Ann Blount, UF/IFAS Forage Specialist talks to cattle producers about the Legend oat variety that her team developed with rust resistance and increased yield. Credit: Doug Mayo, UF/IFAS
On September 19th, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam announced that Dr. Ann Blount has been named the 2018 Woman of the Year in Agriculture. Dr. Blount has dedicated her career to researching and implementing innovative techniques to improve fall forage production in Florida’s southern coastal areas. The award, now in its 34th year, recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture.
“I’m honored to recognize Dr. Blount as the 2018 Woman of the Year in Agriculture. Throughout her career, Dr. Blount’s extensive research and techniques have incorporated Florida’s unique natural resources to bolster our agriculture industry,” said Commissioner Adam H. Putnam.
Dr. Blount earned a Bachelor of Science in Crop Ecology from Texas A&M University. She continued her education at the University of Florida, where she earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics. Dr. Blount has since spearheaded research of breeding efforts on physiological aspects of fall forage, specifically: developing improved bahiagrass, evaluating new perennial peanut varieties, and enhancing small grains and ryegrasses.
Dr. Blount joined the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in 1988, and she currently serves as an extension specialist and professor of forage breeding and genetics for the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy. Dr. Blount uses a hand-on approach to train new and veteran agents to implement innovative foraging and help landowners test new livestock forages and wildlife blends to assess potential use on their properties.
Dr. Blount has made significant contributions to the agriculture industry, such as six plant patents and plant variety protections, as well as 76 cultivars and germplasm releases and forages. She has also written several educational publications, including: two book chapters, 198 refereed articles, 385 non-refereed articles, 22 national and international proceedings, 124 abstracts and 28 refereed Extension articles. Dr. Blount’s impressive forage breeding program and UF/IFAS Extension activities have improved the production and efficiency of thousands of acres of Florida’s forage varieties.
Ann Blount, UF/IFAS Forage Specialist developed a Pensacola cultivar called UF Riata that has les daylength sensitivity, so it has a longer growing season than other Bahia varieties. Photo credit: Marisol Amador, UF/IFAS
The Woman of the Year in Agriculture award is sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida State Fair Authority. The award will be presented to Dr. Blount during the 2019 Florida State Fair, in Tampa.
Editors Note: Dr. Blount has invested the last 30 years of her life educating livestock producers, county extension agents, and researchers about forage varieties and and forage management. Use the following email link if you would like to send her congratulations on this tremendous honor: Ann Blount, UF/IFAS Forage Specialist.
Burlin and Levi Findley Families, 2017 Santa Rosa County Farm Families of the Year
On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, the Burlin and Levi Findley families, of Wild Boar Farms were honored as the 2017 Santa Rosa County Farm Families of the Year, during the 51st Annual Santa Rosa County Farm Tour. The Findleys received the award from Santa Rosa County Commissioners Don Salter, Bob Cole and Sam Parker, along with a special Congressional Record citation from Congressman Matt Gaetz’s office.
Wild Boar Farms is comprised of father, Burlin (7th generation farmer) and son, Levi Findley, (8th generation farmer). Farming history in the Findley family runs deep and can be traced all the way back to the 1750’s, starting in South Carolina and moving through Georgia and Alabama before finally settling in the Mt. Carmel Community in Santa Rosa County, in 1922. In 1972, Burlin began farming on his own and Levi joined the operation while still in high school. Since 2005, Levi has managed the day to day operations with Burlin right there beside him every step of the way.
Wild Boar Farms was the first National Association of Conservation Districts Soil Health Champion for the state of Florida, and has been recognized as a “This Farm CARES” recipient by Florida Farm Bureau. Wild Boar Farms currently produces cotton, peanuts, corn, and produce on 650 acres. The Findleys have been utilizing conservation tillage on their farm for over 15 years.
Burlin has served the community in many capacities. His many accomplishments include serving on the Blackwater Soil & Water Board for 22 years, Vice Chair for the Escambia/Santa Rosa USDA Farm Service Agency County Committee, State President for the Association of Florida Conservation Districts, Vice President for Three Rivers Resource Conservation & Development Council, and Vice President for the Florida Peanut Producers Association. Burlin is also known for being an expert grill master, and has won multiple wild game cook-offs.
Burlin’s wife Ann is a retired school teacher. The couple has been married for 44 years and have three children, Nikki (deceased), Kelly and her husband Kevin Mitchem, and Levi and his wife Kaylen. All three children attended Jay High School with Kelly going on to FSU, and Levi attending Pensacola State College. Like most, their grandchildren are their pride and joy; Chance (deceased), Avery, Caroline, Mason, and Keith Levi.
Levi also serves his community well. He is an active member of the Mount Carmel United Methodist Church, the Assistant Chief at Station 27 of the Jay Volunteer Fire Department, and is an active member of the Jay Future Farmers of America (FFA) Alumni.
Levi’s wife, Kaylen is the Ag Teacher and FFA Advisor at Jay High School. They have been married for almost two years and recently welcomed Keith Levi into their growing family.
