Tag Archive: Walton

Walton County Beef Cattle Seminar – September 21

Walton County Beef Cattle Seminar – September 21

There are roughly 13,000 head of cattle in Walton County, making them an important part of agriculture in this part of the western Florida panhandle.  The University of Florida IFAS Extension Walton County office is offering an educational program to help livestock owners stay competitive and up-to-date on the business. It will be held at the Paxton Ag Center, 22036 Highway 331 North in Paxton, on September 21th from 4:00 – 8:00 PM Central.

Topics covered will include feed stuff selection, beef cattle management strategies, and reproduction management strategies.  This is a multi-state and multi-county program, so cattle producers from across the region are welcome to attend. Also, there will be some hay equipment and hay wrappers on site to look at. There will be a $ 10 fee to attend; steak dinner is included. For more information or to register, please contact the Walton County Extension Office at (850) 892-8172 or by email to haneyc@ufl.edu.

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Author: Michael Goodchild – mjgo@ufl.edu

Michael Goodchild County Extension Director Walton County (forestry)

Michael Goodchild

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/16/walton-county-beef-cattle-seminar-september-21/

Morrison Springs Park – Walton County, Florida

Morrison Springs Park – Walton County, Florida

Snorkeler at Morrison Springs Park

Snorkeler at Morrison Springs – Laura Tiu

Morrison Springs Bald Cypress

Morrison Springs Bald Cypress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are over 1000 springs identified in Florida. In the Panhandle, the majority of the springs are karst or artesian springs rising deep from the Floridan Aquafer System within the states limestone base.  Springs are unique and can be identified by perennial flows, constant water temperature and chemistry, high light transparency.  This yields a freshwater ecology dependent on these features.  Springs are classified based upon the average discharge of water but can exhibit a lot of variability based on water withdrawals and rainfall. These springs are some of our most precious water resources, supplying the drinking water our communities rely on, as well as providing great recreation opportunities.

Morrison Springs is a popular spring in northwest Florida and is one of 13 springs flowing into the Choctawhatchee River Basin. It is a large, sandy-bottomed spring surrounded by old growth cypress.  The spring pool is 250 feet in diameter, discharges an average of 48 million gallons of water each day from three vents into the Choctawhatchee River as a second magnitude spring.  The spring contains an extensive underwater cave system with three cavities up to 300 feet deep and is popular for scuba diving, swimming and snorkeling, kayaking, canoeing and fishing.  Historically, it was privately owned and was a popular swimming hole for locals.  In 2004, the state of Florida purchased the land containing the spring in the Choctawhatchee River floodplain.  The land was leased to Walton County for 99 years.  The county created a 161-acre park with a picnic pavilion, restroom facilities and a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk.  A down-stream boat ramp provides access to the river away from swimmers and divers.  There is no entrance fee.

Morrison Spring is filled with abundant fish and plant life. Fish include largemouth bass, spotted bass, hybrid striped bass, bluegill, sunfish, redbreast sunfish, warmouth, black crappie, striped bass, catfish, alligator gar, bowfin, carp, mullet and flounder or hogchoakers (freshwater sole).  It is also home to some nocturnal freshwater eels that swim around the vent and delight the divers. Most are gray, about an inch in diameter and maybe a foot or two long.  The spring supports many trees, plants, and grasses including bald cypress, live oak, red maple, pawpaw, red and black titi, Cherokee bean, sweetbay, blackgum, juniper, red cedar, southern magnolia, laurel oak, tupelo, hickory, willow, wax myrtle, cabbage palm, saw palmetto blueberry, hydrangea, St. John’s wort, mountain laurel, water lily, pickerelweed, pitcher plant, broad leaved arrowhead, fern, and moss.

Morrison Springs was previously considered one of the cleanest springs in Florida until 2010 (Florida Springs Initiative). All of Florida springs are currently at risk as the state population continues to increase.  Spring flows are decreasing as the result of increasing extraction of groundwater for human uses.  Development, and the resultant over pumping, and nitrogen pollution from agriculture both have impacts on the aquifer recharge areas.  Existing groundwater pumping rates from the Floridan Aquifer in 2010 were more than 30% of average aquifer recharge (Florida Spring Initiative).  The University of Florida IFAS Extension Agents in the Panhandle occasionally conduct interpretive guided tours of the Springs to help citizens understand the importance of protecting this unique water source.

