Tag Archive: Farm

Farm Bureau Hurricane Irma Relief Fund for Agriculture

Farm Bureau Hurricane Irma Relief Fund for Agriculture

De Soto County Citrus after Hurricane Irma. Source: FL Farm Bureau

Farmers and ranchers throughout Florida are working tirelessly to restore food and fiber production for our state and the nation after Hurricane Irma wreaked destruction on much of the state. The total economic loss for agriculture is expected to be in the billions.

Fall Melons damaged by Hurricane Irma in St. Johns County. Source: FL Farm Bureau

Hurricane Irma significantly impacted Florida agriculture throughout the state.  Florida Farm Bureau is accepting tax-deductible donations to aid in relief to Florida farmers devastated by Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma Relief Fund for Agriculture

Checks should be made payable to:

Florida Farm Bureau Women’s Fund
Memo: Hurricane Irma Relief for Agriculture
P.O. Box 147030
Gainesville, FL 32614

Please contact Staci Sims with additional questions.

 

PG

Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu

admin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/23/farm-bureau-hurricane-irma-relief-fund-for-agriculture/

Forest Stewardship Tour of Sandhill Farm in Jackson County – October 5

Forest Stewardship Tour of Sandhill Farm in Jackson County – October 5

Sandhill Farm in Jackson County. Credit: Billy Boothe

Sandhill Farm – Property of David and Cindi Stewart

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Meet at the property at 9:00 AM CT – Adjourn after lunch

When Cindi and David Stewart first saw the mosaic of sandhills, swamps, flatwoods and loblolly pine forest making up this 222-acre Jackson County property, they knew they would buy it. Avid hikers from the south-central Florida suburbs, they loved being in the forest. That was 14 years ago, and they have come a long way towards their goal of managing their property for wildlife habitat. After beginning their land management education with the Master Tree Farmer and Master Wildlifer short courses offered by Clemson University and University of Florida IFAS Extension, they sought advice and a Forest Stewardship management plan from the Florida Forest Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Following some hard work managing underbrush, they planted 50 acres of longleaf pine.  With diverse wildlife habitat as a primary goal, they burn every two years and have some beautiful groundcover plants like wiregrass and blazing star.  In 2006, they were awarded Jackson County Tree Farmers of the Year. Join us for a walking tour of this property.  This will be a relatively short hike on trails.  Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the field.
Cost is $ 10 per person, lunch and materials included. Register online at https://fsp-tour100517.eventbrite.com/. You can also reserve a space by contacting UF/IFAS Jackson County Extension at (850) 482-9620, and pay at the event with cash or check payable to University of Florida.  Space is limited so register early. Please share this announcement with others who may be interested.

Use the following link for the printer friendly event flyer with directions and a map for driving to the property:

Sandhill Farm Stewardship Tour

Driving Directions

David and Cindi Stewart’s Sandhills Farm – 357 Pittman Hill Road – Marianna, FL 32448 – (850) 579-8848
From I-10, Marianna:
  • Exit at the western-most Marianna exit (Exit #136), SR 276.
  • Turn left on SR 276 West and go less than 1 mile to CR 167 South (signs to Panama City &Fountain)
  • Turnleft on CR 167 South
  • Travel about 9.8 miles south on CR 167 to Nortek Blvd. (yellow intersection sign indicating Nortek Blvd & second sign for Compass Lakes inthe Hills) – turn left (east) on Nortek Blvd. -Travel east on Nortek Blvd. until the pavement ends –our property begins on your left as the pavement ends.
  • Stay on Nortek Blvd./Hasty Pond Road (the name changes as the pavement ends) for another ½ mile.
  • Turn left (north) at the first intersection onto Pittman Hill Road
  • They have the first real driveway (with a mailbox) on the left, after you pass the pond on the left –less than ½ mile. The house number “357” is on the mailbox. Follow the power poles to the house.

