been replicated in 15 counties throughout Utah and 22 additional sites across the United States including two tribal communities. ### About 4-H 4-H is a community of six million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, nonprofit partner of 4-H National Headquarters at the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within USDA. 4-H programs are implemented by 111 land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices in every county across the country. Learn more about 4-H at

FWC Boosts Flexibility to Relocate Gopher Tortoises to Public Conservation Lands

More flexibility in relocating gopher tortoises may lead to more of the threatened, long-lived tortoises being moved from areas about to be developed onto public conservation lands, so the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Nov. 17 approved revisions to gopher tortoise permitting guidelines to enable that.

“ To day’s approved revisions are part of the FWC’s adaptive management strategy that balances the most effective gopher tortoise conservation with the needs of Floridians,” said Deborah Burr, Gopher Tortoise Management Plan Coordinator. The revisions to the permitting guidelines are also designed to achieve the conservation objectives for the management plan. One objective addresses decreasing gopher tortoise deaths on lands proposed for development through responsible relocation of the tortoises. Another objective calls for repopulat-

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

ing gopher tortoises on public conservation lands where they no longer occur or where densities are low. The revisions streamline the process for the Disturbed Site permit. This permit authorizes the relocation of gopher tortoises after sites have been prematurely cleared and before tortoises have been relocated. The FWC approved its first management plan for gopher tortoises in September 2007, providing conservation measures to ensure gopher tortoises thrive in Florida. The plan also calls for permitting guidelines that enable Florida to meet the tortoise’s habitat needs now and in the future. Initially approved in 2008, the guidelines are revised as the FWC learns more about balancing the needs of gopher tortoises and people. The current revisions came after meetings with stakeholders during the past year. The input received was incorporated into the revisions approved by the Commission. Four years after adopting its first Gopher Tortoise Management Plan, the

FWC is also asking the public to share its thoughts on improving conservation of the gopher tortoise. Loss of habitat is the main threat to the gopher tortoise’s survival, and that plan will be updated in 2012. Florida has accomplished much for gopher tortoises in the past four years, including the humane relocation of more than 4,000 gopher tortoises from sites slated for development. Conserving the gopher tortoise is essential not only to the tortoise, which lives for up to 60 years, but to 350 other Florida species, such as the indigo snake and burrowing owl, which share and shelter in the tortoise’s extensive burrows. People with suggestions on revising the Gopher Tortoise Management Plan can review it and submit their ideas online at GT2/Lists/Input on Revisions to the GT Mgmt Plan. Public input will be accepted through Nov. 28. For more information on the gopher tortoise, please visit GopherTortoise.


“As We Forgive” There are many temptations that beset each of us and it seems we each have our own special weakness. One, it seems to me, is universal - failure to forgive. It is so much easier to bear a grudge than it is to forgive! Perhaps that is why Jesus emphasized forgiving one another so much. Augustine of Hippo, writing in the late fourth and early fifth centuries, comments well, “The one Son of God … taught us a prayer. … ‘Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors’ … Our Lord and Master and Savior, knowing this dangerous temptation in this life when He taught us six or seven petitions in this prayer, took none of them for Himself to treat of and to commend to us with greater earnestness than this one. … What, then, is that frightful tempta-


tion which I have mentioned, that grievous, that tremendous temptation, which must be avoided with all our strength, with all our resolution; what is it? When we go about to avenge ourselves. Anger is kindled and the man burns to be avenged. Oh, frightful temptation! Thou art losing that whereby thou hadst to attain pardon for other faults. If thou hadst committed any sin as to other senses and other lusts, hence mightst thou have had thy cure in that thou mightst say, “Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.” But whoso instigateth thee to take vengeance will lose for thee the power thou hadst to say, “As we also forgive our debtors.” Of all the very important points in the Lord’s Prayer - what if God’s kingdom hasn’t come, what if His will is not done in me? Jesus only chooses one to repeat, to amplify: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespass-

es.” (Matthew 6:14-15, ASV) Fast forward now a couple of years or so after He taught His disciples on that mountain above the Galilean plain. Stand at the place of the skull. Behind looms Mount Zion and the temple of the living God but before you stands a smaller mount - and a frail form fainting on a cross. The Son of God, the King of Zion, become a curse, impaled between two thieves. Among His closest followers the disciple He loves, perhaps with an arm around His earthly mother, and one, maybe a little apart, who just the night before cursed as he denied with an oath that he had ever known the man now hanging on the cross (and perhaps remembering that as the oath left his lips, Jesus turned and looked at him). Apart from these and the merely curious stand the Rabbis, lawyers, and elders of Judah taunting, laughing, and ridiculing. Beneath His cross a group of Roman soldiers gamble for His clothes. He lifts His head and whis-

pers, words that echo into the millennia, through both earth and heaven, “Father, forgive them ...”

