Certified Pile Burner Courses – November 27 or 28

Certified Pile Burner Courses – November 27 or 28

In response to the large amount of storm debris from Hurricane Michael, the Florida Forest Service and the University of Florida Jackson County Extension Service will be offering a no-cost, Certified Pile Burner Course in Marianna, Florida. For the next several months, because of the risk of wildfires and the challenge of private property access, only certified pile burners will be issued commercial permits in the primary impacted region of Hurricane Michael.

This is one-day class will be offered on consecutive days to allow greater participation:

Choose either Tuesday, November 27, 2018 or Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Class size may be limited, so register early.  This course will show you how to burn piles legally, safely, and efficiently.  This training will be held from 8:30 am till 4:30 pm Central Time at the Jackson County Agriculture Offices, 2741 Pennsylvania Ave., Marianna, Florida.

There will be a test at the end of the session. You must receive a grade of 70% or higher on the exam to pass the course.  After passing the course, you will need to demonstrate a proper pile burn with approval from your local Florida Forest Service (FFS) office to become certified.

Florida’s Certified Pile Burner Training Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should I be a certified pile burner?
A: Certified pile burners are trained to burn piles legally, safely and efficiently. Most importantly, it could save a life. Also, when the weather is dry, certified pile burners will receive priority for authorization to burn by the Florida Forest Service (FFS). Also, certified pile burners are allowed to burn up to two hours longer per day and get multiple day authorizations.

Q: What is a Pile Burner Customer Number?
A: When you call the FFS for an authorization to burn, you will be assigned a personal customer number.  This number references your information, so it doesn’t need to be gathered each time you call for an authorization. You must have your individual FFS customer number in order to be certified.

Q: Is there a test?
A: Yes, the test is 20 questions and open-book. You must receive a score of at least 70% to pass.

Q: What if I don’t pass?
A: Very few people fail the test but if you do, you will be provided another opportunity to take the test at a later date. If you fail the second time, you must re-register and take the training again.

Q: Why do you ask for my email on the application form?
A: Email is the fastest and most convenient method to inform registrants of their registration status. If no email address is provided, then all correspondence will be sent through the federal mail. This can take several days to relay messages, and this may not be practical if changes are made to the course schedule or for last minute registrations.

Q: Is there a cost for the training?
A: No. This is a special class in response to Hurricane Michael, the traditional $50 fee has been waived for these courses.

Q: How long does my certification last, and how long do I have to complete the certification from the time I finish the class?
A: As long as the person with the certification uses their number at least 5 times in a period of 5 years their certification will not expire under the current program. You MUST complete the certification burn within a year of taking the class.

Q: Will certified burners be notified if their certification expires?
A: Yes, notification will be sent out to them to let them know of their upcoming certification expiration date.

Q: Will I be certified at the end of the one-day training?
A: No, you will need to follow the written instructions that you will receive from the FFS to become certified. You will need to complete a simple burn plan, have it reviewed and approved locally by the FFS and also have the burn itself reviewed and approved by the FFS.

Q: Is there a minimum age to be a certified pile burner?
A: Yes, you must be at least 18 years old to take the test and be a certified pile burner.

Marianna Pile Burner Certification Course Registration Packet


For more information, contact: 

Florida Forest Service
Sabrina Willey

USDA Disaster Assistance and Hurricane Recovery Workshops – November 6 & 7

USDA Disaster Assistance and Hurricane Recovery Workshops – November 6 & 7

FSA HeaderRepresentatives from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Rural Development (RD) and Risk Management Agency (RMA) will present disaster assistance information for agricultural producers.

Workshop topics include emergency assistance for livestock & crop-related expenses and losses; financial assistance programs to help with farm and farmland damage; deadlines for applying for disaster assistance programs and programs to help with restoration and rehabilitation of farm and ranch land. Following is the list of dates and locations. All times local.

November 6, 9:00–11:00 am
Bay-Holmes-Washington Counties
First Baptist Church Sanctuary
1300 South Blvd.
Chipley, FL 32428

November 6, 2:00-4:00 pm
Jackson County
Jackson County Extension Office
2741 Penn Ave
Marianna, FL 32448

November 7, 9:00-11:00 am
Calhoun County
Rivertown Community Church Sanctuary
19359 SR 71 North
Blountstown, FL 32424

November 7, 2:00-4:00 pm
Gadsden County
FAMU Research and Extension Center
4259 Bainbridge Highway
Quincy, FL 32352

***ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: Agriculture Disaster Assistance – Information Session for Agriculture and Forest Producers – 2018 (link)

For more information about these USDA meetings, contact Shelly Sale, 850-547-2850 extension 2.

Emergency Assistance Program at the Wakulla Extension Office – November 7

Emergency Assistance Program at the Wakulla Extension Office – November 7

Hurricane Michael fencing damage

Hurricane Michael fencing damage, but the cattle don’t know it.

The UF/IFAS Extension Wakulla County Office in conjunction with the Wakulla Cattlemen’s Association is hosting Steve Tullar, USDA-NRCS Soil Conservationist Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. Tullar will be speaking about the USDA Farm Service Agency Emergency Conservation Program for agricultural producers effected by Hurricane Michael.

He will instruct the attendees about the required information for requesting financial assistance and is bringing the application forms.  Detailed photographs with date and time stamp, or manually written on photos of any damage before it was cleared up are necessary. If the damage has not been cleared, leave it until after it has been inspected by a USDA representative.