 

PG

Author: Doug Mayo – demayo@ufl.edu

Lead Editor for Panhandle Ag e-news – Jackson County Extension Director – Livestock & Forages Agent. My true expertise is with beef cattle and pasture management, but I can assist with information on other livestock species, as well as recreational fish ponds.
http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/22/forest-stewardship-tour-of-sandhill-farm-in-jackson-county-october-5/

Florida’s Farm Families Are Slowly Recovering from Losses Inflicted by Hurricane Irma

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam took an aerial tour to survey areas impacted by Hurricane Irma, including citrus groves in Central and Southwest Florida. Commissioner Putnam said, “It’s still too early to know the full extent of the damage to Florida citrus. But after touring groves on foot and by air, it’s clear that our signature crop has suffered serious and devastating losses from Hurricane Irma.” Source FDACS

Source:  Florida Farm Bureau

The resiliency of Florida’s farmers and ranchers is on full display in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. They are working to restore food and fiber production for this state and the nation, despite the widespread destruction of crops, buildings, fencing and other property lost to wind and water damage.

Like many other Floridians, farm families are contending with significant failures in the electric power grid. Many face weeks of rebuilding and replanting before full operations can resume.

The entire peninsula suffered major damage. The most severe overall destruction occurred in Southwest Florida. Early estimates indicate that in some areas of the primary citrus belt at least 60 percent of green fruit was knocked off the trees, raising the likelihood that the 2017-2018 crop will be much smaller than expected. Those farmers who had already planted fall vegetables, including tomatoes, report a near-total loss.

Agriculturists throughout the region and elsewhere face the general task of either repairing or restoring irrigation systems, machinery and other equipment.

Scattered assessments among ornamental plant growers indicate that many greenhouses and shade covers were are either partially standing or unusable. Some nursery owners have less than 50 percent of their plants in marketable condition.

In Hendry and Glades counties, observers have found hundreds of sugarcane plants submerged in water, buried in sediment or blown away. Palm Beach County sugarcane appears to be shredded, but farmers there say that new growth is possible and along with it, a partial harvest.

Standing water is a challenge for agricultural producers throughout the entire peninsula. Flooding has blocked access to fields and groves and limited access to beef cattle in pastures marooned by the storm. In east Florida’s Brevard County, for example, an estimated 50,000 acres of ranchland is under water, likely imposing a weight loss in calves shipped for processing.

As far north as Putnam County, west of St. Augustine, vegetable growers cannot enter fields because there is no access. Blueberry producers from south-central Florida north to Gainesville are struggling with acreage that has turned into lakes or muddy bogs.

Official economic loss totals will be available soon. Informal estimates suggest that the total agricultural cost of the storm will be in the billions. In south Florida’s Okeechobee County, for example, an informal evaluation places the local loss at a minimum of $ 16 million.

Florida Farm Bureau President John L. Hoblick expressed his grateful appreciation to farm families for their ability to survive a catastrophic hurricane and continue with their livelihoods. “Our farmers and ranchers show their true strength under the pressures of adversity,” Hoblick said. “I ask all Floridians to join me in applauding their dedication, hard work and willingness to work through very difficult circumstances so that they can continue operations that support us all.”

Hoblick called upon federal officials to provide emergency assistance to achieve full recovery.

“A farm disaster of this magnitude requires exceptional action,” Hoblick said. “Farm families need our help. I urge the Congress and the Administration to endorse immediate financial support for Florida agriculture. We appreciate all aid that you can provide during this crisis.”

Twenty-five members of Florida’s Congressional delegation have already asked Congressional leaders to appropriate adequate funding for this purpose. In a Sept. 12 letter the lawmakers wrote that “the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma throughout Florida means that Congress must again act swiftly to ensure the availability of additional funding needed for recovery efforts.”

 

PG

Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu

admin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/16/floridas-farm-families-are-slowly-recovering-from-losses-inflicted-by-hurricane-irma/

Farm Food Safety Workshops – October 5 & 26

Farm Food Safety Workshops – October 5 & 26

Photo by Judy Biss

Two Farm Food Safety Workshops are scheduled for October in the Panhandle.  A Building Your Own Farm’s Food Safety Manual Workshop is scheduled for October 5th in Crestview and a Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training is scheduled for October 26 in Marianna.  The PSA Grower Training curriculum is approved by the FDA to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.

Which Training Should Growers Attend?

