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UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension
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Freeze and Wind Chill Warnings

Freeze Watch for West Central FL in the morning of Thursday, Dec 16th and early next week forecast by National Weather Service.  For updates – see http://www.srh.noaa.gov/graphicast.php?site=tbw&gc=1.  For a free subscription to freeze alerts in West Central FL see the F.A.W.N. website at http://fawn.ifas.ufl.edu/”.  Commercial agriculture freeze damages in Sarasota County can be reported to Robert Kluson, Ag Extension Agent, at rkluson@scgov.net

Horse Health and Disaster Safety Workshop

Thursday, October 14, 2010, 6:00 to 9:00 pm
Cost: FREE

Presented by the UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension at:
Sarasota Polo Club
8201 Polo Club Lane
Sarasota, FL 34240
(941) 907-0000 (office)

Speakers include:
Amanda House, DVM, Director, Equine
Research Program Large Animal Clinical
Sciences University of Florida College of
Veterinary Medicine

Robert Kluson, Ph.D., AG/NR Extension,
UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension
Representative of Sarasota County
Emergency Management Services

Agenda:
6:00 PM— 6:30 PM Registration/Refreshments
6:30 PM— 7:15 PM Equine healthcare and vaccination updates
7:15 PM— 7:45 PM Emergency first aid for horses
7:45 PM— 8:00 PM break
8:00 PM— 8:20 PM Disaster preparedness and resources in
Sarasota County
8:20 PM— 9:00 PM Pasture/manure management update and
resources at UF/IFAS Extension


What’s the Ag Outlook for 2010-11?

What’s the Ag Outlook for the 2010-11 Growing Season?  Read the Latest Predictions from the Southeast Climate Consortium.

Ag Outlook 2010

Funding Available for Ag Projects

Funding Available for Ag Projects in Water Quality, Quantity, Animal & Plant Health, Soil Erosion, and Wildlife Habitat!  Registration Deadline is Oct 30, 2010.

Flyer

Best Management Practices Manual for Specialty/Nut

Learn more how you can use BMPs to your advantage and as a a key component of agriculture’s environmental stewardship role at this website. (click here)

 

USDA Announces Deadline for 2008 Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program

The SURE program provides benefits for 2008 through 2011 crop year farm revenue losses due to natural disasters.  Currently the Farm Service Agency is processing 2008 applications and producers must submit an application for payment no later than Sept. 30, 2010. Producers who do not meet this deadline will not be considered eligible for 2008 SURE program payments. 

To qualify for this program a portion of your “farm” must be located in a county covered by a qualifying natural disaster declaration by the USDA Secretary or a contiguous county or the actual production is less than 50% of the normal production. Hardee, DeSoto, & Sarasota  counties are designated as contiguous counties, Manatee was not a designated county. A “farm” for SURE refers to all crop acreage in all counties that a producer planted or intended to be planted for harvest for normal commercial sale or farm livestock feeding.

Producers must suffer a 10% loss to at least one crop of economic significance on their farm in order to be eligible for SURE.  To qualify the loss must be caused by a natural disaster.  A crop of economic significance is one that contributes at least 5 % of the expected revenue for a producer’s farm. Another requirement for eligibility includes Risk Management Purchase Requirements which requires producers to obtain a policy or plan of insurance for all crops.  There are limited exceptions to this rule and grass intended for grazing is not included in this requirement. Socially disadvantaged, limited resource, or beginning farmer and rancher also do not have to meet this requirement.

If you have any questions concerning this program please contact the local FSA office at 863-773-4764, appointments are required to submit applications.

Crist Declares Pollinator Week

Governor Charlie Crist declared June 21-27, 2010 Pollinator Week in the State of Florida.  Support National Pollinator Week in your backyard garden, school garden, community garden, and commercial nursery.  For more information see the following websites:

  1. NATIONAL POLLINATOR WEEK, JUNE 21-27, 2010
  2. Proclamation by Governor Crist
  3. Florida Wildflower Foundation:
  4. Association of Florida Native Nurseries
  5. Pollinator Habitat Management Guide

USDA Urges Producers to Sign Up Now for Conservation Stewardship Program

Applications Will Be Accepted Through June 11, 2010    
 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that producers nationwide are invited to apply for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, CSP offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland and non-industrial forestland. The deadline to be considered for the next ranking and funding period is June 11, 2010.

"Voluntary conservation practices by producers are an essential part of our effort to improve soil and water quality," said Vilsack. "Broad and diverse participation in the CSP program will provide producers with many benefits such as enhancing wildlife habitat and helping to mitigate the impact of climate change."

Carlos Suarez, Florida NRCS State Conservationist, said, “This program will benefit Florida agricultural producers for implementing conservation practices in the past as well as the future. It is also important to visit a local field office and get signed up before the deadline.”

Producers in Manatee and Sarasota counties may contact the local USDA/NRCS service center at: 6942 Professional Parkway East, Sarasota, FL  34240.  Phone: (941)907-0011.  Email: gail.somodi@fl.nacdnet.net

Congress limited enrollment for CSP nationally at 12.7 million acres per year. Applicants will compete within state-identified ranking pools. CSP is offered in all 50 states, District of Columbia, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups with announced cut-off application dates for ranking periods.

Under the interim final rule published July 29, 2009, eligible producers may submit an application to enroll eligible land in CSP on a continuous basis. Producers are encouraged to apply for CSP now to ensure their applications will be considered during the next funding and ranking period. However, they can make their final decision to participate in the program once the CSP final rule is issued. The final rule will establish the policies and procedures for the program.

Potential applicants are encouraged to use the CSP self-screening checklist to determine if the new program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, contract obligations and potential payments. It is available from local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service offices or on the NRCS Web site at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/new_csp/csp.html.

CSP offers payments for adding conservation practices and maintaining and managing existing conservation practices.

For more information about CSP, please visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/new_csp/csp.html.

NRCS is celebrating 75 years helping people help the land in 2010. Since 1935, the NRCS conservation delivery system has advanced a unique partnership with state and local governments and producers delivering conservation based on specific, local conservation needs, while accommodating state and national interests. President Franklin Roosevelt created the Soil Conservation Service, now known as NRCS, in 1935 to help farmers and ranchers overcome the devastating effects of drought, especially in the Midwest and Northern Plains regions.

