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Food Check-Out Week will be Celebrated February 14-18, 2022

February 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

Farm Bureau volunteers statewide will be celebrating Food Check-Out Week Feb. 14-18. The celebrations spotlight the healthy, nutritious food supply available to Floridians.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, when applied to a calendar year, the average American earns enough income to pay for an annual supply of food in just seven weeks. By comparison, the same person must work until mid-April to pay for annual yearly income taxes.

The average American is now at least three-generations removed from the farm. To help better link Americans with the sources of their food, clothing, shelter and energy, Farm Bureau volunteers will host various interactive community events statewide.

Sample events include educational and food displays at local grocery stores including food giveaways, collections for food banks and donations to various charities, such as Ronald McDonald House Charities.

To find out what events are taking place in your community, contact your local Farm Bureau county office by visiting https://www.floridafarmbureau.org/county-farm-bureaus/. For assistance in planning an event, view our Food Check-Out Week Toolkit.

In The Community: Clay County Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Host 4th annual Showdown in the Springs

February 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

The Clay County Young Farmers and Ranchers group hosted their fourth annual Showdown in the Springs on Saturday, January 15. Drawing exhibitors from all over Florida and Georgia, this show is part of the Florida Junior Swine Circuit. More than 200 exhibitors participated. Ages ranged from two years-old  to 18 years-old.

“This show has become another opportunity for the agricultural community to work together to invest in youth,” said Kelly Mosley, a Clay County Farm Bureau board member. “It provides a chance for former 4-H and FFA members to give back to the community that has given them so much.”

This event came to fruition after Ashlee Hughes, a Clay County Young Farmers and Ranchers member, presented the idea to the Clay County Farm Bureau board of directors nearly five years ago. Her vision was to provide 4-H and FFA members in the community an additional opportunity to show their swine before the Clay County Fair.

“It provides a chance for former 4-H and FFA members to give back to the community that has given them so much,” said Mosley. “It’s also an opportunity for Clay County Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program to increase membership and participation.”

For more information about Florida Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program, contact your  local county Farm Bureau.

Photo courtesy of TK Photography

Cattle Transparency Act Should Not Mandate Cash Purchases

February 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

American Farm Bureau Federation announced today its support of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2021, with the exception of the bill’s establishment of mandatory minimums for negotiated purchases. AFBF delegates voted last week in Atlanta to revise 2022 Farm Bureau policy. While Farm Bureau supports robust negotiated sales, delegates voted to oppose government mandates that force livestock processing facilities to purchase a set percentage of their live animal supply via cash bids.  

The press release by American Farm Bureau can be found at: Farm Bureau Seeks Revision to Cattle Transparency Act (fb.org) .

If you have any questions and/or concerns or would like more information on the issue, please contact Jaime Jerrels, Director of Ag Policy or Geoffrey Patterson, Assistant Director of Ag Policy. 

Land Grant Partner: J. Scott Angle

February 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

By J. Scott Angle
jangle@ufl.edu
@IFAS_VP

Even when Ronald Norris breaks even growing corn on his 70 acres north of Lake City, he says, it’s not by much. Yet he owns a soil moisture sensor, a no-till drill and a side dressing rig to apply fertilizer by the row instead of broadcasting it.

Norris monitors his plants’ health and whether nutrients escape his farm by sending soil and tissue samples to labs. He dedicates part of his acreage to experiments to identify how to be more efficient with fertilizer. He also owns something money can’t buy—Farm Bureau recognition as an environmental steward. 

UF/IFAS Columbia County Extension agent Jay Capasso has a hand in just about all of it. His hands take samples, harvest corn and assists with calibrating equipment. They also strike the right keys on a computer that has allowed Norris to accumulate the equipment and know-how that have kept him in business.  

Norris says that without Capasso, he likely would have quit farming. Capasso has been a pipeline to the funding that has covered almost all of the tens of thousands of dollars invested in the machines, lab testing and harvesting on experimental plots.  

Capasso showed up three years ago on Norris’s farm with modest grant funding and the desire to make an impact. Norris was intrigued by an opportunity to learn. The two put a $5,000 Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) grant to use testing different ways to fertilize corn. Capasso kept writing grant proposals.

On the advice of UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center-Suwannee Valley BMP outreach coordinator Joel Love, Capasso secured more than $30,000 for a no-till drill to plant cover crops without disturbing Norris’s soil. 

Capasso helped Norris learn how to use the soil moisture sensor that cost the farmer only pennies on the dollar through the Suwannee River Water Management District’s (SRWMD) agricultural cost-share program. It has saved him hundreds of dollars in reduced water bills through a 40 percent reduction in irrigation without sacrificing yield. 

Capasso is still active on the keyboard, securing further FDACS funding to continue research on the Ronald Norris Farm on how best to apply fertilizer to his corn.  

Last year Capasso supported a nomination submitted to the Florida Farm Bureau that earned him an award from Suwannee CARES, a cooperative effort of the Farm Bureau, UF/IFAS, SRWMD, FDACS and the Suwannee River Partnership to honor environmental stewards. 

