Tag Archive: Plan

Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.

Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.

Will you be ready if disaster strikes?  Disasters, or devastating events-natural or human-generated, certainly can disrupt daily life. National Preparedness Month, held annually in September and sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is a good reminder that we need to be ready to respond to emergencies.  Adversity can strike at any time.  There is no time like the present to prepare for emergencies.

How?  Focus on making a standing plan for family readiness!  A standing plan is one that you and your family have developed in the event of disasters. For most people, the prime goal is knowing that all family members are safe and as secure as possible against harm.

Need some help?  Ready.gov has information to help you with that critical “what do we do in case of an emergency” conversation with children as well as seniors or any family member with special needs.  The Ready.gov website contains a wealth of information to get you started including downloadable checklists and other publications as well as printable posters.  Anyone can download the materials for free!

For instance, some disasters strike without warning.  Have you thought about supplies you would need the most? Ready.gov supports the use of checklists as a good way to help you make it through an immediate disaster period.

Are you a pet owner?  Ready.Gov has a unique brochure containing information for pet owners and suggestions for proactive pet emergency preparedness.  Have you ever considered evacuating in the car with your animals?

Additionally, inadequate insurance coverage on a family home or properties can lead to major financial losses.  NOW is the time to plan, document, and insure your property as well as prepare digital copies of your important financial information. One thing to keep in mind: FLOOD INSURANCE is a pre-disaster insurance protection program.  Flood damage is not usually covered by typical homeowners insurance.  Check your policy. Do not make assumptions.

Be smart; take part in preparing before an emergency happens!

  1. Implement a standing plan
  2. Prepare in ADVANCE
  3. Stay informed

You can plan ahead for an emergency. Take action now.



Author: Heidi Copeland – hbc@ufl.edu

Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, Leon County Florida Educational Program Focus: •Food, Nutrition and Wellness •Child Development and Parenting

Heidi Copeland

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/09/disasters-dont-plan-ahead-you-can/

Plan Before Fertilizing a Lawn

Plan Before Fertilizing a Lawn

Fertilizer spreader use is in full swing throughout the Florida panhandle

Fertilizing a lawn properly in the summer can enhance the landscape without inducing disease or harming the environment .

One universal activity is seasonal lawn and landscape maintenance. While some consider it a chore, many view it as a means to enhancing their personal environment.

The list of tasks are, for the most part, standard with few surprises. Raking leaves and pine straw, replacing shrubs which did not make it through the winter, and fertilizing the lawn and landscape.

While a routine undertaking, applying fertilizer requires thought and consideration to be effective without negative consequences. It should be a deliberate and well-planned accomplishment which is science based.

The proper selection of a fertilizer should be based on a soil test. Every UF/IFAS Extension Office has supplies for pulling and submitting a soil sample for evaluation.

The results, which can come via mail or e-mail, will tell the homeowner what nutritional deficiencies exist in their lawn and landscape. Based on the type of grass or shrubs, the report will deliver the information on the fertilizer analysis needed for optimum plant performance.

With this information in hand, the homeowner can visit a local retailer who can provide the product which meets the needs of the landscape without wasting excess nutrients. Excess soil nutrients can easily be relocated to bodies of water when storm water washes it downstream.

Homeowners have several types of fertilize from which to choose for use on their lawn. Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Dry blend fertilizer is usually the least expensive and is easy to find in the market place. It is a mixture of minerals and compounds which are combined to produce a particular analysis, such as 10-10-10.

This analysis is ten percent nitrogen, ten percent phosphorus, and ten percent potassium with the remaining 70 percent being micronutrients and inert carrier. Applied correctly, it can be effective at delivering the needed nutrients.

It is most effective when applied several times throughout the growing season. The grass and shrubs will then have a continuous supply of the needed nutrients over time.

Soil test kit available from your local Extension office. Photo: Mary Derrick, UF/IFAS.

