Latest Florida Citrus Season Seems Ripe for Success

By | May 13th, 2016|Agriculture, Business|

It’s common knowledge that Florida’s citrus industry is in the fight of its life. The industry has been fighting against HLB—also known as citrus greening—for a decade, and things aren’t going too well. However, the last few months have seen some successes that seem to indicate this year’s Florida citrus season is poised for good news. […]

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Florida School Gardens Growing Ag in the Classroom

By | May 2nd, 2016|Agriculture, Community, Education|

According to the statistics, school gardens are NOT too cool for school, as a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) review counts about 1,300 school gardens growing in The Sunshine State alone. A recent study by Karla Shelnutt, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension nutrition specialist and Associate Professor in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences and Kohrine Counts, a dietetics intern and master’s student at UF/IFAS,  showed that Florida’s school gardens are helping to put ag in the classroom and fresh produce into the students’ diets. As an added bonus, school gardens have a whole host of additional benefits for all those involved. […]

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Celebrating Lovely Trees on Arbor Day

By | April 29th, 2016|Agriculture, Community|

“I think that I shall never see/ A poem lovely as a tree…” So goes the first two lines of poet Joyce Kilmer’s 1914 poem “Trees,” an homage that could be the official verse of Arbor Day. Originally set aside to encourage the planting of trees in the 1800s—a practice that is as old as civilization itself, according to the history of Arbor Day by the National Arbor Day Foundation—Arbor Day is now a day to celebrate, advocate and educate; and yes, still a day to plant trees. […]

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Help Pollinators and Ag With a Window Box

By | March 28th, 2016|Agriculture, Community, Education|

It’s no secret that pollinators are of vital importance to the country’s agriculture industry, and most people have heard that many pollinators—such as honeybees and Monarch butterflies—are in trouble. Similarly, those pollinators that aren’t experiencing troubles like reduced numbers or documented colony collapses are needed to take up the slack of those that are in dire straits. […]

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Cover Crops Offer Bang for Your Agriculture Buck

By | March 21st, 2016|Agriculture, Business|

Cover crops have grown quickly in esteem in the agriculture industry, and for good reason: they offer a lot of advantages on the farm and the ranch both. While cover crops have many benefits, like most things in agriculture, they do take some time and effort to reap all the rewards they offer. […]

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Road Map Aims to Reduce Food Waste

By | March 18th, 2016|Agriculture, Business, Education|

Researchers predict that we’ll be a population of 9 billion or more and counting by 2050, and each and every one of those mouths will need to eat. It’s an issue that the powers that be are attempting to solve proactively, and there are many avenues identified already for attacking such a problem. From GMO superfoods to indoor agriculture, it’s hoped that each avenue will be able to have an end result of more food reaching more people. One promising avenue is reducing food waste. […]

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USDA Expands Insurance for Organic Agriculture

By | March 14th, 2016|Agriculture, Business|

Organic agriculture is a rising star in the U.S. agriculture landscape at the moment, and the demand for organic produce and products is expected to continue to grow . Organics are also a viable option for many farmers and ranchers looking to essentially diversify their operations and afford some measure of stability against volatile agriculture markets. The demand for organics is strong and the payout are higher. However, the cost of starting or converting to an organic operation is not free of problems or pitfalls.  As in most corners of the ag industry, there are many things that could go wrong, costing a producer a great deal. Thankfully, the USDA has stepped up and expanded certain insurance products to organic enterprises to make the change a little less risky. […]

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Geothermal Greenhouses Allow Agriculture to Sprout Up Anywhere

By | February 29th, 2016|Agriculture, Business|

Florida and other southern states have a corner on the majority of the plant-based agriculture market for one common reason: the tropical nature of their respective growing seasons. In short, states like Florida, California, Texas and more are the best places to grow fruits like oranges, various vegetables and other plant-based produce because their growing seasons are long and marked by warm temperatures and lots of sunshine. However, geothermal greenhouses may be on the edge of changing all that, according to an NPR piece. Thanks to geothermal greenhouses, growers in the Midwest—specifically a northwestern Nebraskan gentleman farmer named Russ Finch—have combined the greenhouse concept with heat from the earth to grow a lot of interesting produce; a variety of citrus, for one. […]

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Florida Strawberry Growers Get a Boost with Program

By | February 29th, 2016|Agriculture, Business|

As a guest columnist for Central Florida Ag News magazine, this article of mine was recently published in the February 2016 edition. If you’ve been anywhere near a grocery store produce section in the last few years, then you’ve likely seen the “Fresh From Florida” label on everything from strawberries and oranges to chicken and seafood. It’s all part of a campaign created by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to encourage consumers to eat products grown, raised, and caught right here in the Sunshine State. […]

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A Look at the USDA’s BioPreferred Program

By | February 22nd, 2016|Agriculture, Business|

There’s no arguing that petroleum and petroleum-based products are damaging to our environment. To further our country’s use of pertroleum-free biobased products, the USDA started the BioPreferred Program in 2002. The program was later expanded as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. In February 2015, the USDA announced a new product—Tide PurClean—to the 2,500 products already certified as biobased. If you were unaware of this USDA-led program, find out the particulars below. […]

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