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Reflections from Graduating Seniors: Jessica Wells

Jessica credits 4-H with helping her develop leadership and communication skills to help her transition into the workforce.

Super Woman has nothing on Washington County 4-H’er Jessica Wells.  During her 11 years as a 4-H member, she has logged over 500 4-H volunteer hours, started and led a horse project club,  facilitated agriculture judging at the county youth fair, led a highly successful community service project, served on 4-H Executive Board and the district teen retreat planning committee, been my right-hand woman at day camps, the county 4-H Tropicana public speaking contest and awards banquets…I could go on and on!

Through events such as 4-H University and executive board, 4-H involvement has broadened Jessica’s personal skill set.  She has learned about opportunities beyond the county level, stepped out of her comfort zone, looked inside herself to see where she needed to grow and developed teamwork skills that have benefitted her now and will continue to benefit her in the future.

Jessica also shared that “exploring career options has been one of the biggest benefits of my 4-H involvement.”

Jessica’s involvement in the 4-H horse program has led her to start a horse club in her community, so she can share her passion and expertise for the horse industry with other youth.  There had not been an active horse club in the county for several years, so Jessica was able to match her interest to serve a real need in the community.

With leadership development as the focus of her senior 4-H year, she says that 4-H University has been her favorite event that has allowed her to flex and grow her skills as a leader.  Jessica lives a heads, heart, hands and health life:  she has grown her personal skill set, she leads and serves with a giving and caring heart, her work ethic is tremendous and she has begun a club to serve an unmet need in the county.  Jessica has balanced her 4-H life while working at her grandfather’s blueberry farm, working with her horses (even rehabilitating a rescue horse), being an awesome big sister and daughter and serving at church. Jessica is the daughter of Rodney and Karen Wells and big sister to Sarah and Joshua.  She plans to attend Chipola College then transfer to either Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College or the University of Florida and major in agri-business.

Hear what Jessica has to say about what she has gained from her 4-H experience, and why she has remained in 4-H through her high school years:

UF/IFAS Extension Washington County congratulates Jessica on her high school graduation!  We look forward to seeing how you move and shake the world.  Love, Julie, Judy, Mark, Matt, Nikki & Cynthia

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Author: Julie Pigott Dillard – juliepd@ufl.edu

Julie Pigott Dillard is the 4-H Youth Development Agent in Washington County..

Julie Pigott Dillard

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/05/18/reflections-from-graduating-seniors-jessica-wells/

Benefit from Beneficial Insects

Adult Ladybug. Photo Credit: James Castner University of Florida

A number of summers ago, I noticed whiteflies on a confederate rose plant in my landscape. I considered using an insecticide to control the whiteflies but decided against doing so after taking a closer look. What I found was a population of ladybugs – eggs, larvae, pupae and adults.

Ladybug adults and larvae eat whiteflies, as well as other soft-bodied insects such as aphids. So, I waited to see what would happen.

At first I was seeing mostly adult whiteflies, which look like tiny white moths. Adult whiteflies mate and then lay eggs on the underside of leaves. The eggs hatch into flat translucent scale-like nymphs that suck the “juice” from the underside of the leaves.

Eventually, some of the leaves developed a black coating called sooty mold. As certain insects (primarily aphids, some scales and whiteflies) feed, they excrete plant sap that coats the leaves. Sooty mold then grows on this sugary sap. It’s not a pathogen. It just makes the leaves look ugly.

Knowing that the whiteflies would not kill the confederate rose, I was willing to tolerate the sooty mold and allow the ladybug population to build.

Allowing whiteflies to live on your plants may not always be the best option. But in order to have beneficial insects in your landscape, there must be some “bad” insects for them to eat.

Insects such as ladybugs, lacewings and praying mantises eat many pest insects. Encouraging these beneficial insects can allow you to reduce the amount of pesticides applied.

It’s important to learn to recognize the adult and immature stages of these beneficial insects. Ladybugs have larvae that look nothing like

Ladybug larva. Photo credit: Aristizabal University of Florida

the adults. Some ladybug larvae look like small orange and black alligators. Others may resemble mealybugs. Many gardeners that would never kill adult ladybugs mistake their larvae as pests and kill them with insecticides.

The following UF/IFAS Extension website will help you learn to recognize many of our beneficial insects. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_beneficial_insects

Once you find beneficial insects in your landscape, reduce or eliminate the use of insecticides. When an insecticide is needed, use environmentally friendly options such as insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils and products that contain Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

Sometimes a heavy stream of water from a water hose is all that is needed to remove pest insects from plants and reduce their numbers to an acceptable population.