One potential problem with dry blend fertilizer is the particle size of the different nutrients. If irregular, they can separate during transportation to the retailer.

This can be easily corrected by the homeowner. Just pour the contents of the bag into a container and mix using a can or shovel.

Dry slow-release fertilizers are gaining popularity, but they are more expensive. They have a sulfur or polymer coating on the particles which allows for the slow release of the nutrients.

A single application can last for up to six months which frees the homeowner to pursue other activities. The most common use of this product is with shrubs and potted plants.

Liquid fertilizer concentrates are available, but the convenience comes at a high cost. It is easily diluted for use, but uniform application over a large area can be challenging.

No matter which form is used, proper application will grow good results. A healthy and well maintained lawn and landscape leave more time for other springtime pursuits.

To learn more about the fertilizer for your landscape, contact your county agent and refer to this section on our website devoted to lawn fertilization.




Author: Les Harrison – harrisog@ufl.edu

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

Les Harrison

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/06/15/plan-before-fertilizing-a-lawn/

Plan to Purple Up on April 21st

April is the Month of The Military Child! When we think of honoring our military, we often think of Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Did you know there is also a time identified to honor our youngest heroes, military children? Since 1986, April has been designated Month of the Military Child. This allows us to honor military children and their families for their commitment and sacrifice. In Florida, we have over 94K active and reserve military members whose families worry that they are in harm’s way when they deploy. Most people think of the color green when they think of 4-H, but on April 21st, 4-H youth and volunteers in Florida and Nationally will be sporting the color purple to show support for our military families.
Here locally we want you to join us in showing your support and to celebrate our young heroes! Participate in the 7th annual Purple Up! For Military Kids. Wear purple on Friday, April 21st, as a visible way to show support and thank military children for their strength and sacrifices. Why purple? Purple is the color that symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue.
The goal is for our military youth to see the support of their community. Please join us in honoring these young heroes as we Purple Up! For Military Kids on April 21st! Be creative….the goal is for military youth to see the support in their school, youth groups, and the community! If you don’t have or own a purple shirt wear a purple ribbon, tie, headband etc. Just show your support and let our youth know we care about them! Can’t make the 21st ? Then do something another day in April. We would like to encourage you to take pictures of your group wearing purple and share them on social media using #fl4h, #purpleup.


Author: pmdavis – pmdavis@ufl.edu

4-H Youth Development Faculty Bay County Extension


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/04/06/plan-to-purple-up-on-april-21st/

Plan to Reduce Summer Weeds

Plan to Reduce Summer Weeds

Remember last summer? The hot, dry days.  Grass drying up and turning brown.  Yet, the weeds are green and doing fine.  However, every herbicide label warns against applying when the temperatures are above 85 degrees and especially under drought conditions.  Those weeds flourished and dispersed seed everywhere.  Now, they are just sitting there ready to sprout again.

It’s time to start thinking about weed prevention.  Pre-emergent herbicides need to be applied prior to seed germination.  Late winter is the time to focus on summer annual weeds.  The narrow window of application is challenging.  Homeowners often wait too late into spring to put out preventative products.  A general rule of thumb for pre-emergent herbicide timing is February 15 – March 1 in North Florida.

However, weed seeds germinate in response to soil temperature, not calendar dates.  By monitoring day time temperatures, one can determine a more effective application date.  When there are 4-5 consecutive days that reach 65 to 70 degrees weeds will germinate.  This generally coincides with the first blooms appearing on azaleas and dogwood.  With a warm winter it may occur as early as mid-January.

Some of the active ingredients in pre-emergent herbicides include dithiopyr, isoxaben, oryzalin, pendimethalin, prodiamine and simazine.  Always read the label for specific weed controlled and observe all directions, restrictions and precautions.

