Tag Archive: 2017

National Grandparents Day 2017: September 10


For nearly 40 years, National Grandparents Day has been celebrated as an opportunity to express gratitude for all that grandparents do for families and communities.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau Profile, America Facts for Features, in 1970, Marian McQuade initiated a campaign to establish a day to honor grandparents.  In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a federal proclamation, declaring the first Sunday after Labor Day to be National Grandparents Day.

Across the U.S., not only are grandparents appreciated for sharing their time, wisdom, and values, but they are currently stepping up to raise over 7.2 million children under the age of 18 whose biological parents are unable to do so, thus keeping the children out of the foster care system.  In Florida, 11% of children live in homes where householders are grandparents or other relatives.

Locally, in Leon County, there are more than 2,000 grandparent-headed families, where:

  • 13.1% of the grandparents are 60 years and older
  • 39.8% of these families live below the poverty level
  • Nearly 50% of these families have had the children for 5 or more years

The reasons as to why so many grandparents are raising grandchildren are many and varied.  Nationally, substance abuse causes more than one third of this type of placement.  Nevertheless, because of a grandparent’s selfless devotion and generosity to the needs of others, grandparents are, in fact, owed a great deal of thanks for their altruism.

As one grandmother exclaimed, “For my 50th birthday, I got a 2 year-old.  My story isn’t unique.”  In fact, grandparent roles in children’s lives are so significant that the Grandparents as Parents (GaP) Program of the Tallahassee Senior Foundation, funded by the Leon County Commission, grants, and donations, has a program and support group just for them!  According to Karen Boebinger, GaP Program Coordinator, “The GaP program provides moral support and resource assistance to these grandfamilies who are trying to navigate through their new lifestyle.”

AARP® has streamlined the gathering of relevant information pertinent to this nationwide dilemma.  The AARP® resource, Grand Families Fact Sheet, includes state-specific data and programs available, as well as information about public benefits, educational assistance, legal relationship options, and state laws.  This fact sheet also contains many other resource tools such as the National Council on Aging’s questionnaire that helps grandparent caregivers and/or the children they are raising determine if they qualify for certain programs that pay for food, an increase in income, and/or home and healthcare costs.  Once the questionnaire is completed, the website generates a list of eligible programs and contact information.  (www.aarp.org/quicklink)

Take a moment today and every day to give thanks and appreciation for the thousands of grandparents in our community and around the country for the service they do for children.  One thing is for certain:  grandparents are more valuable to their grandchildren and communities than ever.  Grandparents are indispensable and important people.

Want more information about supporting GaP or do you need support yourself?  Contact Karen Boebinger, GaP Program Coordinator, at 850-891-4027 or karen.boebinger@talgov.com.



Author: Heidi Copeland – hbc@ufl.edu

Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, Leon County Florida Educational Program Focus: •Food, Nutrition and Wellness •Child Development and Parenting

Heidi Copeland

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/12/national-grandparents-day-2017-september-10/

Fall Vegetable Production Workshop – Combating Insect Pests September 12, 2017

Fall Vegetable Production Workshop – Combating Insect Pests September 12, 2017

On Tuesday, September 12, 2017 UF / IFAS Extension Washington County will be providing a insect pest identification and management workshop for vegetable producers and home gardeners throughout Northwest Florida.

Entomology specialists from the University of Florida and Extension agents will be leading hands on sessions focusing on insect pest management in vegetable production. This workshop is relevant to anyone growing vegetable crops in any season, but will have a special focus on fall vegetable pests. 

Lunch will be provided and  CEUs for pesticide license holders will also be available.

Cost: $ 15.00

Address: Washington County Ag Center East Wing, 1424 Jackson Ave, Chipley FL 32428.

Time: 8:30am-3:00pm

Pre Registration required for count: Contact Nikki or Cynthia at 850-638-6180 or email Matthew Orwat at mjorwat@ufl.edu

or register online at eventbrite HERE !