Annie's Project is Coming Back!

Annie’s Project is offered by Sarasota County Extension.  This six-week course is designed especially for farm/ranch women. Sessions will combine lecture, discussion, individual and small group activities, and computer training to gain the understanding and knowledge necessary to be active and involved farm partners.  The first course offering was in Feb – Mar, 2010.  To be placed on the waiting list and receive notification about the dates and costs of the next course offering at Sarasota County Extension, complete the registration form at this link below:
Annie's Project Brochure
The UF/IFAS Extension is offering Annie’s Project which is a course on the basics of farm finances and risk management. It was launched in 2010 in Hernando, Marion, Sarasota, Sumter and Suwannee counties. Annie's Project could be equally useful to men and women but it was developed as a way to help women become better acquainted with farm business practices. The program is named after Annie Fleck, 1922-1997, an Illinois farmer's wife who taught herself business management and became wealthy as a result. Her daughter, Ruth, founded Annie's Project to educate and empower other women. Topics covered in the course include: human resources, women and money, business plans, alternative enterprises, interpersonal skills, farm succession, retirement and estate planning, using spreadsheets, marketing strategies, insurance, accounting and financial records.
Each course runs six weeks, held one day per week for a three-hour session. Future courses will be offered in additional FL counties and are limited to 25 participants, so early registration is recommended. For more information about future participating counties contact Nola Wilson in Marion County Extension at (352) 671-8400.

Free Soil and Tissue Testing Opportunity

Soil and plant tissue testing are excellent tools for identifying lime and fertilizer requirements in pastures. The University of Florida-IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona will be offering free testing for the first 200 samples of soil and plant tissue received between April 1 and June 30, 2010. In addition to the test results, participants will receive fertilizer recommendations and copies of educational materials related to fertilization management. Both soil and plant tissue samples must be submitted together to qualify for the program.  For additional information on proper soil and tissue sampling, please contact your local county extension office. If you would like to participate or have questions about the program, please contact Reyna Speckmann, Extension Scientist, at the Range Cattle Station, or visit their web site at

http://rcrec-ona.ifas.ufl.edu.

Vineyard Trellis Installation Workshop

Sponsored by Manasota Chapter FL Grape Growers Association (FGGA)
April 20, 2010
Florida Native Plants Nursery
730 Myakka Road, Sarasota, Florida 34240
Phone: (941) 322-1915
URL: http://www.floridanativeplants.com/
Contact & Info: Robert Kluson at rkluson@scgov.net
Workshop Vineyard Trellis Installation and Muscadine
Topics : Grape Growing
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Agenda :

8:30 am Registration
8:45 Welcome
9:00 Trellis installation demonstration
11:00 Muscadine grapes – production management health benefits, and local market potential
12:00 pm Lunch and FGGA Manasota chapter meeting
1:00 End

Instructors: Antonio Fiorelli (Fiorelli Winery & Vineyard)
Robert Kluson (UF/IFAS Sarasota Co. Extension)
Laurel Schiller (FL Native Plants Nursery)
Payne Hall (Gripple, Inc.)

Workshop Cost :
Option #1 – $10 for the workshop
Option #2 - $32 for the workshop plus a FGGA one year
membership
Lunch is offered for $15 (Italian sandwich, salad & glass of
wine) - if RSVP to rkluson@scgov.net by April 16, 2010.
Alternatively, BYO lunch. Come Participate and Learn Something for Your Own Particular Situation. Space is limited.
Call or email reservation for workshop by April 16, 2010

BRONSON URGES HORSE OWNERS TO VACCINATE ANIMALS..

FOR MOSQUITO-BORNE DISEASES; RECOMMENDS THAT HUMANS TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES

TALLAHASSEE -- With the arrival of spring and warmer weather, Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson today reminded horse owners to get their animals vaccinated for mosquito borne diseases.

The two principal equine diseases associated with mosquitoes are Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV), and the majority of cases of each can be prevented with proper vaccinations, according to animal health officials.

"The key is to make sure that a horse has been vaccinated against these mosquito-borne diseases and to check with your veterinarian to determine whether an animal's booster shots are up to date," Bronson said.

So far this year, Florida has no equine cases of EEE or WNV, but that can change quickly as mosquito populations increase significantly with the warmer weather and can explode in areas with heavy rains and standing water.

Humans, too, need to minimize their contact with mosquitoes as mosquitoes remain the largest carrier of diseases that afflict people.

Toward that end, Bronson is recommending that Floridians:

-- Remove standing water from their property by emptying out stagnant water from kiddie pools, old tires, birdbaths and any other receptacle that holds water.

-- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outside around dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

-- Use a good mosquito repellent.

Florida Grazing Land Workshop Upcoming

The Florida Grazing Lands Coalition (FGLC) is hosting a grazing workshop to showcase presentations given at the Fourth National Conference on Grazing Lands last December 2009 in Reno, Nevada. These ranchers, from all over Florida, will present their unique problems and challenges. Researchers working on demonstration projects funded by the Florida Grazing Lands Coalition will also be presenting the beneficial information they have collected. Poster presentations will be available to view from past research projects. Come join us for an informative session on grazing management
in Florida. There is no fee to attend the workshop. It will be held in Kissimmee at the Osceola Heritage Park on April 10th from 9:30-3:30. 

Download PDF Flyer here.

Students compete in nature know-how

By KHARLI ROSE Correspondent

Published: Sunday, February 7, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.

Soil TestCentral High School students Jordan Howard, from left, Samuel Costantino, Jessica Dufresne and Kris Harrell take a test on soil at the 17th annual Manasota Regional Envirothon at Oscar Scherer State Park. CORRESPONDENT PHOTOS / KATHRYN BRASS

Though rain put a damper on a field trip to the park, it was all part of the lesson plan. More than 100 students put their knowledge of the outdoors to the test Tuesday at the Manasota Regional Envirothon at Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey.

Teenagers from Sarasota and Manatee counties gathered under pavilions and competed in areas of aquatics, forestry, soils and wildlife during the environmental competition.

"It increases awareness about environmental issues and gives them the tools they need with probable solutions about future environmental concerns," said competition coordinator Gail Somodi.

The current topic this year was protection of groundwater through urban, agricultural and environmental planning and was included in each area of the multiple tests.

