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Highlights & Proceedings from the UF/IFAS Beef & Forage Field Day

Highlights & Proceedings from the UF/IFAS Beef & Forage Field Day

Dr. Nicolas DiLorenzo welcomed everyone to the Beef Unit near Marianna.

Over 120 cattle producers, extension agents, research faculty and staff attended the UF/IFAS Beef & Forage Field Day that was held on Friday, September 15, 2017 at the North Florida Research and Education Center’s Beef Unit, near Marianna, Florida.  The event consisted of a tour of six demonstrations sites and a presentation at the main pavilion right before lunch.  The NFREC Beef and Forage Program hosts a field day every 18 months, so that both fall and spring cattle and forage management can be highlighted.

Integrating Rhizoma Peanut into Grazing Systems

Dr Jose Dubeux, UF Forage Management Specialist shared the results of two years of data working on a project to integrate rhizoma (aka perennial) peanut into bahiagrass pastures to reduce nitrogen fertilization requirements and boost animal performance.  He has compared a traditional system of bahiagrass and overseeded smallgrains that requires 100 pounds of total nitrogen fertilization per year, to a system with a Bahia/rhizoma peanut mixture plus an overseeded cool-season grass/legume mixture with only 30 pounds of nitrogen fertilization.  Thus far the legume/grass pastures have provided comparable performance to the traditional grass pastures with lower nitrogen fertilization.

Brunswick Grass Overview

Dr. Ann Blount showed tour participants how to identify a troublesome weed in Florida called Brunswick Grass.  This weed is in the same family (Paspalum) as bahiagrass, but livestock do not like to graze it once it starts to mature.  The main challenge with this weed is that the seed is of similar size and weight to Bahia, so it cannot be easily separated after seed harvest in the cleaning process.  There are also no herbicides currently on the market that will control Brunswick grass without injuring bahiagrass.

A More Nitrogen Efficient Soil

Drs. Sunny Liao and Cheryl Mackowiak discussed pasture fertilization and soil health.  Integrating forages and livestock grazing into a crop rotation system can increase soil organic matter and the soil microorganisms that mineralize fertilizer into plant available nitrogen (PAN).  With higher organic matter in the topsoil, plants can access more of the nutrients needed for growth.  Because forages have extensive root systems, developed from longer growth periods than annual crops, soil organic matter is enhanced improving the productivity of a field.  Future UF research will focus on how grazing management and forage systems affect soil health.

Weed ID and Control

Mark Mauldin, Washington County Extension Agriculture Agent shared the results of a pasture weed control and fertilization demonstration.  Eight different pasture herbicides were applied in strips so participants could see their effectiveness on the weeds in the demonstration plots as compared to untreated areas.  He also showed participants a comparison of how mowing, fertilization, and herbicides impacted forage production versus untreated forages.

Balancing Hay with Commodity Byproducts

Dr. Nicolas DiLorenzo, UF Beef Specialist and Doug Mayo, Jackson County Extension Director, provided a demonstration of supplementation needed for two different types of hay.  The Beef Research Unit produces both bahiagrass and Bermudagrass hay to feed their cattle in the fall and early winter.  Using the forage test results for the two types of hay and the requirements of a 1200 pound mature cow in late gestation, alternative supplements were measured out and displayed using five-gallon buckets.  Five different byproduct feeds were discussed and compared for use for supplementing the nutrient shortfall of the two types of hay.

Cracking the Bull Buying Code

Kalyn Waters, Holmes County Extension Director and Ken Stewart, Southern Cattle Company discussed bull selection using the performance data provided through the different breed associations.  They shared how producers can establish benchmarks to guide bull buying decisions using the information provided in sale catalogs to identify the bulls of greatest interest before viewing the bulls in person prior to a sale.  With the combination of genetic performance data and visual appraisal, cattle producers can develop a budget and make wiser purchasing decisions as the sale progresses.

