Tag Archive: Health

4-H Horse Health Clinic Scheduled for June 13th

The Area A 4-H Horse Advisory Committee is pleased to welcome Dr. Bess Darrow, DVM and Mr. Billy Blackman, Professional Farrier to our first Area A 4-H Equine Clinic.  Our focus will be on overall equine health, as well as dental and hoof concerns.  There is no fee for this clinic but you must register on Eventbrite by June 5th. Lunch is provided for current 4-H members.

After the workshop, participants may make appointments and bring their horses to have dental and hoof work done.  *Fees will apply. To make appointments you will need to contact Dr. Darrow or Mr. Blackman personally (see flyer for contact information.)

The Area A Horse Advisory Committee is planning a series of both educational and competitive events for youth enrolled in the 4-H Horse and “Horse-less” Horse Projects this coming 4-H year!  For more information about the Florida 4-H Horse Program, contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office or visit one of these links:

Florida 4-H Horse Project Page

Florida 4-H Horse Events (UF IFAS Animal Sciences)


Author: amgranger – amgranger@ufl.edu


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/05/04/4-h-horse-health-clinic-scheduled-for-june-13th/

August 31 FAMU Workshop will Focus on Soil Health

August 31 FAMU Workshop will Focus on Soil Health

FAMU Soil Workshop GraphicSoil Health and Quality Workshop

August 31, 2016

Florida A&M University will be hosting “Healthy Soils Grow Great Plants!” on Wednesday, August 31 from 9AM to 4PM at the FAMU Extension and Research Center, 4259 Bainbridge Highway, Quincy, FL 32352.

The fee for the workshop is $ 5 per person. Please call (850) 599-3546 no later than August 15 to reserve your spot for the workshop.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Disinfecting soils

  • Composting

  • Soil microorganisms

  • Cover crops for soil building

  • Understanding the soil test and determining fertilizer needs


Download the printer friendly flyer: Soil Quality Workshop Flyer

For additional information, contact:
Cassel Gardner, Ph.D.


Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/08/13/august-31-famu-workshop-will-focus-on-soil-health/

Honey Bee Health & Best Management Strategies – August 30th

Honey Bee Health & Best Management Strategies – August 30th

Florida A&M University will be hosting a bee health workshop on Sunday, August 30th from 11AM to 5PM at the FAMU Research and Education Center in Quincy.  The workshop will be led by Michael Schmaeling of the Rodale Institute.

A honey bee at work.

Credit: Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory, University of Florida.

Topics to be discussed at the workshop include:

  • Honeybee Biology and Behavior
  • Colony Management and Equipment
  • Pests and Diseases
  • Bee Laws
  • Apiary Management
  • Soil Health Practices to Ensure a Pollinator Friendly Environment

This workshop is being provided free of charge and lunch will be provided.  To register for the workshop, please send an email to famu.register@gmail.com.  For additional information about the workshop, please contact Dr. Jennifer Taylor, FAMU Statewide Small Farms Coordinator at 850-412-5260 or Jennifer.Taylor@FAMU.edu.


Author: mlollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

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


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/08/22/honey-bee-health-best-management-strategies-august-30th/

Beat the Heat this Summer – Stay Hydrated for Health

Stay hydrated to beat the heat!

Stay hydrated to beat the heat!

Summer is in full swing and our part of the country is very hot.  When the temperature rises, proper hydration is extra important. You need to provide your body with the fluid that it needs to stay healthy. Water regulates many different body processes, including body temperature, digestion, and heart rate. It also cushions and protects our internal organs and joints. When we do not get enough of it, our bodies can suffer.  We lose water from our bodies every time we breathe, sweat, or urinate. In fact, it’s estimated that you can lose up to 4 cups of water during an hour of exercise in the heat. This water loss can lead to dehydration.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Little or no urine, or dark urine
  • Dizziness, or lightheaded feeling
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid pulse
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Cramping

Ultimately, dehydration can lead to extreme thirst, confusion, heat stroke, loss of consciousness, and death.  So, how can you manage staying hydrated in the heat of summer?  One of the key answers is not to wait until you are thirsty. Drink water regularly!  Food can also provide some of the water you need every day- especially food like watermelon, soup, milk, lettuce, and strawberries. Sugar-sweetened sports drinks or beverages with added minerals, vitamins, or electrolytes are NOT necessary unless you are a competitive athlete or in heavy training for an athletic event.