Weed and feed products that contain nitrogen are not suitable as pre-emergent herbicides.  Irrigation before and after application is necessary to activate these products.  The chemical binds to soil particles, creating a barrier that remains effective for 6-12 weeks.  Reapplication will be necessary for season long control, especially with constantly fluctuating winter temperatures.  Now is the time to purchase pre-emergent herbicides and prepare to apply them. For more information on weed control in lawns go to: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep141


Author: Sheila Dunning – sdunning@ufl.edu


Sheila Dunning

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/02/04/plan-to-reduce-summer-weeds/

Have a Plan for Efficient Winter Feeding

Washington County cattle in a controlled grazing system utilizing cool season forages this past spring. Photo Credit: Mark Mauldin

Washington County cattle in a controlled grazing system utilizing cool season forages this past spring.
Photo Credit: Mark Mauldin

While these recent “cool” snaps have provided a welcome break from the summer heat, they bring with them a reminder that production from perennial pasture grasses are slowing down and will soon be dormant for the winter. Deciding how to meet the nutritional needs of your cattle through the winter is one of the most important management decisions a cow-calf producer will make. There are many options for wintering cows. There is no one option that is the best for all operations. Below are some considerations to help you formulate your plan for this winter. All feeding programs should be based on efficiently meeting nutritional requirements.

Manage cows according to their nutritional requirements; they are not all the same. Larger heavier milking cows have higher nutritional requirements than do small lighter milking cows. Additionally, lactating cows have considerably higher nutrient requirements than dry cows. Young cows/heifers that are still growing while lactating have even higher nutritional demands. Feeding a dry cow to meet the demands of a lactating cow is a waste of money. Feeding a lactating cow to meet the demands of a dry cow will result in loss of body condition score and most likely reduced reproductive performance. In many cases addressing the varying nutritional demands relates more related to feed quality than quantity. If supply is limited, higher quality feedstuffs should be reserved for lactating cows. This scenario is particularly evident with hay and cool season forages. Hay quality varies tremendously.  Feed the highest quality hay to the cows with the highest demands, this helps minimize the need for additional supplementation. When cool season forages are in short supply reserve them for the cows that need them most and will utilize their high quality the most effectively.

Understand the nutritional value of what you are feeding. Simply having hay or some other feed available for your cows will not ensure their nutritional requirements are being met. There are scenarios where the nutrient density of a feedstuff is so low that cows cannot physically consume enough feed to meet their needs. This scenario is most often associated with low quality hay or ensiled forages containing excessive amounts of water. Forage based feedstuffs (hay, baleage, grazed forages, etc.) can be sampled and analyzed to determine nutrient content. Processed or bagged feeds should come with a guaranteed analysis showing the nutritional makeup of the feed. Standard nutritional information for bulk commodity feeds is readily available.  Sampling and lab analysis can be used to obtain information on specific loads of feed. If you know the nutrient requirements of your cows and the nutrient content of your feedstuffs, you can determine how much they need to consume to meet their requirements. Knowing how much of a particular feedstuff your cattle will require allows you to do economic comparisons of the different feeding options.

Always keep in mind a cow can only eat about 2% of her body weight in dry matter each day. Example: 2% of 1200lbs. is 24 lbs., so a 1200lb cow can eat about 24lbs of dry matter or about 27lbs of 12% moisture hay. No matter how cheap a feed is, if a cow can’t consume enough of it to meet her requirements it’s not going to be a good option.

Collecting samples and having an analysis performed on your hay will let you know the nutrient content. Knowing the nutrient content allows you to calculate what f any additional supplementation is required. Photo Credit: James Strickland

Collecting samples and having an analysis performed on your hay will let you know the nutrient content. Knowing the nutrient content allows you to calculate what, if any, additional supplementation is required.  Photo Credit: James Strickland

Use proper feeding/grazing techniques to help reduce feeding waste. Winter feeding is expensive. It incorporates seed and fertilizer costs associated with forage production, hay production and storage costs, purchased feed expenses, etc.  It really does not matter the source of the cost, no winter feed is free, so don’t waste it.