Carcass Merit of the Current US Beef Industry

Dr. Chad Carr, UF Extension Meat Specialist shared a summary of the results of the 2016 National Beef Quality Audit.  He highlighted several trends as compared to the previous audits made every five years since 1991.  The main two trends he shared from the recent audit were that carcasses are getting heavier with some improvement in quality grade.  The average carcass weight from the survey was 859 pounds, which was 67 pounds heavier than ten years ago, and 36 pounds more than five years ago.  Of the 7,379 beef carcasses evaluated in the audit, 1% were 1,800 pounds live steers with carcass weights of over 1,100 pounds.  Theses larger cattle also graded 71% choice and prime, as compared to 61% five years ago.

For more details on the information provided at the Field Day, use the following link to access the proceedings from the event:

2017 UF/IFAS Beef & Forage Field Day Proceedings


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.

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/23/highlights-proceedings-from-the-ufifas-beef-forage-field-day/

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.”



Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu


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/

Friday Feature: Mobile Drip Irrigation from Center Pivots

Friday Feature:  Mobile Drip Irrigation from Center Pivots

Dragon-line converts center pivots into mobile drip irrigation.

Water is a precious resource, no mater where you live or farm, but is especially true in Kansas where their aquifer is diminishing.  There is a relatively new technology being called mobile drip irrigation that has been developed in Kansas to make center pivot irrigation even more efficient, because water is released right on the soil surface through drip tubes to minimize evaporation.  This week’s featured video was developed by Dragon-Line to showcase their innovative approach to convert center pivot irrigation into drip irrigation.  A video viewer was not available for this video, so please use the following link:

What is Dragon Line Irrigation?


If you enjoyed this video, you might want to check out the featured videos from previous weeks:  Friday Features

If you come across a humorous video or interesting story related to agriculture, please send in a link, so we can share it with our readers. Send video links to:  Doug Mayo


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.

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/19/friday-feature-mobile-drip-irrigation-from-center-pivots/

Protecting Pollinators from Pesticides: Everyone Plays a Part

Protecting Pollinators from Pesticides: Everyone Plays a Part

Cotton is largely self-pollinating but attractive to bees. Pollination by bees can increase seed set per boll. Photo by Judy Biss


On January 12, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final Policy to Mitigate the Acute Risk to Bees from Pesticide Products.  This policy outlines EPA’s label statements designed to mitigate acute risks to bees from pesticides.  The recent UF/IFAS publication, Pesticide Labeling: Protection of Pollinators, provides an in-depth look at the new EPA policy.  This article provides an overview of the ways beekeepers, agricultural producers, and state and federal agencies all play an important role in sustaining this critical component of food production.

Why is Pollinator Protection Important?

Pollinator Protection was formally recognized at the federal level in 2014 when the President of the United States signed an official memorandum entitled: Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators  which outlines specific steps needed to increase and improve pollinator habitat. These steps are geared towards protecting and restoring populations of not only honey bees, but native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies all of which are vital to our nation’s economy, food production, and environmental health.

The western honey bee is conceivably the most important pollinator in American agricultural landscapes. The honey bee is credited with approximately 85% of the pollinating activity necessary to supply about one-quarter to one-third of the nation’s food supply. Over 50 major crops in the United States and at least 13 in Florida either depend on honey bees for pollination or produce more abundantly when honey bees are plentiful. Rental of honey bee colonies for pollination purposes is a highly demanded service and a viable component of commercial beekeeping and agriculture. Bee colonies are moved extensively across the country for use in multiple crops every year. There are also over 3,000 registered beekeepers in Florida, managing a total of more than 400,000 honey bee colonies and producing between 10–20 million pounds of honey annually.”  UF/IFAS publication Minimizing Honey Bee Exposure to Pesticides

The Bee Informed Partnership nationwide, estimates of the total economic value of honey bee pollination services range between $ 10 and $ 15 billion annually.  Other bee species are important pollinators as well.

