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The Ag Mag Down to Earth in Florida

Growing Pecans Good for your health, good for your farm

Volume I, Issue 11 November 2016

The Secret Life of Turkeys Wild and farm-raised

The Merger of Bayer & Monsanto Problems for farmers, problems for consumers, problems for our food safety November 2016



PRESENTING West Port High School Omega Theatre Company Production of “A soul of theatrical resourcefulness. A compelling story that flows with grace and carries the rush of anticipation. The story moves, the characters have many dimensions and their transformations are plausible and moving. The musical is freeing. It is penetrated by honesty and it glows.” ~ The New York Times

Tickets: $10 West Port H.S. Performing Arts Center, 3733 SW 80th Ave. Ocala, Florida

November 11, 12, 18, 19 at 7 p.m. November 13 and 20 at 2 p.m.


nspired by a page from an old travel book, a feisty parolee follows her dreams to a small town in Wisconsin and finds a new life working at the Spitfire Grill. The grill is for sale, but there are no takers for the only eatery in the depressed town, so the newcomer suggests to the owner that she raffle it off. Entry fees are $100 and the best essay on why you want the grill wins. Soon, mail is arriving by the wheelbarrow full and things are definitely cookin’ at the Spitfire Grill. Music & Book by James Valcq Lyrics & Book by Fred Alley Based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff

Purchase tickets online at Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.



The Ag Mag

Farming Wonders of the World Seeds

November 2016





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Masthead + Letter from the Publisher




10 |

The Essence of November by Jeri Baldwin

12 | Sweet Potatoes How to get the biggest and tastiest sweet spuds by David the Good 14 | SECOND NATURE To Grandmother’s house we go by Melody Murphy 16 | AG LAW The Bayer-Monsanto merger by William K. Crispin, Attorney At Law 18 | Cracking the Nut Pecans: Perfect for your health and your yard by Jan Cross Cubbage 20 | The Secret Life of Turkeys Facts about turkeys, wild and domestic by Carolyn Blakeslee 22 | Farm Tour Celebrating Santa Rosa County’s Ag Heritage by Trent Mathews 24 | 26 |

Wine in Florida by Carolyn Blakeslee CALENDAR OF EVENTS

34 | RECIPES Pecan snacks, pecan pie by Jeri Baldwin and Jan Cross Cubbage

November 2016



The Ag Mag Volume 1, Issue 11 ISSN 2471-3007

Publisher + Editor Carolyn Blakeslee Director of Programs and Events Jeri Baldwin Advertising Sales Summer Little 352-789-1178 Design + Production Carolyn Blakeslee Amy Garone Contributors Chef David Bearl William K. Crispin Jan Cross Cubbage David Goodman Laura McCormick Melody Murphy Contact Us 352-209-3180 P.O. Box 770194 Ocala, FL 34477 TheAgricultureMagazine Copyright ©2016 The Ag Mag, LLC All rights reserved Covering agriculture and gardening in Florida. The magazine can be found in north central Florida feed stores, tack shops, tractor dealers, hardware stores, extension services, farm bureaus, farm-friendly banks, high school and university ag departments, trailer dealers, selected restaurants, farm-oriented real estate offices, landscape and garden centers, libraries, and theatres. MAILED SUBSCRIPTIONS: Send your name and address with a check for $24 to the address above, or order securely online at BULK SUBSCRIPTIONS: Email Carolyn at TheAgMag@ for more information.



The Ag Mag

Letter from the Publisher


s the days glide past and we float (or careen) toward what is my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of the great blessings of this year, including the time friends and I were out in the Gulf and a butterfly hitched a ride on my head for a whopping half-hour. That was amazing! In this issue, we explore the wonders of Grandmother’s house, plates full of vegetables and other fare, turkeys (mostly farmraised but occasionally wild), pecan pies and snacks, sweet potatoes, sugar cane syrup, and more. We hope this issue scratches your Thanksgiving itch, both for farm-fresh food and for a quieter, more mellow time. On a more serious note, you’ve probably read about the “tsunami” of Big Ag mergers in the last year, and Bill addresses this topic. Bloomberg reports, “Plenty of customers will ditch the big-name brands because they want more personalized service and products developed for local soils and climates, according to Sonny Beck, the 75-year-old head of Beck’s Hybrids, the largest independent seed retailer in the country.” Still, Monsanto has been aggressively acquiring independent seed companies for many years, and we need to be concerned and continue to grow and support local food systems. We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving! Cheers,

Carolyn P.S. About the cover: I have a secret, and I invite all of our readers to participate in uncovering what it is. Please send your thoughts on what is wrong with it to me at TheAgMag@, or mail it to the PO box (address in the masthead to the left). Deadline November 10th, after which we will select a winner, who will receive a free one-year subscription to The Ag Mag. Have fun! We’ll reveal the secret in the December issue.

News Screw Worm Reappears in Fla.

Photos: Top: Screw fly. Below: Sterile fly.


fter a 30-year absence, the New World Screw Worm has been discovered in south Florida, in Monroe County, on Big Pine Key. The fly larvae, discovered in Key deer, can infest livestock and other warmblooded animals including humans. The adult primary screwworm, Cochliomyia hominivorax, is a metallic blue fly with three stripes that run down the top of the fly just behind the head, and orange eyes. Adults are roughly 2 to 3 times the size of a house fly. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Service confirms that the discovery is a local infestation, and took

immediate steps to eradicate the larvae. Florida Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam declared a state of emergency in Monroe County. The Florida Cattlemen’s Association is distributing information to their members about the progress of the removal. Florida Cattlemen also will monitor and lend assistance to animal health officials who will oversee the control and ouster of the screw worm. To date, management of the situation includes ordering sterile flies and traps to prevent and monitor the presence or spread of the maggots. The Florida Dept. of Agriculture has set up a check station at mile marker 106 in south Florida and will stop all traffic and animals to eliminate the risk of the screw worm spreading. The affected Florida Keys are under quarantine. Residents of the Keys who own cattle, horses, goats, sheep, dogs, cats, poultry, exotic birds or other warm-blooded animals should know the symptoms animals exhibit when infected by the larvae of the New World screwworm fly, said Jack Payne, Ph.D., UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “We have every reason to believe that the current outbreak will be contained and eradicated,” Payne said. “Our UF/IFAS Extension Monroe County office is doing a terrific job of informing residents and interfacing with all the key players, there are relatively few livestock animals in the Keys, and the eradication effort uses

proven, effective methods. Having said all that, we need state residents to provide an extra measure of protection, just by observing their animals.” James Lloyd, D.V.M., Ph.D., dean of the UF veterinary college, explained that screwworm infestations occur when an adult female screwworm flies lays eggs on an open wound or mucous membranes in a warm-blooded animal. When the eggs hatch, screwworm larvae burrow into the host animal’s flesh to feed. Infestations can strike otherwise healthy animals, he noted. “The symptoms of a screwworm infestation might include a festering wound or sore or an unexplained lump under the skin, particularly if there’s a discharge or foul smell associated with it,” Lloyd said. “Also, you may observe fly larvae on the animal or in its quarters.” Untreated, an infestation is fatal. Animal owners are encouraged to increase supervision to discover any negative changes in their animals. Florida Cattleman officials remain confident that the condition is being handled competently and professionally. Though not found in the U.S. since the 1960s, the New World Screw Worm is still found in most of South America and several Caribbean countries For more information, a fact sheet is available at http:// ALso visit and p.12 of our May issue, online at

November 2016




The Ag Mag Wine Festival


he Ag Mag has been welcomed to produce and host the first The Ag Mag Wine Festival at HITS, the internationally acclaimed Horse Shows in the Sun. The wine festival is scheduled for Sunday, February 19, 2017, from noon until 8pm at Good Time Farm, on U.S. Highway 27, northwest of Ocala. The date, chosen to coincide with International Grand Prix Day, will feature many of Florida’s winemakers, offering tastes of their Floridamade wine. International Grand Prix Day is one of the outstanding events in equine showing. We will highlight the HITS Grand Prix in a later issue. Winemakers and vendors are invited to apply to participate in the festival. Applications will be available on December 1. Watch this space for further details.