  • All fruit and vegetable farms should have a food safety manual.  If you haven’t created a manual yet, then you will learn what needs to go in your manual and develop your own manual at the Building Your Own Farm’s Food Safety Manual Workshop in Crestview.
  • Fruit and vegetable farms that have an annual value of produce sold (based on a three year average) of $ 25,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more are required to attend an FDA approved FSMA training such as the PSA Grower Training offered in Marianna.
  • If both of the above criteria apply to you, then you should attend both trainings.

Benefits of Attending Each Workshop

  • The Building Your Own Farm’s Food Safety Manual Workshop will not only allow you to develop your own Food Safety Manual, but it will also help you prepare for a Food Safety Audit.  You will go home with an electronic copy of you personalized food safety manual, food safety training materials for you employees, and a food safety reference notebook.  This workshop also provides CEUs for pesticide applicators.
  • The PSA Grower Training will cover the requirements of the FSMA produce safety rule. It will also cover key Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are necessary in a farm food safety plan.  You will go home with a FSMA produce safety rule reference notebook and a Certificate of Course Attendance compliant with FSMA requirements.

Cost to Attend Each Workshop and Registration Information

  • The fee for the Building Your Own Farm’s Food Safety Manual Workshop is $ 35 for the first person representing a farm and $ 15 for one additional attendee.  Registration fee includes the training materials, an electronic copy of your personalized manual, lunch, refreshments, and a Certificate of Course Attendance.  Register by calling the Jackson County Extension Office at (850)482-9620 or emailing Sabrina at s.farr@ufl.edu.  (Note: This workshop will be held at the Okaloosa County Extension Office, 3098 Airport Rd., Crestview, FL.)
  • The fee for the PSA Grower Training is $ 95.  For attendees who are members of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA), a discounted rate of $ 80 is available.  (Not sure if you’re a member?  Contact Sonia Tighe at 321-214-5245 or sonia.tighe@ffva.com).  Registration fee includes the training materials, lunch, refreshments, and a Certificate of Course Attendance that complies with the training requirements of FSMA.  Register online at Online Registration or download the training brochure to register by mail.

If you have any questions pertaining to which training is right for you or other general food safety questions, please feel free to contact Matt Lollar with the Jackson County Extension Office at (850)482-9620 or mlollar@ufl.edu.

 

PG

Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/08/farm-food-safety-workshops-october-5-26/

Hurricane Preparation for Your Farm

Hurricane Preparation for Your Farm

Farmers in Florida worry every fall about potential damage from a hurricane.  Most of the media attention focuses on families in coastal communities, but not as much attention is provided for farmers and ranchers. Emergency responders are also likely to target their efforts immediately after the storm comes ashore on coastal areas hardest hit by storms.  Every farm and ranch in Florida must have an emergency plan for the impact of a hurricane.  The main thing is to prepare to be self sufficient for a more than a week.  The following are ideas that may prove helpful as a checklist to prepare ahead of a major storm.

Resource People

After a major storm large areas in the path are in chaos.  It is important to have a good list of current contact information for important people.  While most of us rely on the phone numbers loaded on a smart phone to do our daily business, it is a good idea to develop a printed list, just in case your cell phone becomes damaged.  Make sure you have current phone numbers for:

  • Extended family – Everyone will want to know you are ok after the storm, and you will want to do the same.
  • Employees and their families – it is good to be able to
  • Veterinarian – not just the office number but a cell phone number as well
  • Neighbors – in rural areas neighbors helping neighbors are the first responders
  • Farm Service Agency Office Damages should be reported within 15 days after the storm.
  • Insurance provider
  • Utility Company – Report downed power lines and power outages so your farm can be added to their response list.
  • County Extension Offices– Agricultural Extension Agents serve as the ESF 17 Coordinators for each county emergency team.  It is their role to assist farm and livestock owners after the storm.  Extension Agents are also part of the State Agriculture Response Team lead by the Florida Department of Agriculture, so they are your local contact in each county for assistance for farms and livestock owners following a disaster.

Loss of Power

At the very least, farmers in rural areas can expect power outages following a hurricane. In rural areas, power may not be restored for 1-2 weeks. This can cause some real problems for farmers.

