Tag Archive: Florida

Jean Bodiford McMillian: Florida 4-H Hall of Fame

Ms. Jean Bodiford McMillan was inducted into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame August 2nd. She has helped 5 generations of youth in Gulf County learn leadership and life skills through the 4-H Horse Project.  In 1970, she became the club leader for the Big River Riders 4-H Club.  Mr. Roy Carter, a former Gulf County Extension Director, says “The Big River Riders 4-H Club holds the county record for the longest running 4-H club [in Gulf County] and Jean is one of the strongest leaders we have ever had the pleasure to work with.  She has been the backbone of our horse program and is always willing to help in any capacity.”

In addition to serving at the county level, Mrs. McMillian also serves on the Area A 4-H Horse Advisory Committee.  This committee of volunteers provides direction and leadership for 4-H Horse programs across the Florida Panhandle (Northwest District).  The purpose of the committee is to make sure that 4-H horse events are educational in nature and adhere to the philosophies and goals of 4-H positive youth development.  This committee has the authority and responsibility to manage the direction and resources of the Area A 4-H Horse Program.  Examples of programs include schooling shows, showmanship and judging clinics, camps, and competitive shows.

Ms. Jean Bodiford McMillan being inducted into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame during the 4-H University Awards Banquet in August.

Jean has served on the Area A Horse Committee for over 30 years and has held a variety of positions on the committee.  Through her involvement in the committee, she has watched her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren participate in the Florida 4-H Horse Program.  She is always willing to help with anything that needs to be done from checking bits and helmets to calculating points.  She has chaired the Western and Speed Divisions for a number of years at the district level and also pitches in to help with whatever is needed at the State 4-H Horse Show every July.

Her work in customer service has helped her as a volunteer to resolve conflict and solve problems.  She began her professional career with FairPoint Communications, Inc. (Port St. Joe office) in 1960 in the customer service department and held various jobs over the years.  She is also an active member of the Honeyville United Methodist Church in Honeyville located right outside of Wewahitchka. She retired from the integration and reports department of FairPoint in 2009.

When asked why she has stayed involved with 4-H for so many years, she said:

We have a very good group of Extension directors, agents, volunteers and members within our Area A Horse Program and I am so thankful to be a part of the group in any capacity. I was a 4-H’er growing up, worked as a volunteer for 5 generations over 45 years and there are so many rewarding pleasures when you see the young people do their best and strive to improve in all areas. When all your heart is given and they continue to give more is the greatest reward of all. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this astronomical foundation.” 

Despite retiring from the professional world, she has never retired from her 4-H volunteer work. Her dependability and compassion for youth has earned her the respect and admiration of fellow volunteers as well as Extension faculty.   If you are interested in sharing your knowledge and skills to inspire the next generation, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office to find out more about becoming a volunteer.  We offer a wide variety of roles to fit your interests and schedule.


Author: Heather Kent – hckent@ufl.edu

Heather Kent is the Regional Specialized 4-H Agent in the Northwest Extension District.

Heather Kent

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/18/jean-bodiford-mcmillian-florida-4-h-hall-of-fame/

July Florida Cattle Market Price Watch

July Florida Cattle Market Price Watch

The August 2017 Feeder Cattle futures contract increased by $ 0.08/cwt. during July. Based on this futures price increase, August Feeder Cattle revenues increased by approximately $ 0.60/head ($ 0.08/cwt. * 7.5 cwt.) on a 750-pound feeder steer which amounts to $ 40.00/truckload (50,000 lbs.). The August Feeder Cattle futures contract high, contract low, and price range since September 2016 are $ 160.10, $ 109.90, and $ 50.20/cwt., respectively. The price range of $ 50.20/cwt. on a 750-pound feeder steer totals $ 376.50/head and $ 25,100.00/truckload.

