Page 1


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

Plant City’s Bliss Enterprises Constructs Largest Pole Barns in the U.S. for the Nation’s Largest Shrimp Aquaculture Operation

Nation’s largest pole barn, covering over 4.3 acres. By Stephanie Farmer

Fellsmere, Florida, with a population of about 5,000, is the site for Florida Organic Aquaculture. This new $18 million shrimp aquaculture operation is the brainchild of a group of South Africans, funded by mostly foreign investors, has a goal of becoming the “most advanced aquaculture operation in the U.S and of the world”. They plan to develop over 50

new jobs at its onset and over 500 jobs in the future. To do so, they are relying on the research and experience of Harbor Branch Oceanic Research, the University of Florida, Texas A & M, and others for advice and guidance. Big aquaculture plans such as these require big facilities. That is where Bliss Enterprises in Plant City comes in. They are building three of what are hailed as the largest covered pole barns in the United States. Each barn is the size of 3.5 football fields: 180,000 square

With the first barn in the background, CFO Cliff Morris addresses the grand opening crowd of over 300.

Easier seen with a flashlight, College Prep Academy students look at the baby shrimp. Plans for the facility include being an outreach for education.

foot, 4.3 acres in size. These barns will contain over 2 million gallons of water contained in 20 raceways 250-foot long and 30-foot wide made of sandbags. The barns when finished will be totally enclosed to protect the shrimp from birds and other predators. CFO Cliff Morris complimented the barn workers as to their well choreographed work and ability to do and fix anything.

Some saltwater aquaculture operations such as this often truck in their seawater. Florida Organic Aquaculture plans to drill an over 2.5 thousand foot well tapping, directly into the water they need. Yet, this will be what is called a closed system meaning no water discharge with some of the most advanced filtering and aeration continued on page 2

continued from page 1

Plant City’s Bliss Enterprises Constructs Largest Pole Barns in the U.S. for the Nation’s Largest Shrimp Aquaculture Operation

systems available. According to CFO Morris, the World Water Trust only endorses this method (closed system) of production for ecological reasons. When completed, this operation will host a shrimp breeding facility where eggs are laid within 36 hours of breeding. After 21 days the eggs will hatch with the shrimp taken to the grow-out facilities (covered barns) reaching maturity in about 4.5 months. Their final destination will be the onsite processing facility utilizing the most advanced technology. The shrimp will be fed via automatic feeders in tune with the shrimps needs. Studies have shown that shrimp make a certain sound when hungry. Their advanced feeder system will monitor for these underwater sounds, only releasing feed when necessary, thus improving efficiency and their bottom line. According to Cliff, investors are coming in from all over the world, such as India, China, and Venezuela, thanks to a government EB-5 Visa program whereas foreign investors invest $500,000 and receive a green card to let them live and work in the U.S. He said this program helps the U.S. by producing more jobs such as the anticipated over 500 jobs once Florida Organic Aquaculture gets into full production. Cliff explained that their investors are highly vetted by our government, undergoing intense scrutiny as to who they are and where their investment dollars come from. For more information on Florida Organic Aquaculture – visit their website


Father and Son, Blake and Rick Bliss, above, in front of the nation’s largest pole barn under construction.

Mock sandbag raceways demonstrate what will be in the barns to grow out the shrimp.

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

The 4th Key in “5 Keys to Victory” Three months ago I began a series on the “Five Keys Pastor Dick Moore to Victory” for Christians to have consistency in dealing with our problems, or situations, that occur daily in our life. Everyone needs to understand how important it is to know how to handle the troubles that come our way regularly. The first three keys that we have already shared in previous issues of this paper are: (1) An attitude of joy. (2) An understanding mind. (3) A submissive Will. This month we need to add to the other three keys, the key of “A Believing Heart”.

keys, the key of “A Believing Heart”. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NCV) 5 Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. 6 Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success. When going through a trial, you must put your faith in God’s wisdom and not in your own. It is vital to understand that God is in control; and for us to have victory in the midst of the trial, we must believe that He can, and will, take care of everything. Paul’s prayer in 2 Thessalonians 1:2 was for us to have grace and peace. He said, “Grace and peace

to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This means that if you will put your faith, your trust, in the Lord, you will find His grace and peace in the midst of your storm. Remember, scripture says that His peace will pass all our understanding. May His peace be yours in the midst of your trials. Blessings,

Rev. Dick Moore pastor of Parkway Baptist Church in Plant City

We work to safeguard local water sources.