  • Welcome and Introduction  8:30am-8:35 Matthew Orwat, Washington County Cooperative Extension,  Amanda Hodges, University of Florida

  • True bugs in Fall Vegetables-Identification and Management                      9:00am-10:15am

  • Cowpea Curculio                                                                                           10:15am-10:30pm

  • Break                                                                                                             10:30am-10:45am

  • Whitefly Management                                                                                    10:45am-11:10am

  • Invasive Species problems in North Florida Vegetable Production        11:10am-11:30am

  • Invasive Stink Bugs and Related True Bugs                                                  11:30am-11:50pm

  • Lunch    11:50pm-12:30pm

  • Tomato leafminer Tuta absoltua                                                                     12:30m-12:45pm

  • Old World bollworm and Exotic Spodoptera Pests                                         12:45pm-1:05pm

  • Common Vegetable Plant Diseases in the Florida Panhandle                       1:05pm-1:35pm

  • Pest and Pathogen Walk                                                                                 1:35pm-2:05pm

  • CAPS Exotic Corn Diseases of Concern                                                         2:05pm-2:35pm

  • Sample Submission, Arthropod and Disease samples                                    2:35pm-2:50p







Author: Matthew Orwat – mjorwat@ufl.edu

Matthew J. Orwat started his career with UF / IFAS in 2011 and is the Horticulture Extension Agent for Washington County Florida. His goal is to provide educational programming to meet the diverse needs of and provide solutions for homeowners and small farmers with ornamental, turf, fruit and vegetable gardening objectives. Please feel free to contact him with any questions you may have.

Matthew Orwat

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/26/fall-vegetable-production-workshop-combating-insect-pests-september-12-2017/

Northwest Florida Rose Symposium Saturday September 16, 2017

Northwest Florida Rose Symposium Saturday September 16, 2017

On Saturday, September 16th, 2017, from 9AM to 12PM, UF / IFAS Extension Washington County will be providing a rose gardening workshop for gardeners across the Panhandle. Many roses are hard to grow in the Florida Panhandle without investing considerable time and energy into spraying for insect and disease problems. This workshop will teach attendees how to select and sustainably grow roses adapted to the hot-humid conditions of the Southern Gulf Coast. There will be opportunities for outdoor learning and hands-on activities. 

Topics include:

  • Selection of disease resistant rose cultivars adapted to the lower South
  • Resources to obtain hard to find easy care rose cultivars
  • Soil and Nutrient Management
  • Disease and insect management
  • Irrigation
  • Rose Propagation

Participants will be given the opportunity to propagate their own rose and take home their own propagation assembly to grow their own roses from scratch.

Refreshments will be provided and a door prize will be available.

Address: Washington County Ag Center Auditorium, 1424 Jackson Ave, Chipley FL 32428.

Pre Registration required for count: Contact Nikki or Cynthia at 850-638-6180 or email Matthew Orwat at mjorwat@ufl.edu

or register online at eventbrite HERE !



Author: Matthew Orwat – mjorwat@ufl.edu

Matthew J. Orwat started his career with UF / IFAS in 2011 and is the Horticulture Extension Agent for Washington County Florida. His goal is to provide educational programming to meet the diverse needs of and provide solutions for homeowners and small farmers with ornamental, turf, fruit and vegetable gardening objectives. Please feel free to contact him with any questions you may have.

Matthew Orwat

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/24/northwest-florida-rose-symposium-saturday-september-16-2017/

2017 Agritourism Conference – September 26-27

2017 Agritourism Conference – September 26-27

If you are a new or existing agritourism operation looking for ideas, please consider joining us on September 26-27 at the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Office, 1702 Hwy 17 South, Bartow, Florida.   The program will include some excellent presenters (both state and nationally recognized) as well as tours of some popular agritourism destinations in and near Polk county.

For more information, agenda, and registration, use the following link:

Central Florida Agritourism Conference




Author: Libbie Johnson – libbiej@ufl.edu

Agriculture agent at UF IFAS Escambia County Extension.

Libbie Johnson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/12/2017-agritourism-conference-september-26-27/

2017 NFREC Beef & Forage Day – September 15

2017 NFREC Beef & Forage Day – September 15

Friday, September 15, 2017

UF/IFAS NFREC Beef Research Unit
(One mile west of Greenwood, FL on Hwy 162)

Cattle producers are invited to visit the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center, near Marianna, for a Beef and Forage Field Day to be held at the beef Research Unit on Friday, September 15.  The festivities get started at 8:00 AM central with registration and time to visit with sponsoring exhibitors.  At 9:00 AM, a tour rotation will begin on covered trailers to visit seven demonstration sites.  The registration fee for the event is $ 10 per person and includes lunch and water that will be provided on each trailer.