Fall Cattlemen’s Conference November 17


he Fall Cattlemen’s Conference and Allied Trade Show is scheduled for Thursday, November 17, 8am until 4pm at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, 2232 NE Jacksonville



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Road, Ocala. The focus of the meeting is Managing Key Production Assets and Inputs. Guest presenters include Dr. Joao Vendramini, Dr. Jay Ferrel, Dr. Matt Hersom, and Dr. Joel Yelich, all from IFAS, in their various specialties. Registration to the event is $25 before November 11, and $75 after. Registration will include admission to all seminars, trade show, printed proceedings and lunch. To register, go to http://

Florida Fruit & Vegetable Video


he Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association recently produced a 4½-minute video, “The Story of Florida Agriculture: A Rich Legacy and a Bright Future.” It traces the impact of the farmers who feed consumers and provide jobs in communities and rural places in Florida. Florida’s agricultural history is featured in the video and recounts farmers’ stories, their love for the land, and the industry that under girds Florida’s economy. The video recounts some of the story which has been written one farmer at a time, for more than 500 years. The video highlights key economic facts about Florida agriculture that many consumers, especially those newly arrived as residents, do not know. Florida agriculture accounts for 1.52-million jobs, with revenue amounting to

$148.6-billion each year. To watch the video, go to

Award-Winning WPHS FFA Student


est Port High School senior Kaylin Kleckner has been instrumental in growing the school’s FFA program to one of the strongest in Florida. The program, in danger of being dropped in 2013, instead has reaped the benefit of Kleckner’s attendance at the FFA World Leadership Conference in Washington. Her leadership, in the classroom, in agricultural activities, and her own participation in various FFA events, has served as inspiration to her fellow FFA members. Kleckner competed in speech at the National FFA Convention and Expo in October 2016, after advancing from local to state competitions. Her national participation in speech was a first for West Port and Marion County FFA chapters. Her speech focused on water conservation and how farmers and consumers can work together to improve conservation efforts. Kleckner said, “It’s something that I am really passionate about. I want farmers and consumers to understand one another.” Kleckner plans a career in agriculture, where her leadership should serve her quite well.

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November 2016



The Essence of November by Jeri Baldwin


s a young’un, the name November meant nothing to me. But at the Marion County prison farm where my Daddy worked and we lived for the first five years of my life, blue-clad convicts uturned themselves over dense stands of sugar cane. Their thick, short, lethal cane knives dropped acres of cane to the ground and named November for me: syrup makin’. Wagons heaped with thick stalks of cane, hauled by a double team of 15-hand mules who scrabbled for secure footing in the rain sloppy earth, lumbered from the fields. Tucked away near the farmyard of animals, buildings, crops, and men, a weathered cypress shed waited all year. Under the shed, a long rectangular block of brick and concrete housed a chimneyed fire box in whose surface nested two enormous copper vats. On syrup makin’ day, dawn watched the laden cane wagons struggle to a halt near the silvergrey shed. Convicts in faded uniforms swarmed to their chores. They unhitched mules from the high-wheeled wagons and rehitched two teams to another wagon, then hitched one team to a long pine pole which, just above a man’s height, stretched 25



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feet to the grinding mill with the large end attached to the massive wheels. The mules waited, hitched to the small end of the pole. Other men moved from wagon to mill, stacking great loads of cane beside it. Two men wrestled a vast metal pot under a spout sticking from one side of the mill. Others unloaded gnarled, resinous pine stumps — they filled the fire box, then heaped the remainder within easy reach. On a signal that no one gave, but everyone saw, the mules leaned into their harness, and began walking ’round and ’round the cane mill, towing the pole in the hours-long tedium which extracted juice from the cane. The pole engaged the massive, cogged grinding wheels, which groaned and screeched, then meshed within each other and munched stalks of cane through their great metal maw. Juice flowed from the downspout into the pot. Before the first cane juice splashed into the pot, every imaginable form of cup, can, or hand contended for space under the downspout, to feed hungry mouths waiting to quench their year-long thirst for the first taste of sweet, sweet liquid, freshly cut from the earth after a summer of hot sun and pounding rains. Finally, every-

Sugar cane being loaded into a grinding machine to extract juice for syrup making. Tallahassee, November 15, 1962.

Mules pulling logs to grind sugar cane into juice. White Springs, mid-November, 1984.

Feeding wood into the fire boiling the cane syrup, Tallahassee, November, 1953.

Boiling the juice to make syrup. Wellborn, Nov. 27, 1982.

Bottling sugar cane syrup with a funnel. Florida,1982.

Straining sugar cane syrup. White Springs, mid-November, 1984. one’s yen for sweet juice satisfied, the huge pot filled. Men dipped buckets into the pot, dodged the circling mules, and poured cane juice into the huge vats. As the vats filled, the waiting wood welcomed a splinter of fire poked into the pile. Hungry flames licked upward to engulf the wood. The filled vats heated and syrup makin’ officially began. Throughout the long day, the hawk-eyed cane master supervised — testing the heat of the juice; preventing scorch-

ing, spills or boiling over; and skimming foam and impurities from the syrup’s surface. As the sun marched across the sky, the fierce pine fire vaporized the water from the juice. Sticky, amber, sweet syrup remained and sat ready to sweeten an entire year of biscuits, cornbread, pancakes, coffee, sweet tea, pies, and cakes for all who lived on the farm. Well into the night, everyone visited the cane grindin’, enticed by the crisp, star-lit night, the red eye of the fire box, and the light and warmth of the inferno. Everyone had a stint of warming front side, then back side, then front, then back, until each person remembered that both sides just didn’t stay warm at the same time. Others tended the big, blackened pot that perked the strong, black, nearsolid liquid they called coffee. Just after dark, pans and pans of cornbread and fried ba-

con arrived from the prison kitchen. After a supper of cornbread and bacon slathered with fresh syrup, the magic evening ended with adults playing their favorite game of “…do you remember when...” and spun yet again their stories of life, adventures, and learning that never grew too stale to hear. Children found ample laps, eyelids grew heavy, and sleep felled the smallest ones. November brings tinges of color to Swamp Maple leaves. November glories in the harvest and in the farmers who shepherded the bounty from the scorched summer earth. November also harbors the faint unease of Floridians that a hurricane might blow in during the last month of hurricane season. November reminds that winter is near; that reflection and repose are acceptable, even necessary. November confirms the incredible beauty of nature with brilliant blue skies and puffy white clouds. But the real sign of November is the night when a family or community gathers to honor the earth’s bounty, to accept the responsibility of feeding themselves, and leave precious stories scattered in all the places where memories live on and on. Jeri Baldwin is a writer, historian, photographer, farmer, and cofounder of Crones Cradle Conserve Foundation, the 756-acre ecological preserve and education in Citra. She is Director of Programs and Events for The Ag Mag. Photos courtesy Cane syrup may be purchased at most grocery stores. It will be stocked in the Crones Cradle farm store after November 10.

November 2016



How To Get the Biggest and Tastiest Sweet Potatoes by David the Good


ovember is sweet potato season in Florida — the way I like to grow them, anyway. Though commercial growers usually harvest earlier in the year, I leave my sweet potatoes in the ground at least until November and often on through December if the frosts hold off. Sweet potatoes are a great staple root crop for Florida. They are featured on the cover of my book, Totally Crazy Easy Florida Gardening, for a reason: because they’re easy! Not only that, they’re delicious. “But my homegrown sweet potatoes don’t taste as good as the store-bought ones,”



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a home gardener might say, narrowing his eyes at a justharvested tuber. “I thought they’d be better. My tomatoes and carrots are delicious, but these just aren’t sweet!” Back when I first grew sweet potatoes at home, I had the same problem. I was thrilled to pull in a nice basketful of roots for dinner, but when my wife cooked them, they were more starchy than sweet. “What gives?” I thought. They looked great and the vines were green and healthy. But the flavor was disappointingly bland. Silly me. I had made a common beginner’s mistake. Like another orange vegetable, winter squashes (a.k.a.

pumpkins), sweet potatoes taste better when they’ve had some time to cure. Fortunately, curing is simple. Making Your Sweet Potatoes Sweet All you need to do to cure sweet potatoes is collect your tubers and stuff them in a burlap sack. Then submerse the sack in a barrel of lightly salted, unsulphured molasses, and maintain the barrel’s temperature at exactly 68 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately two weeks in a dimly lit building as the moon is waxing. No. I’m kidding. Don’t do that.