That’s our promise. At Mosaic, our 3,000-plus Florida employees place the utmost value on the resources we all share. Before we begin phosphate mining operations, we work with regulators to identify key wetlands, streams and floodplains for preservation. In other areas that we mine, we restore water flows through state-of-the-art reclamation. Whether preserved or reclaimed, these waters are monitored to ensure their quality is sustained for future generations. Join in Mosaic’s promise at Maron Run Headwaters Reclamation Project Active South Fort Meade Mine, Polk County

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News


Supreme Court Rules for PLF’s Property Rights Case in Florida

Another Historic Victory for Property Owners The U.S. Supreme Court’s Recent ruling in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, Pacific Legal Foundation’s seventh consecutive victory at the High Court, gives clients Coy Jr. and Linda Koontz, and other property owners, assurances that government bureaucrats can’t use the land use permitting process as an excuse to shake them down. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion, handed Coy Koontz Jr. a major victory against a Florida agency --- the St. Johns River Water Management District --that attempted to extort money from him in the land use permitting process. The court reversed the decision of the Florida Supreme Court that had held for the agency. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Koontz is one of the most important property rights cases to reach the High Court in decades. It brings a successful end to the long property rights battle that started when Coy’s father sought a permit to develop a small commercially zoned parcel near Orlando. The late Coy Koontz Sr. had sought a development permit for three acres he owned in Orange County, Florida. Even though he agreed to dedicate most of his land --- 11 acres --- for conservation, the St. Johns River Water Management District demanded money --- up to $150,000 --- for costly upgrades to government property miles away from his land. Mr. Koontz sued, but passed away in 2000. His son has carried on the legal fight and PLF Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard II argued the case at the High Court in January. Government can’t use land use permit-

ting process as “extortion machine”

“The ruling is a powerful victory for everybody’s constitutional property rights, from coast to

coast,” said Beard. “The Koontz family was challenging permit demands that were wildly excessive and had no connection to their land use proposal. Today, the Court recognized that the Koontz family was the victim of an unconstitutional taking. The Court’s message is clear: Government can’t turn the land use permitting process into an extortion machine.” “The Court has recognized that money is a form of property, and the Constitution prohibits grabbing money from property owners the same way it prohibits grabbing land without compensation,” Beard added. “Not only is this a victory for my family’s long fight for our property rights, it is also a victory for all property owners in Florida and nationwide.” - Coy Koontz, Jr. The Koontz victory comes on the heels of another landmark ruling for property owners. Last year, PLF attorneys won a unanimous victory in Sackett v. EPA at the Supreme Court, in which justices held that property owners have a right to challenge federal “wetlands compliance orders” in court. As with all our clients, donor-supported PLF represented the Koontz family without charge in challenging the unconstitutional infringement of their property rights. “I’m ecstatic about this decision,” stated Coy Koontz Jr. “Not only is it a victory for my family’s long fight for our property rights, it is also a victory for all property owners in Florida and nationwide. It will give all property owners the power to fight back when government makes unjust demands on them. I am very grateful to Pacific Legal Foundation for getting this case to the U.S. Supreme Court and winning such a decisive victory.” Now in our 40th year of service of rescuing liberty from coast to coast, Pacific Legal Foundation draws its courtroom power and gives Americans like Coy Koontz Jr. a voice against oppressive government bureaucrats on the strength of your charitable gifts.

Renowned National Geographic Photographer Featured

Mosaic Company to Host Hunger-Relief Forum One in six people in the U.S. struggles with hunger, and more than 850 million people around the world don’t know where they will get their next meal. As the world population continues to increase, food security is becoming a growing concern. To raise awareness about this critical issue, The Mosaic Company is hosting a Hunger-Relief Forum on Friday, July 26 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. to spearhead a regional conversation about hunger relief efforts and the need to create a sustainable food supply. The forum will be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in the Florida Center. The forum will feature keynote speaker John Stanmeyer, who will share photos and insights from his travels as a National Geographic photographer documenting the global food crisis. By uniting community leaders and organizapage4

tions throughout Central Florida, Mosaic intends to ignite community dialogue about food security and the valuable roles various community organizations, companies, educators and industries can play in providing solutions. The program will also feature a live panel that will discuss meeting the challenges facing our local food supply. Panelists will include: Thomas Mantz, executive director of Feeding America Tampa Bay; Patrizia La Trecchia, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of South Florida Patel College of Global Sustainability; David Spivey, Plant City strawberry grower; and Neil Beckingham, sustainability manager for The Mosaic Company. Food banks from across the region will be recognized for their efforts with a special presentation by Mosaic.           