Norris loves producing food and treasures the heritage of growing corn on land his grandfather and great-grandfather worked. He loves it so much that he spent 34 years farming on the side after hours during a career at the Florida Department of Transportation before becoming a full-time farmer. 

Now he has more time to spend on science and with a scientist whose career is just getting started. As farmers face increasing scrutiny of their management of nutrients, you need that science more than ever. 

That puts a land-grant university in a position to help you more than ever. We’re hard at work updating statewide nutrient recommendations.  At the same time, right source, right rate, right time and right place are farm-to-farm things. Capasso and Norris are figuring out those 4Rs in Deep Creek. In so doing, they’re figuring out how a small farmer can afford to do what he loves to do. 

J. Scott Angle is the University of Florida’s Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources and leader of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).

 

 

 

 

 

 

2022 Legislative Session Is Underway

February 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter  

The 2022 Legislative Session is underway!  Farm Bureau members took to the state capitol back in December ahead of this session to meet with elected officials regarding bills that will have significant impacts on Florida’s farm families.   

Some of these bills include funding for young farmers and ranchers under a grant matching program, improvements to the state’s Best Management Practices program to ensure agricultural producers can remain in compliance, and also a bill on protecting agritourism business operations. Staff from Florida Farm Bureau’s State Legislative Affairs Division are working diligently to support the interests of agriculture.  

In fact, Farm Bureau leaders were in Tallahassee this week to advocate on behalf of these issues. 2022 Florida Farmer of the Year and dairyman, Jerry Dakin, visited with elected officials serving as the voice of Florida’s farmers and ranchers. 

 

 

Stay up to date each week on the progress Farm Bureau’s legislative action, by visiting: Legislative Action Center | Florida Farm Bureau     

In The Community: Broward & Hillsborough County Farm Bureaus Earn National Recognition from American Farm Bureau

February 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

Broward and Hillsborough County Farm Bureau were two of only eighteen county Farm Bureaus selected to receive national recognition by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).  The AFBF County Activities of Excellence (CAE) Awards celebrate grassroots programming that is innovative and volunteer-centered.  Broward County Farm Bureau was recognized for their drive-thru COVID-19 Testing Center and Hillsborough County Farm Bureau was recognized for its Ag-Ventures in a Box.  As part of their award, each county Farm Bureau hosted an interactive booth to display their programs and encourage other state Farm Bureaus to adopt similar programs.

Broward County Farm Bureau Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Center
Broward County Farm Bureau (BCFB) set-up two COVID-19 drive-thru testing centers for its members to utilize during the pandemic. BCFB members could receive a free COVID-19 test on Tuesdays and Thursdays at their county office in Margate, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Bob Roth’s New River Groves in Davie.

Broward County Farm Bureau President, Fred Segal, recalls receiving numerous phone calls from Farm Bureau members needing COVID testing and he felt the need to set up a better resource for not only Farm Bureau members but also local residents.  “Members from the Broward community were able to see that Farm Bureau cares about its local citizens and the exposure positively impacted membership.”

By offering this service to the community, Broward County was able to reach non-members and help educate them about agriculture while providing a service to the community. Thousands of residents were tested through the duration of this innovative initiative.

Hillsborough County Farm Bureau Ag-Ventures in a Box
Hillsborough County Farm Bureau (HCFB) has hosted their local Ag-Ventures program for more than 27 years. The 8-day long event welcomes local elementary students to learn about Florida agriculture through interactive and hands-on demonstrations. Due to unforeseen circumstances with COVID-19, Hillsborough County Farm Bureau pivoted to create “Ag-Venture in a Box” and bring their popular Ag-Ventures directly to local students so that they didn’t miss out on the event.

Boxes were available to Hillsborough County teachers for a nominal fee of $25.00. The activity was widely popular and 93 boxes were distributed to teachers throughout the county.  Executive Director, Judi Whitson, shares, “Agriculture in our community could not afford to miss even a single school year.  It is critical that our students across the county maintain a familiarity and meaningful connection with agriculture.  I am so proud of our program and am excited to see if continue for the future.”

District 7 Field Representative

SUMMARY:

Florida Farm Bureau Federation is the Sunshine State’s oldest and largest general agriculture organization. We pride ourselves in being the voice of Florida’s farmers and ranchers and keeping their traditions, values and heritage alive for generations to come. Since our founding in 1941, the District Field Representative has been an integral part of the success of our organization. Our District Field Representatives work closely with the volunteers of each county Farm Bureau within their assigned area to accomplish the goals and objectives of our organization. This career requires a person with a deep passion for agriculture, a servant leader’s heart and motivation to succeed.