  1. The breakeven price was estimated to be $ 722.10/hd. or $ 131.29/cwt. ($ 722.10/hd. divided by 5.50 cwt.). The breakeven price includes production costs of $ 705/hd. and death loss of $ 17.10/hd.
  2. The price objective was estimated to be $ 872.10/hd. or $ 158.56/cwt. ($ 872.10/hd. divided by 5.50 cwt.). The price objective includes production costs of $ 705/hd., death loss ($ 17.10/hd.), family living withdrawal ($ 100/hd.), and growth capital/retirement ($ 50/hd.).
  3. The expected cash price is equal to the daily August 2017 Feeder Cattle futures closing price plus an expected August 2017 South Florida 550 lb. Feeder Calf Basis of $ 2/cwt.



Author: Chris Prevatt – prevacg@ufl.edu

Chris Prevatt

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/05/july-florida-cattle-market-price-watch/

Summer Rain in the Florida Panhandle

Summer Rain in the Florida Panhandle

ARTICLE BY DR. MATT DEITCH; water quality specialist – University of Florida Milton

Summer is a great time for weather-watching in the Florida panhandle. Powerful thunderstorms appear out of nowhere, and can pour inches of rain in an area in a single afternoon. Our bridges, bluffs, and coastline allow us to watch them develop from a distance. Yet as they come closer, it is important to recognize the potential danger they pose—lightning from these storms can strike anywhere nearby, and can cause fatality for a person who is struck. Nine people were killed by lightning strike in Florida in 2016 alone, more than in any other state. Because of the risk posed by lightning, my family and I enjoy these storms up-close from indoors.

Carpenter’s Creek in Pensacola
Photo: Dr. Matt Deitch

A fraction of the rain that falls during these storms is delivered to our bays, bayous, and estuaries through a drainage network of creeks and rivers. This streamflow serves several important ecological functions, including preventing vegetation encroachment and maintaining habitat features for fish and amphibians through scouring the streambed. High flows also deposit fine sediment on the floodplain, helping to replenish nutrients to floodplain soil. On average, only about one-third of the water that falls as rain (on average, more than 60 inches per year!) turns into streamflow. The rest may either infiltrate soil and percolate into groundwater; or be consumed and transpired by plants; or evaporate off vegetation, from the soil, or the ground surface before reaching the soil. Evaporation and transpiration play an especially large role in the water cycle during summer: on average, most of the rain that falls in the Panhandle occurs during summer, but most stream discharge occurs during winter.

The water that flows in streams carries with it many substances that accumulate in the landscape. These substances—which include pollutants we commonly think of, such as excessive nutrients comprised of nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as silt, oil, grease, bacteria, and trash—are especially abundant when streamflow is high, typically during and following storm events. Oil, grease, bacteria, and trash are especially common in urban areas. The United States EPA and Florida Department of Environmental Protection have listed parts of the Choctawhatchee, St. Andrew, Perdido, and Pensacola Bays as impaired for nutrients and coliform bacteria. Pollution issues are not exclusive to the Panhandle: some states (such as Maryland and California) have even developed regulatory guidelines in streams (TMDLs) for trash!

Many local and grassroots organizations are taking the lead on efforts to reduce pollution. Some municipalities have recently publicized efforts to enforce laws on picking up pet waste, which is considered a potential source of coliform bacteria in some places. Some conservation groups in the panhandle organize stream debris pick-up days from local streams, and others organize volunteer citizens to monitor water quality in streams and the bays where they discharge. Together, these efforts can help to keep track of pollution levels, demonstrate whether restoration efforts have improved water quality, and maintain healthy beaches and waterways we rely on and value in the Florida Panhandle.

Santa Rosa Sound
Photo: Dr. Matt Deitch



Author: Rick O’Connor – roc1@ufl.edu

Sea Grant Extension Agent in Escambia County

Rick O’Connor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/29/summer-rain-in-the-florida-panhandle/

Agriculture: A Minor Miracle Going on in Florida

Agriculture:  A Minor Miracle Going on in Florida

Florida’s 47,000 farms are already vital economic engines that boost the economy in ways that go beyond putting food on consumer’s plates. Agriculture’s resiliency makes it a mainstay of Florida’s economy. When money gets tight, fewer people book hotel rooms or buy theme park tickets, but they don’t stop eating.  Photo credit: Doug Mayo

Jack Payne, UF/IFAS Senior Vice President

These past few weeks I have spent much time traveling around Florida attending the annual meetings of some of our important agricultural commodity groups, such as Citrus Mutual, the Florida Cattlemen’s Association and the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association.  Participating in these meetings is a great reminder of the value of production agriculture to our state, especially to our quality of life.  More than 1,000 people a day are moving here, and we pave over many farms to make way for their subdivisions. Yet the new supermarkets that pop up to feed these newcomers all contain aisle upon aisle of Florida-produced food.