Schedule of events (CDT):

8:00AM    Exhibitors and Registration (Registration fee – $ 10)

9:00AM   Tour Starts

  • Integrating rhizoma peanut into grazing systems
    Jose Dubeux, UF/IFAS Forage Specialist
  • Brunswick Grass Overview
    Ann Blount, UF Forage Breeder
  • Improving Nitrogen Efficiency in Soil Systems
    Cheryl Mackowiak, UF/IFAS Soils Specialist & Sunny Liao, UF Soil Microbial Ecology Specialist
  • Weed Walk: Identification and Control
    Brent Sellers, UF/IFAS Specialist & Mark Mauldin, UF/IFAS Extension Washington County Agent
  • Balancing Hay Diets with Commodities
    Nicolas DiLorenzo, UF/IFAS Beef Specialist & Doug Mayo, UF/IFAS Jackson Co Extension Director
  • Integrating EPDs with Visual Appraisal for Bull Selection
    Kalyn Waters, UF/IFAS Extension Holmes County Director
  • Carcass Evaluation for Todays Beef Producers
    Dr. Chad Carr, UF/IFAS Meat Extension Specialist

12:30PM Lunch (Lunch and refreshments will be provided)

1:30PM   Optional Forage Variety Demonstration Tour
Ann Blount, UF/IFAS Forage Breeder and Jose Dubeux, UF/IFAS Forage Specialist, Cheryl Mackowiak, UF/IFAS Soils Specialist

2:30PM   Adjourn

For more information call 850-526-1613 or visit the UF/IFAS NFREC website

Download the printer friendly flyer to share with a friend, or to hang up as a reminder:

NFREC Beef & Forage Field Day 2017


Author: ndilorenzo – ndilorenzo@ufl.edu


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/05/2017-nfrec-beef-forage-day-september-15/

2017 U.S. Cattle Inventory Report

2017 U.S. Cattle Inventory Report

A cow grazing in a beef cattle pasture at the Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona, Florida. Source: UF/IFAS Photo Archive

The semi-annual U.S. Cattle Inventory Report was released on July 21, 2017 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) after a one-year absence. This report continued to confirm that U.S. cattle herd expansion is still active. The report saw significant increases in every category except the category of Beef Replacement Heifers, which declined by 100,000 head from two years ago, as shown in Table 1.

The Total Cattle Inventory (All Cattle and Calves) in the U.S. as of July 1, 2017 totaled 102.6 million head, increasing by 4.4 million head (4.5%) above the 98.2 million head on July 1, 2015. Cows and heifers that have calved totaled 41.9 million head, increasing by 2.1 million head (5.3%). The nation’s beef cow herd (Beef Cows that Calved) continues to grow totaling 32.5 million head, which was an increase of 2.0 million head (6.6%) above July 1, 2015.

This level of growth still suggests that more cows will be retained in the cowherd. This trend is expected to continue for the remainder of 2017 as improvements in pasture and range resources across most of the U.S. allow producers to increase their herd size. Heifers, 500-pounds and over totaled 16.2 million head, an increase of 500,000 head compared with two years-ago. Steers, 500-pounds and over totaled 14.5 million head, an increase of 400,000 head (2.8%). Bulls, 500-pounds totaled 2.0 million head, an increase of 100,000 head (5.3%) from two years ago. Calves, under 500-pounds totaled 28.0 million head, an increase of 1.3 million head (4.9%) compared with July 1, 2015. The U.S. Calf Crop totaled 36.3 million head, increasing by 2.2 million head (6.5%) from two-years ago. Feeder/Calf Supply totaled 37 million head, increasing by 1.6 million head (4.5%). The U.S. Cattle on Feed, All Sizes was 12.8 million head, increasing by 700,000 (5.8%) head from a year-ago.

The U.S. calf crop showed a continuous decline from 40.3 to 33.5 million head (-20.1%) between 1995 and 2014, as shown in Figure 1. However, the U.S. calf crop has now documented increases from 33.5 million head in 2014 to 36.3 million head in 2017, a 2.8 million head (7.7%) increase. The last time the calf crop grew for two consecutive years was 20 years ago during 1994-1995 which was the last major herd expansion phase.

The results of the January 1 and July 1 cattle inventory reports have made it clear that expansion is still taking place. This continued beef herd expansion should continue to be moderately bearish on cattle prices during the next couple of years. Remember, that changes in cattle inventory will be slow due to the size of the beef industry and the reproductive biology of cattle.



Author: Chris Prevatt – prevacg@ufl.edu

Chris Prevatt

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/28/2017-u-s-cattle-inventory-report/

Organic Certification Cost Share Available for 2017

Organic Certification Cost Share Available for 2017

Funding Announcement

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has received funding from the 2017 National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) , which is a program of the United State Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA-AMS). These funds will be used to reimburse growers, handlers, and processors for a portion of certification costs for USDA Organic certification obtained between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017. Applications must be signed and postmarked by October 31, 2017. Please note that funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds have been expended. Please see the Florida Organic Growers (FOG) website for more information on the program.