What you really have to do is simple. Harvest your sweet potatoes and spread them out in a dry, shady spot for a week or two; then, bag them up in paper bags or baskets for longer-term storage in the pantry. This curing time allows the starches in the sweet potatoes to convert into sugars, making them less like a white potato and bringing forward their rich, sweet, orange goodness. Commercial sweet potato growers will follow this initial warm curing time with another 6-8 weeks of cold storage so the roots can reach their full potential. The LSU Ag Center recommends keeping them at 55-60 degrees for this period, but we home growers will find this hard to do. Fortunately, I haven’t found this extra time to be necessary. I couldn’t afford the air conditioning bill even if it was strictly necessary. My potatoes are good and sweet after a couple of weeks and they get better in the pantry as a few more weeks pass. Now let’s talk about how to get big sweet potatoes!



larger roots. Regular watering, especially in the drier months, helps as well. Once your vines are really running, just keep them going as long as you can. I usually plant my sweet potatoes in Florida during March and April — then, as mentioned at the top, I harvest them late. I want great big potatoes because they look awesome and because I have a big family that loves homegrown produce. The longer you leave sweet potatoes in the ground before the cold freezes the vines, the bigger the roots can grow. This isn’t an infinite thing, though — so don’t think that if you manage to grow sweet potatoes through the winter in a greenhouse you’ll be able to get them to the size of Volkswagens. The biggest ones I’ve grown have been a few pounds. That’s big compared to most store-bought roots, but not nearly as big as the huge African yams I wrote about in last month’s article. Don’t wait until after frost to harvest if you can help it. Right before is better. Unlike turnips, sweet potatoes don’t seem to “sweeten up” with JUNE



Growing Big Sweet Potatoes The sweet potatoes sold in the grocery store are usually harvested at a medium size in summer. In Florida we have a long growing season and home gardeners who want big sweet potatoes can make this extra time work to their advantage. The first step to getting big sweet potatoes is growing your potatoes in good soil. Rich, well-drained ground with a lot of compost and plenty of sun will encourage the formation of

the cold. Instead, since they’re a tropical vegetable, the roots may get damaged by cold. The leaves can’t take much cold at all, though you do get some protection of the roots by the ground. If you were to leave them all in the soil through the winter, many of them will resprout in the spring, but these roots usually become woody and may be eaten up by termites and other pests in the soil. Leave them until they’re big, but not until they’re ruined. Have a wonderful fall, you beautiful gardening people. Here’s to many sweet harvests!

David The Good is a Florida native, a gardening expert and the author Please return by of four books you can find on linda@farmerandra Amazon, including Totallyor Crazy fax to 941-36 Easy Florida Gardening, Create Your Own Florida Food Forest, APPROVED AS Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting APPROVED WI and Grow or Die: The Good CHANGES Guide to Survival Gardening. Find fresh gardening inspiration every weekday at his website www. Signature and be sure to follow his popular YouTube channel at com/user/davidthegood. 2016

November 2016



Second Nature by Melody Murphy

To Grandmother’s House We Go 14


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rom an early age, I associated my grandmothers’ houses with food. Not just because their mission was to keep me from ever being hungry, but because I (perhaps peculiarly) connected food with the color schemes of their houses. I have always liked vegetables. My mother saw to it that I ate a lot of vegetables as a child. At any given dinner, there would be three or four kinds on my plate. I never had to be coerced to eat spinach and to this day could eat it in some form at every meal. I have always loved Brussels sprouts (roasted is the way to go), eggplant, okra, mustard greens, and beets. Nobody had to hide pureed vegetables in my food or cut them into cute shapes or drown them in ranch dressing. They just were on the plate and what we ate and that’s how it was. Maybe this familiarity with produce caused the color associations. Whatever the reason, I saw vegetables in my relatives’ interior décor. At one grandmother’s house, the kitchen linoleum reminded me of creamed corn, which made perfect sense with the butter-yellow walls. She had an armchair the exact hue of a lima bean, and in the TV room and dining room, the patterned green and gold carpet, which is four months older than I am, still looks exactly like succotash to me. All of this seemed perfectly logical to me as a child, since these were all things she frequently cooked. The other grandmother’s house was decorated in soft greens and pinks. This also made sense. The pink was the precise shade of the new potatoes and radishes in my grandfather’s garden, and his recliner was the color of her favorite canned English peas. The pale green walls were the color of celery, she had an asparagus-colored chair, and the green shag carpet reminded me of her broccoli casserole. In fact, the grandmothers’ signature casseroles were, in my mind, logically connected to their home furnishings. The grandmother whose décor was yellow made a squash casserole for all holiday dinners, while the grandmother with green décor always made a broccoli casserole. As a child, this just made good sense to me. We have always been a vegetable-minded family. I think this is partially a Southern thing. We love our backyard gardens, our farmer’s markets, our pickup trucks selling produce out of

the flatbed on the side of a country road. During lean times when meat was costly and scarce, a vegetable-based diet became a necessity, with just enough bacon for seasoning. And now, even in better times, we still like a vegetable plate. At this very moment, it is all I can do not to drive to the Cracker Barrel for theirs, because I would love a helping of their carrots. Maybe two. I recently found a very nice lady to come in and help out with the squash-casserole grandmother, who is 95 yet fiercely independent. She isn’t used to anyone else but me cooking in her kitchen. I asked her one day how the lady was working out, and the first thing she said was, “Well, she knows her way around a kitchen. I asked her to cook me some squash and she fixed it right.” I didn’t have to ask what “right” was, because both of my grandmothers and I have always been in agreement about the correct way to fix squash. You take your yellow crooked-neck squash, and cut it up crossways in round slices, not too thin, and season it with salt and pepper and onion. The ideal situation is if you have a Vidalia onion on hand and can chop that up and cook it down first in your skillet, in butter, so it starts to get soft and caramelized, and then you add your squash to that. But if you don’t have that, onion powder will do nicely. You melt some butter in your cast-iron skillet, and lay the squash out flat so it gets brown on one side. Then you flip it and let the other side get brown. Then you turn down the heat, and cover it, and let it cook down and get soft but not mushy (i.e., don’t cook it all to pieces, as my grandmother will admonish). You stir it every little bit. You do not need to add water, because there is already a lot of water in squash and you can avail yourself of that as steam to soften it. Once you’ve cooked out the water, the sugars in the squash and the butter will caramelize in the heat. And if you do it right, when you are finished you have golden brown, rich-tasting, buttery squash with a mellow onion flavor and just a little bite of black pepper. All that is to say: The lady got the allimportant Seal of Approval, because once my grandmother said she knew how to cook squash right, I knew we were going to be in fine shape. Our vegetables are that important to us. Melody Murphy is ready for that vegetable plate.

