Deer Manager 101 Course – June 21

Deer Manager 101 Course – June 21

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be providing a Deer Manager 101 Course in Marianna on Thursday, June 21, 2018.  This class is intended for landowners in Holmes, Washington Bay, Jackson, Calhoun and Gulf counties.  This same workshop will be repeated in Crawfordville and Milton for those other counties in the Panhandle later this year.

The Marianna course will be held from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Central Time at Chipola College, in the Public Service Building, Room 107 (4487 Longhouse Court, Marianna, FL 32446).  Registration will begin at 8:00 AM.  Lunch will be provided free of charge, but participants must preregister by June 18th with Kay Haskins – 850-767-3634.

Featured topics for the class include:

  • Mapping your Property
    Learn about the different free programs available to map your property
  • Deer Biology 101
    Learn about the biology and behavior of deer that can help you make good management decisions
  • Deer Habitat Management
    Learn about the habitat needs of deer and how to manage your property to improve nutrition and cover for your deer
  • Deer Management 101
    Learn about the different management programs as well as manipulating age and sex ratio for better deer hunting
  • Meet local FWC Wildlife Officers
    Learn about the services the Fish and Wildlife Commissioin officers provide private landowners and meet your local officer
  • Aging Deer Before and After the Harvest
    Learn how to age deer on the hoof and as well as by jawbones.  Practice aging jawbones collected from Panhandle clubs.

Use the following link for a printer friendly flyer to use as a reminder or to share with others who might be interested in attending:

18 FWC Deer Manager 101 Course flyer

For more information contact:
Arlo Kane – (850) 767-3616

Bull Calf Evaluation and Marketing Workshop – May 18

Bull Calf Evaluation and Marketing Workshop – May 18

Hereford bulls at Southern Cattle Company, Marianna, FL.  Credit: Doug Mayo

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is holding a hands-on workshop geared toward purebred beef producers on Friday, May 18, 2018.  A Bull Calf Evaluation and Marketing workshop will be held at the Southern Cattle Company Farm, near Dothan, AL from 1:30 to 4:30 PM.

[important]Workshop location:  Southern Cattle Company
US Hwy 84 Farm – 347 S. Bay Springs Road, Dothan, AL
(Not the Southern Cattle headquarters in Florida on Hwy 231 near Marianna)[/important]

According to Rickey Hudson, Animal Science and Forages Regional Extension Agent, “This workshop will teach producers how to evaluate bull calves, and how to effectively market these bulls once they have been developed into breeding bulls.  The workshop will focus on teaching producers how to evaluate a bull calf’s skeletal and foot structure, muscling and reproductive potential.  These physical attributes are very important in how long the bull can remain in the herd.”

Once these physical characteristics have been evaluated and combined with genetic potential indicators, the work of marketing can begin.  “It is important producers understand bulls can have different breeding purposes and this affects how they should be marketed,” says Dr. Lisa Kriese-Anderson, beef cattle specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.  Some bulls excel in many areas, such as calving ease, growth, and the ability to produce good daughters.  Other bulls may excel in only one or two areas.  Each quality bull has his place in the breeding herd.  Kriese-Anderson also adds, “Not all bull calves should be developed as breeding bulls.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Rickey Hudson or 334-693-2010, by Thursday, May 17th.


Utilizing Compost to Boost Crop Productivity

Utilizing Compost to Boost Crop Productivity

Tractor front loaders make turning large amounts of compost possible for farmers. Photo by Turkey Hill Farm.

International Compost Awareness Week is May 6-12 this year. This educational initiative, promoted by the Composting Council Research and Education Foundation, was started in Canada in 1995, and has continued to grow in popularity as communities, businesses, municipalities, schools, and organizations celebrate the benefits of compost and composting. But perhaps the most important people involved in composting are the farmers who produce compost to grow the food we eat.

Compost can be produced and used on the farm as a valuable soil amendment, capable of providing not only a source of slow-release nutrients for crops, but also a way to improve soil structure, increase soil moisture-holding capacity, promote biological activity to enhance plant nutrient availability, suppress weeds, and even help combat some plant diseases.

Farmers can source compostable materials from many businesses, including fish waste from seafood markets. Photo by Turkey Hill Farm.

Although creating on-farm compost can take a lot of time and energy, it can be worth a farmer’s effort, if it keeps soil fertility costs down. One way many farmers produce enough compost to meet their fertility needs is to collect waste products generated by their surrounding community. If a system for collection and transportation can be developed, and non-compostable waste can be excluded, farmers can use waste from grocery stores, restaurants, food processing facilities, breweries, seafood markets, horse stables, dairy operations, and chipped trees collected by power line crews as they clear encroaching tree canopies.