 

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Author: Laura Tiu – lgtiu@ufl.edu

Sea Grant Extension Agent – Okaloosa and Walton Counties

Laura Tiu

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/11/18/morrison-springs-park-walton-county-florida/

Nature Tourism in the Panhandle – the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) – 30A in Walton County

Nature Tourism in the Panhandle – the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) – 30A in Walton County

The "Prayer of the Woods" is an attitude that many in this part of the panhandle try to live.

The “Prayer of the Woods” is an attitude that many in this part of the panhandle try to live.

Photos: Molly O’Connor

30A in south Walton County is a special place.

Undiscovered for years, then developed… but developed more sustainably than most coastal panhandle communities – this area has now become a go-to destination for many in the southeastern U.S. Grayton Beach, Seaside, Water Color, and others were developed with idea of walkable-biking community and allowing as much nature to remain as possible.  Many subdivisions use native plants for their landscaping.  It is a neat area to explore.

 

My base camp for this part of our ICW tour was Topsail State Park. Though there are numerous other locations to camp, they were all full… the 30A Song Writers Festival was going on at the time.  The first thing I noticed was a bike trail that extends much of 30A itself.  There were locations along the way where visitors can rent bicycles and it is a great way to take in the scenery… and there is scenery.  Some of the more majestic dunes I have seen anywhere along the panhandle are found here.  Dunes in Pensacola use to look like these but storms have taken their toll – somehow the dunes of 30A were spared.

 

 

The spectacular dunes of south Walton County.

The spectacular dunes of south Walton County.

The wind sculpted plants of the tertiary dunes.

The wind sculpted plants of the tertiary dunes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You cannot talk about the dunes without talking about the dune lakes. Scattered across much of the panhandle the highest concentration, and least impacted, of these lakes are found here in Walton County.  These freshwater lakes are separated from the high saline Gulf of Mexico by a field of dunes.  There are channels that connect them but these are sometimes closed by moving sand.  When open, these channels allow the brown tannic waters of the lakes to spill into the Gulf – a weird sight which trigger thoughts of pollution.  You can see evidence of high tides entering the lakes with the presence of cordgrass and needlerush (classic salt marsh plants) and species of marine fish such as stingray and redfish.  There is access to some of the dune lakes via the state parks.  Here there are trails along the shore and through the dunes, and kayaks to rent.  The gulf is not but a few feet away – this is a great place to bring snorkel gear or binoculars for birding.

One of the many "jewels of south Walton" - the dune lakes.

One of the many “jewels of south Walton” – the dune lakes.

In the distance you can see the brown-tannic water of a dune lake entering the Gulf of Mexico.

In the distance you can see the brown-tannic water of a dune lake entering the Gulf of Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Needlerush is one of the species of marsh grasses that live in brackish conditions.

Black Needlerush is one of the species of marsh grasses that live in brackish conditions.

 

Dune trail at Grayton Beach State Park

Dune trail at Grayton Beach State Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gulf of Mexico in south Walton County.

The Gulf of Mexico in south Walton County.

Another view of the Gulf of Mexico.

Another view of the Gulf of Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The boardwalk of Deer Lake State Park off of Highway 30-A. you can see the tracks of several types of mammals who pass under at night.

The boardwalk of Deer Lake State Park off of Highway 30-A. you can see the tracks of several types of mammals who pass under at night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are additional state park and state forest trail heads along 30A to explore. Accommodations are hard to come by during peak season so you will have to plan ahead – but a few days here is worth it.

 

If visiting the Escambia / Santa Rosa area be sure to check out the Naturally EscaRosa website and download the app to find great outdoor adventures in the western panhandle.

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Author: Rick O’Connor – roc1@ufl.edu

Sea Grant Extension Agent in Escambia County

Rick O’Connor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/06/18/nature-tourism-in-the-panhandle-the-intracoastal-waterway-icw-30a-in-walton-county/

Nature Tourism in the Panhandle – the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) – Point Washington Walton County

Nature Tourism in the Panhandle – the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) – Point Washington Walton County

ALL PHOTOS:   MOLLY O’CONNOR

Continuing our “ecotour” of the Florida Panhandle along the ICW, this month’s stop is in Walton County. Arguably one of the fastest growing counties in the state, South Walton has become a favorite with many.  Relatively undeveloped (as compared to neighboring counties) Walton has an opportunity to develop smarter… and for a lot of it – they have.

