Florida Land Steward Calendar and News

To sign up for biweekly email updates, which include the latest calendar of events, news and a link to the Florida Land Steward newsletter, send an email to cdemers@ufl.edu.

If you know of an event or news brief that should be included on this page please send an email with the name of the event, date, location, and contact phone or email to cdemers@ufl.edu.

Events

 

EAST FLORIDA (Madison County, east and south)
December 20 High-Tech Agriculture Workshop, 10 am - 1 pm, farm at corner of SW 27th Ave. and SW 5th St. Ocala, FL 34474. Provided by Black Farmers and Agriculturalists of Florida. Will teach how to incorporate smart phone technology in agricultural production. Contact Howard Gunn Jr. (352) 572-1063, usa352@aol.com.
January 23 2015 Timucuan Science & History Symposium: Looking Back 450 Years in the Place Where the Waters Meet, registration begins 8:00 am ET, Ribault Club on Fort George Island in Jacksonville, FL. The registration fee is currently $25 and will increase to $35 on January 1. See link above for details or contact the Timucuan Trail Parks Foundation, (904) 707-3584
February 26 Forest Stewardship Workshop: Integrating Wildlife and Forestry, 9 am to 3 pm ET, Austin Cary Forest Learning Center, 10625 NE Waldo Rd, Gainesville, FL 32609. Details to come. Contact Chris Demers, cdemers@ufl.edu, (352) 846-2375.
March 18-19,
2015
Florida Urban Forestry Council Symposium: The Cost of Not Maintaining Trees (link), Patel Center of Global Sustainability, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL. Two full days of talks, featuring some of the world’s leading experts in the fields of arboriculture, urban forestry, and utility vegetation management. Foresters, 12 Cat 1 SAF CFEs are approved. See link above for details and registration. Event contact is Sandy Temple, (407) 872-1738, fufc@aol.com
June 16-18 Conference on Laurel Wilt Disease and Natural Ecosystems: Impacts, Mitigation and the Future (link), Coral Springs Marriott, 11775 Heron Bay Blvd. Coral Springs, FL. A timely opportunity to learn the most recent state of knowledge regarding laurel wilt, its biology, impacts in native ecosystems and efforts to mitigate for its devastating effects. Foresters, SAF CFEs pending approval. See link above for details. For a brief introduction to laurel wilt, see this video to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x7vgFWLHkY

 

WEST FLORIDA (Jefferson County and west)
   

 

REGIONAL EVENTS, WEBINARS, ONLINE TRAINING
January 22, 2015 Webinar: Cover Crop Economics Decision Support Tool (link), 2 pm ET, see link for details.
January 25-27 Southeastern Society of American Foresters Annual Meeting - "Southern Forestry Environmental Issues: Water Quality and Beyond", King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St. Simons Island, GA. Landowners and foresters are invited to get the latest information on federal and state environmental issues and how they impact southern forestry operations and businesses. Pre-registration rate is $245 for SAF members and $300 for non-members, available through January 7. Details and registration at http://sesaf.org/
January 27 Webinar: Conservation Biological Control: Habitat Management to Control Pests (link), 2 pm ET, see link for details.
January 27-
February 17
2015 Master Tree Farmer will be conducted every Tuesday evening beginning on January 27, 2015 continuing through February 17. The program will start at 7:00pm and end at 8:30pm. This year the program will be delivered via the internet which means you will have the option to watch it at home.  Details at http://www.mastertreefarmer.net/treefarm2015.html
January 28 Webinar: Conservation Planning for Diverse Vegetable Rotations: Tools and Issues (link), 2 pm ET, see link for details.
March 16 -
April 15
Conservation Site Assessment & Planning (link), online: March 16 - April 10, 2015; In-person: April 14-15, 2015, Ordway-Swisher Biological Station, Melrose FL. Presented in a hybrid format, this workshop builds a foundation of skills useful in conducting site assessments and developing resource management plans. See link above for details and registration or contact the workshop coordinator, sefriedl@ufl.edu


Timber Price Update


Timber Price Update, 3rd Qtr 2014

News Briefs

CURRENT AND BACK ISSUES OF THE FLORIDA LAND STEWARD NEWSLETTER ONLINE

A NEW SIGN-UP FOR CONSERVATION INITIATIVES
Florida Ag Producers can apply for financial assistance until March 20, 2015

Agricultural producers can apply until March 20th for 2015 financial assistance to make natural resource improvements through several specific initiatives.