Of all the things we have to be thankful for in this season of thanksgiving, be thankful that we were taught to forgive.

Ephesians 4:31-32 (ASV)

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you.

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News



Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News




WE BUY GOLD - Any Condition



with Instructors Certified by NRA!

FAMILY OWNED BY: Elmer Robbins Martha Ann Robbins Jimmy Robbins Cindy Gilmore We buy and sell RIFLES, PISTOLS and SHOTGUNS!

3-Hour Course Reg. $100 – ONLY $75

(Meets requirements for Concealed Weapons Firearms Permit)


Jewelry by El-Mar

814 W. Martin L. King Blvd • Plant City, FL • 813.754.0858

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News



Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Rabbits Grow Feathers? Educating Youth at the Hillsborough County Fair! By Stephanie Farmer-Associate Publisher

Did you know that rabbits grow feathers? And sheep, after being sheared, stay wooly? That’s what some of the elementary students who were in my tour group thought upon arriving at the Hillsborough County Fair. Fair Manager Tom Umiker was once an FFA State officer, while his sister Janet Aversa, the Fair secretary, used to be a school teacher. Tom’s wife, Julie, currently is a school teacher. They personally know the necessity of making a connection between books and hands-on learning. There is no substitute. These tours do more than educate elementary

students, they also educate the middle and high school livestock exhibitors. The dairy youth honed their public speaking skills and spirit of volunteerism as they help headed up the tours which began at the dairy barn. Other livestock exhibitors also chipped in, giving groups of youth tours, explaining that roosters crow, not hens and not all rabbits are the same. The Hillsborough County Fair is more than just an event. It is an educational event and over a two-day period more than 800 youth took part in the school tours. If you would like your school to participate next year, call 813-737-FAIR.

Petting their first calf while a dairy exhibitor teaches them about the industry.

Ken Suarez showed them exotic snakes and animals.

How about a horse that can add and multiply? I’m still trying to figure that one out! Big green tractors really do exist!

FFA members brought their rabbits out for the youth to pet.

4-H dog exhibitors explain the skills necessary to show dogs. They also passed out AKC educational materials on dog safety.

Who said pigs can’t swim?! Robinson’s Racing Pigs can!

Youth learned how to milk on the mechanical cow.

Many “firsts” were experienced like seeing a call duck.

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

What’s a school tour without a fire truck? But, students got to see it go into action as their visit was cut short due to responding to an emergency.

Dairy exhibitor Trent Johnson then shows them how a real cow is milked.


Florida Ag Expo 2011 By Stephanie Farmer-Associate Publisher Educational speakers, field tours, discussion of latest research, food safety discussion and more were the topics of this year’s Florida Ag Expo at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. As we know, governmental regulations, research and other factors take the simple act of planting a seed or transplant in the ground to feed the population into another dimension. In fact governmental regulations alone, if not carefully put in place, can choke farmers out of business with unrealistic expectations. As one visitor to the event told me when I asked, “What did you learn today?” He shook his head and replied, “Too many problems, not enough answers and a lot of the problems stem from governmental bureaucracy.” Yet, all in all this was an excellent event, opening up a lot of discussion and attempts at problem solving in a variety of areas as well as new knowledge on the latest ag research. Below are some “snapshots” of some of the over 10 educational classes. Labor Today? And What About Tomorrow -Mike Carlton, Director of Labor Relations, FFVA H-2A Limitations “Approximately 6500 applications filed nationally last year. Representing approximately 60,000 workers. Department of Labor missed approval deadline 50% of the time. User survey found that 72% of employers received workers late (average 22 days). If national e-verify instituted…application rate is expected to increase to 150,000”. Bottom line, if government can’t handle the 6,500 applications, how are they going to handle 150,000? Enforcement is also an issue. In 2011 there has been a 400% increase in I-9 audits with triple the number of worksite enforcement cases, double the number of employers criminally arrested and a 1,500% increase in fines from $675,209 dollars in the previous year to $10,463,987! Our government recognizes there is a problem with various Senators and Congressmen proposing a lot of different bills. Unfortunately, they are all very confusing in their language and none offer clear answers to American farmers as far as their workforce. Part of the problem is that our government is NOT hearing from the individual farmers. They are hearing from lobbyists and “group” organizations, but not from you- the individual farmers. Instead when immigration issues arise their phones are flooded with anti-immigration people and in many cases not ONE call from you, the farmer. Farmers need to make the effort to be heard and call