November 2016




The BayerMonsanto Merger by William K. Crispin, Attorney At Law



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ast month, we learned that two of the agricultural industry’s major corporations, U.S.-based Monsanto and Germany-based Bayer AG, agreed to terms to merge the two companies. The German-owned Bayer (yes, the aspirin company) is paying Monsanto $66-billion dollars to join the agrochemical giant, adding Monsanto’s seeds and genetically-modified crops to its portfolio. Both outfits have been on a growthby-acquisition mode for years. Monsanto’s sellout reminded me of another major foreign acquisition of a St. Louis-based company when Belgium’s InBev (Stella Artois and Becks) bought out venerable American institution AnheuserBusch. Here, Bayer AG, with its head office in Leverkusen, Germany, now has St. Louisheadquartered Monsanto on its mantle. I recall the prior decades when Monsanto began their systematic purchase of and technology licensing with so many seed companies who at one time dotted the Midwest with names like Trisler, Garst Seed, Dekalb Seed, etc. Companies that thrived on a high level of focused innovation were being replaced with “corporate efficiency.” American Seeds Inc. was formed by Monsanto in 2004, as a holding company for regional seed companies that market primarily corn and soybeans. It reports to Monsanto’s U.S. crop production business. Trisler, as an example, joined the ASI Western Group which is made up of companies similar in structure. Trisler had a 70-year heritage of serving American farmers, a similar history as many of the other seed companies that have been picked up by Monsanto. Now the tables are turned and the German pharmaceutical and chemical conglomerate aims to add Monsanto’s worldleading position in seeds and crop genes, and its thousands of patents, to its stable. So how will this megamerger impact American agriculture? According to the CEO of Bayer, Werner Baumann, the combination with Monsanto will create the global leader in agriculture. That is a title that the U.S. has long held through its collective array of top companies and land grant universities. This new agricultural powerhouse will end the independence of one of the most agri-related, successful companies

in the U.S. Of course Monsanto is also one of the most controversial, with its bio-tech core and aggressive litigious approach to controlling its relationship with its customers. The Wall Street Journal reported that Bayer plans to fuse its prowess in pesticides — it ranks among the world’s largest suppliers — with Monsanto’s capabilities in seed genetics and biotechnology, which have allowed it to develop corn, soybeans, cotton and other crops that can survive weedkilling sprays and make natural toxins to repel bugs. The merged company would be the largest supplier by sales of both seeds and pesticides. There are other large-scale companies buying out their competition, such as Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. pursuing a merger — and Swiss pesticide giant Syngenta AG agreed in February to a $43 billion takeover by China National Chemical Corp., a state-owned company that sells generic agricultural chemicals. The Bayer-Monsanto union is the latest in a wave of tie-ups that have reordered the $100 billion global market in crop seeds and pesticides in less than a year. Major fertilizer producers also have pursued deals. Seed makers, having laid off thousands of employees and mothballed some research projects, regard mergers as a way to cut costs while more deeply integrating the development of new seeds and chemicals. But it is the sellout of a uniquely American based company that provokes concern about offshore brain drain of a critical component to national security, i.e., the continued ability of our country to not only feed itself but control much of the world’s breadbasket. The company is responsible for more than 90% of soybean seeds sold in the U.S. Tied to the control issue is the letting of research grants to universities around the country. Monsanto has embraced biotechnology since its infancy. It commercialized the first genetically modified soybean and cotton varieties in 1996 and widely licensed its crop genes to rivals. In a rapidly consolidating sector already dominated by just a handful of players, Bayer AG’s $66-billion deal with Monsanto has significant negative implications for farmers and the industry. The consolidation of two big industry players into one of the world’s largest

agrochemical firms may also limit farmer choice and bargaining power, with increasing seed prices expected to be passed on to the grocery aisles. “The consolidation and driving out of smaller competitors, and controlling the marketplace and raising prices of seeds and pesticides for farmers worldwide is going to be a real shock to the food system,” said Robert Lawrence, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor and the founding director of the Center for a Liveable Future. Proponents may talk about the positives of economies of scale and feeding the ever-growing world population when commenting about the Bayer-Monsanto merger. But there is also the question of whether it is in the mid- to long-term benefit of the farmer purchasing these more controlled inputs and the consumer’s marketplace impact, as Professor Lawrence references above. This author’s concern centers on the outof-country control of such a large research and development arm of agri-business. In the 21st century, more and more research funds for production agriculture are derived from commercial outfits like Monsanto. Governmentderived funding to our land grant research institutions, such as the University of Florida, is at record lows with little prospect of that trend being reversed. Funding sources relate to the objectivity of research produced as well as the area of research that is the target of the funding. I mentioned the term “innovation” earlier in this column and its being a material part of the fabric that allowed so many regional seed companies to prosper. It is those companies that provided the foundation for Monsanto to grow into such a big concern. Going forward, it is hoped that our state and national agricultural leadership will appropriate the funds to allow the historic research arm of the USDA, the Agricultural Research Service, and the land grant institutions to lead in areas of research and innovation. Their challenge will be to find enough air in the room now occupied more and more by fewer and bigger global companies. William K. Crispin

November 2016



Cracking the Nut Why a pecan tree is perfect for your yard and health by Jan Cross Cubbage


y first crossing of the Mason-Dixon line at the age of 21 landed me at that iconic I-95 traveler’s landmark, “South of The Border.” I filled the car’s tank with fuel and then wandered into the tourist trap gift shop in quest of sweets. I stumbled upon pecan logs. And there began one of my detrimental dietary addictions. But it is not the pecans embedded in this sugar-laden concoction that puts it on the naughty list: Pecans have been under the scrutiny of nutritionists for quite some time and have been declared America’s most beneficial nut — for many good reasons. According to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition (January 2011), “Naturally-



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occurring antioxidants in pecans may contribute to heart health and disease prevention.” A formal university study utilizing the controlled diets of 16 volunteers who consumed pecans as part of one daily meal discovered the benefit of consuming pecans. The researchers found that blood lipids declined as the volunteers continued to consume pecans. High levels of blood lipids are linked to coronary artery heart disease. Pecans are packed with Vitamin E and plant sterols, yet another lipid inhibitor. These factors are why the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (June 2004) declared pecans to “rank highest among all nuts and are among the top category of foods (nuts) to contain the highest an-

tioxidant capacity,” signifying that consuming pecans “may decrease coronary disease, cancer risk, and neurological disease such as Alzheimer’s.” Having discovered that pecans were going to help me live a longer and healthier life, I set out to find a pecan tree to plant in my yard. But first, being a history and natural history buff, I wanted to learn more about pecans. Pecan trees, a member of the hickory tree family, were here in North America long before people began to crack open their shells. A pecan tree matures at age 10-12 years and at that age will have grown to a height of about 40 feet. Nuts will start to appear during the growth years at age five to ten. A mature tree

ranging from 40-70 feet can drop a harvest of 400 to 1,000 pounds of nuts in the fall. Like other relatives of the hickory tree, pecans may live for a century or longer and have a six-foot trunk diameter. That is one awesome tree! The thin-shelled nuts of a pecan tree fall literally at your feet beginning in October as the nuts’ husk, or shuck, begins to split. Because pecans contain fats, the nuts need to be stored in a cool, dry place. Fat, remember, is not a bad word. The fats in pecans are unsaturated and heart-healthy. Just as America’s native people found that pecans were tasty and plentiful, colonists from Europe quickly added pecans to their diets. Often, the location of an early Southern plantation was based on the shortest distance to a wild pecan grove. Wherever stout pecans grew, there would be rich, deep, and well-drained soil and hence a fine place to dig in and farm. By 1761, British plantation owners were collecting pecans as a commercial crop to be exported to Britain. Today, according to The Pecan: A History of America’s Native Nut (James McWilliams, University of Texas Press, 2013), the pecan is “America’s most important commercial nut.” Last year, Florida’s commercial pecan crop, based on about 8,500 acres of grove land, produced a nut crop valued at $500 million. Having discovered all of this information, I went hunting for a pecan tree for my yard. Just one tree is all I would need to plant, because a single mature tree has both male and female structures and self-pollinates. Each pecan tree grows pollen-producing staminate (male) yellow-green catkins that look like little fuzzy string beans. The pistallate (female) flowers of the tree are small, four-angled, and also yellow-green. There are more than 200 varieties of pecans, but the several suited for north Florida are more or less original natives that deal well with our area’s climate and pests. At a local nursery, I found a Stuart variety about six feet tall. I took Stuart home and found a spot for him+her at the edge of the yard near a pasture fence. I didn’t want to plant Stuart along the fence adjacent to the woods, for I could just picture a family of wild hogs procuring the nuts of my labor at some time in the future. I planted Stuart in a bed of black, rich horse manure compost mixed with the topsoil I dug out of the planting hole. I keep Stuart

watered if it isn’t raining. It’s the beginning of a great relationship — me and Stuart, my new nutbearing tree. Resources: n Detailed information from UF/IFAS: n Other UF/IFAS articles: n Fertilizing pecan trees: Jan Cross Cubbage, a blood stock agent and Thoroughbred farm manager, is a retired high school teacher of history and science, author of Screaming Ponies, and a former licensed Thoroughbred trainer in six states.