 

Entering Walton County from the west you leave the concentrated tourism of Destin and enter Sandestin. Though still highly developed it slowly gives way to the Point Washington area and more open ground.  Here you begin to encounter the famous Dune Lakes.  There are no barrier islands along the coastline of Walton County.  Instead the Gulf meets the peninsula separating it from Choctawhatchee Bay to the north.  Along the Gulf there are magnificent dune fields and freshwater lakes that periodically are open to the Gulf.  The lakes are unique in that they have freshwater habitats and tannic waters as well as saltmarsh and seawater when their “mouths” are open.  This unique situation provides an ecosystem found in few places in our state.  The now famous 30-A travels along these dune lakes across the entire of South Walton.  Two state parks, a state forest, a bike trail, and small communities dot this famous trail.

 

Between 30-A and the Intracoastal Waterway to the north lies the Point Washington State Forest.  Here lie acres of well managed pine forest.  There are many trails that can be hiked, driven, or traversed by horseback.  There are several trails here that are part of state forest’s Trailwalker Program.  A major part of this well managed forest is prescribed burning.

This dune lake at Topsail State Park is one of many "stretched" across South Walton County.

This dune lake at Topsail State Park is one of many “stretched” across South Walton County.

The state park provides kayaks for exploring the dune lake at Topsail. It can be reached by hiking or a tram they provide.

The state park provides kayaks for exploring the dune lake at Topsail. It can be reached by hiking or a tram they provide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beautiful beaches of south Walton.

The beautiful beaches of south Walton.

One of the many Florida State Forest trails in South Walton.

Here is one of the many state forest trails used by hikers and joggers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Florida State Forest hiking trail system provides a lot of information about their trails that is very useful.

The Florida State Forest hiking trail system provides a lot of information about their trails that is very useful.

The Florida State Trailwalkers Program is a neat way to encourage locals to visit their "natural landscape". You must hike 10 of the selected trails (on their website provided in this article). There is a log you can download and when you have logged your 10 hikes mail it in. You will receive a free patch indicating you are a "Florida Trailwalker"! This is a great way to explore your "natural Florida".

The Florida State Trailwalkers Program is a neat way to encourage locals to visit their “natural landscape”. You must hike 10 of the selected trails (on their website provided in this article). There is a log you can download and when you have logged your 10 hikes mail it in. You will receive a free patch indicating you are a “Florida Trailwalker”! This is a great way to explore your “natural Florida”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are trails that cross Point Washington State Forest that can be driven, hiked, or even explored on horseback.

There are trails that cross Point Washington State Forest that can be driven, hiked, or even explored on horseback.

Signage educating the public about the benefits of prescribed burning.

Signage educating the public about the benefits of prescribed burning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The renovated Wesley House at Eden Gardens State Park. The Wesley family were in the timber industry.

This is the renovated Wesley House at Eden Gardens State Park. The Wesley’s were in the timber industry.

Eden Garden State park is located north of Highway 98 in south Walton County. Is borders the south side of the ICW near Choctawhatchee Bay. It is a beautiful place.

Eden Garden State Park is located north of Highway 98 in south Walton County. It borders the south side of the ICW near Choctawhatchee Bay and is a beautiful getaway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partly due to successful bear management and partly due to the increase population of humans in the Florida panhandle, bear encounters are in the increase. This sign at Eden Garden State Park provides information on how to deal with an encounter.

Partly due to successful bear management and partly due to the increase population of humans in the Florida panhandle, bear encounters are in the increase. This sign at Eden Garden State Park provides information on how to deal with an encounter.

 

From Eden Garden State Park you can look across the bayou to the point where the ICW leaves Choctawhatchee Bay and enters a manmade canal locals refer to as "the ditch". Notice the prescribed burn occurring across the bay.

From Eden Garden State Park you can look across the bayou to the point where the ICW leaves Choctawhatchee Bay and enters a manmade canal locals refer to as “the ditch”. Notice the prescribed burn occurring across the bay.