Once a farmer has secured sources for compostable materials, next comes the step of mixing the materials to generate heat, up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately for the farmer, microorganisms do most of the work in the decomposition process. But it is the farmer’s responsibility to provide enough –  and the proper balance of – air, moisture, and nitrogen and carbon-rich food to fuel the aerobic microbial oxidation process. The volume needed to generate favorable composting conditions can be anywhere from about one cubic yard up to 40 cubic yards, depending on these factors.

This is why farmers, who depend on compost to supply a majority of their crops’ nutrient needs, often rely on a dump trailer and tractor front-end loader to move compost ingredients, turn compost piles, and spread the finished product on row beds. With experience, farmers learn the correct ratio of ingredients, proper volume and porosity of their piles, when temperatures plateau and piles need to be turned, and when the compost is finished and ready for use.

Spreading compost on crop rows provides a source of nutrients, improves soil structure, increases soil organic matter content, suppresses weeds, and provides many other benefits. Photo by Turkey Hill Farm.

High quality finished compost typically has an organic matter content of about 50 percent, a carbon to nitrogen ratio of around 20:1, near neutral pH, low soluble salts, and is free of weed seeds and plant phytotoxins. Compost nutrient content by volume is relatively low, and availability can vary greatly depending on soil and climatic conditions, so it is important for the farmer to monitor crop nutrient requirements and use additional amendments as needed. But when compost is used as a long-term strategy for improving soil health and building soil organic matter, its benefits can be appreciated for generations.

Interested in learning more about compost? Leon County Extension is hosting a “Got Compost?” workshop May 8, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST, in celebration of International Compost Awareness Week. This workshop is tailored more for home-composters, but will also touch upon ways to up-scale compost production and will discuss small farm compost production strategies. To find out more and to register, visit the Leon County Extension Eventbrite Page.

Additionally, the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance – a non-profit organization of over 50 farmers within a 100-mile radius of Tallahassee – is promoting International Compost Awareness Week on its website and Facebook page. If you utilize compost on your farm, upload a short compost video to the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance Facebook Page for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the Red Hills Online Market.


Highlights from the UF/IFAS Panhandle Bee College

Highlights from the UF/IFAS Panhandle Bee College

Beekeepers from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and as far away as Iowa, gathered at the Blountstown High School in Calhoun County Florida, for the 25th Annual UF/IFAS Bee College!

During Calhoun County Florida’s spring break, 160 beekeepers from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and as far away as Iowa, gathered at the Blountstown High School for the 25th Annual UF/IFAS Bee College!  Participants at this event learned from local, state, national, and international experts about the latest research and management tools for beekeeping.  This event had never been held before in the Panhandle!

Because of sustained local interest and strong inter-agency partnerships, the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory decided to conduct one of their three annual Bee College events in the Florida Panhandle beginning this year.  Mary Bammer, Extension Coordinator for the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab, states, “Beekeepers in the Panhandle have, for years, been asking for a Bee College in north Florida.  Starting in 2018, we are answering that call.”

The Bee College is a two day event with classes for every skill level.  Participants at the Panhandle Bee College were provided information on beekeeping skills, honeybee behavior, bee health, pest and disease management, selling hive products, native bees, and pollination.  These classes included hands-on beekeeping demonstrations in the bee yard, where students gathered around hives to learn about beekeeping best management practices. Additionally, Bee College hosts a Honey Judging show where participants were encouraged to enter their honey, hive products, art and more.

UF/IFAS Entomologist Dr. Jamie Ellis speaking at one of the concurrent sessions at Bee College. Photo by Judy Biss

Beekeeping is fascinating and is for everyone no matter your age! At each Bee College there is a series of classes set aside for Junior Beekeepers.

One of the unique aspects of Bee College is the hands-on training, as well as the opportunity to interact directly with the state’s top experts on beekeeping. Photo by Judy Biss

Honeybees and pollinators are an incredibly integral part of producing the food you eat, and learning about how to best manage them is an equally important, and ongoing process.  To that end, the UF/IFAS Bee College team extends much appreciation to all program sponsors (listed below), especially local support, without which this program could not have occurred.  We are grateful for the Calhoun County School Board, Superintendent Ralph Yoder, and Principal Debbie Williams for allowing us use of the Blountstown High School (BHS) campus during spring break, BHS staff, Steve Jackson, David Simpson, and Samantha Taylor, for being on call and always available to help before, during, and after the event, and BHS Ag Teacher, Charles Williams, and the FFA Students for organizing a delicious lunch and helping speakers in each of the classrooms.