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News


“Words of Wisdom for July 4” A few years ago friends in Suwannee County sent me a Christmas card with a quotation from one of our long gone Presidents. Though he was a ‘one termer’ I have always thought he was one of our greatest statesmen. The 4th of July speech, given in Newburyport, Massachusetts is proof of the place that religion had in the public life of this nation a generation after its founding. The children of the Founding Fathers learned well the lessons of their parents that liberty, justice, and equality are based on principles that derive from a law higher than man’s. They cannot be separated from a genuine sense of a Creator who establishes, by His very being, these essential values. Coincidentally, on the same day these words were spoken a beautiful poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson was first sung at the completion of the Concord Monument in the same state. Its title, “The Concord Hymn”, reinforces the point. I can’t resist a little history. John Q. Adams was our sixth President (1825-1829), one of our greatest Secretaries of State (under President Monroe), and after he was succeeded by Andrew Jackson, from 1830 until his death, he represented the Plymouth district of Massachusetts in the U S House of Representatives. You may remember him from the popular movie “Amistad” which relates the true story of his defense of Africans who were claimed as slaves by Spain. His dedication to his constituents and to his country is attested in that he collapsed on the floor of the House in 1848 and was carried to the Speaker’s room where he died two days later on February 23. By the way, I can’t imagine that Quincy Adams ever spent a July 4th after 1826 without thinking of the death of his father. Why? John Adams, the second President, died on that day, 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. But the story is even stranger. Early that same morning, in the mansion on Monticello, Thomas Jefferson had inquired after the health of his great collaborator on the Declaration. The intricacies of the relationship between these two men can only be summarized here. They had formed a friendship when a declaration of intent was determined by page6

the Continental Congress to be a necessary step toward independence and Adams had persuaded Jefferson to be the principal author. They had confirmed and strengthened that friendship serving together in Europe during the war with Adams’ wife Abigail becoming a surrogate mother to Jefferson’s daughter after the death of Mrs. Jefferson. During that time, they had high praise for each other. They had fallen out, and become very bitter political enemies when Adams served as President and Jefferson as his Vice President, over their differences. But they had found that they could be friends again after Adams wrote to Jefferson saying, “I do not think we should die without explaining ourselves to one another.” Now, 50 years to the day after the Declaration was signed and the Liberty Bell rang in Philadelphia each man, unbeknownst to the other due to the slow communication of the times, was on his deathbed. Down the mountain from Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia preparations were underway to celebrate the 50th anniversary. The streets were hung with bunting and fireworks were planned with parades and picnics, just as they were in the home of Adams in Quincy, Massachusetts. If a Hollywood script writer had penned this, it wouldn’t be believable. Early in the morning, it is said that Jefferson inquired after Adams’ health and, when told erroneously, that Adams was well he expressed contentment. Jefferson died early in the morning July 4. Five hours later, Adams’ hard to understand last words seemed to be, “Jefferson lives,” and he too then died. Outside, the 50th celebration went on in Charlottesville, Quincy, and throughout the young country. But in those two homes, the celebration was tinged with sorrow as these two great patriarchs of freedom were mourned. Appropriately enough, it was a day when

many flags flew over a free nation. It was 12 years later that the younger Adams gave this speech. In the following, you’ll see why he is known as “Old Man Eloquent”. Oration by John Quincy Adams July 4, 1837 “Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Saviour of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? And why is it that, among the swarming myriads of our population, thousands and tens of thousands among us, abstaining, under the dictate of religious principle, from the commemoration of that birthday of Him, Who brought life and immortality to light, yet unite with all their brethren of this community, year after year, in celebrating this, the birthday of the nation? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Saviour? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel Dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Saviour and predicted by the greatest of Hebrew prophets six hundred years before? … on the 30th of November 1782, their warfare was accomplished, and the Spirit of the Lord, with a voice reaching to the latest of future ages, might have exclaimed, like the sublime prophet of Israel, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.” Isaiah 40: 1

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

: E L A S R FO Two 10' x 40' office trailers $2500 AND $3500 EACH

Call 813-737-FAIR (3247)