Remember, leaving a few pest insects is a great way to attract beneficial insects. Tolerating a minor infestation and a little plant damage will benefit the helpful insects, your pocketbook and the environment.

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Author: Larry Williams – llw5479@ufl.edu

Larry Williams is the County Extension Director and Residential Horticulture Agent for the UF/IFAS Extension Office in Okaloosa County.

Larry Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/05/12/benefit-from-beneficial-insects/

From Learning to Leading: Jerrett Kandzer, a True Leader

4-H Alumnus Jerrett Kandzer with his agent, Niki Crawson.

As a 4-H Agent, one remembers many of their “firsts” on the job, i.e., their first day, their first fair, their first 4-H club meetings, etc.  For me in Holmes County 4-H, I was hired in the midst of a reorganization phase within the program.  I clearly remember meeting Jerrett Kandzer one of my first days on the job in 2007, a reserved yet quick-to-smile farm boy who seemed to be doing a good job of holding in the excitement of asking me 101 questions as his new 4-H Agent. He, along with his sister and parents, met with me to discuss re-establishing a 4-H archery club in our county.  Excited to have volunteers and youth interested in starting an archery club again, I couldn’t wait to get started.  That very next week, we all set a date for our first club meeting.  Jerrett and I still laugh today about the day of our first club meeting when we had to count me, the 4-H Agent, as the fifth member in attendance so that we did not have to cancel our first club meeting!  However, thanks to Jerrett’s perseverance and leadership as a youth nine years ago when starting the Dead Centers 4-H Archery Club in Holmes County, we now have over 65 4-H members in our archery program alone!  So, when getting ready to ask Jerrett how he believes 4-H has impacted him, I hesitate.  Thinking back over the past nine years, I am finding it difficult to think whether Jerrett has been impacted more so by 4-H or if 4-H has been impacted more so because of Jerrett.   For a 4-H Agent to have the pleasure to ponder such a wonderful conundrum means that 4-H is truly growing inspiring leaders!

According to Jerrett, he joined 4-H as a means to find extracurricular activities that fit not only his after school schedule around his farm life but also to find an outlet that fit him personally.  As he put it, “I was looking for somewhere I fit in.  I wasn’t an athlete in school.  I was raised on a farm.  So, I thought 4-H was cool.”  After joining 2007, Jerrett began to help rebuild and cultivate a sense of belonging for the next seven years in Holmes County 4-H.  With his giving spirit, contagious enthusiasm, and natural sense of urgency to make actions count, he truly inspired everyone he met to get involved and make the best better.

Jerrett’s passion for learning, leadership, and youth continues as he is applying his 4-H-acquired life skills in his life journey.  Currently, he is a junior at the University of Florida in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, with a graduation date of Spring 2018.  He attributes his good leadership and time management skills to his deep involvement with 4-H.  Always wanting to do much more than time allows, Jerrett said 4-H taught him to prioritize and schedule his time efficiently.  In fact, In between college classes, studying, squeezing in fast visits back home, and working with CRU on campus, Jerrett still devotes time to 4-H as a volunteer with Alachua County 4-H.  When asked why he felt compelled to volunteer at this time in his life, Jerrett replied with his easy grin,

“Ms. Niki, there are not many ways to serve your community as a poor college kid.  Overall, I’d say being a 4-H volunteer is an easy and safe way to give back to kids and the community.”

When asked about what he enjoys the most about 4-H, Jerrett immediately replied,  “Working with kids.  Helping youth learn by doing through hands on experiences is a good vessel for them to mature with positive adult role models around to assist them.  4-H is not about winning like other youth programs are about.  It’s about growing through maturity, not competition.”

Jerrett is a Holmes County 4-H alumni, a true 4-H leader.  He is a present day 4-H example of the definition John Quincy Adams once gave a leader, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”  So it’s little surprise that this 4-H alumni has no intentions of ending his green journey after college.  Jerrett’s career plans include putting his 4-H life skills, farm experience, and University of Florida education to perfect use as a future UF/IFAS Extension Agriculture Agent.  We look forward to Jerrett’s return to the Extension Service one day soon.

Are you a 4-H Alumni interested in “paying it forward” to inspire the next generation?  We would love to talk to you about the different ways you can help us grow 4-H in your community!  Contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org for more information.

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Author: Niki Crawson – ncrawson@ufl.edu

Niki Crawson is the Holmes County 4-H Extension Agent in the NW District.