“USDA Certified organic growers are now eligible to receive a 75% cost share grant, up to a maximum of $ 750.00 per scope of activity.”


The purpose of the NOCCSP is to reduce the cost of organic certification by reimbursing producers and handlers up to 75% of costs incurred to obtain USDA Organic certification (up to a maximum of $ 750 per category of certification).


In order to be eligible for reimbursement through the 2017 NOCCSP, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • The operation must possess current USDA Organic certification. Operations with suspended or revoked certification are not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Certification must have been initially obtained or renewed from a USDA-accredited certifying agent between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2016.
  • The certified operation must be located within the borders of Florida.
  • The operation must not already have received NOCCSP reimbursement from the State of Florida during the present funding year.

Application must include:

  • Certification costs, including proof of payment
  • A completed W9 form
  • Copy of organic certificate

Eligible Costs

  • Application fees
  • Inspection costs
  • Fees related to equivalency agreement/ arrangement requirements
  • Travel/per-Diem for inspectors
  • User fees
  • Sales assessments
  • Postage

Contact For Questions



Author: Matthew Orwat – mjorwat@ufl.edu

Matthew J. Orwat started his career with UF / IFAS in 2011 and is the Horticulture Extension Agent for Washington County Florida. His goal is to provide educational programming to meet the diverse needs of and provide solutions for homeowners and small farmers with ornamental, turf, fruit and vegetable gardening objectives. Please feel free to contact him with any questions you may have.

Matthew Orwat

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/07/organic-certification-cost-share-available-for-2017/

Remember the 3 R’s! – Earth Day April 22, 2017

Do you remember the 3 R’s?  If you are over the age of forty you are probably thinking of a classroom, a teacher, and learning about Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic.  These are the basic standards for learning, of course.  However, it is now 2017and the 3 R’s have a new meaning to a new generation of young people:  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

In today’s society, we constantly hear concerns about the environment and how we need to implement changes to make a positive impact upon its future.  It is nearly impossible to pay attention to any media without feeling bombarded by messages of conservationism.  “Go Green!”  “Green… it’s the new black.”  “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”  However, are these sentiments new?  Think about it.  “Give a Hoot… Don’t Pollute.”  “Keep America Beautiful.”  “Keep Our Forests Green.”  The use, or abuse, of our natural resources has long been an issue debated by our nation.  It has more or less been the price we have had to pay for progress; but regardless of one’s political views and beliefs, the fact that Earth is the only planet that will sustain human lives is a hard fact to deny.  It is therefore critical that all of promote principles of conservationism for our future generations.

The practice of reducing, reusing, and recycling may be easily incorporated into many aspects of your everyday lives.  As YOU reduce, reuse, and recycle in your daily lives, you will be teaching by example your own children at home.  Knowing that youth learn by seeing and doing, they will be much more likely to implement  the practices of reducing, reusing and recycling into their own daily lives if they see you practicing the 3 R’s in yours.

How does the Environmental Protection Agency describe each of the 3 R’s?                                                                                                                                                                                               Reduce the amount and toxicity of trash you throw away.  One way is to turn off or unplug lights during the day. Doing so will save energy and help your lights last longer. Use food scraps, yard trimmings, and other organic wastes to create a compost pile. Adding the compost you make to soil increases water retention, decreases erosion, and keeps organic materials out of landfills.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Reuse containers and products. There are many creative ways to reuse items, which might normally find their way into the waste stream: old shoeboxes may be used for storage, plastic containers for planters, etc. You can also donate or give away items rather than throwing these items away. For a large number of unwanted items, you can hold a garage sale. It is also encouraged to shop at garage sales before buying new!

Recycle as much as possible and buy products with recycled content.  Recycling includes collecting, sorting and processing certain solid waste into raw materials for re-manufacture into new items. These all help to cut down on the amount of waste we throw away. They conserve natural resources, landfill space and energy.

In addition, the three R’s save land and money communities must use to dispose of waste in landfills.These are all things we can do daily with just a little thought and effort.  In fact, businesses are making it easier for us every day.  We can reduce our trash in many ways, but an easy way is to reuse water bottles instead of throwing them away after each use.  We can use the reusable bags that many stores now offer for our purchases; this is a great alternative to using plastic shopping bags.  Of course, we can all make more of an effort to recycle by collecting our newspapers, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and glass jars for local recycling centers.  If there are not recycling centers in your area maybe you should start one or pursue your community leaders about the importance of having one.