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

Farm Land for Lease 85 acres

South County on Gulf City Road Long Term Lease Possible

Contact Dennis Carlton at (813) 620-8312


Special Announcement at the Florida FFA Convention

Florida Farm Bureau Donates $l.5 Million to Build State FFA Headquarters! lion to build Florida FFA a new headquarters on Florida Farm Bureau property off I-75 in Gainesville. Many people don’t realize this but the Florida Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick made a momentous announcement at this year’s Florida FFA has been operating out of the Florida Farm Bureau FFA Convention. Florida Farm Bureau Federation, to- building in Gainesville for many years, but have never had their own “home”. Over the years, John Hoblick gether with Casualty Insurance, is donating $1.5 milhas watched Florida FFA grow and noticed this organization had reached the point of needing its own facilities. This new facility will feature living quarters for the State officers, meeting rooms, office space and more. Hoblick also felt there was a need for members of FFA to band together from around the State and help with some of the funding, making a personal investment in this facility as well. Thus they have asked Florida FFA members to fundraise $150,000 to go towards the new facility. The campaign is called “Building Our Legacy”. Plans are to begin building in the fall of this year with completion in early 2014 so fundraising time is of the essence. Contributions can range from $1 and up. FFA members who contribute $20 will have Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick announces $1.5 miltheir name placed on the “Wall of Names” located lion in funding for Florida FFA to have its own Headquarters. in the building. Those who wish to contribute By Stephanie Farmer-Associate Publisher


Florida FFA State Officers look on as the agreement is signed.

$10,000 or more have an opportunity to have a room named after them. To contribute and for details to the “Building Our Legacy “ campaign go to www.farmandranchews. com and click the special link to the fundraising site.

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News


2013 Florida FFA State Officers By Stephanie Farmer-Associate Publisher

Congratulations to this year’s 2013 Florida FFA State Officers! Enjoy reading some details about these State officers. President Megan Stein- Sebring Senior FFA – Over the years, Morgan has been a member of not only FFA but also 4-H. She has held a large variety office positions from District X 4-H Council President to District XI FFA President. Morgan has competed in a wide range of events from Vegetable ID to Food Science, Ornamental Horticulture, public speaking contests and more. Her leadership skills were honed by participating in a variety of conferences from Washington Leadership Conference to X-treme Rodeo Conference Coordinator, State Leadership Summit and more. She has even served in a variety of camp counselor positions such as Ecology Camp Counselor and Highlands Cty Kids Culinary Camp Director. Her goal is to get a degree in Ag communications. Brett Wasden - Bartow High FFA- Chapter Officer Leadership Training, Chapter President’s Conference, page10

State Leadership Summit and many other FFA opportunities should all be a great help to Brett with his goal of becoming a high school principal. He has competed in a variety of contests ranging from horticulture to public speaking and livestock and quiz bowl. Brett has an incredible total of over 700 community service hours from 2009 to 2013. Haley Smith- Durant Sr FFAWith specializing in Agricultural Law as her future job, FFA has given Haley the opportunity to learn the varied aspects of agriculture from Livestock and Horse judging to Citrus and Vegetable ID as well as holding a variety of leadership positions. She is an active volunteer with Paws for a Cause, raised a service dog and volunteered at the Bloomingdale cold weather shelter among other things. Gordon Grow - Blountstown FFA – Gordon has been an active member participating on the Forestry Team, competed in Prepared Public speaking, livestock and variety of other events. His work experiences have him working for Mike’s Garage to Badcock Home Furniture to Blount Insurance. As a volunteer he has been seen as a Church Youth

LR: President Megan Stein, Wally Martin, Haley Smith, Brett Wasden, Travis Theige, Logan Luse, and Gordon Grow

Group leader to Scent Evid e n c e K-9’s and other activities. Logan Luse - Lafayette FFAWhile his sights are on becoming a medical flight nurse and currently serving as a member of the County Emergency Response Team, Logan has been quite active. He has shown an interest in government as the FBLA State Client Service State Champion, Student Government Secretary and other positions. His livestock experiences through FFA have him working from swine to poultry. Travis Theige - Wildwood Senior FFA- with a goal of becoming an Ag lawyer- FFA has given him many learning opportunities. Travis has received 1st place District Extemporaneous Speaking, competed in Prepared Public speaking, Job Interview and more. Com-

petinging in Horse and Livestock Evaluation as well as Land and Vegetable judging have helped developed those needed skill sets with the critical thinking and reasoning components of those contests. Wally Martin- Desoto High FFA – maintaining a beef production operation while being an attorney and lobbyist for ag are Wally’s goals. His activities ranged from being a member of Future Business Leaders of America and Key Club to State VP of the Junior Florida Cattlemen’s Association. Being a page for the House of Representatives is just one of his many government involvements. In FFA he held a variety of officer positions, while competing in Parliamentary Procedure and receiving the FFA Star Chapter Farmer award.

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News


Governor Rick Scott Visits Strawber

By Stepha

Governor Rick Scott, above with Senator Tom Lee, Rep. Dan Raulerson and Rep Jake Rayburn, who is also a strawberry growe,r listen as Plant City’s Mayor Mary Mathis speaks.