Yes, that’s more food from less land. That productivity boost relies on a thriving innovation economy and a network of field-to-fork industries that make the Sunshine State one of the world’s leading agricultural hubs. This success story is led by a strong commissioner of agriculture, with science and innovation provided by the University of Florida, the state’s land-grant university, and a supportive collection of commodity and stakeholder groups.  In addition to keeping you well fed, it’s an economic boon. We can start with the 2.2 million jobs linked to Florida agriculture, nearly a fifth of all the jobs in the state.

Unless we stop eating, Florida agriculture has no choice but to grow. The state’s population is expected to increase by nearly 14 million by 2070.  At the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, we’ve seen challenges to food production such as the disease that threatens our citrus industry. We also see tremendous opportunity to meet those challenges through teaching, research and outreach.

Two graduate students bleed cows at the Beef Teaching Unit. Photo credit: Amy Stuart

Young people are beginning to see it too, as a new generation of idealists fills our colleges and universities. They aspire to feed the world through careers in science and technology. They see careers in biology, genetics, engineering, computer science and many other scientific and technological fields as the way to contribute to solutions.  We have an all-time high enrollment at the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences this year. Food security is a global issue. Thousands of students see the challenge of feeding a projected 10 billion people in 2050 as an opportunity to do good while doing well.

That challenge offers the potential for an even greater economic future for Florida. Why shouldn’t we have the agricultural equivalent of Silicon Valley? Who better than us to create a concentration of start-ups, laboratories and research centers to innovate better ways to produce food?  Florida agriculture, natural resources and food industries already drive $ 59 billion in exports. They have a total state economic impact of $ 127 billion, more than 14 percent of our state economic output.

These numbers consider the ag and food system as a whole. A tomato in the field is nothing without a distributor and grocer. A plant in the greenhouse will languish without a landscaper or garden center. The meat from a healthy cow is wasted without a burger joint.  Field and greenhouse agriculture is a small proportion of the whole, but it is the base of the ag and food system pyramid. The entire food system collapses without agriculture.

There are lots of ways to harvest statistics, of course, but there’s no denying that our state’s 47,000 farms are already vital economic engines that help you in ways that go beyond putting food on your plate.  They keep your tractor sales force in business. They keep a whole array of juicing, canning and other processing plants running. They fill trucks to ship produce but they also fill them before a seed is even in the ground, bringing in the supplies and equipment necessary to grow thousands of acres of food at a time.

There are some communities where agriculture is such a large part of the tax base that failed farms could very well translate into the layoffs of librarians, teachers and police.  Agriculture’s resiliency makes it a mainstay of our economy. When money gets tight, fewer people book hotel rooms or buy theme park tickets. They don’t stop eating.

The latest challenges do not spell doom for the Florida farmer. They’re calls for us to lead the way in sustainable agriculture.  Money may not grow on trees, but it grows in the forests that our tree farmers harvest. It grows on the bottom of the sea, where our clam farmers produce some of the most delicious seafood you’ll ever taste.  Our fields of green — tomatoes, watermelon, peanuts and yes, oranges — put green in the wallets of millions of Floridians.

There are indeed serious challenges to food production here. I just don’t believe the naysayers who say Florida agriculture is in decline.  I see the story on your supermarket shelves, on your restaurant menus, and in your farmers’ markets. I see it in farmers using technology to produce more food than ever. I see it in students preparing to dedicate the next 40 years to food production.

That story is that growing food in Florida means growing prosperity!



Author: Dr. Pete Vergot – pvergot@ufl.edu

District Extension Director for University of Florida IFAS Extension, Northwest District. His major assignments include County Operations of Extension programs for the 16 counties of the Florida Panhandle. He has statewide assignments of internationalizing extension and information technologies.