PRESCRIBED BURNING

Now days many are aware of the forest management tool we call “prescribed burning”… but not all. For many people, fires are “wild” and the smoke they generate is an unwanted pain.  Much of the southeast, particularly Florida, encounter thunderstorms with frequent lighting.  These lighting strikes spark fires which burn across acres of forest.  The frequency of the lighting storms – and fires – actually kept the understory below the pines cleared and so the fires typically burned low and slow.  The result was an understory of grasses and wildflowers that supported a wide variety of species including deer and quail.  When he traveled through the southeast in 1775, William Bartram described the longleaf forest as “open and monotonous – going on for miles”.  And this was the case… you could literally see up to a mile across the landscape.  But this “monotonous” landscape was misleading in that there were thousands of species found here – many feel one of the most biological diverse systems anywhere.

 

Today 90% of the longleaf has been logged and much of what remains is fire suppressed. For the reasons mentioned above, residents have resisted the natural burns and many species – gopher tortoises, quail, and indigo snakes to name three – have suffered as well.  There is a move across the southeast to restore the old longleaf pine forest.  These trees produce excellent timber – though it takes longer to grow than the loblolly and slash pine currently grown – and many are managing their property for quail and deer hunting.  Yes… the smoke is a problem but the state forestry system plans their burns to reduce the impact it has on the local community as best they can.  If you really want to see the benefits of a well-managed pine forest, take a hike through one – it truly is amazing.

 

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Author: Rick O’Connor – roc1@ufl.edu

Sea Grant Extension Agent in Escambia County

Rick O’Connor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/05/22/nature-tourism-in-the-panhandle-the-intracoastal-waterway-icw-point-washington-walton-county/

Exotic Pet Amnesty Day set for Oct. 3 in Fort Walton Beach

Exotic Pet Amnesty Day set for Oct. 3 in Fort Walton Beach

Do you have any exotic pets you can no longer care for? Would you like the opportunity to surrender those pets without any penalties or fines? Then join the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park for an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day on Oct. 3 in Fort Walton Beach.

This free event is open to the public and will be held in front of Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, 1010 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach. Admission to the park is not included. Surrendered animals will be accepted between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. These animals will be checked by a veterinarian and made available for adoption by experienced individuals who are capable of caring for them.


Animals that will be accepted for surrender include reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates. Domestic animals, such as cats and dogs, will not be accepted. For each animal surrendered, individuals will receive two free admission passes to the Gulfarium.


Animals will be available for adoption after 2 p.m. Exotic pet adopters must be experienced and must have already applied and been approved by the FWC prior to the event. Potential adopters need to bring their acceptance letters with them. People can find
adopter applications at MyFWC.com/Nonnatives. Becoming an adopter is free, but people are required to register a minimum of five days prior to the event to adopt an animal.


Experts from the FWC, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park and other local organizations will be on hand with information about caring for exotic pets, responsible pet ownership and potential ecological impacts of invasive species in Florida. Families can enjoy the opportunity to see several species of exotic animals and participate in crafts and games.


For additional information about this event, call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681). Exotic pet owners who cannot attend this event may call this number for assistance in finding a new home for their animal.


For more information about Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, call 850-243-9046 or visit
http://www.gulfarium.com/.

 

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Author: Rick O’Connor – roc1@ufl.edu

Sea Grant Extension Agent in Escambia County

Rick O’Connor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/10/02/exotic-pet-amnesty-day-set-for-oct-3-in-fort-walton-beach/

Mikael L’Andre honored as Walton County Agricultural Innovator

Mikael L’Andre honored as Walton County Agricultural Innovator

Mikael L'Andre Ag Walton Innovator

Mikael L’Andre (left) was recognized as Walton County’s Agricultural Innovator by Evan Anderson, Walton/Okaloosa Extension Agent.

On Tuesday August 4, 2015, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fifth year these two organizations have teamed up to honor a selection of the most innovative farmers from the Florida Panhandle.

The purpose of the Agriculture Innovator Recognition Program is to annually recognize innovative farmers and ranchers from 16 Florida Panhandle counties, from Jefferson west to Escambia County.  In 2015, County Agriculture Extension Agents selected 12 Agricultural Innovators to be recognized.

All of the county honorees have distinguished themselves as creative thinkers and leaders in the agricultural community.  Mikael L’Andre, from DeFuniak Springs, Florida was honored as Agricultural Innovators in Walton County.  Mikael was nominated by Evan Anderson, Walton & Okaloosa County Extension Agent.  Read the story of the Green Man’s Garden below.  The Agricultural Innovators from other counties will be featured on the Panhandle Ag e-News over the coming weeks.