Niki Crawson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/01/19/from-learning-to-leading-jerrett-kandzer-a-true-leader/

2016 Corn Variety Trial Summary from Jay, Florida

Photo: Tyler Jones.

Santa Rosa County is not a major corn producer, as compared to the Midwest, but farmers there do grow 600-800 acres of field corn each year. These producers plant corn as a summer rotational crop, some for cattle feed, and a significant acreage is planted and sold to our wildlife enthusiasts.

The University of Florida/IFAS, West Florida Research and Education Center (WFREC) in Jay conducted a corn variety trial in 2016, consisting of 27 field corn entries. These data represent only one year, so results should be considered over several locations and years, before conclusions are valid.

In addition there is a multi-year summary of varieties that have been evaluated for two and three years, that demonstrate variety performance over multiple years.

For the complete report, use the following link:

http://wfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/media/wfrecifasufledu/docs/pdf/2016-Evaluation-of-Field-Corn-Varieties-in-Jay—Report—Final.pdf

 

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Author: John Doyle Atkins – srcextag@ufl.edu

John Doyle Atkins is the Agricultural Agent in Santa Rosa County.

John Doyle Atkins

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/12/17/2016-corn-variety-trial-summary-from-jay-florida/

Should You Cull Cows that Prolapse from Your Herd?

Should You Cull Cows that Prolapse from Your Herd?

prolapse

Prolapses occur occasionally in beef cows near calving time. Uterine prolapses are most likely to occur at or shortly after calving, whereas vaginal prolapses occur before the calving process begins. Photo credit: Doug Mayo

Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

Prolapses occur occasionally in beef cows. Most prolapses occur around calving time. Two distinct kinds of prolapse exist.  Uterine prolapses are most likely to occur during or shortly after calving, whereas vaginal prolapses occur before the calving process begins.

Uterine prolapse require immediate attention and treatment.  If corrective action can be taken before major trauma, most animals will have an uneventful recovery. If they subsequently rebreed and become pregnant there is no reason to cull animals suffering uterine prolapse after calving. Uterine prolapse is not likely to reoccur. Some, however, may suffer uterine damage or infection that prevents conception and should therefore be culled. If the uterus becomes badly traumatized before treating, the animal will die from shock or hemorrhage.

Vaginal prolapse, however, that which occurs before calving is a heritable trait and is likely to reoccur each year during late pregnancy. Such animals should not be kept in the herd. The condition will eventually result in the loss of cow, calf, or both plus her female offspring would be predisposed to vaginal prolapse.  Call your local large animal veterinarian for proper treatment, or advice about culling of any beef female that has been found to have a prolapse.

Research (Patterson, et al, 1981) from the USDA station at Miles City, Montana, reported that 153 calvings of 13,296 calvings from a 14-year span were associated with prolapse of the reproductive tract. Of those 153 prolapses, 124 (81%) were vaginal prolapses and 29 (19%) were uterine prolapses. The subsequent pregnancy rate following prolapse among first calf heifers was 28% and the pregnancy rate among adult cows following a prolapsed was only 57.9%.

Read more about Calving Time Management for Beef Cows and Heifers by downloading Oklahoma State University Extension Circular E-1006.

 

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Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu

admin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/12/03/should-you-cull-cows-that-prolapse-from-your-herd/

UF/IFAS Extension is Seeking Information from Cattle Producers

UF/IFAS Extension is Seeking Information from Cattle Producers

feedbackAttention Florida Beef Cattle Producers: Your help is needed!

Professional Development and Educational Programs are vital to keeping the Florida cattle industry on the cutting edge of new research and Best Management Practices. UF/IFAS Extension needs your help with important information. Currently a graduate student at the University of Florida is conducting research to determine how to enhance participation of Florida beef cattle producers in educational programs. Michele Curts, an agricultural leadership Master’s student at the University of Florida, is working under the guidance of Dr. Hannah Carter and Dr. Todd Thrift to identify the “factors that influence the participation of Florida beef cattle producers in industry educational programs.” Her objective is to identify what is important to Florida cattlemen in an effort to make educational programs more efficient and effective.

Your participation in this survey and Michele’s research will have a positive impact on the Florida beef cattle industry. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.

Following is a link to the online survey:

 https://ufl.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cZLFUQidZaOzs2h

 

If you have any questions about the survey or her thesis research, you can contact Michele Curts at mcurts@ufl.edu.