Dr. Pete Vergot

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/03/agriculture-a-minor-miracle-going-on-in-florida/

Glystar Plus now Labeled for Perennial Peanut in Florida

Glystar Plus now Labeled for Perennial Peanut in Florida

Perennial peanut producers have encountered numerous weeds that are difficult to control with 2,4-D amine and Impose (imazapic).  GlyStar Plus now provides another option for perennial peanut producers to use to reduce weed populations in their hay fields.  Photo credit: Doug Mayo

Brent Sellers, UF/IFAS Extension Weed Specialist

Over the past several years, perennial peanut producers have encountered weeds that are much more difficult to control with the standard broadleaf and grass herbicides such as 2,4-D amine and Impose (imazapic). We had observed perennial peanut tolerance to glyphosate when attempting to maintain our research plot alleys to a specific size; we realized that perennial peanut was relatively tolerant to glyphosate than previously known.  This prompted some research that was conducted over the past few years.

Glyphosate was applied at 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 oz/acre during the summer growing season at Zolfo Springs (weed-free; ‘UF-Tito’) and Ona (not weed-free; ‘Ecoturf’, ‘Florigraze’, ‘UF-Tito’). Two weeks prior to herbicide application, perennial peanut was clipped to 3 inches. Both locations consisted of an established stand of perennial peanut. However, rhizomes were harvested from the Zolfo Springs location within 12 to 18 months prior to application.

Injury at the Zolfo Springs location was less than 20% when Glystar Plus was applied at less than 32 fl oz/A (Figure 1).

Injury at Zolfo Springs did not exceed 40%. Perennial peanut yield was 19-27% lower than the untreated control at 60 days after treatment when applied at 16-32 fl oz/A, and yield was 58% lower when applied at 64 fl oz/A (Figure 2).

Results were slightly different at Ona with a fully established, non-disturbed stand that was planted in 2005. Injury from Glystar Plus did not exceed 20% at rates of 32 fl oz/A or less (Figure 3). 

Additionally, injury was transient, and began to decrease from 30 to 60 days after treatment.  Perennial peanut biomass was not affected by Glystar Plus application at rates of 32 oz/A or less, and was reduced by only 22% at 64 fl oz/A (Figure 4).The reason for the lack of differences between the untreated control and Glystar Plus at 32 fl oz/A may be due to the presence of weed competition within the plots.  Weed biomass following application of 32 and 64 fl oz/A was similar, indicating that increasing the rate from 32 to 64 fl oz/A was not advantageous based upon the weed species present in this study.  The predominant broadleaf weed present at the Ona location was goatweed, which is fairly tolerant to glyphosate at these application rates.

These data, along with other data collected throughout the years, were used to submit an application to FDACS for a supplemental label for use in perennial peanut, which was approved in mid-June, 2017. Producers must use this specific glyphosate product, as it is the only one that has a supplemental label for use in perennial peanut. This approval allows the use of Glystar Plus during the dormant season, through wiper applications during the growing season, and in-season broadcast applications if the height difference between the weeds and perennial peanut is not sufficient for effective control with a wiper (Table 1).  The links to the supplemental and full herbicide label are provided below:

Download the supplemental and full labels for complete use instructions:

Supplemental label:  Gly Star Plus label for FL perennial peanut

Herbicide Label:  GlyStar Plus label

Highlights from the GlyStar Plus
Supplemental Perennial Peanut Label

Product Description

This product is a post-emergent, systemic herbicide with no soil residual activity. It is generally non-selective and gives broad-spectrum control of many annual weeds, perennial weeds, woody brush and trees. It is formulated as a water-soluble liquid. It may be applied through most standard industrial or field-type sprayers after dilution and thorough mixing with water or other carriers according to label instructions.


Restrictions for use in Perennial Peanut

  • 14 day grazing restriction after wiper application
  • 56 day grazing or hay harvest restriction for spot treatment or post-clip applications
  • Do not apply more than 2 Quarts/Acre for Pre-plant application
  • Do not apply more than 1.5 Quarts/Acre for Dormant season application
  • Do not apply more than 1.5 Quarts/Acre for all In-Season applications
  • Do not apply more the 5.0 Quarts/Acre per year for all uses combined

Table 1. Types of applications and rates for Glystar Plus in perennial peanut in Florida.