Questions involved determination of soil characteristics, the impact of exotic species, canvasing and documentation of natural resources, and effects on water supply from climate change.

"A lot of it's just background knowledge. Some things we've already done in class," said Jessica Hudlow of Riverview High School.

Her Recycling Rams team, including Kevin Petersen, Cayle Sullivan, and Mary Gillam, credited the ease of their testing to their professor, Norine Eckstrom, and their studies paid off when they took first place for Sarasota County Schools.

Manatee High School students Kristopher Green, Heather Parker, Georgia Ireland, and Nic Algozzine were the top team in Manatee County and are also eligible to compete at the state level in April.

The 17th annual competition was sponsored by Manatee River and Sarasota County soil and water conservation districts, which provided T-shirts and awards. They were aided by local environmental departments and services, including the Florida Division of Forestry, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"It's really neat to see all these aspects of environmental sciences get together," said John Noll, a soil conservation planner for Manatee County. "It's gotta be a great learning experience for (the students) and they're at a point that they need to start thinking about what they want to do with their lives."

Students were able to view a screech owl from TLC for Wildlife at close range while enjoying the habitat of the Florida Scrub Jay as their outdoor classroom.

"This is what Florida used to look like," said Riverview's Cayle Sullivan.

Her teammate, Kevin Petersen, sees local parks as a relief from modern stresses and hopes that more people can see the importance of having them salvaged.

"It's the preservation of it," he said of the park. "At least we have something."

This story appeared in print on page BS4

Copyright © 2010 HeraldTribune.com — All rights reserved. Restricted use only.

UF, FAMU Announces 2010 Small Farms Conference

Florida's first statewide Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference was such a success, organizers are making plans for a second event in summer 2010, and potential exhibitors and guests are encouraged to make plans to attend.

Once again held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, the event will take place July 31 and Aug. 1. Attendance is expected to top 1,000 farmers and agricultural professionals this year. Features will include speakers, educational sessions, exhibits of products and technologies, livestock displays, demonstrations, networking opportunities and more.

Early registration is encouraged. For more information, visit the Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Web site at http://smallfarms.ifas.ufl.edu.

The Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference is hosted by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Florida A&M University's College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture.

Sarasota Among the Florida Counties Declared as Disasters Due to Cold Weather

Secretary Vilsack issued an Official declaration from USDA today 1/29/10 designating 60 Florida counties as primary natural disaster areas, due to losses caused by record cold weather, frost, and freezes that occurred during the period January 2 through January 14,2010.  Sarasota County is included in this group of 60 Florida counties.

This designation makes farm operators eligible to be considered for assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes FSA emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE). SURE was approved as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 and was implemented beginning on January 4,2010. FSA will consider each application on its own merit by taking into account the extent of losses, security available, and repayment ability.

Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information.  The contact information of the local FSA office for Sarasota County is the following:

FSA SERVICE CENTER OFFICE
HARDEE COUNTY FARM SERVICE AGENCY
316 N 7TH AVE
WAUCHULA, FL 33873-2606
(863) 773-4764 ext 2
(863) 773-2445 Fax
Mailing Address:
316 N 7TH AVE STE 100
WAUCHULA, FL 33873-2606
Click here for the FSA Service Center Website

Also for you information is the letter below that was signed by Secretary Vilsack concerning the situation in Florida.

*************************************

Dear Governor Crist:
Thank you for your letter of January 15,2010, requesting a disaster designation for all 67 Florida counties due to losses caused by cold weather and freezing conditions that occurred in January 2010.

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reviewed the Loss Assessment Reports, along with the additional information submitted by the State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency (FSA). Based on this review, USDA has determined that there were sufficient production losses in 60 counties to warrant a Secretarial disaster designation. Therefore, I am designating 60 Florida counties as primary natural disaster areas, due to losses caused by record cold weather, frost, and freezes that occurred during the period January 2 through January 14,2010. Those counties are:

Alachua Franklin Lake Palm Beach
Baker Gadsden Lee Pasco
Bay Gilchrist Leon Pinellas
Bradford Glades Levy Polk
Brevard Gulf Liberty Putnam
Broward Hamilton Madison Sarasota
Calhoun Hardee Manatee St. Johns
Charlotte Hendry Marion St. Lucie
Citrus Hernando Martin Sumter
Collier Highlands Miami-Dade Suwannee
Columbia Hillsborough Monroe Taylor
De Soto Holmes Nassau Union
Dixie Indian River Okeechobee Volusia
Duval Jefferson Orange Wakulla
Flagler Lafayette Osceola Washington

In accordance with section 321(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, the following Florida Counties are named as contiguous disaster counties: Clay, Jackson, Seminole, and Walton.

Clay, Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Seminole, and Walton Counties, did not sustain any crop production losses due to the disaster.

Jackson County sustained losses that were less than the 30-percent threshold, to crop production county-wide, needed to qualify as a primary natural disaster area. In addition, individual farmers in Jackson County who sustained qualifying losses were able to secure commercial financing to cover these losses and, therefore, are not qualified to receive emergency loans.

Therefore, I am unable to approve your request for the designation of Clay, Escambia, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Seminole, and Walton Counties, Florida, as primary natural disaster areas.

However, Clay, Jackson, Seminole, and Walton Counties, Florida, will be eligible for FSA emergency loan assistance since they are named as contiguous counties for this disaster, as indicated above.

This designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for assistance from FSA, provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes FSA emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE). SURE was approved as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of2008 and was implemented beginning on January 4,2010. FSA will consider each application on its own merit by taking into account the extent of losses, security available, and repayment ability. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information.

Sincerely,


Thomas J. Vilsack
Secretary

A Walk in the Park

SARASOTAThe Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) is proud to announce the brand new Discover Natural Sarasota County website, www.discovernaturalsarasota.org. It is the first time so much information about Sarasota County’s natural assets is brought together to help tourists and residents enjoy Sarasota’s great outdoors and learn about environmental stewardship.  The brand new website is just the beginning when it comes to making this information accessible to the public.  Soon the SCVB will embark on a heavy advertising, public relations and viral/social media campaign to further spread the message of Sarasota County’s amazing natural assets. 