their Congressmen and ask them to fix the problem, then call back in a few weeks and ask if they are addressing it and keep at it on an individual basis. Getting the Most Out of Cooling Your Crops – Dr. Steve Sargent, UF/IFAS Horticulture Sciences Department The focus of this speaker was geared towards smaller operations-new growers selling to local markets, as more and more people are looking for locally grown produce. He started out giving some interesting data. Peaches if not cooled and picked in 85 degree weather have about a 2 day shelf life. Cooling to 65 degrees gives them 4-6 days of shelf life. 45 degrees gives them 8-12 days of shelf life. This is one of the reasons why cooling is so important. He discussed storing under shade, tunnel cooling, immersion hydro cooling and other methods. In regards to immersion hydro cooling which is done in concrete tanks, he was very clear that the sanitation of the cooling water is critical. Grafting Work for Control Bacterial Wilt of Tomato – Dr Matthews Paret, UF/IFAS NFREC Studies show that grafting does work for the control of bacterial wilt. In fact grafting vegetables is nothing new as Korea, Taiwan and Japan have been grafting vegetables for production since the 1920’s. “ 81% (Japan) and 54% (South Korea) are grafted vegetables. It’s also popular in the Mediterranean.” In regards to tomatoes there are a lot of factors to making grafting a success. The root stock must have a matching stem diameter, which calls for precise timing of planting the seeds for grafting. After grafting the plants are put in healing chambers for 5 days, acclimated for 5 days and then exposed to sunlight. Non grafted tomatoes cost about .20 -.30 cents per plant. Grafted tomatoes cost about $1 to $1.75 per plant, yet with the knowledge bacterial wilt can be managed by the grafting.

Tyler Jacoby and Clint Hunnicutt from UF taste the different orange samples.

Verti Gro displaying an alternative and lush way of growing strawberries.

Food Safety Issues On the Eastern Shore of Virginia – Dr. Steve Rideout, East Shore AREC, Virginia Tech Virginia is ranked number three in the nation for fresh market tomatoes. He talked about several food safety issues. One interesting note was that one of the studies they have been conducting is whether or not bacterial wilt can make fruit more susceptible to Salmonella. So far the answer is “No”.

Ashley Leonard, a former 4-H and FFA member, was at the Expo. During her time as an FFA member Ashley won a host of State and National Floriculture awards. Ashley was all smiles as she explained she works at the Research lab helping with tomato studies and just received her FFA American degree, while wearing her Champion Sheep Showmanship Buckle from the Florida State Fair.


Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News


State Senator Ronda Storms Calls for Joint Select Committee On Deficit Reduction to Reform Public Assistance Programs

State Senator Ronda Storms (R- Valrico) has written to the members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction requesting that they take immediate actions to ensure that further publiclyfunded assistance programs are not being used inappropriately. In a letter to the bipartisan congressional committee, Senator Storms outlined measures that both the state and Congress could take to solve the current problems associated with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Cash Assistance Program (TCA). Senator Storms would like to see foods that are unaffordable to the middle class, not be allowable purchases for SNAP recipients. Also, foods that are generally considered “junk food,” with a low nutritional value, should not be allowable purchases either and should adopt a list similar to the allowable purchases for the Women, Infants, Children (WIC) program. The State of Florida has experienced problems with recipients abusing


tax dollars after making cash withdrawals at locations where basic necessities were not provided. Additionally, reports have shown millions of public assistance dollars have been spent on out-of-state transactions over the last two years. Changes to this federally-funded program could help ensure that benefits are not being used frivolously across the nation. “I believe we must work at all levels of government to reduce the gross amount of wasteful spending that has plagued our nation and prevents us from achieving a full economic recovery,” said Senator Storms. “I would like to see the committee provide greater oversight of public assistance programs, save taxpayer money, and add the accountability that Americans want and so desperately need.” Additionally, Senator Ronda Storms is working on legislation for the upcoming legislative session to restrict the use of benefits on junk food, personal items and for out-of-state purchases.

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Arts and Crafts Add Color to the Hillsborough County Fair By Stephanie Farmer

This year’s newly designed arts and crafts event brought in a variety of new entries and color to the Fair.

Beautiful paintings and photos were also on exhibit

Rotary’s Annual Chili Cookoff . Cooking is a delicious tasting type of craft that can add some color to your tongue! Funds raised at this Rotary event are used in helping others.