  • Be sure to use some type of hay feeding device; ring, rack, trailer, manger, something to prevent cows from standing on the hay while they eat it. Also try to avoid feeding more hay than the herd will consume in a few days. Feeding hay is an inherently wasteful process, do what you can to limit the waste.
  • When grazing cool season forages utilize some form of rotational or controlled grazing. Cows don’t need access to these high quality forages 24-7. Providing cows with too much access to these forages allows them to selectively graze and trample more forage, which reduces the efficiency of forage utilization. It also does not allow the forage plants adequate opportunity for regrowth, and in turn greatly reduces total forage production. There are many grazing systems that can help maximize the productivity of cool season forages; consult your county agriculture agent for help determining which one would best suit your operation.
  • When feeding a bagged or commodity feed, adequate bunk space is a primary concern. Space must be sufficient to feed the total amount of feed needed for the group of cows and to allow each animal sufficient access to the feed. Never bunk feed more than one day’s ration/supplement at one time; this will greatly increase the likelihood of waste, over-consumption, and possibly even cause digestive issues.

Grouping and feeding cows according to what they need, determining the most cost effective means by which to meet those needs, and minimizing waste will go a long way toward effectively and efficiently wintering cows. For more information on anything in this article or help addressing the many other factors associated with wintering cows, contact your county’s UF/IFAS Agriculture Agent.



Author: Mark Mauldin – mdm83@ufl.edu

I am the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent in Washington County. My program areas include livestock and forage, row crops, and pond management.

Mark Mauldin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/10/10/have-a-plan-for-efficient-winter-feeding/

Plan Carefully with Indian Hawthorn

Plan Carefully with Indian Hawthorn

One of the most commonly used shrubs in landscapes is the Indian hawthorn, Rhapheolepsis indica. Although not native to Florida, it can be a very attractive shrub when used properly in landscapes. Plants offer spring flowers in pinks and whites followed by berries that are a food source for birds.

Indian hawthorn

Indian hawthorn as a single planting can be attractive.


Indian hawthorn plants in landscapes are susceptible to a couple of pests that create unattractive and unhealthy plants. A leaf spot fungus called Entomosporium leaf spot easily spreads from infected plants through irrigation and rainfall leading to leaf discoloration, leaf drop, and dieback of limbs. Scale insects can also be common on leaves causing yellowing and dieback. The fungal problem is difficult to manage on heavily infected plants but the scale can be managed with a low toxicity pesticide choice such as a horticulture oil.

Indian hawthorn disease

A heavy infection of leaf spot fungi is often too difficult to manage when plants are routinely irrigated.


Most often the problems on Indian hawthorn, especially fungal, are the result of poor management. This shrub likes sun, well-drained soil, and no overhead irrigation. Once established, plants should need little supplemental irrigation and water should only be applied to the base of plants. Since plants normally form a rounded mound, there is also little need for pruning if planted in a correct spot and spaced appropriately when planting. Most landscape installations of Indian hawthorn space plants based on the gallon pot size and not the mature size of the plant which is about 3-5 feet in height and spread.

Indian hawthorn can still be a good selection for homeowners. Buy healthy plants without any signs of spots on leaves and don’t plant a monoculture of these plants in the landscape. If one plant does have serious pest issue it is easier to either treat or remove one plant versus a mass planting.