The website focuses on authentic Florida experiences and includes Sarasota County’s bays, beaches, the Gulf, parks and preserves, and rivers. It is organized so visitors readily can find information based on their interests. For instance, a drop-down menu under the Wildlife heading takes you to all the great sites for bird watching. Or a visitor can search by activity. Want to find all the places to go kayaking or hiking? Click on those drop-down menus and learn both about the well-known parks as well as little-known gateways. Are you more interested in fishing, horseback riding, or camping? Looking for pet friendly outdoor activities? Or perhaps a great spot for a family picnic? Drop-down menus and articles full of detailed recommendations will send you on your way to great outdoor experiences.

All the natural assets included on the website are managed with the goal of preserving ecosystems while providing access to nature-based recreation. Additional venues, both indoors and outdoors, provide opportunities to learn about the science of nature and the environment. The newly designed “Discover Natural Sarasota County” website went live this week.

 “The Discover Natural Sarasota County website demonstrates a tremendous county-wide collaborative effort of more than 20 people contributing content about 64 different locations in Sarasota County,” states SCVB Director of Marketing & Sales, Anne Zavorskas. “We are thrilled at the initial feedback from the launch of the website and we look forward to making additional enhancements for phase two next year.”

Myriam Springuel, Executive Director of the Science and Environment Council of Sarasota County added, “People come to Sarasota County for its natural beauty but our interconnected eco-systems are vulnerable. By helping visitors and residents learn about and experience the outdoors, we help them care about the natural assets that make Sarasota so special, and thus participate in the County’s legacy of preserving the environment.”

The new website was developed by the SCVB, in partnership with Sarasota County Government, the Science and Environment Council of Sarasota County, and the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. The goals of the website are to stimulate awareness of Sarasota County as a nature destination and to provide information about Sarasota County’s tourism-related natural assets.

The Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau leads and supports the tourism industry in Sarasota County by providing the highest quality, and most innovative, marketing programs and promotions to ensure the continued growth of tourism and travel from visitors around the world.  www.sarasotafl.org

The Science and Environmental Council of Sarasota County’s mission is to promote and advocate science, conservation, and environmental issues in Sarasota County for maintaining and improving quality of life through education, public outreach, demonstration, information gathering and analysis, and special projects.  www.secsc.org

ARCTIC COLD FRONT BRINGS BELOW-FREEZING TEMPERATURES TO FLORIDA THIS WEEK

Record breaking low temperatures are in the forecast for Florida this week. What do you do about plants and animals outside? For information and resources available to Sarasota County residents see the following links: 1) weather status and projections; cold weather safety tips; FL State Government press release - see http://www.floridadisaster.org/index.asp
2) cold protection for people - see http://fawn.ifas.ufl.edu/focus/topic.php/Cold_pp
3) cold protection for crops - see http://fawn.ifas.ufl.edu/tools/coldp/crit_temp_select_guide.php
4) cold protection for ornamental plants - see Solutions for Your Life Website - Cold Protection for Plants
5) cold protection for livestock and pets - see http://www.clemson.edu/extension/ep/cold_livestock.html

 

Annie's Project Logo

Annie's Project is Coming!

Annie’s Project is coming to Sarasota County Extension starting Feb 10, 2010!  This six-week course is designed especially for farm/ranch women. Sessions will combine lecture, discussion, individual and small group activities, and computer training to gain the understanding and knowledge necessary to be active and in-volved farm partners.  The total cost is only $25/person and space is limited.  For a registration form see this link below:

Annie's Project Brochure

The Florida Cooperative Extension Service will offer a course on the basics of ffarm finances and risk management. Called "Annie's Project", iit will be available in Hernando, Marion, Sarasota, Sumter and Suwannee counties. Annie's Project could be equally useful to men and women but it was developed as a way to help women become better acquainted with farm business practices. The program is named after Annie Fleck, 1922-1997, an Illinois farmer's wife who taught herelf business management and became wealthy as a result. Her daughter, Ruth, founded Annie's Project to educate and empower other women. Topics covered in the course include: human resources, women and money, business plans, alternative enterprises, interpersonal skills, farm succession, retirement and estate planning, using spreadsheets, marketing strategies, insurance, accounting and financial records.

Each course runs six weeks, held one day per week for a three-hour session. Early registration is $25 and courses are limited to 25 participants, so early registration is recommended. To register, contact the Extension office in a participating county. For more information contact Nola Wilson at (352) 671-8400.

Farm Tour 2010

SARASOTA
SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT

Invites You to Join Us on the
2010 Sarasota Farm Tour
Wednesday, January 20th
For Further Details: Phone 941-907-0011
Ask for Janie

The tour will depart from and return to the Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34237.

Various stops are planned including but not limited to the following: Tiffany’s Strawberry Patch, a small farmer; Sun-fire Nurseries, commercial horticulture, Two J Farm LLC, a commercial cow/calf operation. Learn more about agriculture and conservation in Sarasota County.

The cost for the day is $35 per person.  Cost includes transportation, juice, and snack. RESERVATIONS are a must.  Please call Janie Besselman, Tour Coordinator, at 907-0011.

We ask that all money be paid in advance so your seat is guaranteed.  Tour will fill fast, please book early!

Proceeds support our educational programs.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Certified Agroterrorism Course

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Office of Agricultural Emergency Preparedness is once again partnering with the Western Institute of Food Safety and Security (WIFSS) to bring Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Certified Agroterrorism Courses to Florida. 
All courses are free of charge, thanks to a DHS grant through WIFSS.  Additional sponsoring partners include the Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS-Extension), the Florida Department of Health, and the Regional Domestic Security Task Forces.
Courses to be offered for December 2009 include:
·        AWR-152 Preparedness:  Principles of Preparedness for Agroterrorism and Food Systems' Disasters


When:

  Tuesday, December 15, 2009

 

  Registration at 8:00 am

 

  Workshop from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Where:

  Ft. Myers Regional Operations Center

 

  4700 Terminal Drive, Suite 6

 

  Ft. Myers, FL  33901

·        AWR-152 Preparedness:  Principles of Preparedness for Agroterrorism and Food Systems' Disasters


When:

  Wednesday, December 16, 2009

 

  Registration at 8:00 am

 

  Workshop from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Where:

  Sarasota County Government

Administration Center

 

  1660 Ringling Boulevard
  Sarasota, FL  34236

 

 

To register for a course, or to get more detailed information on each of the courses offered, please go to the WIFSS website.
  Additional Information Regarding theses Courses 

Please contact John Terry at (850) 410-6756 or terryj1@doacs.state.fl.us if you have any questions.

