Farm Bill Seed Cotton and Hurricane Program Updates

Farm Bill Seed Cotton and Hurricane Program Updates

Cotton field with open white bolls

On September 7, 2018, courtesy of Clover Leaf and Sowega Cotton Gins, the Jackson County Extension Office hosted a two-hour meeting for cotton growers. Don Shurley Professor Emeritus of the University of Georgia and John VanSickle with the University of Florida shared pertinent information regarding risk management program decisions, and the upcoming deadlines for cotton growers. This meeting was also web broadcast via Zoom to participating Extension Offices across Florida’s Panhandle in order to increase the number of producers reached. The meeting was recorded live and the labelled presentations are available below for viewing along with their PDF versions.

The first hour consisted of Don Shurley giving an overview of the seed cotton program (specifically in terms of how it works and how prices and payments will be calculated) and then discussing the generic base conversion options.  The following was the recorded presentation explaining the Seed Cotton Program provided at this training.

Important date regarding the seed cotton program:
1. December 7, 2018 -enrollment deadline for seed cotton program and make base elections.

Seed Cotton Program Overview Handout used at the meeting
Printer friendly Seed Cotton Presentation
Seed Cotton Program Decision Aid spreadsheet mentioned in the presentation

Dr. Shurely also wrote an article on the Seed Cotton Program: Understanding Your Generic Base Conversion Options with the New Seed Cotton Program

After the farm bill update, Dr. Shurely also briefly covered the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and what it entails.

Market Facilitation Program (MFP) Handout

During the second hour, John VanSickle discussed the Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (WHIP). This program enables the USDA’s Farm Service Agency to make disaster payments to offset losses from hurricanes and wildfires during 2017. WHIP covers both the loss of the crop, tree, bush or vine as well as the loss in production.

Important dates regarding the WHIP program:
1. November 16, 2018- enrollment deadline.

WHIP Program Factsheet
Printer friendly WHIP Presentation

Fall Cattle Seminar – September 20

Fall Cattle Seminar – September 20

Walton County Extension is once again hosting the annual Fall Cattle Seminar, on Thursday, September 20, 2018.  Registration will begin at 4:00 PM CDT, with the program starting at 4:15 and concluding around 8:00 PM.  The Fall Cattle Seminar will be held at the at the Paxton Ag Center (22036 Hwy 331 North, Paxton, FL 32567).

Topics to be discussed will include:  Ways to Reduce Cost of Cattle Production, Making Sense of Our Genetic Tools, and Herd Bull Management.

Registration for this event is $10 per person, and includes a steak dinner. RSVPs are required to reserve your seats by Monday September 17.  RSVP by calling 850-892-8172, or via email to  You can also register online, and purchase your tickets in advance with a credit or debit card:

Fall Cattle Seminar Agenda

  • 4:00 PM – 4:15 PM Registration
  • 4:15 PM – 4:30 PM Welcome, Introductions – Mike Goodchild, Walton Co. Extension Director
  • 4:30 PM – 5:00 PM Sponsor Presentations– Mark Waggy & Jack Hittinger, Farm Credit of Northwest Florida, Jim & Stephanie Waite, Ronnie Hales, Southern Silage Supply, & Ken Stewart, Southern Cattle Company
  • 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Steak Dinner with all the fixings, and time to visit with sponsors and attendees
  • 6:00 PM – 6:40 PM – Ways to Reduce Costs of Cattle Production – Ken Kelley, Regional Ext. Agent, Alabama Co-op Extension System
  • 6:45 PM – 7:15 PM – Making sense of our genetic tools – Nick Simmons, Escambia County Extension
  • 7:20 PM – 8:00 PM – Herd Bull Management – Kalyn Waters, Holmes Co. Extension
  • 8:00 PM – Door Prizes & Evaluations


Art, Garden & Farm Family Festival – October 6

Art, Garden & Farm Family Festival – October 6

Bring the whole family for a fun day at the NFREC Art & Garden Festival and talk with agricultural scientists about new crops, methods and equipment for modern farming.

As the weather cools and plants perk up, join us for a day of fun activities for the whole family! View farm animals and equipment, and talk with agricultural scientists about new crops, methods and equipment for modern farming. Take a stroll through the new botanical garden or hop on a tractor-trolley for a tour highlighting fruits and nuts for our area. Speak with experts about all your gardening questions, or purchase unusual, hard-to-find, top-performing plants for your garden.  Children’s arts and crafts activities will take place in a huge “Kid Zone” located in a shaded area of the garden area.  Local arts and crafts will be for sale, and food and beverages will be available.

The University of Florida/IFAS will host the Art, Garden & Farm Family Festival on Saturday October 6, at the North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC), Quincy Campus. The event will be held form 9:00 am to 2:00 pm EDT. NFREC Quincy is located off Pat Thomas Highway, State Road 267, at 155 Research Road, Quincy, FL, just north of I-10 Exit 181,  or three miles south of Quincy, Florida.

The event is free and open to the public.  For more information:

New North Carolina Tomato Varieties Offer Disease Resistance and Better Flavor

New North Carolina Tomato Varieties Offer Disease Resistance and Better Flavor

Dr. Randy Gardner discussing NC State tomato varsity trials. Photo Credit: Matt Lollar

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend North Carolina State’s Tomato Field Day, at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, NC.  Every summer crowds flock from all over the Southeast to learn what’s new in the world of tomatoes.  Since it’s not always convenient for you to drop what you’re doing to make a road trip to North Carolina, I’ll highlight something I learned from the field day.

