GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It took a few years for Buzz Eaves to notice that tropical soda apple shrubs were overtaking his 1,200-acre cattle ranch near Fort Pierce, Florida. The prickly plant, with fruit the size of a golf ball and the color of unripen watermelon, was creating a barrier to the cattle’s grazing ground and displacing native plants.
“I was spending close to $6,000 a year on fertilizer and it wasn’t working that well,” Eaves said. “Then I heard about a program through the University of Florida that helps get rid of invasive species, so I turned to the school for help,” Eaves said. “It was the best thing I ever did.”
The UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences joined a dozen other organizations to form the Florida Invasive Species Partnership (FISP). The members work across boundaries to address invasive species challenges across the state, said Chris Demers, UF/IFAS Extension statewide program manager.
FISP began as a working group to address invasive species on state and federal land. The program expanded to include privately owned land, Demers said. “UF/IFAS Extension faculty provide various resources on invasive species, control and prevention,” he said. “We work across all species, plants, animals and fungus.”
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — One of the most important lessons Destiny McCauley ever learned happened in the show ring: “Never give up, even when you think you’ve lost,” she says.
After the first round of a cattle showmanship competition, McCauley, a long-time Hardee County 4-H member, was put last in the line of contestants, which usually signals a low score, she explained. Thinking she had already lost, McCauley just went through the motions in the second round.
She later found out the judges were testing her resolve. Her placement in the line-up had nothing to do with her score. After the first round, McCauley was in first place, but, after her lackluster second round, she had dropped to third.
Now, as she gets ready to graduate from the University of Western Kentucky with a double major in animal science and communications, that experience in the show ring still impacts the way she faces challenges.
BUSHNELL, Fla. — Residents of Sumter County are gathering early today for a tour of the county’s agricultural offerings. Organizers hope participants will walk away with a deeper connection to their food and food sources.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Sumter County office is hosting a Farm-City Tour on Nov. 1. The tour includes a tour of the Bushnell Nursery, the John Graham Ranch, the Webster Livestock Auction and Farmer’s Market and the Florida Bass Conservation Center.
“Farm-City Week has been held since the 1950s as a way to bridge the gap between the producers and consumers,” said Joseph Stacy Strickland, UF/IFAS county Extension director for Sumter and Hernando counties. “Our agricultural enterprises are dependent on consumers and consumers are dependent on our agricultural products. We in the United States are blessed with an abundance of safe, healthy and affordable food.”
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ONA, Fla. — Ranchers, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty and friends will gather Oct. 27 at the UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center to celebrate the facility’s 75th anniversary of providing the best science for the cattle industry.
Among the scheduled speakers during the day’s festivities are Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources; John Arthington, director of the Range Cattle REC; Ned Waters, president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association; Erik Jacobsen of Deseret Cattle and Citrus; and Jim Strickland of Strickland Ranch.
Payne sees the Range Cattle REC as a facility that provides top-notch research data to ranchers in Florida and beyond.
“The Range Cattle REC has a long history of meeting the needs of Florida’s beef industry,” Payne said. “Our faculty in Ona study weeds, forage and ways ranchers can produce the best cattle for the market.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The goal of any cow-calf operation is fairly straightforward: produce more cattle more efficiently. However, the science of animal reproduction — which includes nutrition, genetics and other health indicators — can be a little less clear-cut.
To help those in the cattle industry better understand reproductive science and incorporate new techniques into their businesses, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension offers annual reproductive management schools for south, central and northeast Florida, said Bridget Stice, agriculture agent for UF/IFAS Extension Polk County.
Stice is the chair of the South Florida Beef-Forage Group’s reproductive school, which will be held Nov. 15 to 17 at Longino Ranch in Sidell, Florida.