 

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Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu

admin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/11/12/ufifas-extension-is-seeking-information-from-cattle-producers/

When It’s All Said and Done – Lessons Learned from the 2016 Peanut Season

When It’s All Said and Done – Lessons Learned from the 2016 Peanut Season

Professor Barry Tillman (left) helping to examine peanut quality at the NFREC in Marianna, Florida. Peanuts, agronomy, factory, food production. UF/IFAS Photo: Tyler Jones.

Professor Barry Tillman (left) helping to examine peanut quality at the NFREC in Marianna, Florida. Photo: Tyler Jones.

As the saying goes, “hind-sight is 20-20.”   As I’m writing this, peering through my bifocals, I wish my vision was still 20-20.  But that’s another topic.  As peanut harvest comes to a close, it’s often a good time to assess the successes and the disappointments of the season before they are forgotten or become exaggerated, like my fishing stories.

If you’re like me, you’re anxious about the crop from the time the seed are planted until the crop is in the wagon.  After a few days, with a few cold nights, I begin to wonder if what I call planting was nothing more than a fancy burial, a final resting spot, a grave for my precious seed.  Then the spring sun rises warm and the ground begins to crack and I’m relieved at the sight of a few green leaves peeking out.  My mind turns to the plant stand.  Will I get the four plants per foot needed?  What if there are fewer than that?

A week later, after a heavy rain, green turns to brown and anxiety returns. Valor burn- Ugh!  “Just come back in two weeks” I’m told.  But I can’t help myself, so I watch every day- a good lesson in patience if you want to try it.  In a few weeks, I discover how amazingly resilient those little seed and newborn plants really are.  In fact, the plant stand was less then optimal, only around three plants per foot of row instead of four. But they are finally growing well and I’m relieved.  Relieved because I know the research shows that two and one-half to three plants per foot of row, somewhat evenly spaced are sufficient.

Valor injury. Photo credit: Barry Tillman

Valor injury. Photo credit: Barry Tillman

I’m relieved until a few plants, now the size of my hand, begin to die suddenly.  Crown rot- Ugh!  But, I’m lucky since only a few plants succumb.  By now, I know that crown rot was a significant problem in some fields in 2016 and caused some to be replanted.  The value of seed treatment, adequately applied, at the correct rate, cannot be overstated.  There is no substitute for it when it comes to battling crown rot.

Crown rot. Photo credit: Barry Tillman

Crown rot. Photo credit: Barry Tillman

A month later and the plants have nearly lapped the middles and all evidence of cold soils, crown rot, and Valor injury are gone.  On to the inevitable- diseases, dreaded peanut diseases.  I know the crop is at higher risk for spotted wilt because it was planted in late April without Thimet® (I used Imidacloprid in-furrow), in single rows, and because the final plant stand is less than four plants per foot of row.  I’m anxious again because the thrips are hammering the plants where the spray nozzle was clogged.  But, I tell myself, “it was a strip-tilled field and I have some varieties with good resistance, so maybe it won’t be too bad.”  However, I know that spotted wilt is unforgiving- everything I can do to minimize it must be done when the seed are planted.

Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV). Photo credit: Barry Tillman

Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV). Photo credit: Barry Tillman

What’s the moral of the spotted wilt story you ask? For minimum risk, here it is: plant after May 10, but before June 1, apply Thimet® in-furrow at planting, plant twin rows, achieve a plant stand of four plants per foot of row, utilize strip-tillage with a good winter cover, and above all, plant a variety with resistance.  Only six things to remember for 2017, actually seven with Classic® herbicide: Variety, Planting Date, Plant Population, In-furrow Insecticide, Row Pattern, Tillage and Classic® herbicide.

Another six weeks passes and its mid- summer.   Fortunately, spotted wilt, while present all around, is less than 5% incidence- that’s manageable.  Fast forward to late August and the plants are big, nearly knee high, and its hot, very hot and humid.  A few black spots begin to appear and a limb here and there begins to wilt – leaf spot and white mold- Ugh!  But, I’ve followed an excellent fungicide program and have only a few weeks until digging.  Surely it will hold until then.

White mold sclerotia at the base of a peanut plant. Photo: Josh Thompson

White mold sclerotia at the base of a peanut plant. Photo: Josh Thompson

Anxiety returns.  Should I spray more frequently? Should I change chemistry?  What I know is this – it’s late in the season and the crop is set, the adjusted Growing Degree Days are close to 2100, the pod profile says three weeks until digging, I just applied my last scheduled fungicide, and the disease incidence is low.  There are only a few leaves falling off in the lower canopy and only a few hits of white mold, otherwise the plants look healthy.  Just another rain or two, or some irrigation and that’s it, it’s time to get the digger ready.