Mikael L'Andre cover shotMikael L’Andre

Walton County Agricultural Innovator

Submitted by Evan Anderson, Walton & Okaloosa Extension Agent

The GreenMan’s Garden is located on 10 acres in north Walton County. With 3 acres in intensive mixed-vegetable production and more set aside as pasture for chickens and horses, Mikael L’Andre is dedicated to growing sustainably. He uses no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, instead turning to practices such as intercropping, trap cropping, living mulches, and composting to provide a habitat for beneficial organisms and maintain the fertility of the soil. Among the innovative practices he relies upon are planting peppermint to deter pests, allowing a family of foxes to control the rabbit population, adding homemade charcoal soaked in compost tea to the soil, and using seaweed and hydrolyzed fish as soil amendments.  Beneficial organisms like parasitic wasps and ladybug beetles are attracted by planting and encouraging the growth of various flowers, such as amaranth, asclepias, zinnias, and sunflowers. An incredible variety of crops and native plants are grown and encouraged on the property, including leafy greens such as arugula, bok choy, lettuce, kale, Chinese cabbage, sorrel, collards, and lambs’ quarters; vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, beets, corn, beans, potatoes and sweet potatoes, pumpkins and squash, carrots, and peas; mushrooms such as chanterelle, shiitake, reishi, and lion’s mane; fruits such as blackberries, watermelons, peaches, mulberries, plums, grapes, pears, and strawberries; and flowers such as zinnias, snapdragons, giant marigolds, sunflowers, and amaranth.L'Andre potatoesImproving Agriculture through Extension Involvement

Mikael L’Andre has reached out to Extension for soil testing. He has worked with Extension agents on insect and disease problems, and also shares ideas for sustainable farming practices and non-chemical controls of pests. He is always open to having visitors come and learn about the methods he uses on his farm.

L'Andre vegetablesImpacting Agriculture in Northwest Florida

Mr. L’Andre offers a diversity of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and other specialty crops to consumers in Walton County that would otherwise be unavailable or difficult to find locally. He markets his products through farmer’s markets, CSA sales (where customers pay a set fee for  a year and receive produce weekly), and by selling directly to restaurants.L'Andre Sunflower

You might also be interested in the stories of other Agricultural Innovators highlighted in previous weeks:

Jerry Davis honored as the 2015 Northwest Florida Agricultural Innovator of the Year

Gary & Susan Holley honored as Okaloosa Agricultural Innovators

 

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Author: eanderson350 – eanderson350@ufl.edu

eanderson350

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/08/22/mikael-landre-honored-as-walton-county-agricultural-innovator/

Tomato School to be held in Walton County

Tomato School to be held in Walton County

tomato school1

Last year a Tomato School workshop was conducted at the UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center in Jay, FL. The workshop was aimed to help people interested in small farm production of tomatoes. This year it will come to the UF/IFAS Extension office in Defuniak Springs for two class sessions in October.

The course will take a look at every aspect of small farm tomato production from transplant to harvest. Other topics to be discussed are:

      • Variety Selection

      • Integrated Pest Management

      • Disease and control

      • Post-Harvesting

      • Marketing

Participants will also have the opportunity to attend a FREE, hands-on field day at the UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center in Jay, FL on October 26th.

Dates: October 12th & 19th

Time: 6-8pm

Cost $ 40

Location: UF/IFAS Extension Walton Co., 732 N. 9th Street, Defuniak Springs, FL 32433

Eventbrite - Tomato School

For more information contact Blake Thaxton: bthaxton@ufl.edu or (850)623-3868.

Download the: Printer friendly flyer

 

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Author: Blake Thaxton – bthaxton@ufl.edu

Santa Rosa County Extension Agent I, Commercial Horticulture

Blake Thaxton

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/08/14/tomato-school-to-be-held-in-walton-county/

Nolan Adams Honored as Walton County Agricultural Innovator

Nolan Adams Honored as Walton County Agricultural Innovator

Ag Inno 2014 - Walton

Nolan Adams and Family were recognized as Agricultural Innovators by Mike Goodlchild, Walton County Extension

On Thursday August 21, 2014, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fourth year these two organizations have teamed up to honor a selection of the most innovative farmers from the Florida Panhandle.