Author: Beth Bolles – bbolles@ufl.edu

Horticulture Agent, Escambia County

Beth Bolles

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/04/07/plan-carefully-with-indian-hawthorn/

Plan Ahead for “Pomp and Circumstance”

Photo credit:  IFAS Communication Services

Photo credit: IFAS Communication Services

Do you have a high school senior in your life in the near or not-so-near future? If so, it’s never too early to begin planning and preparing for the expenses associated with senior year. For starters, here are some typical expenses:

  • Class ring – While this may be purchased during the sophomore or junior year, the cost can amount to several hundred dollars, depending on the material, design, and vendor.
  • Senior pictures – Many photographers offer portrait packages featuring shots taken at off-site locations in addition to the traditional black drape and tux headshots for the yearbook.
  • Yearbook – In addition to the average base price of $ 100, many schools offer ad space for purchase to mark your child’s special year. Prices can run from $ 25 for a quarter-page space to $ 200 for a full-page scrapbook-type ad.
  • Class dues – Many schools charge students annual dues for various expenses associated with their particular grade level.
  • Cap and gown rental, graduation announcements, thank-you cards
  • Test fees – If your child will be taking the SAT, ACT, or other placement test, be prepared to shell out $ 50 or more per each test sitting. Prep classes will be an additional cost.
  • College application fees – these generally run $ 35 or higher per school.
  • Dances and Prom – Tickets, corsages, the dress, shoes, hair and makeup, tux rental, limousine rental, and dinner can add up quickly; the average cost of prom in 2014 was approximately $ 1,000.
  • Class trip – Whether it’s a trip to a theme park or a white-water rafting adventure, factor in the costs of transportation, lodging, meals, admission tickets, and spending money for the excursion.

As you can see, senior year expenses can add up quickly! To ease the burden on the family budget, plan ahead. First, contact your child’s school for a list of anticipated expenses. Next, sit down with your high schooler and discuss the expenses he or she is likely to have. Decide together which are needs and which are wants – many items are “nice to have” but not necessary and there may be some items, like a class ring, that are of no interest to your child.

Set a realistic budget for the year and discuss ways in which your child can contribute through, say, babysitting or a part-time job. Explore alternatives to reduce costs – enlist a “shutterbug” friend to take photos, shop consignment stores for prom wear, print your own graduation announcements, purchase inexpensive thank-you cards. If your child is just starting high school, you can set up a special savings account now and contribute regularly so you are prepared when that time finally arrives.

With planning, senior year can be a very special and memorable time in your family’s life without breaking the budget. For more information on setting up a budget, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office or visit http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_budgeting.

Source: National Endowment for Financial Education, “Costs Heavy on Road to High School Graduation – Plan Ahead to Manage Expense of Child’s Senior Year’” http://www.nefe.org/press-room/news/senior-costs-2011.aspx



Author: Judy Corbus – jlcorbus@ufl.edu

Judy Corbus is the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent in Washington and Holmes Counties.

Judy Corbus

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/02/14/plan-ahead-for-pomp-and-circumstance/

Plan Carefully Around Home Foundations

Plan Carefully Around Home Foundations

Variety is the spice of life and more homeowners are incorporating this philosophy into the design of their homes. Windows especially are becoming more of a design feature, so we should change our philosophy on landscaping around them.

Windows allow us to feel connected to the outdoors and allow natural light to pass into the living area. They let us enjoy flowers, wildlife, and even keep an eye on outdoor activities. Because so many homes are using larger frame windows that may be only two feet off the ground, careful planning of landscaping is necessary so views are not blocked by a mass of branches and leaves.

Many common foundation plants that have been planted around homes in the past may not be good choices for homes with low windows. Ligustrum, various holly and loropetalum species, and several types of azaleas will mature to medium‑sized shrubs and block a good portion of windows in a couple of years. Though continuous pruning can keep these plants low, it also can result in pest problems due to frequent pruning wounds and thick growth.

Foundation plants should create a low‑maintenance landscape. Selecting plants that do not grow into the view of windows will save time and money in unnecessary maintenance activities.

Nurseries carry a wide variety of interesting plants. There are dwarf varieties of evergreen shrubs, such as ‘Prostrata’ Japanese plum yew, ‘Purple Pixie’ loropetalum, and many new dwarf nandinas that can be planted in front of some windows.

Picture 3 _Purple Pixie

‘Purple Pixie’ loropetalum.