Tips for staying hydrated:

  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Purchasing bottled water is expensive and creates plastic bottle waste. Carry a reusable water bottle and fill it from the tap instead.
  • If you do not like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or another type of fruit to your drink.
  • Be sure to drink water before, during, and after a workout.
  • When you are feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water.
  • If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.
  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. It will keep you hydrated, and it is free!

Be safe this summer and stay hydrated, so you will enjoy your outdoor time. Also, remind you family and friends to drink water too.  You will all feel better and have more fun!


Author: Melanie Taylor – metaylor@ufl.edu

Melanie Taylor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/07/31/beat-the-heat-this-summer-stay-hydrated-for-health/

The Cow is the First Source of Calf Health

Colostrum consumption is a key factor in the long-term health of newborn calves. This calf needs to get up and nurse several times within the first four hours after birth to ensure adequate consumption.  (Alachua, Florida)

Colostrum consumption is a key factor in the long-term health of newborn calves. This calf needs to get up and nurse several times within the first four hours after birth, to ensure adequate consumption. (Alachua, Florida)

When it comes to the health of newborn calves, it all starts with the cow. The cow’s plain of nutrition and diet during gestation can affect her colostrum (first milk) production, milk yield, and the long-term health of her calf. Ensuring the cow receives sufficient nutrition during pregnancy by meeting her energy, protein, mineral, and vitamin requirements is an investment in the health of her calf.

Equally important is making sure the cow calves with a body condition score of at least 5 (neither fat nor thin).  This ensures the cow will have enough body reserves to initiate lactation, form the colostrum, and produce adequate quantities of colostrum and milk, that impact the health of calves at birth and long term. If you’re not familiar with body condition scoring your cow herd, work with your local county Extension agent to learn and implement this important management tool.

Research in cattle and sheep has demonstrated that poor dam nutrition, either under- or over-feeding, can have negative effects on the colostrum volume, and on the concentrations of important components. The importance of the quality colostrum consumption by the newborn is that colostrum is the primary means of passing immunity from the mother to the calf. The immunity comes from two sources, immunoglobulins (IG) and other proteins in colostrum.

The protein and energy supplied to the cow during pregnancy are critical for colostrum production, immunoglobulin and protein concentration, and absorption of immunoglobulins by calves. Figure 1 shows the effect of under and over-feeding dams on colostrum volume and protein concentration. Colostrum weight, volume, solids-not-fat, and protein concentration were all negatively affected by under-feeding or over-feeding the cow during gestation. Mismanagement of the mother during gestation will result in a lactation that does not support health and growth of her offspring.

Effect of a dam's nutrition during gestation on colostrum yield and composition.

Effect of a dam’s nutrition during gestation on colostrum yield and composition.

Mineral nutrition of the dam is often implicated in calf health. Cow blood status, as a predictor of calf blood mineral status at birth, is a poor predictor for copper and zinc, but the relationship is strong for selenium. However, after colostrum consumption, calf copper blood concentration can nearly double. Trace minerals are an important factor for many immunological functions and transfer through colostrum is important.

Newborn calves are born with essentially no functional immunity, so it must all come from absorption of immunoglobulin and other proteins in the colostrum. Calves need a good quality and adequate volume of colostrum as soon after birth as possible. The consumption of colostrum early in life is associated with improved survivability, disease resistance, and growth rate to weaning. There is a direct relationship between 24-hour colostrum intake of immunoglobulin-G from colostrum and serum immunoglobulin-G concentration. The more immunoglobulin rich colostrum a calf can consume, the greater the absorption and resulting serum immunoglobulin concentrations the calf will have. Circulating immunoglobulins are essential for mounting an immune response to disease in the calf.

