Chuck Woods (352) 392-1773 x 281
George Hochmuth email@example.com, (850) 875-7100
LIVE OAK—Fifty years of service to producers and consumers in the Suwannee Valley area will be recognized Oct. 24 during the 50th anniversary celebration at the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center in Live Oak.
“There will be something for everyone at our 50th anniversary celebration,” said George Hochmuth, center director. “The program will include a wide range of events designed for growers and families, including tours and fun events such as a hay ride, pumpkin picking and decorating and a free barbecue.”
The program, which is free and open to the public, begins at 10 a.m. with tours for students from area schools, followed by grower tours at 2 p.m. Official ceremonies begin at 4:30 pm. There will be a free barbecue dinner for those who make a reservation by calling the center at (904) 362-1725. RSVP by October 10, if possible.
Dinner sponsors include UF agricultural alumni and friends; Live Oak Tractor Company; Farmers’ Cooperative, Live Oak; Farm Credit of North Florida; Lovett Irrigation, Live Oak; and Florida Farm Bureau offices in Baker, Lafayette, Madison and Suwannee counties.
Hochmuth said grower tours will highlight field vegetable and fruit crop trials, greenhouse and outdoor hydroponics and forestry production.
Field vegetable and crop trials will include specialty crops, collard varieties, fruit crops, early season strawberry production, paper mulches, nitrate management and water quality updates.
Hydroponic production (greenhouse, open air, shade structure, bag culture, floating system and vertical systems) will be demonstrated for cucumbers, cut flowers, herbs, peppers and specialty crops.
Results of forestry research trials, including information on fertility management, pine species, pine straw management and weed control, will be presented.
Hochmuth said the center, part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, has many programs to meet the needs of the Suwannee Valley region. They include programs on profitable alternative crops, small farms, greenhouse and hydroponic production, fruits and nuts, plasticulture, drip irrigation, nutrient management, water quality and manure management.
“Our new research and education programs give greater emphasis to marketing, post harvest and forestry,” he said. “In addition to serving commercial producers in the region, the center has popular educational programs in master gardener training and 4-H youth development.”
The center, formerly the Suwannee Valley Research and Education Center, recently was renamed as the North Florida Research and Education Center – Suwannee Valley. The Live Oak facility is one of four centers operated by UF’s North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy. The center also has a facilities in Marianna and Monticello.