The purpose of the Agriculture Innovator Recognition Program is to annually recognize innovative farmers and ranchers from 16 Florida Panhandle counties, from Jefferson west to Escambia County.  In 2014, County Agriculture Extension Agents selected 12 Agricultural Innovators to be recognized.

All of the county honorees have distinguished themselves as creative thinkers and leaders in the agricultural community.  This year Nolan Adams was honored as Agriculture Innovator by Walton County Extension .  Read more about Adams Farm below.  The other Agricultural Innovators nominated this year will be featured in Panhandle Ag e-News over the coming weeks.

walton1Nolan Adams – Walton County Agricultural Innovator

Submitted by Mike Goodlchild, Walton County Extension 

Mr. Adams owns and operates a 300 acre farm in Northwest Walton County. The farm was purchased in 1900 by his grandfather, and then in 1913 purchased by his father who raised corn, velvet beans, hogs, and cattle. As a boy on the farm, Mr. Adams remembers the cattle grazing in the woods, since there were no fence laws at that time. After high school, Mr. Adams left the farm to attend college at Florida State and later obtained his Master’s Degree at Auburn. For twenty years he taught school or was a principal in Japan, Midway Island, Germany, and in Minnesota before returning to the farm in Walton County in the late 80s. In the early 90s he began his farming operation raising Jiro persimmons, perennial peanut hay, and red Angus cattle. The seven acre field of persimmon fruit is the only commercial operation in the area and is in high demand when the crop matures in late September. The persimmons are harvested in 30 lb boxes and held in cold storage until all are marketed. Nolan also has a very successful perennial peanut hay business that provides square bales to horse owners in the area. He started planting perennial peanuts in 1990, so he was a pioneer in this area for this commodity.

Currently 60 acres of his farm are devoted to perennial peanuts. His other main commodity on the farm is a cow/calf operation raising red Angus beef, running around 70 brood cows. He backgrounds the calves and sells them by the truckload to a co-op in Georgia. His forage program includes planting winter forages like ryegrass and oats. In late spring he round bales excess winter forage and wraps the bales for haylage, which is fed late fall/early winter until winter forage is ready to graze. Rotational grazing is also used to improve forage utilization. His cows are always at perfect body score, simply meaning fat and happy. Some of his other interests include experimenting with kiwis and working with Dr. Grey, from the University of Florida, growing Southern Jewel muscadine grapes that mimic bunch grapes. He often sells these specialty crops at the Seaside Farmer’s Market. It’s easy to tell from talking to Mr. Nolan that he has a real passion for his farm and the products he produces.

Improving Agriculture through Extension Involvement

Mr. Adams has used the Walton County Extension Service numerous times over the past 20 years in regards to soil testing, insect and weed control, and selecting warm season forages for cattle. He has also attended classes and field days in the past on perennial peanuts. Some of the UF specialists he has worked with include Dr. Ann Blount, North Florida Research and Education Center on perennial peanut production and Dr. Dennis Grey, Mid-Florida Research & Education Center, University of Florida on Southern Jewel grape. Extension professionals and other landowners in the area are always welcomed to visit his farming operation to learn more about the commodities he raises. Mr. Adams is open to suggestions and is constantly doing research to improve production on his farm.

walton3Impacting Agriculture in Northwest Florida

Mr. Nolan Adams began producing perennial peanut hay back in the early 90s. This created a whole new market for this product with horse owners as perennial peanut hay is known as the “alfalfa of the south.” Other landowners in the county began planting perennial peanut after seeing how successful Nolan was. Landowners with horses could purchase high quality hay without having to purchase alfalfa from the northern states. This new market kept money in local farmer’s pockets.

Another innovation of Mr. Adams’ is his persimmon operation which began back in 1992. After first planting Fuyu persimmon, he switched to Jiro persimmon, which was more resistant to insect and diseases plus produced a larger fruit. The fruit is marketed in late September to the Asian community and others throughout the panhandle of Florida. Persimmons can be purchased individually or by the box, which weighs 30 lbs., directly from the farm. There is no other commercial operation growing persimmon fruit in the area. Some years he sells in bulk to buyers from Atlanta. Many homeowners in the area have started growing persimmons in their yards after purchasing persimmons from Nolan. Mr. Adams says that’s okay, because he wants everyone to enjoy this fruit.