This information was copied directly from the GlyStar Plus supplemental label.


Please let me know if you have any questions:

Brent Sellers, Extension Weed Specialist
UF-IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center
863-735-1314 ext 207



Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/03/glystar-plus-now-labeled-for-perennial-peanut-in-florida/

Florida Natives: Stokes’ Aster

Florida Natives: Stokes’ Aster

‘Mel’s Blue’ Stokes’ Aster. Photo credit: Mary Derrick, UF/IFAS Extension.

Florida is home to some of the most beautiful flowering perennials. An exceptional one for the panhandle landscape is Stokes’ aster (Stokesia laevis) as it is showy, deer resistant and easy to care for. Unlike other perennials, it generally is evergreen in our region so it provides interest all year.

Upright habit and profuse blooming of ‘Mel’s Blue’ Stokes’ Aster. Photo credit: Mary Derrick, UF/IFAS Extension.

The original species of Stokes’ aster has purplish-blue flowers but cultivars have been developed with flowers in shades of white, yellow, rosy-pink and a deep blue. The flowers are large, eye-catching beauties that bloom in spring and summer. They also last well as a cut flower. You will find that bees and butterflies will appreciate their nectar! Remove spent flowers after blooms have faded in order to encourage repeat flowering.

A location in your landscape that provides part sun with well-drained rich soil is best for this perennial. Stokes’ aster is native to moist sites so it does best with regular moisture.

Stokes’ aster attracts butterflies like this black swallowtail. Photo credit: Mary Derrick, UF/IFAS Extension.

As with many perennials, the plant will form a large clump after a few years; this gives you the opportunity to divide the clump in the fall and spread it out in your landscape or share the joy with your gardening buddies.

For more information:

Gardening with Perennials in Florida







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/2017/06/23/florida-natives-stokes-aster/

Ecotourism in Northwest Florida

Ecotourism in Northwest Florida

Wakulla Springs is home to some of the best wildlife watching in all of northwest Florida. It’s not unusual to see manatees, alligators, and dozens of species of birds in one boat trip. Photo credit: Carrie Stevenson

What do you imagine when the word “ecotourism” comes to mind? I know  I usually daydream about a trip my husband I took to Costa Rica several years ago, surrounded by lush tropical rainforests as we ziplined through the canopy. I might also think about visiting a National Park, following a neatly maintained trail and stopping at signs placed at just the right spot so visitors can read and understand the special features of the place. Ecotourism, done right, brings a visitor to a unique place, tells its story, and immerses the visitor in the sights and sounds in a way that treads lightly on the location. I always know I’ve been on a good ecotour when I’m tired, happy, and have learned or seen something new.

A colleague with The Conservation Fund has stated that sustainable tourism includes: “Authentic experiences that are unique and specialized to the place (its culture, heritage, and natural resources), emphasizes quality over quantity, focuses on distinctive destinations, unspoiled landscapes, and historic buildings, and differs from mass-market tourism by favoring locally-owned businesses, thereby increasing circulation of money in the local economy.” The truly wonderful thing about ecotourism is that local touch; it exists solely because of the place, so it cannot be outsourced. The best storytellers about those places are usually the people who have lived there for many years, so by its very nature, ecotourism provides jobs for local residents.

Northwest Florida has hundreds of unique locations for visitors and locals to explore…we have centuries-old forts, clear-blue springs, endless rivers and creeks to paddle, trails on the coast and up our modest hills. We have caves and underground caverns, waterfalls, pitcher plant prairies, fishing, wildlife watching, and reefs for snorkeling and SCUBA diving. While millions come here for our quartz-sand beaches, other options that highlight our natural ecosystems deserve more attention and notoriety.