Three weeks pass and the pod profile confirms that it’s time to dig.  I’m pleased with what I see.  Despite the early stand loss, some Valor® burn, a little crown rot, some spotted wilt, leaf spot and white mold, those vines have a lot of peanuts on them.  A few days of sun and they are in the wagon.  Nice, plump peanuts.

Anxiety relieved.  What seemed devastating turned out to be manageable.  What appeared to be insurmountable proved controllable.  So it is with every peanut season it seems, and when it’s all said and done, I can look back and learn a few things to help for the next season.

 

PG

Author: btillman – btillman@ufl.edu

btillman

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/29/when-its-all-said-and-done-lessons-learned-from-the-2016-peanut-season/

Learn to Relax with Gardening Advice from UF/IFAS Extension

Learn to Relax with Gardening Advice from UF/IFAS Extension

Growing wildflowers is great for pollinators and for you! Credit: UF/IFAS

Growing wildflowers is great for pollinators and for you! Credit: UF/IFAS

 

With fall weather finally giving us a break from the heat of summer, this is the perfect time for North Florida residents to get outside and try their hands at gardening. Not only is gardening rewarding for the beautiful flowers or tasty vegetables produced, but just getting outside and spending time with nature is good for the soul.

 

The idea that being outside and gardening is good for you isn’t just anecdotal or common sense information. Scientific research shows that people who spend time outdoors are more healthful. Some of the documented case studies go way back. Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, showed that gardening improved the well-being of mentally ill patients. One of the most famous and more recent studies was done by Roger Ulrich in the 1980’s. This study demonstrated that patients with views of trees spent less time in the hospital and requested less pain medication. Otherwise, they had the same ailment, nurses, and room setup.

 

Physical, social, psychological, and cognitive health factors can all be improved through gardening. Improving psychological health is one of the major benefits of gardening and can be especially useful as we near the end of the election cycle or watch too many TV news programs. Gardening has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and tension, which can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and generally feeling miserable. More information regarding the health benefits of gardening can be found in the EDIS Publication Horticultural Therapy (www.edis.ifas.ufl.edu).

 

Growing vegetables can fill your belly and reduce your stress!

Growing vegetables can fill your belly and reduce your stress!

 

If you would like to de-stress through gardening but are not sure of how to get started, are new to the area, or need a little extra explanation about something you would like to try, the folks at your local UF/IFAS Extension Office are here for you. They offer a variety of educational programs for the beginner, on up to the advanced green thumbs. You can contact them in person or visit the local County Extension webpages and Facebook pages to find out more information about upcoming programs.

 

In addition to helping you relax through gardening, the topics discussed at UF/IFAS Extension programs can help you save money, eat healthier, and help conserve our natural resources. So not only will you feel better but you could also make the Earth feel better. That helps us all out!

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Author: Mark Tancig – tancig00@ufl.edu

Mark Tancig

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/26/learn-to-relax-with-gardening-advice-from-ufifas-extension/

Preliminary Results from the North Florida Olive Variety Trial

Preliminary Results from the North Florida Olive Variety Trial

Olive variety trial at UF/IFAS NFREC-Quincy. Photo credit: Pete Anderson

Olive variety trial at UF/IFAS NFREC-Quincy. Photo credit: Pete Anderson

There is substantial interest in growing olives (Olea europaea) in northern Florida and southern Georgia.  Thus far, olives have been relatively pest free, and appear to be a sustainable crop for this region. Olives are native to the Mediterranean region, can live thousands of years, and are adapted to hot dry summers and cool winters.  It is likely that pest pressure will increase over time as the acreage in olives increases.  Olive trees perform best on upland well-drained soils. One liter of olive oil can be produced from about 20 pounds of olives. The best cultivars and the best culture and management practices need to be determined for the southeastern United States.

A small block of olives consisting of Arbeqina, Arbosana, Koroneiki, Manzanillo, and Mission was established at the NFREC-Quincy in Feb. 2011. Trees were spaced at 10 and 20 feet within and between rows, respectively. Soil type was a Dothan loamy sand. Drip irrigation was provided during the establishment year, but not thereafter. Fertilization was generally at least twice a year with 10-10-10 N-P-K, except during 2016 when it was applied only in March. A weed free in-row strip was maintained with glyphosate. Insecticides or fungicides were not applied at any time. A very small crop was noted for Arbequina and Koreneiki during 2015.