Ceramics on display made by young and old.

2011 Hillsborough County Fair Livestock Events By Stephanie Farmer

Exhibitors in a variety of ages listen intently to the judges during the sheep show. While full size horses did participate in this year’s horse show, minatures were there too! Taylor Harrelson, Katie Crooks and Samantha Black from Plant City High FFA with their miniature horses.

2nd annual Whip popping contest winners: LR Marissa Zolana (particpant award) , her brother Zachary Zolna (Int. winner), Kaitlyn Gill –Hills. County Cattlemen Sweetheart, Yancy Ray (Grand Champion) and Hillsborough County Fair Queen Morgan Boykin Chamberlain FFA members Tina Torres, Marisol Morales and Shaheedah Salaam wait their turn for poultry showmanship with their call duck ( which is a miniature type duck).

Andi Butts Senior Showmanship winner showing her fast running swine during the swine show. This year marked a record number of bidders during the auction. Special thanks for their support.

Alonso FFA members with their heifer named “Moo-Moo”. LR Taylor Toms, Taylor Reed, Jamie Heeman (advisor) Arista Georgiou, and Katie Shemwell. This was their first time showing, placing 6th in the clipping contest.

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Beautiful greenery with the plant show was added to the Fair this year.

Pygmy goats chowing down before their show the next day.

Dairy goat show at the County Fair had a huge FFA exhibitor presence this year.

The beef show continues to grow in numbers and quality. Ashley Nobles receives Reserve Champion Showmanship award.


Robbie Dry: Florida’s Senior Beef Consumer Representative By Robbie Dry would gain the knowledge, meet the people I have, and experience the events, and contests I have and will experience in the future. Traveling to the National Beef Ambassador Competition in Wooster, Ohio at the beginning of October, is where Anna Conrad and I competed for the Florida Jr. Beef Consumer Representative and a spot on the National Team. I competed in 4 different events: the Media Interview, Classroom Presentation, Consumer Demonstration, and the Issues Response. I learned a great deal of knowledge and made lifelong friends that share in the same passion I do, and that’s being a beef advocate! This started a driving fire in me to spread my knowledge and love of the Beef Industry to everyone within the state of Florida, from 3rd graders to adults. It is our job as cattle producers to let the consumer know what we’re doing to provide them with the quality beef they deserve. With the Help of the Florida Cattlewomen, the Florida Beef Council, and Stephanie Conrad of the Hillsborough County Cattlewomen, and Advisor of the Hillsborough Junior Cattlemen’s Association, I have accomplished so much, and will continue to strive for excellence and let the consumer know how hard our farmers and ranchers work to provide us with quality beef. I have experienced so much so far, from being a judge at the Hillsborough County Fair Youth Cooking Contest, to the Grill Masters Experience; from National Ambassador and AgVentures, I hope I am impacting young and old to learn the nutritional value of beef, and to always have it in your diet, it gives you the energy to go. I thank God for the experience to be Florida’s Sr. Beef Consumer Representative, and I will continue to share my story, and so should you! I would love to share my story. If you have a 4-H group or a group of any kind that would be interested in learning more about the Beef Industry, email me at Rmdry1992@ The experience to serve as the 2011-2012 Florida Sr.


Beef Consumer Representative has so far been incredible, from the events I have already done to those which I will do I have gained so much knowledge, and learned what my true passion is, this of course is The Beef Industry. When I was announced as the new Florida Sr. Beef Consumer Representative, I never thought I

Robbie with Anna Conrad Florida Jr. Beef Consumer Representative at Ag Ventures

Left to right Minnesota Jr. Beef Ambassador, Anna Conrad Florida Jr. Beef Consumer Representative, Robbie Dry Florida Sr. Beef Consumer Representative, California Sr. Beef Ambassador, and Arkansas Jr. Beef Ambassador