Sarasota County Farm to School Program Expands!

Sarasota Farm to School Program expands serving of local foods to School Lunch Program in 2009-2010!  This announcement was given a recent meeting of the Slow Food Greater Sarasota chapter by Beverly Girard, Food Nutrition Services Director of Sarasota County schools.  For more information read the article at http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20090721/article/907211046

 

Workshop – Vineyard Management and Amateur Wine Making Basics - October 31, 2009

FRRG

Agenda :
8:30 am Registration (coffee doughnuts )
9:00 Antonio Fiorelli
“Vineyard management”
9:30 Questions
9:35 Amateur wine making basics
“From start to drink”
10:00 Questions
10:15 Sarasota & Manatee County Extension Future
Grape Program Announcements
Robert A. Kluson, Ph.D, - Sarasota County
Ervin Shannon – Manatee County
10:30 FGGA Manasota chapter Meeting
11:30 Lunch.
Workshop Cost :
Option #1 – $15 workshop includes
Coffee doughnuts, workshop
And lunch (chicken coleslaw & potato)
Option #2 - $35 workshop includes
Coffee doughnuts, FGGA one year
membership, workshop, and lunch
(chicken coleslaw & potato)
Space is limited.

Rosa Fiorelli Winery and Vineyard
4250 CR 675 Bradenton, FL 34211
Phone: (941)322-0976
Fax: (941)322-8208
Email: rfwinery1998@aol.com
Call or email reservation
by October 29, 2009

New: Phillippi Farmhouse Market

January 13, 2010 will be the Grand Openning of the new Phillippi Farmhouse Market in Sarasota County.  From noon to dusk this special event will feature music, food and fun for the whole family.  This special event will benefit the restoration fund for the Farmhouse at the Phillippi Estate Park and will be repeated every Wednesday from November to April.  The venders will highlight foremost local farmers selling locally and FL grown foods. 

'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

'USDA Launches 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' Initiative to Connect Consumers with Local Producers to Create New Economic Opportunities for Communities'  See the Youtube video of USDA Secretary Vilsack's anjnouncement at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tms8ye8mw_k.  For more information read the USDA press release below:

Small Farm Conference a Highlight for Florida Farmers

Written by: Nola Wilson, Marion County Small Farms Extension Agent & Small Farms Conference Executive Committee

At least 800 farmers and agriculture professionals participated in the 2009 Florida Small Farms Conference, held August 1 & 2 at Osceola Heritage Park located in Kissimmee, Florida.

This ground-breaking 1st annual event hosted by UF-IFAS/FAMU-CESTA included 30 educational sessions, over 75 educational and industry exhibitors including a multi-species animal exhibit. Two days of education included topics related to: alternative energy, food policy and regulations, livestock, business and marketing, organic and sustainable farming and horticulture with nearly 100 speakers representing UF-IFAS/FAMU-CESTA Extension, industry representatives, Department of Agriculture and farmers.

The conference kicked off with an inspiring welcome address from Charles Bronson, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture expressing there is a place for small producers in the agriculture system. “…we need small farmers …” He shared his thoughts about the Farm to Fuel Summit and the importance of becoming a more self–sustaining country less reliant on foreign oil. Another important part of the morning kick off was the Florida Innovative Farmer Awards presented to three producers for their innovation in developing and sustaining their small farm enterprise. The awards were presented to a lamb producer, pastured-poultry producer and organic citrus and vegetable producer.

A Farm to Table lunch was another highlight at the conference showcasing 20 farms that provided vegetables, meat or value-added products. A delicious meal was prepared by Chef Tony and staff with Savor Osceola Catering Co. using farm direct products.  The luncheons brought awareness to the diversity of farmers and products available for a local food system. During lunch Keynote speaker John Ikerd, Professor delivered a passionate speech about his truth on the past, present and future of agriculture. He told us a story about the year 2050 and what that could look like based upon decisions we are making today. His truth was farming in the year 2050 will look very different stating “Today’s local foods movement is not only transforming farming, it is also helping to shape a new and better future of humanity – one person at a time. One by one, by our individual food and farming choices, we are not only creating more farms, better farms, and smaller farms, we are also creating a new and better food system and a new and fundamentally better way of life.”

One of the most important results from this conference is the level of networking opportunities that transpired. Many participants shared their gratitude to have the opportunity to attend such a life changing event. 

More information about the next statewide conference will be coming soon at smallfarms.ifas.ufl.edu. Opportunities to be an exhibitor sponsor and/or food supplier will be available.

Links to the galleries and download pages are immediately below and remember that you may download files individually or all of them at once simply by choosing the "archive.zip" file
located at the top of the file list on all of the download pages. Thank you and enjoy the images courtesy of the IFAS
Photography Department.

Friday July 31st

Saturday August 1st

Sunday August 2nd

 

Florida Farm Link Website Revamped!

Florida FarmLink launched in June 2009, after a long-awaited revamp.  This is a networking and classifieds tool for all of us in the local food, local farm community.  This site is ours -- all of ours, from Pensacola, to Jacksonville, to Homestead and beyond - we are going to show the rest of the country Florida's commitment to family farms, small farms, local farms, and building stronger community-based economies.

Sign up for free, and list your services, items for sale/wanted, and more.  Let your contacts know that they can list their services -- from well-drilling, tree-spading, local food catering, livestock services, beekeeping, raising chicks, feeds, compost, supplies, and everything else people are doing to grow food, distribute food, and eat more local food.

We are working on Phase II already that will include more user-generated content, including networking groups, higher profile events, more tools for business management, and more.

We will be at the Statewide Small Farms Conference Aug 1-2 with a booth to show people how it can work and get the word out, along with mobilizing a team of communicators to help get the word out (first meeting, see below!).

Visit www.FloridaFarmLink.org to become a member of Florida's local food community and connect with the people and resources you need to accelerate your business.