Burlin and Levi’s vision is to diversify their operation, and help sustain farming for the future so the newest Finley (Keith Levi) can continue the Findley farming tradition.
Burlin, Ann, Kaylen, Keith Levi and Levi Findley receive Congressional Record citation from Dawn McArdle, District Director for Congressman Matt Gaetz
The Panhandle Ag Team would like to thank our subscribers for your regular interest and support of this project, and for your help in spreading the word so more producers sign up each week.The Panhandle Ag e-News project began in April of 2012. Over the past six years, 1,206 articles have been published that are searchable by topic area, keyword, author, or by using the search box provided on the site. The Panhandle Agriculture Extension Team is made up of 40 county agents and state specialists serving commercial agriculture in Northwest Florida.
In 2017, the Panhandle Agriculture Extension faculty team contributed 266 articles that provided timely information to farmers and ranchers in the region related to farm management, pest management, best management practice recommendations, as well as announcements for upcoming educational events. Each week links to the newest published articles were shared through 45 electronic newsletters, as well as through Facebook and Twitter Accounts. In 2017 readership increased 35% over 2016 with 224,393 page views (643 /day), and the number of subscribers rose 12% to 4,240 people.
Readers Choice Awards
There were a number of the articles that were very popular this year, but there were articles that really stood out as reader favorites. The following are the 30 most read articles that were published in 2017, and the 10 most popular YouTube videos shared through the weekly Friday Features:
The 2017 Reader’s Choice Award goes to an article written by Chris Prevatt, Livestock Economics State Specialized Agent. His article addressed a commonly asked question around sale barns and at extension programs, “Should I sell light-weight feeder calves now or hold them and sell them when they are heavier?” Like every good economist, his answer , “It depends on your individual situation.” This article was read 2,974 times in 2017.
If you would like to congratulate Chris to let him know he is doing a great job, use the following link to send him an email: Chris Prevatt
The 2017 Runner Up was an article written by Molly Jameson, Leon County Extension. There were 867 readers who were interested in finding out more about the changes to the Cottage Food Law that allows for the sale of homemade items at Farmer’s Markets and roadside stands. The big news was that the law now allows annual sales of up to $50,000, up from the previous limit of $15,000.
If you would like to congratulate Molly to let her know she is doing a great job, use the following link to send her an email: Molly Jameson
The 2017 Third Place article was written by a new Panhandle Ag Team member this year. Xavier Martini is the entomologist at the North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy. His article on the Peanut Burrower Bug was read 748 times. Despite the fact that damage on peanuts has been described for decades, it is only recently that burrower bug has become a recurrent problem in peanut crops in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.
If you would like to congratulate Xavier to let him know he is doing a great job, use the following link to send him an email: Xavier Martini
The Honorable Mention for 2017 was an article written by Nick Dufault, UF/IFAS Crop Pathologist that was read 615 times. With so many cloudy, and rainy days this summer, producers were asking if it would be beneficial to spray a fungicide to their corn crop? Spraying at the right time can be useful in protecting yields, especially with diseases like northern corn leaf blight and southern rust, which spread quickly and cause significant yield losses, if left untreated.
If you would like to congratulate Nick to let him know he is doing a great job, use the following link to send him an email: Nick Dufault
The other most read articles, listed in order of popularity, are:
10 most popular Friday Feature videos
These articles were ranked based on the number of times readers opened the link to each article in 2017. The editors and authors would love to hear your feedback on the articles that were most helpful to you. Use the comment box below to share which articles were of the most benefit this past year.
Reader’s Choice Awards from Previous Years
This week’s featured video was produced by the Florida Department of Agriculture (FDACS) to showcase the 2017 Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award winners. Cindale Dairy, near Marianna, FL was one of three Florida farms recognized by FDACS in November 2017. In addition to the video, you can also read about the dairy in the article that shared their story along with the other farms that were recognized this year: Cindale Dairy Receives Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award
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 related to agriculture, please send in a link, so we can share it with our readers. Send video links to: Doug Mayo
Cindale Dairy – Brad and Meghan Austin (left) and Cindy and Dale Eade (right).
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam announced on November 1, 2017 the recipients of the Commissioner’s Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award, which recognizes the environmentally innovative farming techniques of Florida’s farmers and ranchers. This year’s recipients are: Brad and Meghan Austin and Dale and Cindy Eade of Cindale Farms in Marianna; Greg Davis of Speedling Incorporated in Ruskin; and Brittany Lee of Florida Blue Farms Inc. in Waldo.
“These award recipients use innovative technology and methods to protect Florida’s environment and natural resources while contributing to Florida’s $120 billion agriculture industry,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.
Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture has presented this award annually since 1994 to Florida’s growers and ranchers committed to preserving Florida’s resources while providing agriculture products.
Cindale Dairy Farm
Incorporated in 1994, Cindale Farms is a dairy operation in Marianna, Florida. Brad and Meghan Austin are second-generation dairy farmers who co-own, care for and operate Cindale Farms. Meghan’s parents, Dale and Cindy Eade, founded Cindale Farms and now manage the family’s ice cream business, Southern Craft Creamery, which uses milk produced by their own cows. In 2014, Brad and Meghan became responsible for management of the 467-acre farm. It is home to 300 Jersey and Jersey-crossed cows that are milked twice daily.