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Michigan State’s Dr. Erik Runkle Hosts Podcast Series on Sustainable Greenhouse Technologies and Innovation See 42 Video Interviews at Those growers who think that investments in sustainability techniques and technologies are merely a drain on the bottom line should make time to view a new series of video podcasts. The series, live on www. as of October 31, features Michigan State University’s Dr. Erik Runkle interviewing greenhouse growers in the U.S. and Holland on their sustainable practices. In dozens of can -

versations shot on location in greenhouses, labs and garden centers, Dr. Runkle delves into the various ways the trade is investing in sustainable solutions to increase productivity and profitability, with a sharp eye on return on investment. “We talked to a lot of people and asked tough questions,” said Dr. Runkle. “We discussed cuttingedge approaches like geothermal heating systems and solar panels for electricity, which in some cases are only economical with government subsidies. We also looked at smart, common-sense solutions like the grower who borrowed technology from the tropical fish industry to keep orchid shipments at optimal temperatures. In many situations, the return on investment for even very expensive conversions was surprisingly reasonable.” The project interviewed more than 20 greenhouse growers and industry experts who share their experiences and insights in a series of more than 40 video podcasts. The interviews explore major issues in sustainability today, including energy, lighting, water, automation, pest control, logistics and profitability. Additionally, the team sought answers to questions about sustainable practices posed by American trade journalists Ellen Wells of Green Profit, Tim Hodson of Greenhouse Product News and Kevin Yanik of Greenhouse Grower. The podcast series can be viewed beginning October 31 at and also on the project’s YouTube channel, com/dutchsustain. The production team was led by MSU Associate Professor Erik Runkle and Dutch Advisor Agricultural Affairs Caroline Feitel of the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Washington, D.C. Interviews were conducted in July and August with U.S. and Dutch greenhouse growers and other professionals on location at OFA Short Course in Columbus and Oberlin, Ohio and throughout the Netherlands. July 2011 interviews at OFA & Oberlin, OH: • David Arkell, 360 Energy, Burlington, ON, Canada, president/ceo • Scott Giesbrecht, Green Circle Growers, Oberlin, OH, sales manager (grower& marketer of plants, including “Just Add Ice” Orchids)

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Dr. Charlie Hall, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, Ellison Chair in International Floriculture • Tim Hodson, Greenhouse Product News, Arlington Heights, IL, editorial director • Kevin Yanik, Greenhouse Grower, Willoughby, OH, editor • Ellen Wells, Green Profit, Boston, MA, editor August 2011 interviews in the Netherlands: • Steven Bol, Koppert Biological Systems, Berkel en Rodenrijs, NL, North American area manager (specialist in biological crop protection & natural pollination), shot at A&G van den Bosch, Bleiswijk, NL • Johan Hensen, Haluco, Bleiswijk, NL, commercial director (vegetable marketing firm) • Marcel Koene, Garden Center Groenrijk, Gravenzande, NL, owner • Rob Meijer, Wageningen UR Horticulture, Bleiswijk, NL, head of Team Crop Health • Eric Poot, Wageningen UR Horticulture, Bleiswijk, NL, head of Team Crop & Farm Systems • Rene Schoone, Floracultura, Heemskerk, NL, owner (phalaenopsis grower) • Richard ter Laak, Ter Laak, Wateringen, NL, coowner (phalaenopsis grower) • Bedette van de Zande, Vitro Plus, Haamstede, NL, laboratory manager (tissue culture) • Rik van den Bosch, A&G van den Bosch, Bleiswijk, NL, grower (beefsteak tomatoes) • Bram van Marrewijk, Agro Advies Buro, Naaldwijk, NL, (horticulture consultancy), shot at Rijn Plant, De Lier, NL, (anthurium grower) • Michel van Rijn, Rijn Plant, De Lier, NL, commercial director (anthurium grower) • Bert van Ruijven, Arcadia, De Lier, NL, grower (chrysanthemum grower) • Jeroen van Velzel, Lemnis Lighting, Barneveld, NL, project director, shot at Boer & Den Hoedt, Ridderkerk, NL (grower of specialty lettuces) • Wilco Wisse, Van der Lans, Rilland, NL, commercial manager (tomato grower & only certified tomato exporter to US). The video podcast project was conceived by Agricultural Counselor Martin Olde Monnikhof of the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Washington, D.C. and produced as a joint project by his office, the Horticulture Department of Michigan State University, and the Dutch Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation. The Sustainability Initiative team is comprised of Martin Olde Monnikhof, Erik Runkle, Caroline Feitel, and Sally Ferguson and David Caras of Ferguson Caras LLC, Danby, VT.


Florida FFA Alumni Celebrates “40 Years and on the Grow” by Hosting its Second Leadership Conference! By Andrea Stevenson

Former Deland FFA student Crissy Goodfellow holding a “Blue and Gold Forever” pin that she received for volunteering. She also received her American FFA Degree at the National Convention. 40 years strong! This year is the National FFA Alumni’s 40th birthday and nationwide we are celebrating! If you are involved with FFA and Agriculture Education then you know how vital outside support is for a FFA Chapter to survive. To the rescue is the FFA Alumni! Our members will do whatever it takes to assist the FFA to make their Chapter and Advisor a success. There are over 50,000 members in the National FFA Alumni. Florida is the 4th largest state with over 2500 supporters. Tthe Florida Alumni Board of Directors decided to host a Leadership Conference for its members. The goal is simple: better prepare those attendees to become stronger advocates for FFA and how their Alumni can work to accomplish just that.