“Growers also use other managed bees species, such as the bumble bee to provide field and greenhouse crop pollination services. Additionally, there are more than 315 species of wild/unmanaged bees in Florida that play a role in the pollination of agricultural crops and natural and managed landscapes. These include mining bees, mason bees, sweat bees, leafcutter bees, feral honey bees, and carpenter bees, among others.”  UF/IFAS Publication Minimizing Honey Bee Exposure to Pesticides

How do pesticides harm bees and other pollinators?

There are a number of pesticides approved for use on our agricultural crops.  These pesticides are made up of different active ingredients designed to target different pest insects in a number of different crops.  The effects of these pesticide products on bees varies from having no effect, to acute harm, quickly killing individual bees or entire colonies, to chronic and even sublethal effects, leading to long term physiological or behavioral impairment and eventual death.  It is suspected that exposure to pesticides is one of the many environmental and biological factors causing elevated bee colony losses each year.

How can Beekeepers and Pesticide Applicators protect Pollinators?

There are a number of best management practices that both beekeepers and pesticide applicators can adopt to minimize or eliminate harm to both managed and wild pollinating insects.  The following recommendations were provided in the UF/IFAS publication, Minimizing Honey Bee Exposure to Pesticides:

Recommendations for Beekeepers:

  • Develop and maintain one-on-one communication with growers whose crops your bees are pollinating, or from which they gather nectar for honey production.
  • Work with growers to reach written agreements providing permission to place hives close to crops for honey production, or for crop pollination. (see referenced publication for further detail).
  • Stay in touch with the grower; clear and regular communication is the best way to avoid pesticide problems.
  • Beekeepers should take the time, upon disclosure of the pesticides to be used, to understand the label and potential hazards to bees.
  • Beekeepers should advise the grower immediately if they observe bee kills or any unusual bee conditions.
  • Do not place bees in crops without a written agreement to do so from the grower.
  • When granted permission to keep hives in or by a crop, do not “sublet” and allow other beekeepers to bring in their hives.
  • Do not assume that because you have worked with a grower before, you can bring your hives in again without written permission.
  • Beekeepers should be available and ready to be on location to work with the grower as needs may arise.
  • Keep the grower informed of hive locations, status, and concerns, and be willing to remove hives promptly if the need arises. If a pesticide application must occur while the bees are on site, the beekeeper should be willing and able to move the bees to the agreed-upon holding zone, or out of the area altogether.
  • Beekeepers should strive to understand the farm and crop dynamics of their chosen site.
  • Hives should be escorted on and off the target bloom appropriately, so that target-pests can be treated during non-bloom times without risking damage to colonies.
  • Follow regulations to register as a beekeeper with FDACS-DPI (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Division of Plant Industry)
  • Register hive locations with the “FDACS-DPI “Bee Locator website. Ensure that the information is accurate and kept current. Also, the website can be used to locate alternative bee forage.
  • Communicate with fellow beekeepers working in the area of the apiary to share information, facilitate communication with growers, encourage adoption of recommendations, facilitate movement of hives, and identify holding locations for temporary foraging.
  • Be a good partner with growers. Be flexible and work to develop a long-standing relationship.
  • If producing honey, reward growers who work with you. Consider financial remuneration or in-kind rewards.
  • Recognize an apiary’s total potential foraging area and inform neighboring growers within the area of the presence of the colonies. Additional knowledge of potential pesticide exposure within the foraging area would be of benefit.