Wish Farms CEO Gary Wishnatski and James Peterson attended speaking on behalf of the industry. Gary clearly explained the industry is in “crisis stage with labor shortages due to immigration” and asked if a way could be found to welcome skilled workers to our State.

With Patchwork 4-H club leader Maria Hoffman donning a 4-H strawberry fundraising u-pick t shirt members of Patchwork 4-H and Durant FFA met Governor Rick Scott.


A Florida’s 50,000 job In ing with F tors to bra Governor Lee’s offic tor Lee su the growe the Gover at the Mar ing my he Monday J Strawberry ers. It wa family far W Governor gave sugg found for Campbell, Strawberry the situatio that 50% o ers in Me wage our with well land for gr a business consumer bel not rea actually g the growin plained it which is n W was when the Gover swers. Mi topic of w to contact meet with sue of Cou ries from ing season H Superinten suggesting ries. Gary tion issues ton for id Governor growers to tions. G growers m

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

rry Growers to Brainstorm Solutions

anie Farmer - Associate Publisher

As we mentioned in our last issue, $ 1 billion economic and over b industry is in trouble. n March I helped organize a meetFederal, State and local Legislaainstorm ideas. As a result, when Rick Scott informed Senator Tom ce he would be in the area, Senauggested he personally meet with ers and industry. Audie Canney, rnor’s Legislative Aide (who was rch meeting), gave me a call askelp in organizing this meeting on July 1. We contacted the Florida y Growers Association and othas a team effort to help save our rms and industry. With Senator Lee moderating, Scott listened, took notes and gestions as to how help could be Florida’s faltering industry. Ted , Executive Director of the Florida y Growers Association, explained on to the Governor. He explained of growers cost is labor, and workexico make 1/10th the minimum rs do and California producers recognized names are purchasing rowing strawberries in Mexico as s strategy to increase profits. The then sees the well recognized laalizing where the strawberries are grown. The Governor asked when ng season was, to which Ted ext goes from November to April, now the same as in Mexico. What made this meeting a success n people would bring up issues, rnor would respond with real anichelle Williamson brought up the water issues, the Governor offered SWMD Chairman and request he h growers. I spoke up as to the isunty schools purchasing strawberCalifornia during Florida’s grown. He offered to send a letter to School ndents and County Commissions g they purchase Florida strawbery Wishnatski brought up immigras. He offered to contact Washingdeas. Carl Grooms requested the develop a special task force with o help the industry develop solu-

Governor Scott suggested that meet with him periodically, as he is

in the area from time to time and keep him appraised as to how things are going and to continue developing ideas and solutions. Dale McClellan, a dairy farmer, mentioned how the bid system to sell ag products to our schools is difficult to navigate and is almost always awarded to the big shippers who buy their produce and ag products out of state or our country. As he took notes, the Governor looked quite concerned and explained he would take a serious look into that issue. Just as Secretary of the USDA Vilsak told me, the Governor also felt the key to helping the industry was marketing. He mentioned how $9 million was set aside for marketing to help stimulate Florida produce, but he also offered to mention Florida strawberries at events etc. He asked the growers to give him a list of talking points as to why people should buy Florida strawberries. Ted Campbell and Carl Grooms spoke up, suggesting he mention that Florida strawberries are 5 days fresher and that the industry goes above and beyond food safety, and Florida’s strawberry reputation for flavor. When he asked if data was available as to the quality of Florida’s strawberries – Ted replied that the information was available on the FSGA website. The Governor then responded “Let’s sit down, put together attributes and then present what we can do at events around the State where the media is present to spread the word about Florida strawberries as I talk, not only at local and state but also to the national media at events.” There’s a part of the answer -national publicity - as growers need more buyers not only in Florida but also nationally. As the discussion progressed you could clearly see how our Governor is a business man and knows how to address business issues with a business perspective. Many other suggestions and topics were discussed making for a great brainstorming session. But, like any session nothing will happen without action upon the ideas. The Governor directly asked several to do specific things that were brought out in the discussion to aid the industry. Senator Lee also offered to help with ideas suggested. If ideas are a strawberry plant, then the March meeting was the root system and this meeting set up by Senator Lee is the plant and the results with Governor Scott and his specific offers to help are the blooms. It now it is up to the attendees to develop these ideas into fruition.

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

Fred Johnson a huge supporter of his community on the far right hosted this event at his Fred’s Restaurant location in Plant City. He is seen here with his mom Evelyn Johnson, and Charlotte Britt.

2012 Southeast Farmer of the Year Dale McClellan speaks as to the frustration in the bid process to get Florida ag products into Florida schools.