As a member of the Field Services team, everyone is expected to personally exhibit, at all times, three standards: uncompromising integrity, unyielding work ethic and a positive attitude. Furthermore, our team members are energetic, high achievers with a genuine love for people and seek to consistently improve our personal and professional abilities.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

This position is expected to work autonomously with minimal instruction or direction and be able to accomplish the following:

  • Serve as a conduit between Florida Farm Bureau and the county Farm Bureaus in the district.
  • Collaborate and work effectively with all members of the Florida Farm Bureau team to accomplish goals and objectives as assigned.
  • Work closely with the county Farm Bureaus, regularly attend county events, represent the organization at activities, and increase engagement within county boards.
  • Build and develop productive relationships with your county Farm Bureau leaders and members.
  • Assist county Farm Bureaus in the promotion of agriculture within their respective communities.
  • Assist county Farm Bureaus in the marketing of membership in order to increase recruitment and retention.
  • Work closely with the Leadership Programs Coordinator in fulfilling the goals and objectives of the Young Farmers and Ranchers and Women’s Leadership Programs within their respective district.
  • Help in surfacing and developing effective leaders. Examples are state advisory committee members, YF&R and Women’s participants.
  • Speak on behalf of Florida Farm Bureau at various events throughout the district.
  • Write articles on behalf of agriculture and Farm Bureau to newspapers, legislators, and others.
  • Proficient in the operation of Microsoft Office applications (ie. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS:

In order to perform the job successfully, the District Field Representative must be able to perform all the aforementioned duties, while being required to plan, conduct and attend various evening and weekend activities. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and ability required.

The District Field Representative is required to live within one of the following counties: Brevard, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, & St. Lucie.

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS:

A bachelor’s degree in an agricultural related field from a four-year college or university, and two years of work experience or master’s degree required.

LANGUAGE SKILLS:

A District Field Representative must have the ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or government regulations. They also must be effective in writing reports, articles, and business correspondence to a variety of audiences.  They should be proficient in presenting information in a professional manner and to competently respond to questions from groups, members, and the general public.

REASONING ABILITY:

A District Field Representative is able to solve practical problems and interpret a variety of instructions and information furnished in written, oral, and other forms. Emotional intelligence is necessary to achieve productive relationships with our members and county Farm Bureaus.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee in order to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

  1. While performing the duties of this job, the employee will be required to travel extensively by automobile, during all hours and in various weather conditions.
  2. Will be required to aid and assist in setting up meetings, moving tables, plants and other materials moving weights up to 50-60 lbs.
  3. May be required to drive a truck or van.

No Phones Calls Please

APPLY NOW

Food Check-Out Week will be Celebrated February 14-18, 2022

January 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

Farm Bureau volunteers statewide will be celebrating Food Check-Out Week Feb. 14-18. Food Check-Out Week, celebrated the third week in February, is a time to celebrate the abundance of fresh and nutritious food available to consumers at affordable prices.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, when applied to a calendar year, the average American earns enough income to pay for an annual supply of food in just seven weeks. By comparison, the same person must work until mid-April to pay for annual yearly income taxes.

The average American is now at least three-generations removed from the farm. To help better link Americans with the sources of their food, clothing, shelter and energy, Farm Bureau volunteers will host various interactive community events statewide.

Sample events include educational and food displays at local grocery stores including food giveaways, collections for food banks and donations to various charities, such as Ronald McDonald House Charities.

To find out what events are taking place in your community, contact your local Farm Bureau county office by visiting https://www.floridafarmbureau.org/county-farm-bureaus/. For assistance in planning an event, view our Food Check-Out Week Toolkit.

Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Banquet Celebrates Five Inductees, Four Florida Farm Bureau Members

January 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

Tickets are now on sale for the 43rd annual Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame banquet, which will honor five inductees who have made invaluable contributions to Florida agriculture. 

Four of the inductees are members of Florida Farm Bureau: John Hundley (Western Palm Beach County); John Stitt (Hendry/Glades County); Reggie Brown (Alachua County); and Dr. Wayne Smith (Jackson County).

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Feb. 15, where this year’s inductees will be recognized along with the Class of 2021 inductees, as last year’s banquet was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The reception begins at 5 p.m., with the dinner and program following at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online for $75 at https://floridaaghalloffame2022.eventbrite.com or by calling 813-230-1918. Online ticket sales close Feb. 8. View full release. 

American Farm Bureau Annual Convention Recognizes Members

January 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

Florida Farm Bureau members and staff traveled to Atlanta to celebrate the achievements of farm families and represent Florida’s farmers and ranchers as Farm Bureau policy priorities are set for the coming year at the American Farm Bureau 103rd Annual Convention.

Three Florida county Farm Bureau projects were chosen to participate in the County Activities of Excellence Program: Dade, Broward and Hillsborough counties.

Florida Farm Bureau was also recognized for receiving the 2021 Awards of Excellence in four categories: Advocacy, Engagement & Outreach, Leadership & Business Development and Coalitions & Partnerships.

Young Farmers and Ranchers Scarlett Jackson (Polk County) and Shelby and Kevin Lussier (Alachua County) competed in the Excellence in Agriculture and Achievement in Agriculture contests. The Lussiers were among the top ten national finalists for the Achievement in Agriculture award.

Farm Dog Fit, a border collie from Lake County, took home national honors by winning the 2022 Farm Dog of the Year.

Florida Farm Bureau state staff also participated in a panel on membership recruitment.

The convention was offered both in-person and on a virtual platform simultaneously. Virtual registration will remain open for 90 days following conclusion of the event. For schedule and virtual registration information, visit https://annualconvention.fb.org/.

For photos of Florida Farm Bureau members, visit the online gallery: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzyfS1.