  • Order fuel to top off farm fuel tanks for tractors and equipment.  Fuel deliveries may be disrupted following the storm.
  • Purchase batteries for flashlights and lanterns.  Have enough flashlights ready for each employee.
  • Stock up on feed for animals receiving supplemental feeds.  Don’t forget the cats and dog food.  Have enough hay, feed and health care supplies on hand for 1-2 weeks. Feed stores may not be open for business for a week or more after a storm.
  • Move animals to pastures with ponds so well filled water troughs are not the only source of water.
  • Dairy farms should have enough generator power so that cows can be milked each day.
  • For operations that rely on electric fencing, have a generator ready to keep the fence hot, or at least move animals to interior pastures so they have multiple fences to help keep them in.

High Winds

Coastal areas normally receive the highest winds as a hurricane comes ashore, but even 50-70 mile per hour winds can create some real problems for livestock producers. Barns and fences are very susceptible to fallen trees and limbs from even tropical storm force winds. Tornadoes are also common in rural areas as storms move through.

  • Make sure chainsaws are in good working order and stock up on mixed fuel.
  • Locate chains and come-a-long for limb and tree movement off of fences and buildings.
  • Stock up on fence repair materials:  wire, posts, and staples for repairing fences damaged by limbs and trees.
  • Move animals and valuable equipment out of barns. Most agricultural barns are not made to withstand more than 75-100 mile per hour winds with out some damage. Metal roofing material falling and flying around can be deadly. Normally open fields or pastures are much safer for both animals and equipment. Animals out in the open have a way of avoiding danger most of the time.
  • Move animals to interior pastures so there are multiple fences between animals and the highway or neighbors.
  • Identify cattle and horses so that if they do wander out of your property, you can be notified of their whereabouts. Halters or collars and luggage tags can be used for horses. If nothing else is available, spray paint your name and phone number on cattle or horses, so they can be returned to you following a storm.  Do not include Coggins number on any identification, because that would allow the animal to be sold at auction.
  • Pick up debris that might become high-wind hazards. Strap down feeders, trailers and other items that might blow around and injure animals or cause damage to facilities.

    Be prepared to remove and clean up broken limbs and uprooted trees on cowpens, fences and buildings following a storm. Photo credit Doug Mayo

Flooding

Tropical storms and hurricanes can generate 3-15 inches of rain in just a few hours.

  • Move tractors, equipment, hay, or other stored items to highest ground.
  • Move animals out of low lying pastures, or at least tie the gates open so they can move to higher ground if need be.
  • Have enough hay on hand to feed for two weeks in case grass runs short from low areas being flooded.
  • Make sure drainage ditches are clean without blockage.

    Photo credit: USDA Archive

Clean Up and Damage Assessment

Notification and documentation are the keys to getting financial aid following a major storm.

  • Beware of downed power lines. Treat them as if they are charged even if they are damaged or knocked down tree limbs. If you drive up near a downed power line, stay in your vehicle, and contact emergency personnel or the utility company.
  • Contact insurance agencies as soon as possible after the storm passes for buildings that are insured.
  • Report major damage to the local Farm Service Agency within 15 days of the storm to be eligible for federal disaster aid.
  • Document damage and repair expenses. Photographs of damages and receipts for services and materials will be very important when applying for insurance claims and federal disaster aid. Any purchased feed, supplies or veterinary expenses related to storm damage should be recorded as well.

    Equipment shed in Hardee County destroyed by at tornado associated with Hurricane Charley in 2004. Photo credit: Doug Mayo

Other Resources available to aid with Farm Disaster Preparedness and Recovery

PG

Author: Doug Mayo – demayo@ufl.edu

Lead Editor for Panhandle Ag e-news – Jackson County Extension Director – Livestock & Forages Agent. My true expertise is with beef cattle and pasture management, but I can assist with information on other livestock species, as well as recreational fish ponds.
http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/07/hurricane-preparation-for-your-farm/

Call 811 Before You Dig or Farm Near Buried Utility and Pipelines

Call 811 Before You Dig or Farm Near Buried Utility and Pipelines

Today, August 11 is “National 811 Day,” so it is only fitting to share an Ag-Safety reminder to “Call or Click Before You Dig.”