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida has designated funding for longleaf pine forests, seasonal high tunnels, pollinators, water quality, organic farming, on-farm energy and gopher tortoise habitat. Farmers and ranchers can apply through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Longleaf pine initiative--helps private landowners improve the sustainability and profitability of longleaf pine forest ecosystems.

Seasonal high tunnel initiative--helps producers install high tunnels designed to extend the growing season, increase productivity, keep plants at a steady temperature and conserve water and energy.

Pollinators-- helps producers develop habitat for pollinators.

National water quality initiative—helps producers in Deep Creek and Clarks Creek watersheds on the Lower St. Johns River and the Little Scurlock Creek on the Lower Choctawhatchee River to improve water quality.

Organic initiative--helps producers install conservation practices on USDA certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification.

On-farm energy initiative--helps producers conserve energy on their operations.

Working lands for wildlife initiative—helps producers create gopher tortoise habitat.

Do you want help conserving resources on your farm or ranch? The first step is to develop a conservation plan with a NRCS specialist. Contact your local field office in Florida. Learn more about participating in conservation programs at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA / IFAS LAUNCHES MARKETING TOOLS FOR SMALL AND MID-SIZED GROWERS
Source: University of Florida news release

Small- and mid-sized growers often cite marketing as one of their greatest challenges. Yet, there never seems to be enough time or money to promote your products directly to those who may want to purchase them.

Florida MarketMaker and Florida Food Connect are two resources managed by UF/IFAS that aim to help alleviate the burden of marketing for Florida's growers. While Florida MarketMaker unites growers with potential markets throughout the state, Florida Food Connect is a tool that links schools with the local producers who can meet their needs.

Florida MarketMaker provides a free and simple, yet powerful, web-based search tool to connect with others across the food production and distribution chain. It is the largest and most in-depth food-related database of its kind, featuring a diverse community of more than 81,000 Florida businesses:  farmers/ranchers, fisheries, seafood dealers, farmers markets, food hubs, food pantries, processors/packers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, wineries, restaurants and other types of buyers. Essentially, MarketMaker gives growers the power to create their own searchable websites, opening the door for a flood of buyers to discover them.

Florida MarketMaker has operated in Florida since 2009. But recent developments have led to improvements and increased capabilities for marketing and market research. This month, Florida MarketMaker released a new version, intended to make the website more user-friendly and increase functionality. UF/IFAS Extension partnered with a nonprofit organization, Riverside Research, to collaborate on further development of this website as a solution that aims to alleviate marketing challenges for growers in the digital age.

Here's how it works: Growers register their businesses in MarketMaker because food buyers of all types access the database to find products and services to meet their specific needs. Through MarketMaker, producers can reach more buyers and more efficiently form profitable business alliances. Growers can differentiate their businesses by categorizing their produce and affiliating with specific labels or industry. Buyers can use MarketMaker to find more suppliers of differentiated, high-quality products leading to more efficient sourcing and higher margins.

Consumers use MarketMaker to find suppliers selling what they need. When conducting a search, the search engine shows the results on a map. Once in the system, growers' profiles are easily discovered by many types of buyers, opening the door for new types of business relationships.
Growers who sell direct to consumers can also easily advertise their products on the Buy/Sell forum.

Once growers have registered in MarketMaker, they will also be featured in Florida Food Connect, the portal for Farm to School because the two sites are intricately linked. Growers interested in selling products to use in school cafeterias can easily make connections with distributors, school district food services, and individual schools looking to source regionally. In the coming year, Florida MarketMaker will merge with Florida Food Connect.

Florida Food MarketMaker is at: http://fl.foodmarketmaker.com/. Florida Food Connect is at: http://flfoodconnect.com/. If you would like more information about this topic or need help getting started on Florida MarketMaker, please contact Wendi Bellows at 352-294-7667 or email bellows@ufl.edu.