USDA Deputy Secretary Pledges Full Organic Integration


STEVENSON, Wash. -- In a message to attendees of the third annual Organic Summit ( www.theorganicsummit.com) on Thursday, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan pledged that organic will be integrated across all agencies at USDA. Delivering pre-recorded comments, Merrigan stated that, “here is where I’d like to fulfill a promise I made to many of you…and that is, organic should be integrated across all the agencies, not just the NOP, but each and every agency at USDA should have some engagement with the organic sector.” In addition to the integration, Merrigan said, “Organic can no longer be stove-piped at USDA.”

The Deputy Secretary provided an overview of the organic policy trajectory at USDA, which included the organic provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill. She praised the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) for its work in garnering strong support for organic from “both sides of the aisle.” She also noted the upcoming deadline of June 17, 2009 for the Organic Production Survey -- the first ever wide-scale survey of organic farming in the United States. Information from the survey will be used to shape policy and priorities with an eye toward helping small organic producers grow their operations into mid-sized farms and ranches.

“This kind of data will help us do more at USDA and help us in conversations with members of Congress to talk about the organic need,” said Merrigan. She urged the organic community to encourage full survey participation among organic producers.

Commenting further on the future of organic policy within USDA, Merrigan said she was confident the US will have a historic Canadian equivalency agreement in the near future that is beneficial for both producers and consumers.

Next on the horizon for the National Organic Program (NOP) is an era of strong enforcement, said Merrigan. Referring to the roots of the NOP in 1989, Merrigan expressed the need to match the rules of the NOP to ensure compliance. “We spent a lot of time developing standards, and now let’s make sure they have the teeth and that they are followed and adhered to,” said Merrigan.

Bob Scowcroft, Executive Director of OFRF, thanked the Deputy Secretary for taking time out of her schedule for a very informative presentation to the Organic Summit attendees. He reminded the attendees that, “she can only succeed if we hold up our end of the organic bargain.”

Jylle Lardaro, Director – Organic Industry from New Hope Natural Media and the co-chair of the Organic Summit, expressed appreciation to the Deputy Secretary for her acknowledgment of the considerable contribution made by Organic Summit attendees – whom she referred to as “the organic brain trust” -- and for her recognition of New Hope Natural Media and OFRF for bringing them together.

The video recording of the Deputy Secretary will be posted at www.theorganicsummit.com on Tuesday, June 9, 2009.

About New Hope Natural Media

The Organic Summit is produced by New Hope Natural Media, a division of Penton Media, in partnership with the Organic Farming Research Foundation. New Hope Natural Media (www.newhope.com), a division of the Penton Media, Inc., is the leading media resource and information provider for the natural, organic and healthy products industry with print, in-person/event, and e-business products and services. Penton Media, Inc. is the largest independent business-to-business media company in the U.S., serving more than six million business professionals every month. The company's market-leading brands are focused on 30 industries and include 113 trade magazines, 145 Web sites, 150 industry trade shows and conferences, and more than 500 information data products. Headquartered in New York City, the privately held company is owned by MidOcean Partners and U.S. Equity Partners II, an investment fund sponsored by Wasserstein & Co., LP, and its co-investors. For additional information on the company and its businesses, visit www.penton.com.

About the Organic Farming Research Foundation

The Organic Farming Research Foundation was founded in 1990 to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. OFRF sponsors organic farming research and education projects, disseminates the results to organic farmers and to growers interested in adopting organic production systems, and educates the public and policymakers about organic farming issues. The majority of OFRF’s board members are working organic farmers.

Learn more about OFRF and its work at ofrf.org

Green Special Featuring Extension's Dr. Robert Kluson Wins Award

The Education Channel and Producer Kimberly Stocker in partnership with Green Connection.US was honored with an Award of Distinction from the 2009 Videographer Awards for a green special in a 4-part series on aspects of green
living. The Award of Distinction was given to Special #3 on the importance of supporting locally grown foods. Guests on the show included Dr. Robert Kluson from the Sarasota County Extension Office and Chef de Cuisine Greg Howe from the Sarasota Ritz-Carlton.

The Videographer Awards is an international competition designed to recognize excellence in Video Productions, TV Commercials/ News/ Programs and New Media. Entries are judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication
Professionals (AMCP), an organization that consists of several thousand marketing, communication and video professionals.
The goal of the Videographer Awards is to identify and recognize the artisans who excel in the scope of their own environment. There were about 1,800 entries from throughout the United States and several other countries in the
Videographer Awards 2009 competition. The Award of Distinction was awarded for projects t h at exceeded industry standards . Approximately 14% of the entries won this award. (videoawards.com)

Below are the segments with Dr. Robert Kluson and Chief de Cuisine Greg Howe.

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Consumer Guide Guide to Whole Animal Buying Available

Consumers interested in buying local beef or pork will want to take a look at a new publication created by the Iowa State University's Small Meat Processors' Working Group. Funded in part by a SARE grant, "Beef and Pork Whole Animal Buying Guide" explains buying pork and beef as whole animals (or portions thereof) from local producers. Producers may also consider using the publication to help clients make smart decisions and keep coming back. It explains marketing terms, information on storage and handling, meat inspection, meat cut out weight, and includes color photos of common retail beef and pork cuts by primal. This guide brings all the necessary pieces together in one easy-to-use resource. Free PDF available online. Hardcopies available in color ($6.50) and B&W ($1). To download a free pdf or order a print copy, visit their website at the following link:

Iowa State University Extension Guide to Whole Animal Buying

American Medical Association Passes Resolution Supporting Sustainable Food System

Health Care Role in Prevention and Food-Related Health Emphasized

CHICAGO, June 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Medical Association (AMA) has approved a new policy resolution in support of practices and policies within health care systems that promote and model a healthy and ecologically sustainable food system. The resolution also calls on the AMA to work with health care and public health organizations to educate the health care community and the public about the importance of healthy and ecologically sustainable food systems that "provide food and beverages of naturally high nutritional quality." The policy was approved today at the 158th annual meeting of the AMA in Chicago, IL.

"As our country wrestles with health care reform, the role of health care providers and facilities in providing education and leadership to help the population understand the link between the way we produce food and individual health is significant and cannot be overstated," said Jamie Harvie, director of the Health Care Without Harm Sustainable Food Work Group. "Preventing disease is paramount in the provision of health care. Hospitals, physicians and nurses are ideal leaders and advocates for creating food environments that promote health. This policy is an important contribution to a prevention-based healthcare delivery system."