There are pipelines and utility lines buried all over the place in rural areas.  In fact, there are more than 1,250 miles of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines that run through the Panhandle from Jefferson to Escambia Counties.  Many of these utilities are buried along highway right-of-ways, but some do cross through farm fields. If you have recently purchased or leased a new field, make sure you know where these lines are located.  The markers are placed in the vicinity of the hazard, but may not be exact.  If you plan to excavate for a pond, remove stumps, clean out a ditch, dig post holes for a fence, install drainage tiles in a field, or just are going to do some deep tillage, it is always a good idea to know exactly where pipe or utility lines are buried.  Hitting a gas line can be extremely dangerous.  Breaking a fiber-optic cable can stop service for thousands of people in your area.  If you see the buried utility markers at the edge of a field, make sure you know exactly where and how deep they are buried by using the 811 system.  Utility marking can require a few days to schedule with the specific utility involved, so this is something you should do several days before a project begins.

In 2005, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated 811 as the universal phone number for the 71 regions that coordinate location services for underground public utilities in the U.S. If you would prefer to make a location request online, instead of by phone, you can use the Florida 811 Service through their website: http://www.sunshine811.com/   If you see the markers on the edge of your field, make the call or make out an online location request ticket, at least two days before you dig or farm the field.

This is what can happen if you skip the 811 call:

 

For more information:

Pipeline Ag Safety Fact Sheet

U.S. Click Before you Dig website that provides a link for utility marking requests in each state

Pipeline Ag Safety Alliance

 

PG

Author: Doug Mayo – demayo@ufl.edu

Lead Editor for Panhandle Ag e-news – Jackson County Extension Director – Livestock & Forages Agent. My true expertise is with beef cattle and pasture management, but I can assist with information on other livestock species, as well as recreational fish ponds.
http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/11/call-811-before-you-dig-or-farm-near-buried-utility-and-pipelines/

Mosquito Control Can Be As Close As A Farm Pond

Mosquito Control Can Be As Close As A Farm Pond

Eastern Mosquitofish are small in size, but with a gargantuan appetite for mosquito larvae. The tiny terrors can eat well over their body weight daily in developing mosquitos.

The consistent and ample rains of late over Florida’s Panhandle assure enough moisture is available for row crop production and development, and forage growth. It has also minimized, if not eliminated, the need for irrigation and its associated cost.

As with anything good, there is always an associated negative component which cannot be avoided. In other words there is a lead lining to every silver cloud.

In the case of sufficient rain, there will be mosquitos in areas where water stands for any length of time. Fortunately, there are water-borne native species which provide some balance to this aerial pest.

Gambusia holbrooki, commonly known as Eastern Mosquitofish, are a valuable instrument for controlling mosquitoes and midges in ponds and other bodies of water. Their diet is not exclusively mosquito larvae, but enough so to make them very helpful in reducing the population if the fish are present in sufficient numbers.

Mosquitofish are small, less than three inches at maturity and of a dull grey coloring. This mundanely camouflaged native fish seem less susceptible to wading bird predation than brightly colored fish or amphibians which also dine on mosquitos or their larvae.

This micro-sized predator is capable of eating more than the equivalent of its own body weight in mosquito larvae on a daily basis. Mature females of this specie literally eat hundreds of the developing pest each day.

If the insect larvae are not present in the Mosquitofish’s environment, this tiny fish with a tiger shark’s attitude will aggressively seek out other dining options, including its own species.

The Easter Mosquitofish is available at many fish hatcheries in the panhandle. Given their popularity this time of year, it is advisable to call and confirm inventory availability.

For more information on the Mosquitofish and other aquatic insect controls, read Fish Recommended for Mosquito and Midge Control in Ornamental Ponds.

 

PG

Author: Les Harrison – harrisog@ufl.edu

Les Harrison is the UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Director, Agriculture and Natural Resources. He works with small and medium sized producers in the Big Bend region of north Florida on a wide range of topics. He has a Master’s of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism from the University of Florida.

Les Harrison

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/03/mosquito-control-can-be-as-close-as-a-farm-pond/

Farm Food Safety Certification Training – February 13

A Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training is scheduled for Monday, February 13 at the Jackson County Extension Office in Marianna, FL.  The PSA Grower Training curriculum is approved by the FDA to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.

Who Should Attend? – Fruit and vegetable growers with farms that have an annual value of produce sold (based on a three year average) of $ 25,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more.

Benefits to Attending – The course will cover the requirements of the FSMA produce safety rule.  It will also cover key Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are necessary in a farm food safety plan.