Preventing Equipment Theft on the Ranch By Bridget Carlisle Extension Agent III UF/IFAS Polk County Extension

The Polk County Sheriff’s Ag Unit has been working hard to prevent and recover theft on the ranch, grove and farm. In a recent meeting with Sgt. Stephenson, he expressed the benefit to producers of putting identifying marks on their equipment to aid in the recovery of stolen items and conviction of thieves.  A particularly beneficial identification tool that has been effective in recovering many stolen items (such as batteries, pumps, etc.) is the “Trace Mark” microstamp.  “Almost invisible to the naked eye, the Trace Mark stamp, when used to identify valuables for security purposes passes unnoticed by thieves and is therefore not removed as so often happens with product serial numbers. In the event of a


theft, however, the identifying mark left by the Trace Mark provides an indelible link to the recovery of your valuables.” For more information, please visit the manufacturer’s website at A microstamp is not necessary.  Any identifier or mark, and there are others on the market, that you can make on your equipment and supplies that will differentiate it from the rest will help in the recovery of your items. Please consider marking all of your property.  Also, the PCSO Ag Unit asks that you report any and all potential criminal acts against your property immediately.  This includes cuts in your fence, dumping, vandalism, etc. 

Beat the Heat!

Exposure to heat and sun can result in serious health problems for anyone; agricultural workers, by the very nature of their jobs, are especially vulnerable. Compensation claims related to heat exhaustion and skin cancer in the agricultural sector are among the highest of any occupation. As the long days of summer field work approach, managers and supervisors can help themselves and their employees reduce their risks by reinforcing best practices for heat and sun safety. “People should take special caution when suddenly going from mild to very hot temperatures, gradually increasing time spent outdoors and workloads,” said Judy Garrett, Health Services Manager for Syngenta. She added, “Don’t expect to accomplish the same amount of work on those first ‘scorching’ days of summer.” The first step is raising awareness. “The subject of heat and sun-related ailments should be part of every safety training program, with regular reminders given throughout the spring and summer,” said Garrett. To reduce the risk of overexposure to heat and/or sun, Garrett outlined these preventive measures: Wear clothing that is light-colored, moisture wicking, and comfortable. Top off

with a ventilated, wide-brimmed, sun-safe hat. Both clothing and hat should be made of tightly woven fabric. Stay hydrated. Water and sports drinks taken in small amounts all day long are more effective than large amounts of liquid at one time. Avoid excessive caffeine and avoid carbonated drinks. Protect exposed skin with sunscreen that provides at least 30 SPF and offers both UVA and UVB protection. Reapply frequently. “It’s also important to use lip balm with SPF,” said Garrett. “And don’t forget the eyes. In the past, we didn’t think much about eye protection; but in recent years, we have learned that it is just as important to protect the eyes from the sun as it is to protect the skin.” Sunglasses or tinted safety glasses worn outside should offer both UVA and UVB protection.                                                 Once a person becomes overheated, it takes at least 30 minutes to slowly restore normal temperature. “It’s important that body temperature be reduced gradually,” said Garrett. “Get in the shade. Cool down with a fan or minimal air conditioning. You can also cool down by applying cool water to pressure points around the neck, the wrist or groin area.” 

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News


Revised Dates Submitted for Auction of East Coast Brokers & Packers Assets

Papers have been formally filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, for the auction of thousands of acres of farmland in Florida and Virginia, as well as labor camps, packing facilities, homes, farm equipment, trucks and other assets owned by East Coast Brokers and Packers and the Madonia family. The filing by Chapter 11 Trustee Gerard A. McHale Jr. asks the court for approval of dates for a series of auctions in Florida and Virginia beginning Thursday, Aug. 15. “Logistics dictated that some dates be changed from those previously planned in order to facilitate bidding on various types and locations of properties,” said Ken Nofziger, president of Murray Wise Associates, LLC, which will conduct the auctions in cooperation with Crosby & Associates and Woltz & Associates. “The biggest change is that the major farmland assets in Virginia and Florida will be sold on separate dates. Given the large number of assets of widely varying types, we felt it would be wise to streamline and simplify the process wherever possible. The revised dates are being communicated to prospective bidders, and the current dates will always be available at,”; Nofziger said. Auctions are planned for the following dates, subject to court approval: • Thursday, Aug. 15, 10 a.m. -Approximately 7,377 acres of Florida farm and development land in Martin, Hillsborough, Polk and Manatee counties; two packing houses; a former Bible