Optimal absorption of immunoglobulins and immunity related proteins occurs at 4 hours after birth and begins to decline starting around 12 hours, ending around 24 hours after birth. If the dam doesn’t produce enough colostrum, or the calf is unable to consume an adequate amount of colostrum then a commercial colostrum replacer may be warranted. Make sure to use colostrum replacer and not a colostrum supplement. The concentrations of immunoglobulin and other components are not adequate in the supplement compared to a colostrum replacer product.

The calf’s long-term health is directly impacted by cow gestational nutrition. Adequate consumption of quality colostrum is the first step in calf immunity and long-term health. Be diligent to ensure calves receive colostrum because poor calf health will negatively affect the cow-calf producer’s bottom line.


For more information on this topic, download:  Feeding Colostrum to Beef Calves

For more information on this and other topics related to beef cattle nutrition, please see the following list of UF/IFAS Publications here: Beef Cattle Nutrition



Author: hersom – hersom@ufl.edu


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/03/07/the-cow-is-the-first-source-of-calf-health/

Webinar: Farmers Making a Smart Choice for Health Insurance

Jackson Farmer's MarketDate: January 28, 2015

Time: 1:00 – 2:30 Eastern Time (12:00-1:30 pm CT)

Presented by national expert:
Dr. Roberta Riportella, Kansas State University Extension

A panel of experts have been invited to answer questions, including:

  • IRS

  • SBA

Participants will learn how the Affordable Care Act affects farm/ranch families as individuals (consumers), as business operators, and their farm workers. Enrollment assisters who work with farmers and ranchers are also encouraged to attend.

Webinar Link: https://hrsaseminar.adobeconnect.com/acafarmers/

Call-in Number: 888-469-1349/ Participant Passcode: 5724564



Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/01/24/webinar-farmers-making-a-smart-choice-for-health-insurance/

Reduce Maintenance and Improve Palm Health!

Reduce Maintenance and Improve Palm Health!

Over-pruning.  Photo credit:  JB McConnell, UF/IFAS

Over-pruning. Photo credit: JB McConnell, UF/IFAS

Many people picture sugar sand beaches, emerald green water, and gorgeous palm trees swaying in the breeze when they think about visiting or moving to Florida. The panhandle offers the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and sugar sand beaches, but sometimes its palms look a bit deficient. Why is that and what will it take to correct this? Although it seems counter-intuitive, major improvements can result from providing less attention to the palms by reducing the amount of pruning.

Over pruning palms leads to nutrient deficiencies and increases the likelihood of insect and disease problems. Pictured at left is an example of over pruned palms. This technique leaves the heads looking spindly and unattractive, and also hurts the palm’s short-term and long-term health. So, why do property owners send someone up a ladder to harm their palms? Most likely a combination of misinformation and routine.

Palms should have a 360 degree canopy, for example if the top of your palm tree is a clock (with hands, not digital!) you would not prune any fronds above 3 and 9 o’clock. The palms pictured above are pruned in a range from 11-1 o’clock and 10-2 o’clock.

Why does it matter how many fronds are on the palm?

  • First off, palms are not trees as many people believe, but instead are grasses. Palms have just one growing point that is located at the top of the trunk, and this one bud called the apical meristem is busy making fronds that will not appear until several months from now.
  • When nutrients are not available in the soil it can take 4-6 months for a deficiency to show up, so palm nutrition is tricky. Although they grow differently than trees and shrubs, one commonality is that they produce food through photosynthesis and need all available green tissue to make this happen.
  • When there are fewer fronds, the palm has limited resources to create energy.

Native Florida soils are not able to meet the specific nutrition needs of most palms, so it is common to see nutrient deficiencies. Some nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium are mobile in the plant. This means that they can be moved to areas with sufficient amounts of the nutrient to other parts of the palm that do not have enough. This will cause some partial discoloration in leaves, which can be misinterpreted as a dying leaf when in reality it is just sharing food with the rest of the palm. If that frond has any green tissue remaining and is cut off, then a great source of nutrients has just been removed thus making the overall deficiency even worse!