Cost to Attend – The fee for the training is $ 150.  For attendees who are members of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA), a discounted rate of $ 99 is available.  (Not sure if you’re a member?  Contact Sonia Tighe at 321-214-5245 or sonia.tighe@ffva.com).  Registration fee includes the training materials, lunch, refreshments, and a Certificate of Course Attendance that complies with the training requirements of FSMA.

Registration

Registration Deadline is February 6, 2017

PSA TRAINING AGENDA

  • 8:30 Registration and Refreshments
  • 9:00 Welcome and Introductions
  • 9:15 Module 1: Introduction to Produce Safety
  • 10:00 Module 2: Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training
  • 11:00 Break
  • 11:15 Module 3: Soil Amendments
  • 12:00 Module 4: Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use
  • 12:45 Lunch
  • 1:30 Module 5: Agricultural Water Part 1: Production Water
  • 2:15 Part 2: Postharvest Water
  • 3:15 Break
  • 3:30 Module 6: Postharvest Handling and Sanitation
  • 4:30 Module 7: How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan
  • 5:00 Final Questions and Evaluations

PG

Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/01/07/farm-food-safety-certification-training-february-13/

2016 NASS Farm Land Rent and Labor Survey Summary

2016 NASS Farm Land Rent and Labor Survey Summary

Some of the most challenging conversations, in almost any relationship, are the ones about money.  This is certainly true as land owners and farmers, or managers and laborers negotiate for the year ahead. It can be pretty challenging to determine what is a fair price to rent a specific farm, or to set the wages for the skill sets of a specific employee, but, if you know the average rate, it does provide an unbiased place to start negotiations.  As with all statistics, just knowing the average is only part of the story, but at least it offers a reference point for both parties to begin the conversation.

Farm Land Rental Rates

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) no longer provides annual summaries of land rental rates by county, but does compile a report on even years.  Unfortunately their survey summary does not offer the range of rates paid, but does offer county, regional, or state averages that provide an unbiased place to begin negotiations. There are a number of factors that influence the rental value of farm land.  Certainly farm size, crop history, soil type, and location influence lease rates.  A large, 300 acre field would be more attractive to rent than 15 acres, or a farm next door more valuable than an operation 10 miles away.  The amount of Farm Bill Base Acreage on the land also plays a role in setting the value of crop land rental rates.

The following is a summary of the information NASS provides on average land rental rates.  Table 1 provides the average rate for renting non-irrigated, or dryland crop land by county.  The average for the whole Panhandle region in 2016 was $ 64.50 per acre. There was certainly variation from county to county, with a high of $ 92.50/acre in Santa Rosa to a low $ 41/acre in Holmes County.

Table 1. Average Dryland crop rental rates reported by USDA NASS.

Since there are not as many irrigated farms, NASS reports their survey results by region, instead of by county.  Irrigated crop land is generally more productive and certainly more consistent, so the lease rates are generally much higher per acre. Table 2 shows the variation in irrigated farm lease rates in the tri-states region, with an average of $ 180/acre for the Southeast.

Table 2. Average irrigated crop land rental rates reported by USDA NASS.

Pasture rental rates were also surveyed.  Pasture lease rates are considerably lower than crop land, because livestock generate a much lower return per acre.  Table 3 illustrates the range of average pasture rent from $ 23.50/acre in Walton County to $ 40/acre in Escambia County.  The average pasture rent for the entire Panhandle was $ 34.50/acre in 2016.

Table 3 Average pasture rental rates reported by USDA NASS.

Farm Labor Wages

The other challenge that farmers and ranchers face is knowing what is a fair rate to pay their hired labor.  NASS only reports farm workers in general categories, so the averages provided in Table 4 may not fit specialized categories of workers.  NASS does not provide a regional or by county hired worker wage report, so this information came from across the state of Florida.