college, and several labor camps. • Friday, Aug. 16, 3 p.m. -- The elegant Red Rose Hotel in Plant City, Fla., along Interstate 4, along with a home in Lakeland, home sites on Walden Lake in Plant City, and other Florida assets. • Monday, Aug. 19, 5 p.m. -- Cape Charles, Va.-area properties, including two luxury homes in Bay Creek, plantation-style home, colonial style house just south of Painter, and home just west of Oyster.  Also set for auction is a home surrounded by water on Marsh Island just outside Chincoteague. • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 1 p.m. -- 31 properties (primarily farmland) totaling approximately 3,228 acres; produce packing houses; labor camps, and several homes in Virginia, primarily in Accomack and Northampton counties.  • Wednesday, Aug. 28, 9 a.m. - Live and online auction of agricultural equipment, Mulberry, Fla. • Sept. 3-4, 9 a.m. - Live and online auction of agricultural equipment, Virginia. Murray Wise Associates LLC, headquartered in Champaign, Ill., with additional offices in Florida and Iowa, is a leading national agricultural real estate marketing and financial advisory firm.   Crosby and Associates, Inc., based in Winter Haven, Fla., with offices in Tavares, Fla., and Hawkinsville, Ga., is a noted provider of agriculture real estate brokerage and management services. Woltz & Associates, based in Roanoke, Va., is a leading auctioneer of land, homes and other assets throughout the United States, with a concentration on the Middle Atlantic region.

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News


Putnam Invites Florida Land Owners to Apply to Rural and Family Lands Protection Program Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam is urging Florida’s agricultural land owners to consider applying to the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. The goal of the program is to acquire perpetual agricultural conservation easements that ensure lands will be preserved in agricultural use while providing for the protection of natural resources. The program will be receiving easement applications from July 15-Aug. 29. “The Rural and Family Lands Protection Program offers a unique opportunity for Florida’s land owners,” said Commissioner Putnam. “The program protects our state’s invaluable natural resources and preserves agricultural land use at the same time.” Recently, the program was appropriated $11.3 million for the acquisition of perpetual agriculture conservation easements. Below are the goals of the programs: • Protect valuable agricultural lands. • Create conservation easements that


ensure suitable agricultural practices and prevent conversion to nonagricultural land uses in the rural base of Florida. • Protect natural resources in conjunction with these agricultural operations. • Promote the U.S. military mission in Florida. • Promote the concept of a statewide conservation corridor. • Florida agriculture has an overall economic impact estimated at $100 billion annually, making it the state’s second largest industry. Florida agriculture is responsible for more than 750,000 jobs and adds about $3 billion to state and local tax rolls. For information on the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program visit: http://www.floridaforestservice. com/rural_lands/index.html. For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

Three Central Florida Recipients Use Innovative Farming Practices to Protect Environment

Winners of Florida’s Agriculture-Environmental Leadership Awards

Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam has announced the three winners of the state’s AgricultureEnvironmental Leadership Award, which recognizes agricultural enterprises that are at the forefront of developing and adopting environmentally innovative farming practices. “These recipients represent the best of the best in developing and implementing progressive techniques to safeguard the environment and conserve natural resources,” Commissioner Putnam said. “All three share a commitment to protect and preserve Florida’s resources while continuing to provide top-notch agricultural products for our state, our country and across the globe.” The recipients are: ·   Barbra Goering of The Farmton Tree Farm, a 59,000-acre forest timber operation straddling Volusia and Brevard Counties.

In partnership with local counties, Miami Corporation, which manages the land, created the Farmton Local Plan, an innovative 50-year vision for the future to place nearly 80 percent of the land into conservation, including a critical regional wildlife corridor and environmentally significant habitat. The Farmton Tree Farm serves as a model for large-scale and long-range planning efforts, by creating sustainable places for jobs, recreation and living in the future. ·    Dudley Calfee of Ferris Farms Inc, in Floral City. Ferris Farms has harvested the first commercial flats of strawberries in the state for the past six years and produces more than 200,000 flats of strawberries and more than 250,000 pounds of blueberries each year. All the while, the farm has reduced the use of pesticides, plastic mulch and plastic drip tube and has perfected techniques to reuse 35 percent of these materials each year and reduced fungi-

cide application by 50 percent. They are a leading example of increasing crop yields and decreasing production cost through innovation. ·    Shane Platt of Kissimmee Park Properties, LLC, in St. Cloud. Kissimmee Park Properties’ goal has been to protect the ranch as both an economic source and as a sustainable wildlife habitat and ecological component to the region. The ranch has been under the same family ownership for 135 years and operates a 250 head cow-calf operation. The ranch has always operated in an environmentally and economically sound method to ensure the natural environment can be passed on to the family’s sixth generation of ranchers. Kissimmee Park Properties recognizes both the economic and ecological value of a well run cattle operation – and represents Florida cattlemen well. Nominees from different parts of Florida’s agricultural industry were