What about “hurricane-cut” to improve wind resistance?

  • Another common myth is that making a “hurricane cut” will reduce the likelihood of trees breaking in storms. Observations after the hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005 along with research by scientists have shown that the opposite is actually true. Trees that had been given a “hurricane-cut” were more likely to have their crowns snapped than palms with full crowns.
  • Damaged or dead fronds should be removed before storms to prevent them from becoming airborne during a storm, but green leaves should remain on palms.

So, how do you know the difference between normal shedding of fronds and a deficiency?

  • Normal shedding (senescence) is indicated by an overall discoloration of the whole frond, not just sections, and the whole process of turning color and falling off (or hanging down depending on the palm) only takes a couple of days.
  • A gradual shift to yellowing, browning, abnormal growth or other similar symptoms are typically nutrition related.


Nitrogen deficiency.  Photo credit: UF/IFAS Magnesium deficiency.  Photo credit:  UF/IFAS Potassium deficiency.  Photo credit:  UF/IFAS


Above are some examples of common nutrient deficiencies found in Florida landscapes. These are examples of leaves that are still supporting the palm and should be left attached to the tree until the whole frond is brown.

For more information on proper pruning and nutrient deficiencies of palms, please see the publications indicated below.
Nutrient Deficiencies of Landscape and Field-Grown Palms in Florida
Pruning Palms


Author: Julie McConnell – juliebmcconnell@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS Bay County Horticulture Extension Agent I

Julie McConnell

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/12/02/reduce-maintenance-and-improve-palm-health/

Panhandle Equine Health and Management Workshop

Equine health workshop

Photo by Jennifer Bearden

Photo by Jennifer Bearden

Join us for an educational evening!

Topics will include:

  • Equine Digestive System and Nutrition

  • Equine Dental Care

  • Internal Parasites of Equines

  • Quality Forages


When:  December 9, 2014
Time:  6-8:30pm
Where:  UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy


Download the flyer to share this information with other horse enthusiasts:

Panhandle Equine Health and Management Workshop Flyer


There is no registration fee for this event, but participants are asked to RSVP by December 1st by calling 850-689-5850 or emailing bearden@ufl.edu, so that adequate handout materials can be prepared.


Sponsored by:



Author: Jennifer Bearden – bearden@ufl.edu

Agriculture Agent Okaloosa County

Jennifer Bearden

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/11/15/panhandle-equine-health-and-management-workshop/

Hypertension and Your Health

Check your blood pressure regularly to monitor hypertension.

Check your blood pressure regularly to monitor hypertension.

For World Health Day on April 7, the World Health Organization (WHO) chose to highlight high blood pressure as a major public health concern.  This chronic disease is responsible for increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death in the United States.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 68 million (1 in 3 adults) in the United States have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.  Because many people show no signs or symptoms of the disease, hypertension is known as a “silent killer” because people often don’t realize they have it.

Having your blood pressure checked regularly is the only way to know if you have a problem. Checking your blood pressure is easy. Your doctor will do this during regular visits, or you can find an automatic blood pressure machine at most pharmacies and major grocery stores.  Do you know what your numbers should look like?

Blood Pressure Levels


Systolic: less than 120 mmHg
Diastolic: less than 80 mmHg

At risk (pre-hypertension)

Systolic: 120–139 mmHg
Diastolic: 80–89 mmHg


Systolic: 140 mmHg or higher
Diastolic: 90 mmHg or higher

What Can You Do?

Many factors can influence your blood pressure, which is defined as the force of blood against your artery walls during circulation.  Although hypertension risk can be hereditary and tends to increase as we get older, many other factors can be controlled to reduce your risk of developing the disease.  The CDC identifies the use of tobacco or alcohol, as well as being overweight, not getting enough daily physical activity, and excessive dietary sodium as controllable risk-factors. 