A few points to consider…

  • The average American produces about 4.5 lbs. of garbage per person per day. This equal 235 million tons a year.
  • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees.
  • Recycling 1 aluminum beverage can saves enough energy to run a 100 watt light bulb for 20 hours, a computer 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours. (Currently, 45% of aluminum cans are recycled.)
  • Reduce and reuse by donating old clothes and items to charities.

By instilling the importance of the 3 R’s into today’s society we will be helping  clean the planet for the future.  After all, “A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers but borrowed from his children.”  As quoted by John James Audubon.  Our state 4-H service project theme for next year is the environment.  Why not consider planning a club, county or district service learning project in honor of Earth Day?


United States Environmental Protection Agency , https://www.epa.gov


Author: Melanie Taylor – metaylor@ufl.edu

Melanie Taylor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/03/23/remember-the-3-rs-earth-day-april-22-2017/

Spring Festival of Flowers April 7-9, 2017!

Spring Festival of Flowers April 7-9, 2017!

About the Spring Festival of Flowers

The University of Florida, IFAS and the Pensacola State College Milton Campus invites you to join them for one of the largest festivals of the season. This is a popular event that draws plant enthusiast from near and far. This festival features plant nurseries, UF student club plant sale, arts & crafts, great food, music and educational opportunities.


University of Florida, IFAS and the Pensacola State College Milton Campus located at 5988 Highway 90, Milton.

Dates and Times

Friday, April 7, 2017 * 9 AM – 5 PM

Saturday, April 8, 2017 * 9 AM – 4 PM

Sunday, April 9, 2017 *9 AM – 4 PM

2017 spring festival of flowers flyer


Author: Mary Derrick – mderrick@ufl.edu

Residential Horticulture Extension Agent for Santa Rosa County

Mary Derrick

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/03/21/spring-festival-of-flowers-april-7-9-2017/

NISAW 2017: The Kudzu Bug

Kudzu bugs on soybeans. Photo credit: Jennifer Bearden

A few years ago, Florida is extended a warm welcome to a new pest – The Kudzu Bug! The kudzu bug was first documented in the US in 2009 in Northeast Georgia.  It has quickly spread throughout the southeast.

At first, a pest that attacks kudzu sounds pretty good but this bug also attacks wisteria, figs, and other legumes like beans and peas. It is a serious pest to soybeans that are grown in our area.  They are similar to stink bugs and discharge an odor when disturbed.   Skin and eye irritation can occur from this odor emission.

Kudzu bugs are small (3.5-6mm long), and are rounded oblong in shape, and olive-green in color. They lay egg masses in two rows of 13 to 137 eggs per row.  The first generation of kudzu bugs seem to prefer to feed on kudzu but subsequent generations will feed on and lay eggs on other legumes.  When fall comes, the adults over-winter where they can find shelter.  They crawl under tree bark and into cracks in houses.

If kudzu bugs make their way into your home, you can vacuum them up and dispose of them. If they are in your landscape or garden, you can set up a trap using a bucket of soapy water and a piece of white poster board.  Kudzu bugs are attracted to lighter colors.  To make the trap, cut the poster board in half.  Attach the two halves by cutting a line up the middle of the two pieces and inserting them into each other.  They should be in the shape of a plus sign.  Place the board over the bucket of soapy water.  As the insects hit the board, they will fall into the soapy water and drown.

Insecticides can be used but timing and placement are very important. Right now, kudzu bugs are just becoming active making now a good time to spray kudzu host plants with an insecticide.  Insecticide with active ingredients ending in “-thrin”, such as pyrethrin, cyfluthrin, etc., are effective against kudzu bugs.  Always read and follow label directions and precautions when using any pesticide.  Controlling kudzu near your house will help decrease the number of bugs, but they are strong flyers and can migrate through neighborhoods that aren’t near kudzu.

Kudzu bug infected with Beauveria bassiana. Photo credit: Jennifer Bearden

There are some natural enemies of kudzu bugs! Generalist predators like green lacewings, lady beetles, damsel bugs and big eye bugs will attack kudzu bug nymphs.  There are also two parasitoids that attack them.  Both discovered in 2013, there is a tiny wasp that develops in the kudzu bug eggs and a fly that lays its eggs in the adult kudzu bug.  The Kudzu bug, like other exotic invasive insect, are opportunistic and we have yet to see how many different plants species may serve as a host for this pest. Beauveria bassiana has also been found to infect kudzu bugs and seem to be an effective natural enemy.

For more information on the kudzu bug, contact the UF/IFAS Extension Office in your county.


Author: Jennifer Bearden – bearden@ufl.edu

Agriculture Agent Okaloosa County

Jennifer Bearden

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/03/03/nisaw-2017-the-kudzu-bug/

Older posts «