viewed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and industry and environmental groups. Environmental practices considered in the nominations include: Wildlife Protection and Habitat Conservation, Pesticide/Nutrient Management, Water Quality, Soil and Water Conservation and Waste Management/ Recycling. The Commissioner’s Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award has been presented annually since 1994. The program spotlights the environmentally innovative farming practices of the state’s growers and ranchers. The winners will be recognized at the Florida Farm Bureau’s Convention at the Commissioner Ag Environmental Leadership Breakfast on October 25 at the Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra. For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit

Better Services - Better Prices - Proud to be a Funeral Home

Haught Funeral Home

Over 120 years of experience serving local families

Howard Johnson, David Wolf, Mike Ritchie, Seated Founder Tim Haught

It is both an honor and privilege to serve you. Obituaries can be read at Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

708 W. MLK Blvd., Plant City




Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

UF/IFAS Expands Bee College to South Florida, Including Courses in Spanish By Robert H. Wells, 352-273-3569;

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida will host the first Bee College for South Florida this summer in Fort Lauderdale. The event is coming to South Florida to meet demand there and will also feature courses taught in Spanish. Event registration is here: The two-day college will be held Aug. 16-17 at the UF Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center in Davie, part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The cost is $125 per person to attend for one day or $185 for two days. Family and other discount rates are offered. Meals and a printed program of all lecture material are included in the price. Courses include beekeeping for beginners, candle making, honey extraction, live bee removal training, a honey tasting showcase and more. Bee College is Florida’s biggest educational event for honeybee hobbyists, professionals and anyone interested in honeybees. It is open to people of all ages and experience levels with the only prerequisite being interest in honeybees. Courses for more experienced attendees are available as well as a beginner track for novices. “You can walk away knowing how to get your own honeybee colony started,” said Jeanette Klopchin, one of the event’s organizers and a technician and lab manager with the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab. Klopchin said since the Bee College started more than five years ago, it’s helped increase the number of registered beekeepers in Florida from around 980 to nearly 3,000. Honeybees are important pollinators of many food crops and some estimates suggest that as much as one-third of the world’s food production is directly tied to the pollination habits of honeybees. More information on the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Lab is here: For more information on the South Florida Bee College, visit

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News



Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

Hillsborough County Fair Board Adds 7 New Directors, Elects Parker as President for 2013 The Greater Hillsborough County Fair board has elected new officers and added 7 new directors to the board for the 2013-2014 year. Elected as officers recently were George Parker, Jr. - President ; Earl Lennard, former Hillsborough County School Superintendent and Supervisor of Elections-Vice-President; Suzie Churchwell - Treasurer; and Janet Aversa - Secretary. Past President Ken Anderson, co-owner of Brandon Auto Services, automatically becomes Chairman of the Board under the group’s By-Laws. All officer positions became effective July 1, 2013. New directors are Beth Bravis, retail service leader at Centerstate Bank in Brandon, Plant City, Riverview and Valrico; Mary Der, chairman of the

Family Living Committee; James Garner, branch manager of Walden Woods SunTrust Bank in Plant City; Anthony Gill, Lithia cattle rancher; Donnie Johnson, Swilley/Johnson Electric of Plant City; Bob McElheny, vice-president of Gator Ford, Seffner; and Ronda Storms of Valrico, former Hillsborough county commissioner and state senator. Their position became effective upon election. The 20th anniversary of the County Fair will be celebrated this fall when the Fair opens for its fiveday run Wednesday, October 16 thru Sunday, October 20. Parker, publisher of the Farm & Ranch News, was a founding director in 1993 and will be serving his 3rd term as President of the Fair.

20th Hillsborough County Fair Opens October 16 for 5-Day Run Construction of 20,000 sq. ft. Exhibition Building almost completed at Fairgrounds on Hwy. 60 at Sydney Washer Road

Ground level view of almostcompleted steel building

Aerial view of 100’ x 200’ Exhibition Building

Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News


Serving Hillsborough, Polk and Florida for over 68 Years! 908 East Baker Plant City, FL 33563

5905 Hwy. 60 East Bartow, FL 33830

(813) 759-8722 (800)-717-8333

(863) 537-1345 (800) 833-2460


Visit our website for easy online parts ordering!


Volume 40 • Number 5 • 2013 • Farm & Ranch News

Farm & Ranch News July  
Farm & Ranch News July