A few years ago, several Extension Agents received funding for a project called Naturally EscaRosa. The idea behind that project was to help promote and create businesses that sustainably used our agricultural and natural resources. The website (www.naturallyescarosa.com) has a list of over 100 businesses and locations where locals and out-of-town visitors can explore the less well-traveled areas of Escambia and Santa Rosa County. As you move east down the coast, Walton Outdoors, the local Visit Florida affiliates, and other privately managed media groups have done similar work, providing a showcase for these treasures in our midst.

This summer, try one of the local ecotourism or agritourism venues near you! Moreover, when your friends and family visit from out of town, encourage them to do the same. We cannot have a successful economy without a healthy ecosystem, and supporting these local and regional businesses is good for both.  

For more information on sustainable ecotourism, visit the Society for Ethical Ecotourism (SEE), and for information on starting or visiting an agritourism business, try Visit Florida Farms. And as always, reach out to your local County Extension agents, and we will be more than happy to point you in the right direction to discover to places to explore with your family.




Author: Carrie Stevenson – ctsteven@ufl.edu

Coastal Sustainability Agent, Escambia County Extension

Carrie Stevenson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/06/17/ecotourism-in-northwest-florida/

The Status of Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture in the U.S. and Florida

The Status of Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture in the U.S. and Florida



The demand for seafood in the US continues to grow. This growth is a function of a number of factors, including the increased awareness of the healthful attributes of many finfish and shellfish products, the increased availability of several key imported, cultured species (shrimp, tilapia, pangasius), and more convenient packaging for home consumption, to name just a few.   In terms of wild-caught seafood, effective management at the state and federal level helps ensure the sustainable harvest of traditionally important species, such as reef fish, scallops, flounders, mackerels, and crab.

The famous blue crab.
Photo: FWC

According to the latest data from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the US domestic fisheries fleet landed about 7.8 billion pounds of edible seafood products, valued at $ 5.2 billion.  Florida plays an important role in this industry, particularly within the Gulf and South Atlantic region.  Approximately $ 250 million worth of seafood is landed by the commercial harvesters in Florida on an annual basis, with some species being landed in Florida, and virtually nowhere else … including pink shrimp, spiny lobster, grouper and stone crab.  But wild harvest is not the only source of finfish and shellfish products.

The commercial aquaculture industry is also growing, as the demand for species grown within controlled systems (such as catfish, oysters, striped bass, crawfish, and salmon) continues to increase.  The latest NMFS data indicates that the commercial aquaculture industry in the US harvests approximately $ 1 billion worth of freshwater and saltwater species annually.  The success story for aquacultured food items in Florida is molluscan shellfish, in particular cultured hard clams.

Though our wild seafood stocks are sustainably managed and aquaculture production is increasing, approximately 90% of the seafood consumed in the US is imported.  Our domestic harvest and culture of seafood simply cannot keep up with demand.  We are eating more and more seafood … with the latest NMFS estimate of annual, per capita seafood consumption being 15.5 lbs (edible meat weight).  This is the highest level of per capita consumption since 2010.  Even though demand is growing, consumers should be confident that the traditional species from our nation’s wild stocks will be there in the future.   In addition, the aquaculture industry will help the seafood industry keep pace with growing demand.  The seafood industry will continue to be an important source of incomes, jobs, and tax revenue for our coastal communities.  And given the increasing number of cultured species and innovative packaging/preparation methods … now is a great time to be a seafood consumer!!

For more information about the US seafood industry, go to https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/Assets/commercial/fus/fus15/documents/FUS2015%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf.


Author: Rick O’Connor – roc1@ufl.edu

Sea Grant Extension Agent in Escambia County

Rick O’Connor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/06/17/the-status-of-commercial-fishing-and-aquaculture-in-the-u-s-and-florida/

Water conservation crucial under current drought conditions in Florida

Water conservation crucial under current drought conditions in Florida

The Florida Panhandle received much needed rain this week, helping to alleviate dry conditions in many areas of the region. However, drought conditions persist in the rest of Florida. According to the US Drought Monitor drought conditions range from moderate in north central Florida to dire in the south-central portion of the state. Precipitation is at 25- 50% of normal rates in the Orlando region. In response, city and county governments and Water Management Districts in these areas are increasing restrictions on outdoor residential water use. In homes with irrigation systems, 50% of the water consumed is typically used for irrigation.