November 2016



The Secret Life of Turkeys by Carolyn Blakeslee


enjamin Franklin wished the wild turkey had been crowned the American national symbol rather than the bald eagle. In a letter to his daughter, Franklin wrote (after casting some aspersion on the nature of the bald eagle), “The turkey is … a true original native of America. Eagles have been found in all countries, but the turkey was peculiar to ours.”

Wild turkeys An Emmy Award-winning film, “My Life as a Turkey,” is available to watch online at A minute short of an hour, the film was, to my surprise, riveting. I have no idea how the filmmakers captured some of those scenes — some of the footage is National Geographic quality. Synopsis: After a neighbor



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farmer left a bowl of eggs on Joe Hutto’s front porch in north Florida, his life was forever changed. Hutto, possessing a broad background in the natural sciences and an interest in imprinting young animals, incubated the eggs and waited for them to hatch. As the chicks emerged from their shells, they locked eyes with their unusual but dedicated “mother.” The film documents Hutto’s remarkable experience of raising a group of wild turkey hatchlings to adulthood. The film was based on Hutto’s 1995 book, Illumination in the Flatwoods, which grew out of the journals Hutto kept during his two-year experiment with wild turkeys. Here are some of the things I learned from the film: Wild turkeys can fly when they are seven days old.

If poults (baby turkeys) are left alone without a parent to shepherd them, they will panic and run until they die. They are born knowing which insects are safe to eat; which snakes are venomous; which animals are benign and which are predators. They have specific calls for creatures such as rattlesnakes. And, rather than running from rattlesnakes, they show almost an obsession with them. However, their vocalization to each other about hawks causes the others to be still and quiet until the predator passes. Turkeys are curious. They are interested in understanding the world, especially when their environment is out of order. When wild turkeys find an animal skeleton or the stump of a cut tree, they are disturbed by it

and spend time figuring it out. Turkeys can fly for short distances, at speeds up to 55 mph. They can run 20 mph. Turkeys roost in trees so they can sleep without fear of being harmed by ground-based predators such as coyotes. Toms sometimes start to display when they are as young as 10 days old. Turkeys dislike turtles. Turkeys are affectionate and emotional. They are also playful, even engaging in interspecies play with benign creatures such as deer and squirrels. When they’re about a year old, the toms begin to fight, and ultimately only the strongest will mate. Adult toms can be dangerous. They can, and do, attack people. Between pecking and gouging with their dewclawlike spurs, they can blind, maim, even kill. Despite the strong bonds Hutto shared with the birds, a wild animal’s nature simply can’t be denied or changed. The grown-up turkeys moved away after they were a year old, and eventually Hutto was attacked by one of his favorites, Turkey Boy, in a male challenge. For more information about the film and how it was made, visit http://bit. ly/2dwzqJy.

When he came within a few feet of us, I was stunned at how large he was — he had to have been nearly four feet tall. And then, he fluffed up and started his display. By then it was too late to go into the house, and we didn’t have a stick. Some instinct kicked in within me, perhaps born of a little bit of experience in handling dogs. I did not make eye contact — in fact, I completely ignored him and gently gazed into the distance. My friend recognized the danger and quietly said, “What should we do?” I calmly answered, in the most dulcet voice I could muster, “Nothing. Don’t look at him, don’t move, and whatever you do, don’t turn your back.” The tom continued to stand there on the razor’s edge for what seemed like an eternity. Then he got bored, deflated himself, and walked away. He wasn’t the only one who breathed out! Turkeys have been around for millennia and are said to be relatives of T. Rex and Velociraptor. Turkeys have no teeth, but two stomachs. The first, the glandular stomach, breaks down

food via gastric juices. Then the food enters the gizzard, where the food is further dissolved. American consumers prefer immature (8-15 pounds) turkeys because they fit more easily into refrigerators and ovens. 46-million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving, 22-million on Christmas, and 19-million on Easter. In 2011, 736-million pounds of turkey were consumed in the U.S. and 703-million pounds were exported. In 2012, 253,500,000 turkeys were produced in the U.S.; nearly 25,000 people are employed in the industry. In 1970, 50% of all turkey consumption happened during the holidays. Today, just 29% of all turkey consumed is during the holidays because more turkey is eaten year-round. Sources n n National Turkey Federation, n University of Illinois Extension, Carolyn Blakeslee is an artist, musician, Mom, and publisher of The Ag Mag.

Domestic turkeys Once upon a time, when I was showing my old farm to a friend who was interested in renting it, the neighbor’s domestic tom walked over to us. We weren’t worried about it at first, because he was taking his time, just sauntering.

November 2016



Farm Tour Celebrates Santa Rosa County Ag Heritage by Trent Mathews


arming and ranching has changed a lot in five decades. In October, 250 people experienced firsthand the scope and importance of agriculture during the Santa Rosa County 50th Anniversary Farm Tour. Visitors were entertained by cutting horse demonstrations at Hayes Ranch, strolled through a small sustainable farm offering “glamping” (glamorous tent camping) at Coldwater Gardens, picked cotton bolls in a farmer’s field and stopped at the Panhandle Growers to honor the John Davy and Glen Strange families, who were awarded the Farm Family of the Year. The grand finale was enjoying the county’s famous boiled peanuts at Holland Farms. I have been involved with the farm tour in an official capacity for the past nine years. It’s a longstanding tradition that I have been involved with my entire life. My



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family’s farm served as the final tour stop for more than 30 years. The planning process takes approximately six to seven months. The committee meets monthly to discuss host farms, nominate and select the Santa Rosa County Farm Family, arrange all the logistical details, lay out the tour route, and compile crop records and economic impact data. Participants of this tour are from varied backgrounds, but most live in town and have no connection to a farm or farmers. The idea is to introduce non-agriculture citizens to the concepts of farming and the importance of agriculture to our local economy. According to the 2012 U.S. Ag Census, Santa Rosa County ranks in the top 50 percent of all U.S. counties in total agricultural production. The county is 32nd in total ag sales statewide and ranks second in peanut and cotton production.

The challenge for local farmers in the past few years has been the reduction in price they receive for their commodities. For example, the price paid to farmers for peanuts fell from more than $1,000 per ton three years ago to less than $400 per ton last year. With fixed input costs, this creates a situation in which farmers have to make a bumper crop in order to have any chance of realizing a profit. The outlook can change drastically from year to year in agriculture. Last year, the future looked very bleak but with adequate rains and bountiful crops this year, there is more excitement moving forward. Fifty years ago most farms were small — 100 acres or less — with a wide variety of operation types, from dairies and hog operations, to corn, cotton, peanuts, and even things we rarely see today such as sheep and Tung oil trees. Today our farms have grown larger,

with many being more than 1,000 acres. Fortunately, we have maintained the family farm tradition in Santa Rosa County with almost all our operations still owned and managed by local families. Production became much more monogamous during the 1980s and 1990s with nearly all farms growing cotton and peanuts. In recent years we have seen a trend back toward farm diversification with farmers adding more livestock, small-scale fruit and vegetable production, and a growing agritourism industry. Santa Rosa County Farm Tour Committee hosts the farm tour. This committee consists of UF-IFAS Extension, USDA- FSA, USDA-NRCS, 3 Rivers RC&D, University of Florida WFREC, Santa Rosa County Farm Bureau, Farm Credit of NWFL and United Bank. The event is sponsored by many local businesses. A tour like this gives me a greater appreciation of how blessed I am to have the opportunity to work on farms and with farmers every day. There is a tremendous demand from the public to gain access to farmers and a true interest in learning about what farmers do on a daily basis. People look to farmers with amazement and feel a real connection with them when they leave this tour. These are the people I’m employed to serve and it really is an honor. Trent Mathews is a fourth-generation farmer in Santa Rosa County, producing soybeans, corn, wheat, peanuts and beef cattle on his family farm. He has worked for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service since 2001 and has been the district conservationist for Santa Rosa County since 2008 helping farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners conserve their resources. Learn more about USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service http://bit. ly/1SbqBbl or visit a local field office, listed at http:// Photos by Trent Mathews.