In-between classes, participants had the opportunity to talk to a number of vendors on site. There were informational booths such as the Florida Beekeeping Association, USDA, UF/IFAS, as well as vendors with a wide range of Beekeeping related products. Photo by Judy Biss

The Bee College will rotate each year with the South Florida Bee College, so the Panhandle Bee College will be back in this region in 2020.  In the meantime, the UF/IFAS Beekeeping in the Panhandle Team will continue to provide local educational beekeeping programs such as the annual Workshop and Trade-show in Chipley, FL.   If you are interested in learning more about managing honeybees or native pollinators, please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension County Office for more information, or see the following links:


UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab


Recap and Presentations from the Panhandle Satsuma Workshop

Recap and Presentations from the Panhandle Satsuma Workshop

The Panhandle Satsuma Workshop was held in Jackson County on February 27, 2018!  There was a great turnout with 115 participants from Florida, Alabama, and Georgia.  Thank you to all who attended.

Thank you also to the presenters: Dr. Xavier Martini; Dr. Pete Andersen; and Dr. Tripti Vashisth!  A special thanks goes out the Cherokee Satsumas for hosting the event!  Whether you attended the workshop, or missed it and need a refresher, their presentations provided the most current information on a variety of important topics. The presentations and additional information are now available online!  Please use the following link to our website to access printer-friendly PDF copies of the information the speakers presented at the 2018 Panhandle Satsuma Workshop.

2018 Panhandle Satsuma Workshop Presentations

Contact your local Extension Agentif you need additional information on these or other topics related to satsuma production.

A special thanks goes to our sponsors for making the workshop possible, and for their continued support of the budding Cold-Hardy Citrus Industry, and the Jackson County Extension Service!


Citrus Health Forum – April 19

Citrus Health Forum – April 19

The faculty and staff at the North Florida Research and Education Center would like to invite citrus producers to the Citrus Health Forum, to be held April 19, 2018, at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center, in Quincy, Florida.  Potential attendees of this meeting will include citrus growers, nursery owners, extension agents, and master gardeners.

With the continuous development of cold resistant citrus varieties, and improvement in freeze protection, there has been a significant growth in north Florida citrus. During the last decade, satsuma and cold hardy, fresh market citrus have generated more interest in north Florida than any other tree crop. There is a growing satsuma industry in the Florida Panhandle.  The satsuma acreage in Florida has increased substantially with 100 acres planted in Gadsden county alone, and more than 200 acres of citrus are now planted in Jefferson county.  Some new developments in North Florida include increased nursery production of satsumas and the establishment of an orange juice plant in Jefferson county.

The Citrus Health Forum will feature both young faculty from across the state, as well as experienced emeritus faculty. The subjects to be covered will include: distribution of Asian citrus psyllid in North Florida, management of scab and alternaria, and citrus frost protection.  Invited scientists renowned for their expertise in citrus pest and disease management, including plant pathologists, horticulturists, and entomologists from the Citrus Research and Education Center, Indian River research and Education Center, as well as Southwest Florida Research and Education Center will be sharing their experience and expertise.

Registration for the Citrus Forum is only $5 per person, payable at the door, and includes a coffee break, lunch and a tour of the Citrus Grove at the Station.  This educational event has been approved for 3 Ag Row Crop, or 3 Private applicator, or 3 Demonstration and Research CEU’s.  Meeting location:  155 Research Road, Quincy, Florid.  Interested participants are asked to RSVP no later than April 18:  850-875-7105 or via email to Alexis Mote.

Agenda (All Times Eastern Time Zone)

Moderator: Dr. Xavier Martini, Entomologist, University of Florida/IFAS, NFREC, Quincy.

  • 8:30 AM Registration
  • 8:45 Opening Remarks – Glen Aiken, Center Director, University of Florida/IFAS, NFREC, Quincy.
  • 9:00 Asian citrus psyllid management and situation in Florida Panhandle – Dr. Xavier Martini, Entomologist, University of Florida/IFAS, NFREC, Quincy
  • 9:30 Management practices for citrus leafminer – Dr. Jawwad Qureshi, Entomologist, University of Florida/IFAS, IRREC, Fort Pierce.
  • 10:00 Scab and Alternaria and greasy spot management – Dr. Ozgur Batuman, plant pathologist, University of Florida/IFAS, SWFREC, Immokalee.
  • 10:30 Break
  • 10:45 Agricultural and biological Engineering technology applied to citrus crops – Dr. Yiannis Ampatzidis, Ag engineering, University of Florida/IFAS, SWFREC, Immokalee.
  • 11:15: Citrus Cold protection. Dr. Larry Parsons, Horticulturist, University of Florida/IFAS, CREC, Lake Alfred.
  • 11:45 Cold hardy citrus varieties, Dr. Peter Andersen, Horticulturist, University of Florida/IFAS, NFREC, Quincy.
  • 12:15 PM Sponsor presentation
  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 1:30 NFREC Citrus Orchard Tour
  • 2:30 Cold Hardy Citrus Association meeting