August 19-20th, 75 registered guests attended our second annual Development Conference at the FFA Leadership Training Center. Exciting because this was a 33% increase from the first year! We were honored by visits from the new State FFA Advisor, Amy McAllister; FFA Executive Director, Ronnie Simmons; Mr. Gary Bartley of the Foundation; our Southern Region Alumni Representative, Johnny Jones and Amber Smyer from the National Alumni Staff. Five of the State FFA Officers even took us on a Lion Hunt! In addition to celebrating, various sessions were held throughout the day to help members get back to the basics and understand what the Alumni’s purpose is. Nationally, we are striving to “Connect” to former FFA members while building our resources through a new computer program called the Ag Career Network. This will enable Alumni to better communicate with Advisors and fellow constituents but also build individual resumes. So, when the

Chapter needs a person that specializes in “Livestock Judging” all they have to do is put into the Network. Delbert Redditt, a former Ag Teacher from Christmas, Florida, taught us that we need to be great to MOTIVATE! His daughter, Terra, also joined in the presentation. She is a member of the Madison FFA Chapter and now is anxious to start an Alumni group! We also about heard the importance of Florida Agriculture to the world and the need for Ag Teachers from University of Florida Ag Ed Professor, Dr. Jim Dyer. This year was even more special because we asked Alumni members to bring toiletry items and school supplies for the Florida Southern Baptist Children’s Home. The outpouring of donations was phenomenal and showed exactly what the Alumni is all about; Support! Sorrel Vickers Fields, a former State FFA Officer, accepted our donation on behalf of the Children’s Home. She also told us how we can help the young children that stay

in their care and some of their success stories. You can’t celebrate a Birthday without a party, so everyone was treated to some Karoke! And what a treat it was to hear Haley Webb (State FFA Secretary) and Shelby Oesterreicher (Area IV State Vice-President) sing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. That particular song was chosen, for them, as an auction item to raise money for the entire State Officer’s team trip to China. Alumni members were pleasantly surprised to hear the wide range of talent, that night, but also glad it came to an end. We are so pleased with the Conference’s progress that the Alumni will host an event for the Panhandle Affiliates in April 2012. Next year’s event, at the LTC, is scheduled for August 1819th and will focus on Advocacy. There will also be information about various Alumni fundraisers plus a swap shop to share ideas. We hope that you can attend and make your Alumni stronger!

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News


Super Committee Should Take a Weed Wacker to Farm Subsidies by Vince Smith/ American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Only in Congress could “cutting spending” actually mean “figuring out new ways to spend more.” Word on the street is that the Super Committee is close to reaching a deal with farm lobbyists to cut up to $33 billion over ten years from farm subsidy programs. Sounds good, but there’s a catch. To get the ag lobby’s support, the deal would include passing a new “improved” farm safety net that is a variant of a current ACRE program. This bait and switch will keep subsidies flowing to already wealthy farmers and could cost taxpayers billions more in the long run. So what is the “improvement”? It is a modification of the ACRE program that pays farmers a subsidy when the revenue per acre for a particular crop falls below recent statewide historical averages. Since crop prices are at, or near, all-time record highs, that means taxpayers would pay already wealthy farmers to maintain record profits—at a time when millions of Americans are jobless and not making a profit at all. That’s just not fair. This deal could end up costing taxpayers more money in the long run, too. If prices go down, even partially, towards more typical levels, taxpayers may be on the hook for much more than $6 billion in some years and, depending on the final structure of the program, could average as much as $5 page24

billion annually. Add it up—over ten years, there would be no cuts from ag subsidies at all, just a switch in how they are received. The Super Committee should take the House and Senate agriculture committees’ recommendations, due to arrive on their desks on Friday evening, with a large grain of salt. In fact, the Super Committee members should consider much larger cuts than the agriculture committees want them to look at. President Obama has recommended agriculture subsidy cuts in the order of $33 billion over the next ten years and House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan has advocated cuts in excess of $48 billion. However, the recent AEI 2012 farm bill project, involving more than 20 of the leading agricultural economists in the country, identified over $100 billion of agricultural subsidy cuts that could be made without adversely affecting the country’s food supply and distribution system. The Super Committee should be bold, not timid, and take a weed wacker to farm subsidies that, for the most part, benefit less than 200,000 relatively wealthy farmers and landowners. A hundred billion dollars saved in wasteful agriculture subsidies is a hundred billion dollars that does not need to be cut from Social Security, Medicare, or defense.