“Glamping” accommodations at Coldwater Gardens

Puffs of clouds provide the backdrop for puffy cotton bolls

Charles Holland serves up boiled peanuts at Holland Farms

November 2016



Wine in Florida by Carolyn Blakeslee



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etcha didn’t know: America’s first wine was made in Florida. French settlers near St. Augustine made America’s first wine from local Scuppernong and Muscadine grapes. Florida ranks seventh in the U.S. for wine production. Florida’s wine industry is 10 times larger than its avocado industry at nearly $1-billion to $100-million. A winery can be a farm that grows grapes and makes wine. However, a winery can also be a facility that brings in juice from elsewhere and makes wine from the juice, i.e. The Corkscrew Winery and Brewery in Ocala and The Villages, and

Vino Florida in Madeira Beach. USDA data reports that 558 farms grew grapes in Florida in 2012, a 70 percent increase from 2007. Besides traditional Florida wines made from indigenous grapes and hybrid bunch grapes, Florida produces “a variety of table, sparkling and dessert wines, from dry white and red to sweet and fruity wines” as well as “exotic and citrus fruit wines.” ( According to the Florida Wine and Grape Growers Association (, there are 42 bonded commercial wineries in Florida as of January 2016. According to the Florida

Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services (http://bit. ly/2eyrtt4), 27 certified Florida Farm Wineries are active in Florida as of January 2016. For a map and list of the wineries and their web sites, visit http://bit. ly/2emcFJp. To qualify as a Florida Farm Winery, the winery must: 1. produce and sell less than 250,000 gallons of wine annually, of which at least 60 percent of the wine produced is made from state agricultural products; 2. maintain an operating vineyard with a minimum of five acres of owned or managed land in Florida which produces commodities used in the production of wine; 3. be open to the public for tours, tastings, and sales at least 30 hours/week; 4. apply annually to FDACS for recognition as a Florida Farm Winery; and 5. pay an annual application and registration fee of $100.

Archer 352-495-9090

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The Ag Mag will be hosting a wine festival at HITS on Sunday, February 19, 2017, from noon until 8pm at Good Time Farm, on U.S. Highway 27, northwest of Ocala. The date, chosen to coincide with International Grand Prix Day, will feature many of Florida’s winemakers, offering tastes of their Florida-made wine. Winemakers and vendors are invited to apply to participate in the festival. Applications will be available on December 1. Watch this space for further details.

November 2016



Calendar of Events EVENTS: MEETINGS, WORKSHOPS, CLASSES, CONFERENCES, ETC. Tuesday, November 1 1. Levy Soil and Water Conservation District meeting. 6:30pm, 625 N. Hathaway Ave., Bronson, Upcoming meetings (first Tuesday): 12/6. 2. Preparing Your Garden for Winter. From ornamentals to vegetables, learn what can be done in the fall to prepare for the winter: what to plant, prune, irrigate, and fertilize, as well as how to properly protect sensitive plants and edibles from the cold. Presented by a Master Gardener. Alachua Extension, 2800 NE 39th Ave., Gainesville. No registration cost but call 352-337-6209 to preregister. November 1-2 1. Florida Water Star Accredited Professional Training and Exam. Training 8:30-5 the 1st, exam 1-5 the 2nd. $50. Citrus County Ext., 3650 W. Sovereign Path, #1, Lecanto. Registration: Merry Mott,, 800-375-3642. 2. Regional Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference, Indian River Research and Education Center, 2199 South Rock Rd., Ft. Pierce, http://bit. ly/2a8NwCM. Wednesday, November 2 1. Florida Ag Expo. Free.



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UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Balm. 2. Power Hour Luncheon. Join business owners to discuss the mandatory changes to Florida labor laws, which take effect December 1st. $25, 11:30-1, LifeSouth Community Blood Centers HQ, 4039 W. Newberry Rd., Gainesville, Thursday, November 3 1. Public workshop to discuss the draft North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan. 1pm, Suwannee River Management District, Governing Board room, 9225 CR 49, Live Oak. Download the plan at; open for public comment until December 5. 2. Small Ruminant Production Conference, Lake County Extension, 1951 Woodlea Rd., Tavares, 352-343-2767. 9-4, $30, preregister at November 3-13 75th Annual North Florida Fair, Tallahassee. Friday, November 4 1. Canning under the Cot-

tage Law. 9-1, Bartow, http://bit. ly/2a43daO. 2. Fall and Winter Gardening. 12pm, Freedom Library, 8870 SW 95th St., Ocala. Marion County Master Gardeners, 352671-8400. 3. Teacher Workshop, Farm Tour. K-12 teachers are invited to attend Sowing the Seeds of Knowledge teacher workshop. 8:30-4:30, St. John’s Extension, 3125 Agricultural Center Dr., St. Augustine. $10 includes lunch. Saturday, November 5 1. Beginner Beekeeping. Overview of equipment, bee installation, associated costs, pests and diseases in the hive, honey extraction. Live bees, so wear protective clothing. 8am-1pm, UF Bee Unit, 2895 SW 23 Terrace, Gainesvile. $5, pre-register by calling 955-2402. 2. Florida Friendly Landscaping Tour, 8:30am-12noon. Tour of the Rosemont and Apple Tree area of yards that exemplify water conservation and environmentally friendly landscaping. Tour starts at Rosemont Clubhouse, 6200 NW 35 Terrace,

Gainesville. No cost but call 352-337-6209 to preregister. 3. Sale: Katahdin and part-bred Katahdin sheep. Gates open at 9, sale starts at 11:30. AGB Stables, 1551 SE 160th Ave., Morriston, 352-529-7395, 4. Waterfowl Hunting Workshop. Learn about where to hunt, waterfowl identification, gear needed, hunting strategies, and safe, responsible hunting. Free, 8-5, Palm Bay Police Dept., Firearms Training Center, 620 Hurley Rd. S.W., Palm Bay, FL, 321-863-9182. Monday, November 7 1. Farm Network meeting, to focus on growing produce to market to schools. Optional: bring a covered dish. 4-6pm, Alachua County Farm to School Work Hub, 2802 NE 8th Ave., Gainesville. 2. Pesticide exam, Bartow. Testing starts at 9am. Polk Extension, 863-519-1049, http://bit. ly/2emrjG7. 3. Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course. $95-150 includes lunch and certification. Open to fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about the Food Safety Modernization Act, Produce Safety Rule, Good Agriculture Practices, etc. Palm Beach Extension, 559 N. Military Tr., West Palm Beach. 4. Wildflowers and Seed Balls. How to create a wildflower meadow, how to save seeds. 2:304:30pm. Alachua Extension, 2800 NE 39th Ave., Gainesville. $5, pre-register by calling 352-337-6209. Tuesday, November 8 1. Dixie Soil and Water Conservation District Board meeting. 6:30-7:30, Cypress Inn Restaurant, Cross City. Upcoming meetings (second Tuesday): 11/18, 12/13. 2. Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District Board meeting, 9am, USDA Ocala Service Center, 2441 NE Third St., Suite 204-2, Ocala, Information: Ann Bishop, 352-622-3971, x.112. Upcoming meetings (second Tuesday): 12/13. 3. St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board meeting, 11am, District headquarters, 4049 Reid St., Palatka. Information: Missy McDermont, 386-329-4214. Upcoming meetings (second Tuesdays): 12/13. Wednesday, November 9 1. Automated Harvesting. Regional grower meeting to learn about autoharvesters and how they

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November 2016



stack up. Panel discussion for growers, farm managers, lead operators, mechanics, shop foremen. 9:30-12:30, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, 880 Trafalgar Sq., Maitland. $25/person, preregistration required. FloridaTurf. com/events/. 2. Pruning Trees and Shrubs. Timing, styles, and equipment for pruning. Alachua Extension, 2800 NE 39th Ave., Gainesville. $5, pre-register by calling 352-337-6209. Thursday, November 10 1. Small Ruminant Production Conference, Hardee Extension, 507 Civic Center Dr., Wauchula. 9-4, $30, pre-register at Friday, November 11 Tomatoes. 10am, Cypress Hall, On Top of the World, 8415 SW 80th St., Ocala. Marion County Master Gardeners, 352-671-8400.