Six-year-old trees averaged between 2.6 and 3.0 meters in height and 2.3 to 2.6 meters in width (Table 1). Tree size and tree vigor management will be important issues concerning olives grown in the southeastern United States. The first substantial yield occurred for Arbequina during 2016 (38% of a full crop).  Koroneiki and Arbosana had a very small crop, (12 % and 3 % of a full crop, respectively), and Manzanillo and Mission produced no crop.  Tree survival was also highest for Koroneiki (100 %) and Arbequina (93 %). Arbosana performed the worst with only 40 % of the trees surviving to six years of age.  Although data from this planting are very preliminary, it is clear that research concerning the best cultivars, optimum culture and management practices, and tree vigor management will be necessary for successful olive production in the Southeastern United States. anderson-table-1-olive-varieity-trial-10-16

For more information on this topic, please see the following UF/IFAS Publications:

Olives for Your Florida Landscape

Olives as an Alternative Crop

Potential Pests and Diseases of Olives in Florida

 

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Author: Peter C. Andersen – pcand@ufl.edu


http://nfrec.ifas.ufl.edu

Peter C. Andersen

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/14/preliminary-results-from-the-north-florida-olive-variety-trial/

Teaching Agriculture from the Ground Up

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Youth learn about pollination and nutrition at the pumpkin station. The center grows several varieties to demonstrate the diversity of the plant family.

What has 1600 eyes, 1600 legs, can be male or female, and has enough energy collectively to send a rocket to the moon? The 3rd – 5th graders that participate in the multi-county 4-H Ag Adventures Program! This educational adventure is held annually during September at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy, Florida.  This event helps youth understand where their food comes from, the importance of agricultural industry in Florida, and career opportunities in agriculture related fields. Students are introduced to field crops as they rotate through stations that cover peanuts, corn, cotton, pollination, pumpkins, and soils.  At each station county extension agents and IFAS research faculty provide “hands on” presentations that are prepared to enhance the students learning experience.

In addition, this event is a platform for youth to learn the current trends, issues and challenges farmers face as they continue to try to feed our increasing population. Some of these trends and challenges include food safety and bio-security, farm labor, bio-security, land use, pest and disease control, and the use of technology in agriculture. This issues encompass all four of the “H’s” in 4-H: Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.

While some youth still associate “agriculture” with increasing negativity (thinking of the hot sun, extreme fatigue, very hard work, minimal income), a recent poll shared on the website Worldbank.org/youthink/ states the top three reasons youth should consider a career in agriculture are the following:

1. Agriculture matters to the future of development,

2. Agriculture can be a gold mine for young entrepreneurs,

3. Agriculture research needs young brain power.

Regional 4-H Agent Heather Kent shares:

“Although this event is geared towards teaching youth about agriculture, the parents and teachers that attend learn just as much and often have more questions that the youth!  The adults are just as curious and amazed at how much agriculture affects their daily lives- especially if they do not have an agricultural background. Most of them have no idea how many careers are related to agriculture or how much today’s farmers utilize technology.  It’s a real eye-opener for them.”

Ag Agent Jed Dillard teaching youth about cotton. Do you know how many pairs of jeans you can make out of a bale of cotton?

Ag Agent Jed Dillard teaching youth about cotton. Do you know how many pairs of jeans you can make out of a bale of cotton?

This program is sponsored by UF/IFAS, it is also supported by both Florida Farm Bureau and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida.  These organizations not only provide funding to help pay for the transportation for students to attend, but they also provide corporate volunteers to help make the event happen.  If your child’s classroom missed out on this opportunity, it’s not too late.  The North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy is hosting “Art in the Garden” festival Saturday, October 1st from 9AM -2PM.  The event is FREE and open to the public.  This event is a great way to learn about agriculture in a fun and family friendly way.  There will be trolley tours, demonstrations, games, arts and crafts and food.

In the near future the students that pass through our stations will grow into the adults that will be making important decisions about our food systems. It is in that spirit that we must continue to teach them ….from the ground up. Visit http://faitc.org/kids  for more information on careers in agriculture.

If you have a passion or agriculture, consider serving as a 4-H volunteer or advocate to help inspire the next generation.  Contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.

 

  

 

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Author: Marcus Boston Jr. – marcusb@ufl.edu

Marcus serves as a 4-H Extension Agent for Leon County and places empahasis in programs in the areas of science, leadership development, and civic engagement..

Marcus Boston Jr.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/09/29/teaching-agriculture-from-the-ground-up/

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