New Varieties with Dr. Randy Gardner and Dr. Dilip Panthee

Dr. Randy Gardner is a retired tomato breeder from NC State with more than 30 years of experience.  Dr. Dilip Panthee is NC State’s newest tomato breeder.  Both are working on developing new cultivars with both disease resistance and an added emphasis on flavor.  The three main diseases they are focusing on for resistance and/or tolerance are Late Blight, Bacterial Spot, and Verticillium Wilt Race 2.  See the list below of some of their newest releases.  Just remember that these varieties were developed for North Carolina growing conditions, so it’s recommended that you give them a try on a small scale to evaluate them for your area.The varieties listed in the table above are available in the market.  For a sneak peak of what’s in store for the future, check out this poster developed by Dr. Panthee:  NC State Tomato Variety Replicated Trials 2018.  More details on NC State’s tomato research can be found at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center website.  Thanks to NC State for an excellent field day!

Dr. Randy Gardner and Dr. Dilip Panthee, NC State tomato breeders, are working on disease resistance with an added emphasis on flavor. Photo credit: Dr. Dilip Panthee, NC State


2018 Sunbelt Ag Expo Offers Innovation, Technology, & Education – October 16-18

2018 Sunbelt Ag Expo Offers Innovation, Technology, & Education – October 16-18


When you visit the Sunbelt Ag Expo in October, make sure you visit the UF/IFAS Barn to visit with members of the Panhandle Ag Team about services available from the Extension Service for farmers, and enjoy some free orange juice and peanuts while you are there.

Becca Turner, Sunbelt Ag Expo

The Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition will celebrate its 41st Anniversary show October 16-18, 2018. Over 1,200 exhibitors will display and demonstrate products and welcome thousands of visitors to the 100 acre show site.

Crowned as North America’s Premier Farm Show ® and the largest Farm Show in America with field demonstrations, the Sunbelt Ag Expo brings together all segments of agribusiness including farmers, educators, policy-makers, ag-enthusiasts and families.  All attending the show will see the latest innovation and technology that the agriculture industry has to offer.

Education is the key component of the show with over 300 seminars and demonstrations offered over the 3-day event.  These seminars and demonstrations are taught in exhibit areas for beef, dairy, poultry, forestry, pond management, equine and cattle management.  Farmers and ranchers attending gain beneficial knowledge on the latest in cutting edge techniques from industry leaders and university specialists.  The Expo works with 21 different education sponsors to host a strong seminar and demo schedule.  These education sponsors include major universities and colleges with six of these having permanent exhibit buildings on-site.   New this year, the Expo will feature Youth Educational Challenges for 6th-12th graders as a competitive and fun opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge in six different content areas.

The Hoss Tools Sustainable Living Center focuses on topics for the specialty gardener. If you are interested in learning how to garden year round, visit this section.  Greg Key, owner of Hoss Tools will offer a bounty of information on gardening tips, tools and more in the demonstration garden.

A crowd pleaser is the 600-acre research farm’s field demonstrations. These demos showcase harvesting and tillage equipment for cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans and hay. As in the past, cotton will be harvested during the show!  In addition, hay demos will include all facets of hay harvesting from cutting to baling and will provide visitors the opportunity to see 80 different types of hay harvesting equipment run in a true farm setting.

Expo is honored to have Kentucky as the 2018 Spotlight State. The Kentucky Spotlight State Committee has put together an all-encompassing exhibit themed “Kentucky Start to finish: Pioneering Innovation.”  The exhibit will also feature a special section on Agricultural Safety, including seminars and demonstrations.

There’s never a dull moment during the 3-day show and attendees will find there is something for the entire family.  There is a daily rolling Antique Tractor Parade, the American Grand Finals Stock Dog Trials (the largest field of competition in recent Expo history), and even a Cow Milking Contest. Add in rural lifestyle fun, truck, tractor and ATV test drives, and the venue is perfect for rural enthusiasts.

Chip Blalock, Show Director, says, “The Sunbelt Expo is an unbelievable showcase of rural living blanketed with agriculture’s newest ideas and technologies. Its 3-days of fun, education and dreaming about agriculture’s future as we team together to feed, clothe and house a growing population around the world.”

The Sunbelt Ag Expo is open Tuesday through Thursday, October 16-18, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 (T,W) and 4:00 (Th).  Admission at the gate is $10 per person per day. Advanced and discount tickets can be purchased online.  The Show site is four miles southeast of Moultrie, GA on Hwy 133. For more information, go to the show website at

Friday Feature:  Highlights from the 2018 UF/IFAS Peanut Field Day

Friday Feature: Highlights from the 2018 UF/IFAS Peanut Field Day

This week’s featured video was produced by the Panhandle Ag Extension Team to share the most important points made by the six speakers at the 2018 Peanut Field Day.  The event was held August 23, 2018 near Marianna at the North Florida Research and Education Center.  Topics discussed at the Field Day included: new peanut varieties, managing insects, fungal diseases, and weeds in peanut fields, the fertilizer value of peanut vines for the ensuing cover crop, and the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program being offered to farmers by USDA’s Farm Service Agency.


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

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