Environmental stewardship has been a priority to the family since Cindale Farm’s inception. They were one of the first farms to enroll in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Dairy BMPs and have taken advantage of many environmental stewardship programs to implement nutrient management programs. Such programs include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP). Through EQIP, Cindale Farms used cost-share dollars to implement a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan, rainwater management and storage plan, erosion control and prescribed grazing management. WHIP cost-share funds were used to establish a field border that provides wildlife food and cover benefits. The farm has also partnered with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop and implement a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan, forming a baseline of fertilizer use for the operation and proving that these standards are accessible to farms of all sizes.
Both the Eades and Austins are very passionate about telling the story of agriculture and the positive benefits local farms have on the economy and community. They are very involved with Ag leadership and education, having hosted numerous farm tours at Cindale Farms for consumers, decision makers, extension workers, 4-H clubs, FFA students, teachers and school children. For more than 10 years, they have participated in Ag in the Classroom field trips for students in the county, participated in Young Farmers and Ranchers, and opened their farm up for school tours.
The family’s leadership is shown off the farm just as much as it is shown on the farm. Both Cindy and Meghan have served, or currently serve, on the board of directors of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce as its agriculture representative. They have worked closely with extension on the annual Farm-City Week Celebration and the scholarship program for college students from farm families who are pursuing degrees in agriculture.
Cindy also serves on the board of directors and as vice chair for Northwest Florida Farm Credit and serves on the FDACS Soil and Water Conservation Council. Dale is the vice president of Southeast Milk Inc. (SMI), serves on SMI’s Executive and Audit Committees, and serves as chairman of the Pricing Committee, setting price for raw milk in the region. Dale also serves on the FDACS Dairy Industry Technical Council. Both Meghan and Brad served on the Florida Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Leadership Committee, with Brad being the former president. He also served on the Florida Farm Bureau Board of Directors and is a graduate of the Natural Resources Leadership Institute. He is active on the Jackson County Cattlemen’s board, having previously served as president. Meghan also serves on the board of directors for Florida Dairy Farmers and as committee member and chair for SMI Check-off and Quality Committees, respectively.
The Panhandle Ag e-news project began in April of 2012. Over the past five years, 1,131 articles have been published that are searchable by topic area, keyword, author, or by using the search engine box provided on the site. The Panhandle Agriculture Extension Team is made up of 40 county agents and specialists serving commercial agriculture in Northwest Florida. This faculty team contributed articles on a weekly basis to provide educational information to farmers and ranchers in the region related to farm management, pest management, best management practice recommendations, as well as announcements for upcoming educational events. The electronic newsletter is made up of four parts: a WordPress website that allows numerous authors to add content, weekly notifications via email using the Subscription Management System (SMS), as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts which provide direct links to newly published articles for subscribers.
2016 was an even more successful year for Panhandle Ag e-News. 18 county agents and 18 state specialists contributed 304 articles in 2016, that were posted to the website, with links shared through Facebook and twitter accounts. 46 issues of the electronic newsletter were emailed to 3,775 subscribers. The newsletters, along with Facebook and twitter posts generated 167,881 page views (459/day) in 2016. This represented a 26% increase in subscribers from the previous year, and a 52% increase in readership as compared to 2015. In 2016, the Facebook followers grew 240% from 318 to 1,084, and the number of twitter followers grew 30% from 350 to 456 at the end of the year.
There were quite a number of the articles that were very popular, but there were some articles that really stood out as favorites. The following are the 30 most read articles, and the 10 most popular jokes published in 2016:
The 2016 Reader’s Choice Award goes to an article written by Matt Hersom, UF/IFAS Beef Extension Specialist. Matt’s article that discussed the difference in weight of round bales of varying dimension and the numbers of bales need to feed 25 cows per week. His article was a smash hit on social media, because it was relevant to both hay producers and hay buyers, and was read 10,169 times in 2016.
The runner up this year was an article written by Mark Mauldin, Washington County Ag Agent. Mark’s article discussed issues that cause pastures to decline to the point they need to be renovated. His article was read 1,409 times because he tackled such an intriguing topic.
The third most read article was written by Kalyn Waters, Holmes County Extension Director. Kalyn captured some great advice to share from Ed Neel, Dothan Livestock Market on basic techniques to get more value from calves sold through a livestock market. Her article was read 974 times.
The fourth most popular article was written by Doug Mayo, Jackson County Extension Director. Doug’s article shared the disturbing reports of screw worms that are infesting the native deer population in the Florida Keys. This article was read 949 times.
The other most read articles, listed in order of popularity, are:
10 Most popular Friday Funnies
These articles were ranked based on the number of times readers opened the link to each page in 2016. The editors and authors would love to hear your feedback on the articles that were most helpful to you. Use the comment box below to share what articles, or types of articles you got the most benefit from this past year.