  • Take action to manage your weight by reducing excess calories, fat, and sugar.
  • Increase your physical activity everyday, even if it is just walking 30 minutes a day.
  • If you smoke, stop now. 
  • If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation.
  • Reduce your sodium intake.

Most sodium in the American diet comes from salt added during food processing.  The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010) recommends reducing daily sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) for adults, and to no more than 1,500 mg for persons over the age of 51, African Americans, or those with diabetes or chronic kidney disease.  Americans can reduce their sodium consumption in several ways:

  • Read the Nutrition Facts label for the sodium content of purchased products and look for lower sodium options.
  • Consume more fresh foods and fewer processed foods, such as canned soups, cured meats, condiments, and prepackaged meals.
  • Eat more home-prepared meals, where you have more control over added salt.  Don’t use seasonings that contain sodium.
  • When dining out, ask that salt not be added or choose lower-sodium options, if available.

Don’t wait.  Check your blood pressure today and talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your risk for developing chronic hypertension.  For more information about lifestyle changes and hypertension, click here.  For information on reading labels and ideas on how to cook with less sodium, click here.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, High Blood Pressure.  http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/index.htm

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010. http://www.dietaryguidelines.gov

Linda B. Bobroff, PhD, RD, LD/N, professor and Extension nutrition specialist; Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences; , Nutrition for Health and Fitness: Sodium in Your Diet. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences; University of Florida, September 2012. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/he696



Author: amymullins – amymullins@ufl.edu


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/04/10/hypertension-and-your-health/

Research Shows: Volunteerism Promotes Better Health

Melanie G. Taylor
Family and Consumer Sciences/4-H Agent
Gulf County

The importance of volunteerism has always been strong, but in these tough times of economic hardship, natural disasters, and wartime, the number of volunteers helping those in need are not only helping others, but themselves, too.  Upon entering office, President Obama began a campaign-United We Serve.  This program is managed by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative.

Gulf County 4-H volunteer assists with a 4-H lesson on healthy ocean life. Photo Credits: Melanie Taylor, Gulf County

An unexpected benefit through this initiative is that volunteers are helping themselves to better health while helping others.   According to the CNCS, over the past 20 years, there has been more and more research showing that volunteering provides health benefits in addition to social benefits.  The reports show that volunteers have greater longevity, higher functional ability, lower rates of depression, and less incidence of heart disease.  “Volunteering makes the heart grow stronger,” said David Eisner, CEO of the CNCS.  “More than 61 million Americans volunteer to improve conditions for people in need and to unselfishly give of themselves. While the motivation is altruistic, it is gratifying to learn that their efforts are returning considerable health benefits.”

The studies, which were controlled for other factors, found that volunteering leads to improved physical and mental health.  The research suggests that volunteering is particularly beneficial to the health of older adults and those serving 100 hours annually.

The rewards go beyond better health. Other benefits reported by volunteers:

  • Being happier
  • Having better self esteem
  • Having a sense of control over their life

When questioned, some of the more common reasons that people give for giving of their time include:

  • It makes them feel better about themselves.
  • It helps them gain a better understanding of other people, places, and cultures.
  • It helps them meet new people, make new friends, or further their careers.
  • It is a good means of giving back to their communities and to supporting humanitarian causes.

So, if you have thought about volunteering, but have not, here is your reason to begin; if you already are, keep up the dedication.  With so many stressors in our lives these days, it’s important for us to find healthy ways to cope.  Volunteerism may be just the remedy you’re looking for.  Aim to make positive changes in your life and health today – VOLUNTEER and feel the benefits of giving to others.

To find local volunteer programs in your community, be sure to contact your local Extension Office, non-profit agencies, and other local community organizations.  For more information on the CNCS, visit http://www.nationalservice.gov.

Sources: Corporation for National and Community Service (http://www.nationalservice.gov) and Diabetes Education Voices Blog by American Association of Diabetes Educators (http://www.diabeteseducationblog.org/).

Living Well in the Panhandle

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2012/02/03/research-shows-volunteerism-promotes-better-health/