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News



Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Agriculture Rebounds In Hillsborough County

Despite a sagging economy and a hard winter, agriculture has made a strong recovery in Hillsborough County. The Hillsborough County Agriculture Industry Development Program and County Extension have released the agriculture sales and acreage estimates for 2010. According to the data, the 2010 sales estimate of Hillsborough County agriculture products is almost $816 million, up nearly 5 percent from 2009. The total land area devoted to agriculture in

the county is 258,979 acres; and although the amount of farmland has decreased 2.4 percent since 1997, the production value of the land is up 65 percent due to the increased farming of higher-valueper-acre commodities, such as strawberries and blueberries. Hillsborough County covers more than 1,000 square miles, of which 39 percent is used for agriculture production. The county ranks as the 4th largest producer of agricultural products in the state, and 59th out of 3,076 counties

in the United States. Hillsborough has 2,843farms, the 2nd most of any county in Florida. Hillsborough County produces 90 percent of the strawberries grown in Florida; nearly 11 percent of the strawberries grown in the nation; as well as the most tropical fish of all counties in the state. Strawberries continue to be the highest sales crop at $366,046,522, which is almost 45 percent of the County’s total agricultural sales. Hillsborough also produces 14 percent of Florida’s

tomatoes and 5 percent of the tomatoes grown in the U.S. The next highest sales crops after strawberries are: • Ornamental plants at second with $144,403,830, accounting for 17.7 percent of annual sales. • Vegetable production at third at $140,000,000, with 17.2 percent of annual sales. • Aquaculture at fourth with $27,577,981 and 3.4 percent of annual sales. • Beef cattle/pasture fifth at $20,078,142 for 2.5 percent of annual sales. Local agriculture generates additional local economic impact by supporting related businesses such as banking, real estate, transportation, packaging, equipment, seed, agricultural suppliers and services, and marketing firms. According to a study completed in 2005, for every dollar of agricultural goods sold outside of the county, an estimated $l.86 is added to the local economy as a result of indirect and induced benefits.

Cattelmen’s Gun Safety Course, December 10th

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is hosting a Gun Safety Course on Saturday, December 10, at the BurnhamMcCall Training Center (Sheriff’s Pistol Range) on Old Bartow/Eagle Lake Road, Bartow, Florida. The Gun Safety Course morning session will start at 0800 and end at 1200. Class size will be limited to twenty (20) persons. To register contact Sergeant Howard W. Martin at (863)-534-7205. The following will be required for the Gun Safety Course: Eye protection (sunglasses or glasses), approximately 100 rounds of ammunition, handgun (revolvers or semi-automatic). Closed toe shoes and knee length pants are required.

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News


Blue Light Discourages Molds that Spoil Citrus Fruit, UF Researcher Says One species of Penicillium fungus gave humanity the miracle drug penicillin; some of its cousins give the citrus industry headaches. Commonly known as green mold and blue mold, respectively, the fungi Penicillium digitatum and Penicillium italicum spoil recently harvested fruit. But researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences


have found an environmentally friendly way to address the problem-using blue light to activate natural defenses within the fruit. A study published in the current issue of the journal Postharvest Biology and Technology showed that tangerines inoculated with P. digitatum spores had a 100 percent infection rate when kept in constant darkness or constant white light for six days. When kept in

constant darkness or constant white light for six days. When kept in constant blue light the rate was 50 percent. And when kept on a schedule that alternated 12 hours of blue light exposure with 12 hours of darkness, the infection rate was only 25 percent. These preliminary findings suggest that certain light wavelengths activate an enzyme called phospholipase, which kick-starts the tangerine’s immune response, said Jackie Burns, director of UF’s Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred and one of the study authors. By exposing the fruit to those wavelengths on a schedule that mimics the rhythms of night and day, the scientists increased the protective effect, she said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if these rhythms played a more prominent role in postharvest biology than we currently realize,” Burns said. Though the system isn’t ready for use by industry, UF researchers are pursuing refinements, such as determining the shortest amount of treatment time needed to activate phospholipase. Related UF projects are exploring the potential for blue light to discourage fungal diseases in plant nurseries, and investigating other naturally occurring compounds in citrus that may fight fungal infections.