Recommendations for Pesticide Applicators:

  • Pesticide applicators are required to follow the label. The label is the law, and it was written in such a way to minimize product impact on pollinators.
  • Consult the FDACS-Division of Plant Industry (DPI) geographic information system (GIS) tool to identify beekeepers with hives in your area.
  • Use pesticides only when needed.
  • Develop a pest management plan that considers the likelihood of bees foraging during bloom.
  • Do not contaminate water.
  • Consider less toxic compounds.
  • Consider less toxic formulations.
  • Before treating a field with pesticides, determine the presence of other blooming plants and weeds (such as clover, Spanish needle, etc.) that might attract bees. In some instances, bees have been killed even though the crop being sprayed was not in bloom
  • Know your farm and your crop. Understanding your crop and its pollination requirements might be the best tactic in deciding how to use pesticides and minimize the exposure to pesticides of non-target pollinators likely to be visiting your crop site and nearby areas.
  • Notify beekeepers. If beekeepers are notified in advance of application, colonies can be moved away from the treatment area. Florida law requires every apiary or bee yard to be plainly marked with the owner’s name, address, and telephone number.
  • Agreements and notification. Cooperation between applicators, growers, beekeepers, Extension workers, and government officials is necessary to control problem crop pests and protect pollinators from pesticide exposure.

What are some of EPA’s Activities to Protect Pollinators?

Below are a few of EPA’s actions to protect pollinators from pesticide exposure as listed on their website: EPA Pollinator Protection.  Please visit their web-page for the complete list.

  • Implemented a policy in 2017 that protects bees from agricultural pesticide spray and dust applications, while the bees are under contract to provide pollination services. The policy also recommends that states and tribes develop pollinator protection plans and best management practices.
  • Prohibited the use of certain neonicotinoid pesticides when bees are present.
  • Expediting the re-evaluation of the neonicotinoid family of pesticides, as well as other pesticides.
  • Temporarily halted the approval of new outdoor neonicotinoid pesticide uses until new bee data are submitted and pollinator risk assessments are complete.
  • Expediting the review of new Varroa mite control products.
  • Established guidance and best practices for regional, state and tribal inspectors conducting FIFRA inspections of apparent cases of pesticide-related bee deaths.
  • Developing a new risk management approach for considering the impacts of herbicides on monarch butterfly habitats and protecting milkweed from pesticide exposure.
  • Working with pesticide manufacturers to develop new seed-planting technologies that will reduce dust that may be toxic to pollinators during the planting of pesticide-treated seed.

How does EPA’s “Policy to Mitigate the Acute Risk to Bees from Pesticide Products,” Protect Pollinators?

The following highlights are taken from the UF/IFAS publication: Pesticide Labeling: Protection of Pollinators

  • The EPA finalized its Policy to Mitigate the Acute Risk to Bees from Pesticide Products in January 2017. It describes methods for addressing acute risks to bees from pesticides. Applications of acutely toxic pesticides would be prohibited under certain conditions when bees are most likely to be present. While the restrictions focus on managed bees under contract pollination services, the EPA believes that these measures will also protect native bees and other pollinators that are in and around treatment areas.
  • The policy generally applies to all products that meet all of the following criteria:
    • liquid or dust formulations as applied;
    • outdoor foliar use directions on agricultural crop(s) that may utilize contract pollination services; and
    • maximum application rate(s) that result in risk estimates that exceed the acute risk LOC (level of concern) for bees of 0.4 (based on contact exposure). The acute risk LOC of 0.4 is the level that is 40% of the dose that caused one half of bees to die in relevant acute toxicology studies.
  • The EPA intends that with the 2017 policy, pesticide registrants with labels for products registered for foliar application to a flowering crop(s) with an application rate that exceeds the honey bee acute risk level of concern (LOC) of 0.4, submit amended labels to reflect the acute risk mitigation language.
  • The label restrictions outlined in the policy would not replace more restrictive chemical-specific, bee-protective provisions (e.g., pre-bloom restrictions) that may already be included on a product label.
  • The policy provides label language for pesticides categorized as Acute Risk, Low Risk, Indeterminate Crop Grown for Seed Risk, and Public Health Application Risk.