The AMA's new Sustainable Food policy builds on a report from its Council on Science and Public Health (http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/475/refcomd.pdf), which notes that locally produced and organic foods "reduce the use of fuel, decrease the need for packaging and resultant waste disposal, preserve farmland ... [and] the related reduced fuel emissions contribute to cleaner air and in turn, lower the incidence of asthma attacks and other respiratory problems." Industrial food production is a significant contributor to increased antibiotic resistance, climate change, and air and water pollution.

The new AMA policy states:

  • That our AMA support practices and policies in medical schools, hospitals, and other health care facilities that support and model a healthy and ecologically sustainable food system, which provides food and beverages of naturally high nutritional quality.
  • That our AMA encourage the development of a healthier food system through the US Farm Bill and other federal legislation.
  • That our AMA consider working with other health care and public health organizations to educate the health care community and the public about the importance of healthy and ecologically sustainable food systems.

"Physicians now recognize that one cannot easily separate the health of food from how healthfully that food is produced," said Dr. David Wallinga, an attendee at the meeting, the Wm. T. Grant Foundation Distinguished Fellow in Food Systems and Public Health at the University of Minnesota, and a member of Health Care Without Harm. "The profligate use of antibiotics and fossil fuels in today's food system, for example, is directly linked to climate change and to the epidemic of antibiotic resistant infections, in hospitals and in communities. "

President Obama, who spoke to the AMA meeting on June 15th, reiterated the importance of developing a sustainable healthcare system that leads to better patient outcomes. "If doctors have incentives to provide the best care instead of more care, we can help Americans avoid the unnecessary hospital stays, treatments, and tests that drive up costs," Obama stated. During his visit with AMA he spoke on the White House victory garden, which was planted to help educate children on the importance of fresh healthy food.

In addition to providing fresh, nutritious food choices, health care food services across the country are implementing new initiatives such as sourcing organic food and meat produced without the use of antibiotics, buying locally produced foods, and sponsoring farmers markets and food boxes for staff. More than 240 hospitals have signed the HCWH Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge. Signers pledge to work toward developing sustainable food systems in their facilities. In Congress, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) has introduced a "Blueprint for Health," legislation that calls for incentives to prevent chronic diseases, including investments in healthy and sustainable local and regional food systems.

HCWH is an international coalition of more than 430 organizations in 52 countries, working to transform the health care industry worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment.

For more information on HCWH, see www.noharm.org.

SOURCE Health Care Without Harm

Sarasota County Wins NACo Award for Local Food

Sarasota County was awarded a 2009 NACo Achievement Award for the program entitled Local Food System Development.  The program arose out of the county's need to reduce its Ecological Footprint, 26% of which came from the county's food acquisition and consumption patterns.  Sarasota County Extension faculty initiated community discussions that resulted in specific County Comprehensive Plan language that supports a sustainable local food system.  Next steps were developing and implementing initiatives to carry out the intent of the county Comprehensive Plan.  Six different initiatives have been developed and implemented, including the Farm to School Program, demonstration and training for diversified small farm enterprises, Extension classes at two community gardens, weekly classes at two school gardens, Southwest Small Farmer Network Meetings at farms and agricultural operations, and the Suncoast Food Alliance local food distributorship partnership.

Local Foodshed Programs Create Marketing Opportunities


Robert A. Kluson, Ph.D.
UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension, Florida

You’re probably familiar with the term “watershed,” which refers to a geographic area in which all surface waters flow toward a common location.

he term “foodshed” is getting attention these days. It refers to the geographic area involved when a food item is produced, processed, distributed and sold to consumers.

Some food items travel thousands of miles before they reach your grocery store, but many are produced within your home county.

In Florida, there are numerous projects under way to strengthen local foodsheds, promoting local crop sales to restaurants, schools and other large buyers, creating opportunities
for small farmers.

One is Florida’s Farm to School program, part of a nationwide effort run by Occidental College and the Community Food Security Coalition. According to their Web site,
http://www.farmtoschool.org, almost 50 Florida schools are involved, purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables from area farmers and serving them in school lunches.

Farmers interested in the program can contact the New North Florida Cooperative Association Inc., which pioneered the state’s farm-to-school efforts in partnership with Florida
A&M University. Since 2002, the association has helped farmers reach buyers for local schools.

Contact information is available at the Farm to School website at this link:

http://www.farmtoschool.org/FL/farms.htm.

In Palm Beach County, the Localecopia Project was initiated in 2007 by the Breakers Hotel to promote locally grown foods from small farmers for the hospitality industry. This nonprofit organization aims to connect area hotels and restaurants with producers.

Localecopia also promotes economic development through a growers’ cooperative, local food distributors and renewable energy. Farmers in the Palm Beach County area interested in
these opportunities can learn more at:

http://www.localecopia.org/.

Food co-ops and independent grocery stores frequently obtain as much locally sourced merchandise as possible, offering another potential opportunity. You can find Florida
businesses of this type at the Web site Local Harvest. Their co-op locator page is searchable by city, state and ZIP code, it’s found here:

http://www.localharvest.org/food-coops/

Finally, farmers’ markets are probably the best-known method of strengthening the local foodshed, and of course they’re found statewide. Sometimes they’re patronized by larger purchasers such as restaurants, as well as private individuals. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, the number of U.S. farmers’ markets increased
almost 7 percent between August 2006 and August 2008, reaching a total of almost 4,700 nationwide.

The Agricultural Marketing Service operates a Web site where you can locate farmers’ markets throughout Florida (and every other U.S. state), searching by city, county or ZIP code. It’s located at:

http://apps.ams.usda.gov/FarmersMarkets/.

The listings include location, hours and contact information for each market.

On Aug. 1-2, 2009, the first Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference will be held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee. The event will feature exhibitors, educational sessions and more. All Florida farmers are invited to attend. Visit the conference Web site Here. (Click here for the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference Website).

For information on conference sponsorship or being an exhibitor, contact Bob Hochmuth, 386-362-1725 or bobhoch@ufl.edu.

 

How Local Government Initiatives Can Support Local Farms

Robert A. Kluson, Ph.D.
UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension, Florida

Consumers who want to support local farms can “vote with their dollars” and buy locally produced items at farmers’ markets, grocery stores and restaurants. But did you know there’s another way the community can play a proactive role for local
food system development? It’s through local government initiatives.
Many counties in Florida and other states have comprehensive plans to address economic development and resource management. Because agriculture is vital to so many
communities, these plans may include provisions related to farmland.