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November 11-13 Southern Regional Paso Fino Horse Show, Southern Livestock Pavilion, 2232 NE Jacksonville Rd., Ocala.

Ag Building auditorium, 1911 SW 34th St., Gainesville. If you want to present information at the meeting, call Jeffrey Woods, 352338-9515 by November 1.

Saturday, November 12 1. Backyard Chickens 101, Bartow. Polk Extension, 863-5191049. 2. Swallowtail Farm Fall Festival, 12-10pm. Food, music, craft demonstrations, health workshops, hayrides, more. Swallowtail Farm, 17603 NW 276th Ln., Alachua,

Wednesday, November 16 1. 2016 Farm City Week Tour, UF/IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit, 2556 W. Hwy. 318, Citra. Tours offered at 10:30, 11, 11:30 and noon; free lunch; afternoon seminars (blueberries, organic gardening/vegetable grafting, or turf varieties) and another seminar at 2:15 on olives, protected culture, or turf irrigation. Florida-Friendly Landscape gardens will be open with tours hosted by Marion County Master Gardeners. Free but pre-registration required: 2. Microgreens 101. Crop selection, scheduling, seeding; maintenance; harvesting techniques; post-harvest handling; marketing and sales. $100, 8:302:30, Suwannee Valley Extension, 8202 Creek 417, Live Oak, 386362-1725. Register by Nov. 11 at 3. Private Applicator/Row Crop Review and Exams. Pesticide safety, principles of pest control, understanding the label, review on pesticide arithmetic. Applicator CEUs offered for people who already have their licenses. If you plan on taking an exam at this workshop, call the Alachua Extension at 352-955-2402 in advance so the instructor knows which type of exam you’ll need to complete and have it available for you. 9-5, Straughn IFAS Extension Center, 2142 Shealy Dr., Gainesville. $4/half day, $8/full day,, or $15 at the door.

November 14, 21, 28 Home Buyers Education Program, 3-part series. Resources that can help with buying, maintaining, keeping a home. 6-8pm each Monday. Alachua Extension, 2800 NE 39th Ave., Gainesville. $10/person or per couple, preregister by calling 352-337-6209. Tuesday, November 15 1. Submit before November 16: Comments on Rule Change proposals for 2017-18, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. The changes will be considered Nov. 16-17, with another meeting in Gainesville Feb. 8-9. http:// 2. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (http:// will conduct a State Technical Advisory meeting in an effort to assist ag producers in meeting their land management goals while protecting natural resources. Will give an overview of the 2014 Farm Bill programs and conservation easements. NRCS will solicis recommendations for establishing technical guidelines, program criteria and priorities for conservation practices. 10-12:30, Doyle Conner

Thursday, November 17 1. 2016 Florida Fall Cattle-

men’s Conference and Allied Trade Show. $25 includes lunch; $75 after November 11. 8-4, Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, 2232 NE Jacksonville Rd., Ocala, 352-671-8400. http://bit. ly/2cwqckR. 2. Automated Harvesting. Regional grower meeting to learn about autoharvesters and how they stack up. Panel discussion for growers, farm managers, lead operators, mechanics, shop foremen. 9:30-12:30, Okeechobee County Extension, 458 Hwy 98 North, Okeechobee. $25/person, pre-registration required. Saturday, November 19 Fruit Trees: When, what, how? 11am, Reddick Library, 15150 NW Gainesville Road. Marion County Master Gardeners, 352-671-8400. Tuesday, November 29 2016 Fall Beef Cattle Workshop. Fall/winter supplementation, forage management, veterinary feed directive rule. Alachua Extension, 2800 NE 39th Ave., Gainesville. 6:30pm, $10 includes dinner, pre-register by calling 352-955-2402. Wednesday, November 30 Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course. $95-150 includes lunch and certification. Open to fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about the Food Safety Modernization Act, Produce Safety Rule, Good Agriculture Practices, etc. UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, 14625 CR 672, Wimauma, FL, http://bit. ly/2e2qXPi. Monday, December 5 Deadine for public com-

ment on the draft North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan.

Foods Gala, 10-3. Chefs prepare food samples. Music, crafts, demonstrations. $2/admission, $2/ sample. Crones Cradle Conserve, 6411 NE 217 Pl., Citra, 352-5953377,

Friday, December 9 Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course. $95-150 includes lunch and certification. Open to fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about the Food Safety Modernization Act, Produce Safety Rule, Good Agriculture Practices, etc. Dade Extension, 18710 SW 288 St., Homestead, http://bit. ly/2eIECLt.

Tuesday, December 20 Gilchrist Soil and Water Conservation District meeting. 6:30pm, Akins BBQ, Bell. Upcoming meetings (third Tuesdays every other month): 12/20. Dates Vary Citrus County Extension Svc. Remote Plant Clinic Dates and Locations. Every Tuesday, 1

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November 2016



pm: Lakes Region Library. First Wednesday, 2 pm: Floral City Library. Second Wednesday, 1:30 pm: Central Ridge Library. Third Wednesday, 1 pm: Citrus Springs Library. Second Friday: 1:30 pm, Coastal Region Library. Information: Citrus County Extension Svc., 3650 W. Sovereign Path, Suite 1, Lecanto, FL 34461, 352-527-5700, www. Every Wednesday Farm baskets of vegetables, jams, jellies, etc., are delivered to the Ocala Public Library every Wednesday at 2:30 pm. $25-50. Reserve in advance. Crones Cradle Conserve, 6411 NE 217th Pl., Citra, 352-595-3377, Every Saturday Farmstead Saturdays. 9 am to 3 pm. Free admission. Lunch and pastries available. Crones Cradle Conserve, 6411 NE 217 Pl., Citra, 352-595-3377, Many Dates ServSafe® Food Safety and Quality Program. Class and Exam, $110; $55 more for textbook. COCOA: Nov. 14. GAINESVILLE: Tues., Dec. 6. LIVE OAK: Mon., Nov. 7. PANAMA CITY: Nov. 17. STARKE: Nov. 9. YULEE: Nov. 27. http://tinyurl. com/nmdc3sc.

EXHIBITS Now through January 15, 2017 Wicked Plants exhibit featuring more than 100 of the world’s most diabolical botanicals, from plants that merely smell like death to those that can actually cause it. Based on Amy Stewart’s book Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother, the exhibit opens into the garden of an abandoned Victorian house. Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesvile, Now through March 18 Water Ways, presented by the Smithsonian’s Traveling Exhibition Service. Images, videos, information, interactive elements. Ding Darling Wildlife Society, Oct. 29-Dec. 10, Sanibel; Historic Courthouse, Okeechobee, Dec. 17-Jan. 28; Sulphur Springs Museum, Tampa, Feb. 4-Mar. 18.



