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IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS study sheds light on homebuyer types

Topic(s): Economics, Families and Consumers, Finances, IFAS, Research

Cantrell for web 033115

Randy Cantrell

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Some homebuyers want to live near the best schools and shopping. Others favor houses that look gorgeous from the outside. Still others are motivated by the house’s cleanliness. But a University of Florida housing specialist found multiple types of homebuyers and what lured them to buy homes after the housing bust.

That data could help Realtors and people trying to sell their own homes.

While real estate remains largely focused on “location, location, location,” post-housing-bust homebuyers fall into four categories and five sub-categories, said Randy Cantrell, an assistant professor in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

A few years ago, a South Florida Realtor asked Cantrell what compelled people to buy homes after the most recent real estate boom-turned-to-bust, defined as any time after 2008. Since 2008, potential homebuyers have competed for mortgages typically reserved for those with credit scores of at least 680 – out of a maximum of 850 — and riskier mortgages are no longer available, Cantrell said.

(more …)

UF/IFAS implements the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program this tax season

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, Finances, IFAS

A pink piggy bank set atop a pile of money.  Savings, investment, finances, cash, coins, dollars.  2012 UF/IFAS Extension Calendar image by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jess Gaylor, a retired Army veteran, saw a sign on his church bulletin board for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and decided to give the free program a try to file his income taxes.

“It was available when I needed it and the cost was definitely right and it was close to the house,” said Gaylord, who files married with his wife Martha. “I’ve told several people about it.”

UF/IFAS Extension is currently implementing the VITA program in 10 Florida counties to help under-served individuals and those who are at risk for abuse by unscrupulous tax preparers. (more …)

UF/IFAS Extension working to help farmers and ranchers keep it all in the family with AgSave$ Program

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Extension, Families and Consumers, Finances, IFAS

BartonFamily2

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For Marianna farmer and rancher Ken Barton, the combination of business and family is more than just a balancing act – it is his livelihood.

Barton is 10 years away from retirement, and concerned about how he will hand over the reins of the family business he established in 1979 to his son and son-in-law.

“I think one of the things that kind of sticks out in my mind – what will I need to do to make sure that when I’m ready to retire – or simply have a smaller share and smaller responsibility – how do I leave that to my children without a huge tax burden on them or me?” Barton asked recently. He owns 260 acres and leases another 1,500 to grow row crops and raise cattle. “That’s my concern  ─ that we can transfer that farm and those assets to the next generation without hidden things – things that we’re not aware of that could cause us the most problems.”

Many Florida farming and ranching families face that same question, and that’s where the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Extension program, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Department of Financial Services, are stepping up with a new take on the 6-year-old Florida Saves program. It’s called Agriculture Saves ─  or AgSave$ ─ and it is designed to help farmers and ranchers make that transition from one generation to the next. (more …)

New videos from UF/IFAS Communications

Topic(s): Announcements, Finances, Food Safety, Landscaping, Research, Uncategorized

UF/IFAS Communications has a slew of new videos that can be used for Extension or other educational purposes. Here is a roundup:

Vacation on a Budget –  (3:31) A fun family vacation does not have to break the bank – University of Florida/IFAS Financial Expert Dr. Michael Gutter explains how to have fun in the sun without going in the red.

Scallop Harvesting 101 (3:00)  Scallop season is underway in Florida. Betty Staugler with UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension, has some tips to help get you started.

Operation: Protect Our Pets – When Fleas Attack – (5:11) In this installment, UF/IFAS Entomologist Faith Oi addresses the different stages of the flea life cycle while UF Veterinarian Dunbar Gram demonstrates using a flea comb to look for fleas. (more …)

UF/IFAS study: Distressed older adults more likely to accept financial help

Topic(s): Agriculture, Economics, Families and Consumers, Finances

GAINESVILLE – Emotionally unstable elderly people tend to accept financial assistance more readily than their more stable peers, a new University of Florida study shows.

Martie Gillen, an assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, studied how personality traits play a role in whether elderly people are willing to accept financial assistance from others and in what form.

Gillen said the study has implications for public assistance programs, including food stamps. It may be that such programs should be better marketed to older adults, she said.

“Many elderly people are eligible for food stamps, but will not sign up for the benefits,” she said.

(more …)

UF study: Nature-based tourism often benefits local environment, economy

Topic(s): Economics, Environment, Families and Consumers, Finances, Green Living, IFAS, Research

Taylor Stein

Cutline at bottom. Click here for high-resolution image.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When nature lovers book vacations in the great outdoors, they want their dollars to help preserve the places they visit, and a University of Florida study suggests that often happens.

Research in Costa Rica, one of the world’s top destinations for nature-based tourism, showed that successful tour businesses usually invested in environmental protection and maintenance, and tour businesses of all sizes circulated money throughout local economies.

The findings could help Florida’s fledgling nature-based tourism industry increase its appeal to potential customers, said author Taylor Stein, an associate professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

(more …)

Scaling back kids’ holiday gift expectations a sensitive subject, IFAS experts say

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, Finances

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — To say this year’s economy has been less than robust would be an understatement.

But with the forces of peer pressure and marketing as strong as ever, many parents find themselves trying to trim children’s lengthy wish lists without dampening their enthusiasm — or putting the family finances in jeopardy, and University of Florida experts have plenty of helpful tips.

First and foremost, says Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension agent Alicia Betancourt: It’s not about the presents.

“What kids really want, in all honesty, what they remember from year to year, is the time that’s spent together,” said Betancourt, based in Monroe County. “Focus more on family traditions, or creating new ones — whether it’s making cookies, going caroling or taking in a play.”

Betancourt suggests taking children to browse the toy store, so that they see for themselves that toys are often much smaller and less exciting than TV ads make them seem.

Kids of all ages can be asked, if not to shorten a wish list, to point to the two or three gifts they’re most excited about, she said.
(more …)

More Floridians Ready to Grow Their Own Groceries, IFAS Experts Say

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, Finances, Vegetables
  • By:
    Mickie Anderson – (352) 273-3566
  • Source:
    Sydney Park Brown – spbrown@ufl.edu, (813) 757-2286

Erv Hannan harvests cauliflower from his garden plot on the school's main campus in Gainesville
View Photo

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With the nation’s economy withering, University of Florida experts say many state residents are looking to put food on the table – by growing it.

Sydney Park Brown, a UF extension specialist with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, said extension agents around the state have noticed a big uptick in interest about vegetable gardening. (more …)

Many Turning to Home Gardening – Minus the Dirt

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, Finances, RECs, Vegetables
  • By:
    Stu Hutson – (352) 273-3569
  • Source:
    Bob Hochmuth – bobhoch@ufl.edu, (386) 362-1725

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Today’s economically spurred resurgence of the home vegetable grower can’t entirely be dubbed a "return to the earth." Many burgeoning farmers aren’t breaking soil, they’re using hydroponics.

"There are a lot of new people interested in growing, and many of them are realizing that hydroponics just makes a lot more sense," said Bob Hochmuth, a multicounty agent with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "It’s one of the most reliable ways to grow crops. And, for people that don’t have a lot of land, which I think is a lot of these new growers, it’s a more cost-effective investment." (more …)

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