NOTICE OF A MEETING OF THE CATTLE ENHANCEMENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2016 – 3:00 PM
TIME AND PLACE OF MEETING
A meeting of the Board of Directors of the Cattle Enhancement Board, will be held on Monday, October 31, 2016 at 3:00 pm EDT. This will be a telephone conference. Please dial 1-866-365-4406, then enter the participant code 8464557# when prompted.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this meeting is asked to advise the Board at least 72 hours in advance by contacting Ms. Goldie King by phone at 352-392-1971 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A cow grazing in a beef cattle pasture at the Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona, Florida. Photo by Tyler Jones, UF/IFAS
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida residents curious or skeptical about the threat posed by the parasitic screwworm fly Cochliomiya hominivorax can rest assured the insect merits all the attention it has received after an outbreak was detected in the Florida Keys earlier this month, say experts with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Commonly known as the primary screwworm fly or New World screwworm fly, the insect threatens the health of warm-blooded animals and people in areas where it is well-established, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
“To put it plainly, a full-blown screwworm infestation is a death sentence for the host animal,” Payne said. “This pest can kill a previously healthy cow or bull in a matter of weeks if the problem isn’t treated properly. It’s that serious.”
Payne urges all livestock and pet owners to educate themselves about the symptoms of screwworm infestation and seek veterinary care for animals exhibiting tell-tale indications such as open wounds that do not heal, running sores, listlessness, loss of appetite or sudden weight loss.
The fly’s larvae must consume the tissue of a live warm-blooded animal to develop, so adult females lay their eggs on livestock and wildlife with superficial wounds, said veterinary entomologist Phil Kaufman, an associate professor with the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department.
“From a strictly scientific point of view, screwworm larvae are incredibly well-adapted parasites,” Kaufman said. “That’s why this species was a constant menace to Florida’s cattle industry up through about 1960, when it was eradicated from the state.” (more …)
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As Hurricane Matthew dumped water and wind on Florida’s east coast last week, it wasn’t long before several alligators were spotted roaming the parking lot at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Brevard County office. But alligators or no alligators, the two faculty members hunkered down in the facility weren’t about to leave their posts any time soon.
“We have a very large generator at the office that we needed to keep running during the storm in case people at the county facilities lost power and had to move to our facility,” said Linda Seals, director of UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County.
Seals’ staff weren’t the only ones hard at work helping residents and emergency personnel weather the storm. From housing evacuated livestock to manning the phones at local emergency operations centers, UF/IFAS Extension faculty across the state put in many long hours and a few sleepless nights keeping people safe and informed.
“We serve 20 million Floridians year-round in our day jobs, but in a crisis we work 24/7 to help those most in need” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “We demonstrated all weekend long how much we value our relationships. Our actions told our communities that this isn’t just a job to us. This was about helping friends, neighbors and community members.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty will be sharing their expertise on the theme of Florida’s animal agriculture at the 39th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo — the largest agricultural expo in the southeast.
About 80,000 people are expected to attend the expo, held Oct. 18 to 20 in Moultrie, Georgia.
“Our experts in UF/IFAS Extension are thrilled to represent our programs, and we are proud to participate in such an important event. It is a great opportunity to meet others who are as passionate about agriculture as we are,” said Nick Place, dean of UF/IFAS Extension.
Visitors come to the expo to learn about the latest agricultural research, technology and marketing tools, according to the expo web site.
At the permanent UF/IFAS building, displays and exhibits will tell the story of Florida’s animal industries, starting with the resources that go into raising animals and ending with the safe preparation of animal proteins. In addition, attendees can hear presentations on livestock forages and poisonous plants by UF/IFAS researchers in the expo’s Beef Barn, or head over to the pond section to learn more about Florida’s fisheries.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher and his colleagues are far more certain now that a new biological treatment could prevent dairy cattle from getting uterine diseases, which might improve food safety for people.
That’s because Kwang Cheol “KC” Jeong, an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS animal sciences department and Klibs Galvao, an associate professor in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, and their team conducted their experiments in the lab the first time. This time, they went into the field.
Jeong, who’s also affiliated with UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, studied uterine illnesses because they can make cows infertile, lower milk production and because those maladies are often linked to bacteria.