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FREE ONLINE CLASSES Webinar Recordings 1. Cover Crop Options for Hot and High Humidity Areas, 2. Organic Seed Production webinar series. 3. Promoting Specialty Crops as Local. Communicating with consumers. http://www.piecenter. com/training/local/ 4. Specialty Crops Program webinar series. 5. Soil Health Impacts on Pest Management. 2pm. 6. Sustainable Agricultural Research & Education (SARE) offers classes on sustainable agriculture, strategic farm planning and marketing, and more. 7. USDA topics including funding and initiatives. Upcoming and past webinars are listed; they are eventually archived and available for tuning in later.

GRANTS, SCHOLARSHIPS, OTHER FUNDING First-Come, First-Served USDA, Farmers Market Coalition free SNAP EBT equipment program. FMC will cover the costs of purchasing or renting equipment and services (set-up costs, monthly service fees, wireless fees) for up to three years. Deadline November 1 Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). Eligible producers who experienced losses due to disease, adverse weather or other conditions such as blizzards and wildfires not covered by other ag disaster assistance programs, may submit an application and notice of loss that occurred during the last year. Deadline November 15 Wetland Reserve Easements. Financial and technical assistance for landowners to purchase and restore wetlands, protect wildlife habitat, and recharge groundwater on their property. Open to ag landowners and Indian tribes. Permanent or 30-year easement. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Svc., Roney Gutierrez, 352-338-9502,

Deadline November 17 Risk Management Education grants. About 60 grants will be funded, with projects up to $50,000 each with a maximum timeline of 18 months. Projects grants are available for any non-profit or extension organization engaged in risk management education and training projects. This competitive grant program in particular emphasizes projects that focus on risk management for beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers, or retiring farmers who are transitioning their farms. Mostly Education grants, but a few Exploratory projects (still in preliminary stages) will be funded. Topics include production risk (crop insurance, diversification), marketing risk, financial risk (records and analysis, value-added enterprises), legal risk (food safety liability, environmental regulations), human risk (estate and transition planning, labor). Deadline December 8 Farm to School program. $5 million in grants each year on a competitive basis to schools, nonprofits, state and local agencies, agricultural producers, and Indian tribal organizations to increase local food procurement for school meal programs and to expand educational activities on agriculture and food. Planning grants are for schools or school districts just getting started on farm to school activities. Implementation grants enable schools or school districts to expand or further develop existing farm to school programs. Support service grants allow community partners such as non-profit entities, Indian tribal nations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers to provide support to schools in their efforts to bring local products into the cafeteria and for other farm to school activities. Training grants are intended for eligible entities to support trainings that strengthen farm to school supply chains, or trainings that provide technical assistance in the area of local procurement, food safety, culinary education, and/or integration of ag-based curriculum. All four grant types require matching funds in the form of 25 percent of the total project cost. farmtoschool/farm-school-grant-program. Deadline December 12 Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program. To support projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among lowincome consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase. Three categories


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of projects: (1) FINI Pilot Projects (awards not to exceed a total of $100,000 over one year); (2) Multiyear, community-based FINI Projects (awards not to exceed a total of $500,000 over no more than four years); and (3) Multiyear, FINI Large-Scale Projects (awards of $500,000 or more over no more than four years). http:// Deadline December 15 USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant funding to hep train the next generation of ag producers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Helps fund organizations implementing programs throughout the United States that train beginning farmers and ranchers, through workshops, educational teams, training and technical assistance. Eligible applicants include collaborative state, tribal, local or regionally-based networks or partnerships of public or private entities such as state cooperative extension services, community-based organizations, colleges or universities; and other organizations providing services to beginning farmers and ranchers. Deadline December 31 Walmart Community Grants, $250-2,500. Open to nonprofits, government entities, public or private schools, church or other faith-based organization. Four core areas: Hunger relief/healthy eating, sustainability, women’s economic empowerment, opportunity; programs don’t have to align with those areas but must be geared toward strengthening local communities. http://giving.



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x.125, www.FreshAccessBucks. com.

Deadline January 19, 2017 NIFA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. OREI funds high-priority research, education and extension projects that enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic products. Eligible entities include Land-Grant and other research universities, federal agencies, national laboratories, state agricultural experiment stations, and research foundations and other private researchers. Priority areas include biological, physical and social science research, including economics. Funded projects will aid farmers and ranchers with whole-farm planning by delivering practical research-based information and improve the ability for growers to develop the Organic System Plan required for certification. http://

Deadlines Vary 1. Florida Agricultural Scholarships Online. Check this web site often for announcements of new awards. 2. USDA grants, loans, and other support. Many programs are open to individual and family farmers, even people starting out. Micro-loans are fast tracked. There are other programs open to farmers’ markets, nonprofits, and educational providers. www. usdahome?navid=KYF_GRANTS.

No Specific Deadline 1. American Heart Association Teaching Garden Grant. Open to schools. The AHA provides the materials for planting day, garden beds, organic soil, seedlings and plants, cooking demonstrations, and other activities; Teaching Garden Took Kit including school garden manual, lesson plans, and more. http:// 2. Fresh Access Bucks is seeking applications to add more farmers and markets to their network. This is to encourage SNAP recipients to redeem their benefits at farmers’ markets and at farms that sell direct to consumers. Matching funds. 352-377-6355,

POSITIONS, INTERNSHIPS Deadlines Vary 1. Florida Sea Grant. If you are interested in marine and coastal work, check in with the Florida Sea Grant program, as new positions are posted frequently. about/jobs/ 2. Internships in the beef industry. Many opportunities; some include housing. www. 3. UF/IFAS. Extension agents, dairy cattle assistants, water resources agents, horticulture agents, veterinary support, professors, teaching assistants, much more. Check out the list at en-us/listing/.

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Spice Is Nice Pecans by Jan Cross Cubbage

Ingredients: 2 cups 3 tbsp 2 1½ cups 2 tbsp 1½ tbsp 1½ tsp ¾ tsp ¼ tsp

pecan halves orange juice egg whites, beaten confectioner’s sugar grated orange peel corn starch cinnamon ground cloves allspice

Directions: Combine egg whites and orange juice; add the pecans and toss to coat. In a separate bowl, combine all the other ingredients. Add the coated pecans to this mixture; stir and toss to coat the pecans. Spread the coated pecans on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 250ºF for 30 minutes or until dry and lightly brown. Cool and serve or store in an airtight jar for future use. Also makes a great gift.

Toasted Pecans by Jeri Baldwin

Ingredients: 1 cup 4 tbsp ½ tsp

pecan halves butter, melted your choice: cinnamon, paprika, sage, etc.

Directions: Toss pecan halves in melted butter until covered. On a cookie sheet, arrange the pecans; do not let the halves touch. Place the cookie sheet under your oven broiler for 30 seconds. Watch closely and do not let the pecans burn; they may take a few seconds more or less, depending on your oven. Remove from oven, sprinkle selected herb over the pecans. Remove from cookie sheet into a serving dish; serve immediately.



The Ag Mag

Southern Pecan Pie

by Jeri Baldwin

Ingredients: ½ cup butter ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed 5 eggs 2 cups cane syrup 2 cups chopped pecans 1 tsp vanilla OR 1 tsp. dark rum ½ tsp salt

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 375ºF. Cream butter thoroughly. Add brown sugar, cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs completely, one at a time. Stir in: cane syrup, then vanilla or rum, then salt. Add pecans, stir in gently. Pour mixture into a 12-inch deep-dish pie crust. Bake the pie for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the filling comes out clean. Serve warm. Can be topped with stiffly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. FULL SERVICE GARDEN CENTER


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Crones’ Cradle Conserve Foundation

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Farm Store Open 9-3 7 Days a Week

Fall Natural Foods & Gift Gala December 10, 2016 10 am - 3:00

Natural and Organic Foods to Sample Silent Auction & Raffle Unique & Original Gifts in our Store Make Holiday Gifts, Decorations, & Crafts for all ages $2 Admission $2 Sample Tickets $1 Raffle Tickets

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352-595-3377 FB: Crones’ Cradle Conserve Foundation No Pets or Smoking Cash or Check Only