Table 4 Florida average farm worker wages reported by USDA NASS.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Services offers a wide range of additional information based on annual surveys and the Ag Census every five years.  To look at the information provided in this article, and other information from their surveys go to:  http://quickstats.nass.usda.gov/

 

PG

Author: Doug Mayo – demayo@ufl.edu

Lead Editor for Panhandle Ag e-news – Jackson County Extension Director – Livestock & Forages Agent. My true expertise is with beef cattle and pasture management, but I can assist with information on other livestock species, as well as recreational fish ponds.
http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/01/07/2016-nass-farm-land-rent-and-labor-survey-summary/

Things You Should Know About Farm Food Safety

Things You Should Know About Farm Food Safety

It seems like years ago that the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law, but it was actually 2011.  With a new congress convening this week, and the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump on January 20th, the outlook for FSMA is unpredictable.  Whatever the future may hold, there are a number of important food safety compliance facts you should know.

Exempt/Excluded Status

Depending on the size of your farm, what you grow, or your clientele, you may be exempt or excluded from FSMA.  Whatever your status may be, it is important that you understand food safety protocol and that you proactively and reactively reduce food safety risks on your farm.

  • Farms that have an annual value of produce sold of $ 25,000 (based on a three year average, adjusted for inflation) or less are not covered by the regulation.
  • The farm must have food sales less than $ 500,000 per year (based on a three year average, adjusted for inflation) AND the farm’s direct sales to qualified end-users must exceed sales to all buyers combined during the previous three years. (A qualified end-user is either the consumer of the food or a restaurant or retail food establishment that is located in the same state or the same Indian reservation as the farm or not more than 275 miles away.)
  • Produce Not Covered by the Regulation
    • Produce commodities that FDA has identified as rarely consumed raw: asparagus; black beans, great Northern beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, and pinto beans; garden beets (roots and tops) and sugar beets; cashews; sour cherries; chickpeas; cocoa beans; coffee beans; collards; sweet corn; cranberries; dates; dill (seeds and weed); eggplants; figs; ginger; hazelnuts; horseradish; lentils; okra; peanuts; pecans; peppermint; potatoes; pumpkins; winter squash; sweet potatoes; and water chestnuts.
    • Produce that is used for personal or on-farm consumption.
    • Produce that is not a raw agricultural commodity.  (A raw agricultural commodity is any food in its raw or natural state.)
  • A farm with the qualified exemption must still meet certain modified requirements, including prominently and conspicuously displaying the name and the complete business address of the farm where the produce was grown either on the label of the produce or at the point of purchase.

Compliance Deadlines

Required compliance dates are set based on farm size – the larger the farm, the sooner it will need to be in compliance.

  • Very small businesses, defined as greater than $ 25,000 but less than $ 250,000 in average annual (previous three year period) produce sales, will need to comply with the regulation within four years.
  • Small businesses, defined as greater than $ 250,000 but less than $ 500,000 in average annual (previous three year period) produce sales, will need to comply with the regulation within three years.
  • All other businesses, defined as greater than $ 500,000 in average annual (previous three year period) produce sales, will need to comply with the regulation within two years of the effective date.
  • Compliance dates for farms eligible for qualified exemptions are:
    • Labeling requirements (if applicable): January 1, 2020
    • Retention of records supporting eligibility for a qualified exemption: Effective date of final rule (January 26, 2016)
    • For all other modified requirements for farms growing covered produce other than sprouts: Very small businesses—4 years, Small businesses—3 years

Note:  The compliance dates for certain aspects of the agricultural water requirements allow an additional two years beyond each of these compliance dates.

Washing lettuce. Photo Credit: Cornell University Extension

Employee Training

Regardless of whether your farm has implemented a food safety plan or not, the FDA requires approved training under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.

  • At least one supervisor or responsible party from a farm subject to the FSMA Produce Safety Rule must have successfully completed food safety training, at least equivalent to the standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the FDA.
  • All workers that handle or contact covered produce or supervise workers must be trained based on FSMA standards.  Everyone working on the farm should receive annual instruction on how to accomplish his/her job.  Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) should be developed to provide clear step-by-step instructions for how workers should complete their daily tasks.
  • Visitors to the farm must be made aware of food safety policies set by the farm, and visitors must have access to toilet and handwashing facilities.

To read more on FSMA, please visit The Food Safety Modernization Act and the FDA Facility Registration Program.

An approved Food Safety Training is scheduled for February 13 in Marianna at the Jackson County Extension Office.  For more information, and to register for the training, please visit:

Farm Food Safety Certification Training – February 13

 

 

PG

Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/01/06/things-you-should-know-about-farm-food-safety/

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