County commissioners and planners typically oversee the comprehensive plans, but they rely on advisory boards for input on specific issues. This creates an opportunity for citizens
and local farmers to voice concerns and, hopefully, influence policy.

One of the things these advisory boards can do is review existing or proposed comprehensive plans and look for items that need input regarding agricultural policy. Then they make recommendations, typically focusing on issues such as food security, preservation of agricultural land and tax incentives for sustainable farms.

Alachua and Sarasota counties have created advisory boards of this type. We’ll look briefly at each one.

In 2005, the Sarasota Food Policy Council was formed, facilitated by the county extension office. The council includes small and large farmers, ranchers, grower
associations, environmental groups, consumers, food industry personnel, etc. It was formed to aid the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners in understanding the importance of
sustainable farming. The council recommended amendments to the county comprehensive plan chapters on environment and future land use; the Board of County Commissioners
accepted the majority of the recommendations. The group meets every other month and has a Web site, http://sarasota.ifas.ufl.edu/AG/agpolicy.shtml.

In Alachua County, a group known as the Energy Conservation Strategies Commission was formed at the request of the Board of County Commissioners, to develop strategies to
reduce the county’s environmental impact and promote long-term economic security. The group recommended a wide range of policies, which included strengthening local food
production, encouraging residents to plant gardens, enhancing farmers’ markets and creating a mentorship program to assist young farmers. These recommendations form a “menu of
options,” some of which may be implemented by the county government, some of which can be implemented by individuals.

Hillsborough and Palm Beach counties also have efforts under way, and there may be other Florida communities with agriculture policy groups.

If you’re interested in being part of an advisory board, check with your local county commission and see what opportunities are available. Even if no agriculture-related advisory board exists now, you may be able to start one.

For those seeking more how-to information, there will be a session on policy and regulations at the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference.

On Aug. 1-2, 2009, the first Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference will be held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee. The event will feature exhibitors, educational sessions and more. All Florida farmers and members of the general public are invited to attend. Visit the conference Web site Here. (Click here for the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference Website).

For information on conference sponsorship or being an exhibitor, contact Bob Hochmuth, 386-362-1725 or
bobhoch@ufl.edu.

$1.325 MILLION AVAILABLE FOR FLORIDA ORGANIC PRODUCERS

Applications Accepted Until May 29, 2009

GAINESVILLE, May 8, 2009—The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida announces over $1.3 Million in funding available for qualified applicants for a new Organics Initiative.  The initiative meets the Obama Administration’s promise to encourage more organic agriculture production.  Funding for the initiative is being made available as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  “Assisting organic producers is one of the priorities of the 2008 Farm Bill,” said Carlos Suarez, State Conservationist for NRCS in Florida.  The 2009 Organics Initiative is a nationwide special initiative to provide financial assistance to National Organic Program (NOP) certified organic producers as well as producers in the process of transitioning to organic production.
“NRCS and organic farmers have a mutual interest in conserving the land and natural resources,” said Suarez, “we emphasize the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for our future generations.” 
As of 2007, there were 133 certified organic operations in Florida with an estimated 12,000 acres in organic farms. Organic vegetable production comprised 50% of the area with the remaining area mainly in citrus and livestock.
Under the Organic Initiative, required minimum core conservation practices will be determined by specific resource concerns. The practices are: Conservation Crop Rotation; Cover Crop; Nutrient Management; Pest Management; Prescribed Grazing; and Forage Harvest Management. 
-more-
Applications received from organic producers or producers in transition to organic farming will be accepted under this initiative between May 11 and May 29.  
To assist with eligibility questions there are two separate National Screening Tools for applicants (one for producers transitioning to organic production and one for certified organic operations).  Ranking criteria has been established based on resource concerns that link to the NOP objectives and the core conservation practices.
Interested producers should visit their nearest USDA Service Center to determine eligibility, http://www.fl.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/index.html or contact Jeffrey Woods, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist for Programs at 352-338-9515.   Additional information on the 2009 EQIP program is available at: www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/.

 

Master Goat Producer Certification Program Update

Unfortunately the May workshop in Sarasota County was cancelled due to insufficient registration.  If you are still interested in joining the growing small livestock production of goats and/or diversifying your small farming operation, then there is an alternative location of this workshop for you! It is scheduled for May 22-23 and June 1-2, 2009 in Quincy, FL  It is the most comprehensive training in meat goat production in FL. It is being provided by the FAMU Master Goat Program staff at the North Florida REC.. The cost is $45 for this 4 day workshop. Download the following flyer for more information. Click here for the flyer.


Florida Organic Growers (FOG) has begun a project that will provide technical assistance to Florida farmers to reduce the use of pesticides and to transition to organic farming.  A team of Crop Advisors will assist participating farmers in adopting successful organic farming approaches to pest and disease management, soil fertility, and other factors important to successful fruit and vegetable crop production.  Organic demonstration farms from around the state will host field days that allow transitioning farmers to see successful organic farming firsthand.  FOG will provide up-to-date information regarding markets for transitional and organic produce.

Attached is the application that growers will need to complete in order to participate.  FOG is also accepting applications from persons interested in serving as Crop Advisors for the project.  Additional project information, including Crop Advisor Job Announcement and application can be found on the FOG website,

http://www.foginfo.org

Download the Grower Application Here
(Word Document)


Food Choices and Your Carbon Footprint

Check out this new presentation from Dr. Robert Kluson explaining how your food choices affect your carbon footprint and the rest of the planet!

Download the PDF here.

Food Choices and Your Carbon Footprint

 


 

Radio Byte on Farm to FuelClick here to here for a Radio Byte on Farm to Fuel!

 

 

 


Farm to School Program in the News   

Schools look closer to home for fresh fruits and veggies. Gas prices are hitting all time highs and food prices are soaring, and that has led Suncoast schools in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties to look closer to home for fresh fruits and vegetables. ABC7's Linda Carson shows us how the farm to school program saves money, benefits the environment by cutting down on all those long distance trips, and provides fresher and many say better tasting food for our kids. More...

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