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

4-H/FFA Member Darby Hastings Diagnosed with Incurable Illness By Stephanie Farmer-Associate Publisher Before wrapping up the paper, I received this email from Gloria Hastings, “Hey Stephanie! I was wondering if you could put a story in the paper about Darby? She was Inseparable sisters Cassidy and Darby Hastings are both Federadiagnosed in June tion Officers-when you see one you with a kidney disoften see the other. ease called FSGS. There is no cure, only treatment with medications to prolong her life, which eventually leads to renal failure. This has literally turned our world upside down.” I sat back stunned, and then cried. I remember watching 15-year old Darby and her sister, Cassidy, grow up on and off the showring showing sheep and cattle, as well as doing what our ag kids do; making friends and helping others. I still see her in my mind’s eye studying with her friends for the Skilathon in the sheep tent with her feet dangling from a chair, then later standing on the podium as a Florida State Fair Champion of Champions winner. I’ve chuckled as I’ve observed her wearing a big, beautiful , shiny showmanship buckle, while

with pitchfork in hand she cleans stalls. Laughter, something she learned from both of her parents, is often heard as she hangs out with friends at various 4-H and FFA events around the State. Darby’s illness is called Nephrotic Syndrome and can be caused by Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Those are big words that describe “a rare disease that attacks the kidney’s filtering system,” - NephCure Foundation. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “More than half of those with focal or segmental glomerulosclerosis develop chronic kidney failure within 10 years.” Sadly, the NephCure Foundation states, “About half of FSGS patients who do not respond to steroids go into ESRD each year, requiring dialysis or transplantation. Approximately 1,000 FSGS patients a year receive kidney transplants, however, within hours to weeks after a kidney transplant, FSGS returns in approximately 30-40% of patients.” Upon calling Gloria I learned there is a fundraiser for this illness on Dec. 10th and she hoped we would run an article to help raise funds for research to find a cure. I called my boss, George Parker, and asked if we had room, as the paper was in the final stages of layout. George said, “You never know, they could be very close to a cure that could save her life and we just don’t know it. We can definitely make room to help her and others!”

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

So, here is something we can ALL do to help Darby. On December 10th there is an event called the “NephCure Walk” in Largo from 5 to 9 PM. We have placed a link for this event on the right side of our website www.farmandranchnews. The link will take you to the site, where you can either make a donation under the team name “Hasting Clan” or register to participate in the walk. (Imagine how much support she would feel if a bunch of us could walk with her and her family!) For $10 you can register for the walk and receive a free t-shirt or just click the donation link and donate. Just think: if we all donated $10 the amount of money that would be available for research and to help families like Darby’s. So, take a moment- go to our website click the link and help a fellow 4-H/ FFA member and others by joining her in the walk or making a donation. Donations may also be made directly to the family to assist in medical bills.

4-H Member Darby Hastings at the County Fair

FFA member Darby Hastings showing her steer at the Strawberry Festival



Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News


David Wolf is New Owner of Haught Funeral Home Haught Funeral Home’s new owner, David Wolf, creates doubletakes when he climbs out of the Smart car, a company vehicle. The 6’3” smiling gentleman also has drivers behind him taking photos of the rear of the automobile which has “Our other car is a Hearse” emblazoned on its back. Timothy Haught and his wife, Jo, sold the long-established East Hillsborough County funeral home to the Wolf’s on October. 7 Wolf, a 1988 graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Fine Arts degree, has been a funeral director for over 20 years; 10 years in northern Virginia and most recently as manager of a Lakeland funeral home. “We plan to have the same commitment and quality customer service to the community that Tim Haught has had,” Wolf said. “I have had an opportunity to be a friend to families in their time of need.”


“On Dec. 1 we will have an ‘Angel Tree of Remembrance’. Lace angels will be available at no charge to personalize the tree for those who want to remember their loved ones during the Holidays. We will also have a “Service of Remembrance” on Tuesday, December 20 at 7 p.m. open to the community.’ David has been married to his wife, Cynthia, for 28 years. Their 20-year old daughter, Katherine, is a student at Hillsborough Community College and works parttime at the funeral home. “We are blessed to have Howard Johnson, LFD, Allan Wetherington, Jim Cook, Jody Connell, Brownie Cockmire, Sherman Ashworth and Cassidy Ashworth on our staff,” said Wolf.

Volume 38 • Number 9 • 2011 • Farm & Ranch News

FRNEWS V38 Issue 10  
FRNEWS V38 Issue 10  

news, paper, print, online