By January 7, 2017

UF/IFAS Panhandle Ag e-News

Panhandle Ag e-News is brought to you each week by the UF/IFAS County Agents and Extension Specialists serving Commercial Agriculture in Northwest Florida.



Panhandle Ag Update

Things You Should Know About Farm Food Safety
There are a number of important food safety compliance facts you should know as described in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) law.  Depending on the size of your farm, what you grow, or your clientele, you may be exempt or excluded from FSMA.  Whatever your status, it is important that you understand food safety protocol and that you proactively and reactively reduce food safety risks on your farm, and provide the required employee training.

Tools for Assessing Soil Moisture
The exceptionally dry fall, followed by heavy rainfall in December has been problematic for planting and managing winter cover or forage crops. Many might be wondering if their soils have enough moisture reserve to support a cover crop, if you decide to try a late planting. This article provides some guidance on how to assess and track soil moisture without expensive equipment.  In fact, there are only two pieces of equipment required and the third is optional: 1) your fingers, 2) a rain gauge, and 3) internet access.

2016 NASS Farm Land Rent and Labor Survey Summary
Some of the most challenging conversations, in almost any relationship, are the ones about money.  This is certainly true as land owners and farmers, or managers and laborers negotiate for the year ahead. It can be pretty challenging to determine what is a fair price to rent a specific farm, or to set the wages for the skill sets of a specific employee, but, if you know the average rate, it does provide an unbiased reference point for both parties to begin the conversation.

Managing Forests and Farms for Fish and Wildlife Workshop – January 12
The FWC, Forest Service, FDACS Ag Water Policy, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Credit, and UF/IFAS Extension will hold a public workshop in Marianna to discuss ways to manage forests and farms for fish and wildlife.  Featured topics for the workshop will include: Gopher Tortoise & American Kestrel Habitat and Management, Prescribed Burning for Wildlife, Wildlife Best Management Practices, and Cost-share Programs for land owners.

Cattle Market Price Watch: December 2016
The August 2017 Feeder Cattle futures contract decreased by $0.22/cwt. during December.  Based on this futures price decrease, August Feeder Cattle revenues decreased by approximately $1.65/head ($0.22/cwt. * 7.5 cwt.) on a 750-pound feeder steer which amounts to $110.00/truckload (50,000 lbs.).

Panhandle Hay Production Conference and Trade Show – January 25
Regardless of weather conditions, the ability to supply ample and nutritious forage is critical for livestock production.  Learn more about this topic at the Hay Production Conference and Trade Show in Bonifay, FL.  Presentation topics will include: Fertility and Relative Forage Quality (RFQ), Decision Making for Variety Selection, Pest and Weed Management, Marketing Your Hay and Production Cost, and Understanding Weather Forecasting.

January Cattle and Forage Management Reminders
UF/IFAS Beef Cattle & Forage Specialists, and County Extension Agents serving the Florida Panhandle developed a basic management calendar for cattle producers in the region.  The purpose of this calendar is to provide reminders for management techniques with similar timing to those used at the North Florida Research and Education Center’s Beef Unit, near Marianna, Florida.  Links to useful publications with more information are also provided.

So You Want to be a Farmer? Workshop Series
UF/IFAS Extension is hosting a workshop series on topics designed for beginning or novice farmers. There’s a lot to know if you want to get into this business! This series aims to introduce new farmers to innovative and environmentally safe production practices, concepts of soil and water management, integrated pest management, how to grow for a farmers’ market, and financial management.  You can attend any number of the sessions you would like – please note the various session dates and locations.

Panhandle Ag e-News 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards
2016 was the most successful year yet for Panhandle Ag e-News.  18 county agents and 18 state specialists contributed 304 articles in 2016.  There were quite a number of the articles that were very popular, but there were some articles that really stood out as favorites.  Check out the 30 most read articles, and the 10 most popular jokes published in 2016.

Northwest Florida Beef Conference & Trade Show – February 8
The annual Northwest Florida Beef Conference and Trade Show will be held in Marianna, Florida. The focus of the five presentations at the 2017 Beef Conference will be: “Crucial Management in Challenging Times.”  In addition to the educational program, the Beef Conference will also feature a Trade Show of businesses and agencies that work with cattle producers in the region.

December Weather Summary and January Outlook
December brought quite a change from the previous months of drought.  The National Weather Service estimates for rainfall ranged from isolated locations with over 15″, large regions with over 10″, to less than 4″ along the Gulf coast.  The high rainfall totals in December did ease the drought through the Panhandle, but not uniformly.  The Climate Predication Center’s (CPC) outlook for January calls for warmer and wetter than average which should mean continued improvement of drought conditions, at least in the Panhandle.

Farm Food Safety Certification Training – February 13
A Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training will be held in Marianna, FL.  The PSA  curriculum is approved by the FDA to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.  It will also cover key Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are necessary in a farm food safety plan.   The registration fee includes:  training materials, food, and a Certificate of Course Attendance that complies with the requirements of FSMA.

Go to Panhandle Ag e-News to view articles posted in previous weeks.

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