Please refer to Pesticide Labeling: Protection of Pollinators for a list of pesticide active ingredients that are subject to this policy.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Division of Plant Industry-Bureau of Apiary Inspection is the lead regulatory agency for beekeepers in Florida and provides a number of resources for assisting beekeepers and growers in protecting pollinators.  These resources can be found on the website: Honey Bee Protection in Florida

As is evident, everyone has a role to play in protecting the pollinators that assist in providing the abundant harvests of food from agricultural producers to backyard vegetable gardens.  With planning and open communication both crop farmers and beekeepers can remain productive for years to come.

For more information, please see these resources used for this article:



Author: Judy Biss – judy.biss@ufl.edu

Judy Biss is the Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent in Calhoun County, Florida

Judy Biss

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/04/protecting-pollinators-from-pesticides-everyone-plays-a-part/

Rain Keeping You from Applying Gypsum to Your Peanuts this Year?

Rain Keeping You from Applying Gypsum to Your Peanuts this Year?

Soil calcium in the pegging zone of peanuts can be increased by adding gypsum at early bloom without raising soil pH. Credit: Glenn Harris

Area farmers have had numerous challenges to deal with already in this growing season.  With so much rain over the past two weeks, many farmers have had their production schedule wrecked.  Questions have been coming in about a wide range of crop issues, because wet fields have delayed management practices.  One that has been repeated numerous times this week is, “What to do if you have not applied gypsum yet to your peanuts and your fields are still wet?

Dr Glenn Harris, UGA Soil Specialist, makes the following suggestion related to answering this key question:
If you’re worried about missing a gypsum application due to all the rain this year, you should look at your soil Ca test results.  UGA research shows that there is no yield response to additional Ca applications, if initial soil test levels are above 250 mg Ca/kg soil (same as ppm).  However, if peanut seed is being grown, a gypsum application is needed regardless.  Of course, it would be preferable to get a gypsum application down if you can. 
Injection of CaCl during peak pod fill (60-90 days) is an option for peanuts under a pivot, if growers are concerned about replacing Ca leached out of the pegging zone.  My recommendation is to apply 10 gal/a.  In my research I applied it at 75 days after planting. It may not sound like a lot of Ca per acre, but unlike lime and gypsum it is 100 % available.

Gypsum should be applied to peanuts at this stage of growth, and is especially critical for non-irrigated peanuts.  Photo by David Wright


Author: Michael Mulvaney – m.mulvaney@ufl.edu

Cropping Systems Specialist, University of Florida, West Florida Research and Education Center, Jay, FL. Follow me @TheDirtDude

Michael Mulvaney

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/03/rain-keeping-you-from-applying-gypsum-to-your-peanuts-this-year/

Reflections from Graduating Seniors: Kheica Jones

Kheica’s prepared public speech at county events her senior year

I will never forget the day Kheica and little sister walked into the Jefferson County Extension Office interested in doing a 4-H Demonstration at County Events. Two shy and very timorous little girls.  Perhaps they could organize their presentation, but the thought of presenting it in front of an audience- no way! They proved me wrong. They organized their demonstration and presented it at County and District Events.  Receiving both blue 1st place ribbons and blue quality rosettes. Since her demonstration at age ten, Khecia made a lasting impression in Jefferson County 4-H.  She embraced 4-H slogan “Learning by Doing” wholeheartedly as a member.

Khecia’s first 4-H team demonstration, as a junior

As a junior and intermediate 4-Her, Kheica was a member the Elite Sewing Club.  She also served as president of the Jefferson Elementary School Clubs (both 3rd & 4th grade years). She also participated in consumer choices judging contest and received the highest individual score at the North Florida Fair.

As a senior 4-Her, Kheica served as president and vice-president of the Jefferson County Teen Council. Last year, she participated in general public speaking at the county, district & state levels. This year Kheica will be doing a team demonstration at 4-H University entitled: Creamy Shrimp Linguine. She served on the 4-H NW Teen Retreat Planning Committee. This summer will also be her fourth year as a camp counselor at the day and overnight summer camps.