Indoors, we can all greatly reduce water use by adopting relatively simple conservation practices. In a typical household, flushing toilets consumes the most water (24%), followed by showers (20%), faucets (19%), the clothes washer (17%) and leaks (8%) (Source: 2016 report by the Water Research Foundation).

  • Consider replacing toilets installed before 1994 with new ones. Pre-1994, toilets used between 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush. From 1994 to date, regulations require toilets to use a maximum of 1.6 gallons per flush and some use as little as 1.28 to 0.8 gallons per flush.
  • Placing an object in your toilet tank (like a filled plastic bottle or a brick or two) reduces the amount of water needed to fill the tank and is an inexpensive alternative to replacing a toilet.
  • Reduce the amount of time you take per shower, and replace showerheads with low-flow models, which deliver 0.5 – 2.0 gallons per minute. Standard shower heads use 2.5 gallons per minute. Low flow models typically range from $ 10 to $ 30.
  • Placing a faucet aerator on the end of a faucet can reduce water used from 2.2 gallons/minute to 1.5 gallons per minute. Costs typically range from as low as $ 5 to $ 15 each.
  • Run the washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full.
  • Check for leaks in plumbing and appliances (and fix them!). You can check for toilet leaks by placing food coloring in the tank and seeing if the dye appears in the toilet bowl.

Conserving water at home has the double benefit of reducing your water bill and your energy bill since the amount of energy used to heat water and run the dishwasher and washer/dryer are reduced.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District provides an excellent, easy-to-use online Water Use Calculator, which you can access by going to https://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/conservation/thepowerof10/. You can calculate your approximate current water use, and compare that to how many gallons your household could save by changing specific habits (like reducing shower times), reducing outdoor irrigation times and upgrading fixtures and appliances.

The US Drought Monitor can be accessed at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home.aspx


Author: Andrea Albertin – albertin@ufl.edu

Dr. Andrea Albertin is the Northwest Regional Specialized Agent in Water Resources.

Andrea Albertin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/06/03/water-conservation-crucial-under-current-drought-conditions-in-florida/

Citrus Canker in Northwest Florida

Citrus Canker in Northwest Florida

Citrus canker symptoms on twigs, leaves and fruit. Photo by Timothy Schubert, FDACS

In November 2013, citrus canker was found for the first time in the Florida panhandle in Gulf Breeze in southern Santa Rosa County. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) tested and confirmed the disease on grapefruit trees in a residential landscape. Since that time, citrus canker has been confirmed on citrus trees at 27 more locations in Gulf Breeze. To my knowledge it has not been found in any other location in the panhandle. Not yet.

Citrus canker lesions on leaves are raised, rough and visible on both sides of the leaf. Photo by Timothy Shubert, FDACS.

Citrus canker is a serious bacterial disease that only infects citrus trees. It will not infect any other plant species nor is it a threat to human health. This highly contagious disease has no cure as yet. Severely affected trees experience substantial leaf and premature fruit drop and serve as a source for infecting other citrus in the area. The disease spreads through wind, rain and transportation of infected plant material from other locations.

We do not know how the disease came to infect trees in our region. The disease could have been spread through infected fruit or trees brought here from areas where the disease is established, such as central or south Florida.

What should you do if you suspect your citrus is infected with this disease?

Citrus canker lesions can appear in the mines left by the citrus leafminer pest. Photo by Timothy Schubert, FDACS

  1. Look at Homeowner Fact Sheet: Citrus Canker for more information.
  2. Leave the tree in place in your yard and call the Division of Plant Industry at FDACS at 1-888-397-1517 for a free inspection and testing of your citrus trees.
  3. Consult your local Horticulture Extension Agent for more information and control/removal strategies.
  4. Proper removal of infected trees is recommended to prevent the spread of citrus canker but is not mandatory.


For more information please see:

Save Our Citrus Website

UF IFAS Gardening Solutions: Citrus

Citrus Culture in the Home Landscape

UF IFAS Extension Online Guide to Citrus Diseases  



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/2017/05/12/citrus-canker-in-northwest-florida/

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