You might also be interested in the stories of other Agricultural Innovators highlighted in previous weeks:

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Author: Michael Goodchild – mjgo@ufl.edu

Michael Goodchild County Extension Director Walton County (forestry)

Michael Goodchild

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/10/08/nolan-adams-honored-as-walton-county-agricultural-innovator/

Agricultural Innovator: Walton County

Agricultural Innovator: Walton County

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On Friday August 9, 2013, 13 Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jackson County Agricultural Conference Center in Marianna.  This is the third year these two organizations have teamed up to honor a selection of the most innovative farmers from the Florida Panhandle.

The purpose of the Agriculture Innovator Recognition Program is to annually recognize innovative farmers and ranchers from 16 Florida Panhandle counties, from Jefferson west to Escambia County.  In 2013, County Agriculture Extension Agents from 13 counties selected an Agricultural Innovator to recognize from each of the counties where they serve.

(From Left to Right) Walton County Extension Director Mike Goodchild, and Ron and Rosemary Prokop of R&R Ranch

(From Left to Right) Walton County Extension Director Mike Goodchild, and Ron and Rosemary Prokop of R&R Ranch

The 2013 Walton County Agricultural Innovator is Ron and Rosemary Prokop, of R&R Ranch. The Prokops were nominated by Mike Goodchild and Mindy Hittle-McNair, both Walton County Agriculture Agents.  Read the Prokops’ story below.  Links are provided at the end of the article for other Ag Innovators previously highlighted. Additional award winners will be featured in Panhandle Ag e-News in the coming weeks.

Prokop1 Prokop2

 

Printer friendly PDF version: Ron and Rosemary Prokop (R&R Ranch), Walton County

 

Agricultural Innovators highlighted in previous weeks:

Herman Laramore (Bar L Ranch), Jackson County

Nixon Farms (Shannon Nixon), Okaloosa County

JMAK Farms (Gerald Hubbell), Gadsden County

Stephen and Tracie Fulford, Jefferson County

Wakulla Berries (Rachel McClure), Wakulla County

Miller Family Aquaponics, Escambia County

Turkey Hill Farm  (Herman Holley & Louise Divine), Leon County

Killam Farm, Inc. (Lucas Killam), Santa Rosa County

 

 

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Author: Blake Thaxton – bthaxton@ufl.edu

Santa Rosa County Extension
Agent I, Commercial Horticulture

Blake Thaxton

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/10/25/agricultural-innovator-walton-county/

Walton County’s New Weather Station will Benefit Producers

Walton County’s New Weather Station will Benefit Producers

DeFuniak FAWN

A FAWN (Florida Automated Weather Network) weather station was recently installed at Brown Pit off of Brown Road in North Walton County.  The University of Florida provided Walton County with the $ 15,000.00 weather station.  

Anyone can access the data collected by this and other FAWN weather stations at: http://fawn.ifas.ufl.edu/.  Once on the website you will see a map of Florida showing temperature readings in counties where FAWN stations are located.  Click or hover the pointer over the temperature readings and you will see additional information like soil temperatures, dew point, rainfall, humidity, etc.  As you can see on the FAWN website there are now three stations in the Florida panhandle west of the Apalachicola River.  Walton County’s newest weather station will benefit farmers and gardeners in Walton and surrounding counties by providing data to help make decisions such as when to plant, spray pesticides, and water crops. This station is the northernmost site in Florida.  

Other resources on the FAWN website include aerial maps, and links to publications from University of Florida on agriculture, horticulture, and turf grass.  Take your time on the FAWN website to discover all the information that is available.  The network of weather stations across Florida is near completion, with a total of 40 towers planned.

Check out the current weather conditions, updated every 15 minutes:

DeFuniak FAWN Weather Station Data

 

Pictured above: Mike Goodchild, Walton Co. Extension Director and George Braun, FAWN Program Engineer installing the new Weather Station.

Pictured above: Mike Goodchild, Walton Co. Extension Director and George Braun, FAWN Program Engineer installing the new Weather Station.

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Author: Michael Goodchild – mjgo@ufl.edu

Michael Goodchild County Extension Director Walton County (forestry)

Michael Goodchild

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/06/13/walton-countys-new-weather-station-will-benefit-producers/

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