Groundcovers, or even flowering annuals and perennials, could also be good choices under windows. These plants can break the monotony of a typical foundation planting.

Maintaining a mass of annual or perennial flowers below front windows will require a little more work throughout the year. The flower planting will have to be weeded, groomed and even replaced from time to time.  A separate irrigation zone for the flowering plants will need to be established so that other foundation shrubs do not receive too much water when the annuals and perennials are watered.

Stokesia_laevis Stoke'saster

Stoke’s aster is an evergreen groundcover for sunny areas.


The are almost endless selections of beautiful sun coleus.

In full sun, consider Stoke’s aster, sun coleus, Dicliptera, daylilies, sedum, or Oxeye daisy, In shade, consider caladiums, ferns and ‘Hip Hop’ Euphorbia.

There are many groundcovers that can be used. Know the growth habit of the particular groundcover since many such as Asiatic jasmine and junipers will spread over large areas. Consider clumping plants like muhly grass or ‘Evergreen Giant’ liriope.


Mulhly grass shows off purplish blooms in the late summer and fall.


Plants aren’t the only possibility for areas around windows. Consider garden ornaments, or create a bird window, with a bird bath, feeder or ground‑feeding area for animals that can be viewed from indoors.


Author: Beth Bolles – bbolles@ufl.edu

Horticulture Agent, Escambia County

Beth Bolles

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/02/10/plan-carefully-around-home-foundations/

Cold Weather Approaching: Have a Citrus Protection Plan in Place

On the night of November 13th,  a mild freeze of 30°F occured in parts of Northwest Florida.  Don’t be caught without a citrus protection plan !
Satsuma Tree protected with micro-irrigation. Image Credit: UF IFAS Jackson County Extension

Satsuma Tree protected with micro-irrigation. Image Credit: UF IFAS Jackson County Extension

How cold does it have to get before citrus in Northwest Florida needs to be protected? A concrete answer to this question does not exist. Growers and home gardeners alike must consider several factors including type of citrus grown and the location of the citrus. 

Below are a few quick facts to assist growers and home gardeners in determining whether to protect or not to protect their citrus:

  • Certain citrus trees such as lime, pomelo, grapefruit, sweet orange, lemon and citron will definitely need protection or need to be moved into a sheltered area. Individuals that grow these types on a consistent basis either wrap their trees with protective covers each season or grow them in containers and move them into greenhouses.
  • The meyer lemon, which is in reality a lemon-sweet orange hybrid, is a tree that was introduced to the united states in 1908. Mature dormant meyer lemons can be hardy down to 20°F, with fruit hardy to 26°F. Immature trees, or those that have not reached dormancy, should be protected. Covers made of cloth should be large enough to touch the ground so that heat from the soil can help keep the tree warm.
  • Generally, satsuma are cold tolerant down to 15° F, but young trees or trees yet to achieve dormancy are usually only tolerant to 26°F. Fruit should not sustain damage from freezing temperatures above 25°F. Extreme winds sometimes make the effects of freeze events worse, so it is always better to err on the side of protection if the trees are planted in an exposed site.
  • Kumquats are the most cold tolerant citrus type grown in Northwest Florida, so protection is not required unless freeze events reach 20°F.

Additional facts to assist the grower or home gardener with citrus protection:

  • Plant trees on a south-facing slope, south of windbreaks, on the south side of a structure or under a light canopy if possible. South facing slopes block harmful cold winds. Structures offer radiant heat which aids in the protection of citrus trees. Additionally, light over-story pine canopies allow sufficient sunlight through while reducing frost damage.
  • Wrap the trunk with commercial tree wrap or mound soil around the base of the tree up to 2 feet. This will protect the graft of the young tree. Thus, if the branches freeze the graft union will be protected.
  • Cover the tree with a cloth sheet or blanket. For additional protection, large bulb Christmas lights can be placed around the branches of the tree. This will increase the temperature under the cover by several degrees. Be sure to use outdoor lights and outdoor extension cords to avoid the potential of fire.
  • Water citrus trees. Well watered trees have increased cold hardiness. Do not over-water. If the ground is moist, it is not necessary to water.
  • Frames may be installed around young trees to hold the cover. This option keeps the blanket or sheet from weighing down the branches.
  • For large production areas, micro-irrigation is an option. This practice will protect citrus trees up to 5 feet, but must be running throughout the entire freeze event. For additional information read this publication on micro-sprinkler irrigation.
  • Always remember to remove cold protection once the temperature rises so that the trees do not overheat.
  • Do not cover trees with plastic tarp, these will not protect the tree and can “cook” the tree once the sun comes out.

 For additional information, contact your local extension office.


Author: Matthew Orwat – mjorwat@ufl.edu

Matthew J. Orwat started his career with UF / IFAS in 2011 and is the Horticulture Extension Agent for Washington County Florida. His goal is to provide educational programming to meet the diverse needs of and provide solutions for homeowners and small farmers with ornamental, turf, fruit and vegetable gardening objectives. Please feel free to contact him with any questions you may have.

Matthew Orwat

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/11/18/cold-weather-approaching-have-a-citrus-protection-plan-in-place/

Creating a Plan for Your 4-H Club

Welcome to the new 4-H year! As you begin making plans to re-connect with your club members and families, make plans to create a year-long plan for your 4-H Club.

Why should your 4-H club plan up to a year in advance?

A plan will help to:

  • Meet the needs of all members
  • Share responsibilities (among youth, parents, and volunteers)
  • Provide better communication to members and families
  • Practice cooperation, compromise, and planning skills
  • Avoid calendar conflicts

    4-H members plant trees for a community service project during Arbor Day.

    4-H members plant trees for a community service project during Arbor Day.

What should be in your 4-H club plan?

  • Monthly Business Meetings
  • County, District, and State Activities
  • Tours and Trips
  • Community Service
  • Workshops
  • Recreation
  • Guest Speakers
  • Fund Raising


There are many different ways to create a “year plan” for your 4-H club. The following are a few examples of activities that can be done during a meeting to ensure that all members’ thoughts and ideas are expressed. Keep in mind, when beginning to discuss plans for your club’s focus, education should be the top priority (what youth want to learn during the year).

Sharing Ideas:
Tape a large piece of paper to the wall. On the paper, write two statements: (1) “This year in _____ 4-H Club, I want to learn…” (2) This year in _____ 4-H Club, I really want to….” As youth arrive, direct their attention to the paper and ask them to complete the statements. At a designated time during the meeting, discuss the responses.

Have youth create a collage of his/her “year plan” for the club. Materials needed for this activity are: magazines, newspapers, crayons, markers, scissors, glue, construction paper, etc. You can also do this activity in groups.

Design Your Own Clover
Have each member complete the “Design Your Own Clover.” Members can share one leaf of the clover a designated point during the meeting.

Creating a Program Planning Committee
Now that you have all these ideas from your club members, how do you implement your plan? Form a program planning committee. It is important that this committee be representative of your entire club. Older members are likely to be effective planners, but might leave out needs of younger members. In general, committee members are: vice president, secretary, recreation leader, and an adult. It is also good practice to add two or three members who are not officers. This committee can meet on a separate day from the club meeting or convene before/after a club meeting to complete their responsibilities. Once finalized, the committee should report back to the entire club to receive final approval for their plan.

Club planning is not a cut and dry process. Every club can modify these practices to best suite your members – keeping in mind the reason for creating such a plan is to keep the actions of your club directed toward your goals. Your 4-H Extension Agent is also a great resource during this process. Contact your local agent to receive help in creating a plan or for a list of important dates/deadlines for your local office.






Author: Stefanie Prevatt – sduda1@ufl.edu


Stefanie Prevatt

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/09/13/creating-a-plan-for-your-4-h-club/