Khecia has helped plan several community service projects, including a roadside clean-up this spring.

Giving back to her community is paramount to Kheica. She has accumulated over 400 hours of community service hours from roadside cleanup, the 4-H Nature Trail Clean up, northwest Florida service project (Chemo Kits for Cancer Patients), nursing home visits, and landscaped the senior citizen center.

When I asked Kheica what life skills she learned that she attributes to 4-H, she shared: “I have learned life skills such as teamwork, dedication, and perseverance. I have also learned the important of community service.”  Kheica said her most memorable moment as a junior 4-Her was participating in 4-H Tropicana Public Speaking and doing her demonstrations at County & District Events.

Khecia Jones, an exemplary student, achieved top honors as Valedictorian of the 2017 graduating class. After graduation, she plans to attend FAMU on a full scholarship and major in Biomedical Sciences.

Our heart is content knowing that Jefferson County 4-H equipped this young woman with tools necessary to be successful post high school.  Jefferson County 4-H takes pleasure in wishing Khecia Jones much happiness and success in her future endeavors, and we invite her to join 4-H as a volunteer to help other youth benefit from 4-H the way she has!”

If you are interested in joining 4-H to learn leadership and communication skills, or if you would like to help teach youth in your community as a 4-H volunteer, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.



Author: jgl1 – jgl@ufl.edu


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/06/08/reflections-from-graduating-seniors-kheica-jones/

Reflections from Graduating Seniors: Alex Davis

Alex Davis is a graduating senior from Leon County 4-H

Six years ago, Alex’s grandmother registered her to attend summer camp at Cherry Lake with Leon County 4-H and she hasn’t looked back since!

Alex has become one of the shining stars of the Leon County 4-H program. She has held positions of Parliamentarian, Secretary, and Vice President of the Leon County 4-H Leadership Council. She has served as a member of our Banquet Planning Committee and for the past four summers, Alex has volunteered her time as a counselor at Robotics, Sewing, Cooking, and Gardening camps. She is raised by her grandparents, Suzane Parke and Sidney Jenkins and is the oldest of three siblings.

Alex’s leadership and responsibility truly shine when she is leading and helping youth. One of her favorite 4-H experiences was assisting a group of robotics camp participants complete a challenge: “We were scrambling to finish our car. It was so great to see the look of accomplishment on the kids’ faces.”

Alex has helped teach a variety of 4-H programs during her six-year membership.

Alex is a wonderful representative of 4-H. Perhaps more importantly, she is a stellar student. When Alex first joined 4-H, she talked about her future enrollment in the IB program at Rickards High School. I remember this discussion vividly because I was extremely impressed with the maturity of a then-thirteen year old explaining how she would be reducing her participation in order to focus on school. Four years, hard work, late nights, and hard choices – many times causing her to choose between 4-H and homework – she has accomplished her goal.

Alex was accepted into the University of Florida where she will begin this summer. “I plan to study animal biology. And eventually Veterinary Medicine. Real STEMMY things. And I want to have an impact on people, but not work directly with them. So I figure helping their pets is pretty close.”

One of her favorite experiences has been learning about how food is produced. Alex will extend her learning at the University of Florida’s College of Agriculture this fall.

Curious, we asked Alex why she chose to keep coming back to 4-H. As a driven student, active member of Young Marines and other youth organizations, many things could have pulled her from the program. Alex said: “It was fun. I learned things I never knew…like how to sew a pillow! That will come in handy in college. And the adults…Ms. Stefanie was awesome. Ms. Heidi was great. And the other adults were always so helpful and nice.”

We will definitely miss Alex’s smiling face and bubbling personality around our office this summer, but we are so proud of our 2017 graduate! 


Author: Stefanie Prevatt – sduda1@ufl.edu


Stefanie Prevatt

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/05/25/reflections-from-graduating-seniors-alex-davis/

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


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.


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.


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/

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