This meeting is open to the public and membership in the Wakulla Cattlemen’s Association is not required. The meeting will be held at the Wakulla County Extension Office at 4 Cedar Avenue in Crawfordville, Florida.

For more information call 850-926-3931 or visit the website at http://wakulla.ifas.ufl.edu

Hops and Aquaponics Workshops – November 1 & 2

Hops and Aquaponics Workshops – November 1 & 2

Laura Tiu, Marine Science Extension Agent, Okaloosa and Walton Counties

Aquaponics and Hops – Two New Crops for the Panhandle

The phone rings off the hook at the UF/IFAS Okaloosa County Extension Office.  Questions run the gamut from agriculture, residential gardening, commercial horticulture, family and consumer science, to youth development and marine science.  Extension agents strive to develop programs to bring the latest research-based science from the Universities to the Counties. In November 2018, two such educational workshops will be conducted.

hops cones

Hop cones. Credit: Evan Anderson, UF/IFAS

Hop Production
There has been a growing interest in growing hops in the Panhandle, for home brewing and potentially to supply the growing number of craft breweries in the area.  Researchers and Extension Specialists from the University of Florida and Ohio State University will be available to share the latest research updates and answer questions about what you need to consider before getting started.  The Hops Workshop will be November 1, 2018 at the UF/IFAS Okaloosa County Extension Office, 30 98 Airport Rd., Crestview, FL from 9:00 – 5:00 pm.  You can register here: Hops Workshop Registration

Credit: Green Acre Aquaponics

Aquaponics is another food production method that offers an alternative to traditional soil-based culture. Aquaponics combines aquaculture and hydroponics to produce fish and produce in a water-conserving recirculating system. Join Extension Specialists from the University of Florida, Auburn University and The Ohio State University as we share the latest in aquaponic research and technology. A small scale, fully operational, hobby-scale system will be available for viewing. The Aquaponics workshop will be November 2, 2018 at the UF/IFAS Walton County Extension Office, 732 N. 9th Street, DeFuniak Springs, FL.  You can register here: Aquaponics Workshop Registration

If you have any questions, feel free to contact: Laura Tiu, lgtiu@ufl.edu, 850-6126197 for more information.

Plastic Mulch Retrieval Equipment Evaluation

Plastic Mulch Retrieval Equipment Evaluation

About a month 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.

NC State in cooperation with Waste Reduction Partners is conducting research on plastic mulch retrieval equipment.  The project is evaluating plastic mulch retrieval equipment from various manufacturers to development recommendations for use and plastic recycling.

CropCare Mulch Lifter

CropCare PR 2500 Plastic Mulch Lifter-Wrapper. Photo Credit: PBZ LLC, a Paul B. Zimmerman, Inc. company.

Project Goals

  1. To determine if plastic mulch retrieval costs can be reduced with well designed equipment.
  2. To reduce the amount of plant material left on the film after crop termination to allow for reprocessing of the plastic materials.
  3. To reduce the volume of plastic mulch bundles/rolls to lower transportation costs.

Retrieval Equipment Tested

Preliminary Testing Observations & Recommendations

  • The crop must be mowed before the mulch is retrieved.  A properly adjusted flail mower with a rear adjustable height roller worked best.
  • The mulch retriever must have features that allow for debris to fall off the mulch either by: 1) providing vertical space between the plow(s) and the winding device; 2) a PTO driven blower to push debris off the mulch; 3) an agitation device to knock debris off the mulch.
  • Detailed instructions for setup, adjustment, and operation.
  • Mulch retrieval is more successful in dry conditions, because mud slows collection process and adds weight to plastic bundles.
  • Drip tape must be collected separately for recycling.
  • 1 mil or thicker mulch is recommended to help prevent tearing with retrieval equipment.

When making a decision about purchasing new farm equipment, such as a plastic mulch retriever, it’s important that you evaluate the cost effectiveness for your respective operation.  For plastic mulch retrieval equipment, make sure a recycling facility is within close proximity to your farm.  Transportation logistics should also be considered.  For more information on this project and for collaborator contact information please visit NC State’s IPM Webpages.

Alabama Forestry Field Day – November 2

Alabama Forestry Field Day – November 2

Join Alabama Cooperative Extension for the 2018 Forestry Field Day at Geneva State Forest Lake near Kinston, Alabama on Friday, November 2nd.  The following topics will be covered:

  • Logging Equipment Cleaning
  • Streamside Management Zones
  • Wild Hog Effects on Water Quality
  • Invasive Plant Management
  • Stream Crossings & Forest Roads
  • Alabama Timber Markets

Download the printer friendly flyer:  2018 AL Forestry Field Day flyer.  Lunch will be provided, but registration is required by calling (334) 684-2484. 

Directions to Geneva State Forest Lake (GPS Coordinates: 31.141655, -86.184714)

From Samson\Geneva\Dothan: Follow AL HWY 52 west from Samson (4.4 miles). Turn left onto AL HWY 54 and travel 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Forest Area Road and follow for 2.9 miles. Then turn right onto Forest Lake Road and go 1.6 miles to reach the lake.

From Andalusia\Opp: Follow the Kinston Highway\AL HWY 52 southeast from Opp (14 miles). Turn right onto AL HWY 54 and travel 1.4 miles.  Turn right onto Forest Area Road and follow for 2.9 miles. Then turn right onto Forest Lake Road and go 1.6 miles to reach the lake.

Mature Longleaf Pine habitat. Photo by Judy Biss