NEW ISSUE OF SFE FIRE LINES
The Nov-Dec 2014 issue of the Southern Fire Exchange bimonthly newsletter shares research highlights and resources focused on fire and birds in the Southeast. In addition, we are excited to feature the Florida Scrub Working Groups in our Partner Spotlight and to share a recap of two SFE field tours this fall. As always, you’ll find a list of upcoming webinars, conferences, and trainings, along with fire-related news and reminders:
http://www.southernfireexchange.org/SFE_Publications/Newsletter.html


USDA SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENT ON NEW EQIP RULE
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is publishing a rule that outlines how it will improve the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), one of USDA’s largest conservation programs. The interim final rule includes program changes authorized by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill.
USDA has established a 60-day comment period for the rule. The rule available in regulations.gov – search EQIP on the main page.  Public comments can be submitted through this site or by mailing them. Comments are due by Feb. 10, 2015. The changes are intended to simplify the EQIP regulation regarding conservation practice scheduling, payment limitations and other administrative actions. Highlights of program changes in this rule include the following:

  • Requires at least 5 percent of available EQIP funds be targeted for conservation practices that promote wildlife habitat;
  • Establishes EQIP as a contributing program for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program;
  • Increases the advanced payment from 30 percent to 50 percent for eligible historically underserved producers, including  beginning farmers, to help purchase material or contract services;
  • Targets assistance to veteran farmers and ranchers including eligibility for the new 50 percent advance payment and up to 90 percent of the cost to implement EQIP conservation practices;
  • Increases the payment limitation for EQIP from $300,000 to a maximum of $450,000 for benefits received during 2014-2018 and removes the option for a waiver to exceed payment limitations;
  • Eliminates the requirement for a program contract to remain in place for one year after the last practice has been implemented, allowing practices to be scheduled through the tenth year of a contract;
  • Includes an option to waive the irrigation history requirement under certain conditions;
  • Incorporates the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program functions into EQIP.  

This rule follows the publication of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) interim final rule in the Federal Register on November 5. USDA is also seeking comments for the CSP rule.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers EQIP, a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to eligible agricultural producers and forest landowners to help them address soil, water, air and related natural resource concerns on their lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner. Resulting conservation and environmental benefits include improved water and air quality, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, improved energy conservation, improved grazing and forest lands, and created or improved wildlife habitat on working farms, ranches and non-industrial forestlands.

EQIP has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of agricultural producers and forest landowners since its launch in 1997. From that time through 2014, USDA has invested in 596,481 contracts for a total of nearly $11 billion on nearly 232 million acres nationwide.

For more information about interim final rules for USDA NRCS’s Farm Bill conservation programs, visit EQIP Rule Page.

For more information on technical and financial assistance available through EQIP, visit the EQIP Web page.


TAX TIPS FOR FOREST LANDOWNERS FOR THE 2014 TAX YEAR
Tax laws on timber transactions are very specialized but important to timber owners in terms of the ongoing cost of owning and managing timber, forest stewardship and compliance to the tax law. This bulletin reviews the major federal income tax laws to help forest owners in filing their 2014 income tax returns. The information presented here is current as of September 30, 2014:
2014 TAX TIPS (pdf)


NEW FOREST STEWARDSHIP VIDEOS  - VIEW AND SHARE!
All the new videos are on the Florida Forest Stewardship Program home page:
http://sfrc.ufl.edu/forest_stewardship


COGONGRASS TREATMENT COST-SHARE PROGRAM NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS
Applications accepted through Feb. 27, 2015 to remove invasive plant

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Florida Forest Service is now accepting applications for the Cogongrass Treatment Cost-Share Program. Cogongrass is an invasive, non-native grass, which occurs in Florida and several other southeastern states. Cogongrass infestations negatively affect tree regeneration, growth and survival, as well as wildlife habitat, native plant diversity, forage quality and property values. They also increase the risk of wildfires and alter fire behavior.

The Cogongrass Treatment Cost-Share Program is offered for non-industrial private lands in all Florida counties. It provides reimbursement of 50 percent of the cost to treat Cogongrass infestations for two consecutive years. Applicants who wish to conduct treatments in 2015 may apply from Oct. 6, 2014 through Feb. 27, 2015.

To learn more about this program and obtain an application form, contact a local Florida Forest Service office or visit http://www.FloridaForestService.com. All qualifying applications will be evaluated and ranked for approval. This program is supported through a grant from the U.S. Forest Service.

For more information about cogongrass and management see http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wg202

For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit http://www.FreshFromFlorida.com.


TO CERTIFY OR NOT: FLORIDA TREE FARM PROGRAM NEEDS TO DECIDE

Something that sets the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) apart from all other private land stewardship programs is forest certification.  ATFS Tree Farms are currently third party certified as sustainable (or “green”) and products can be sold as such at market.  Florida, along with the other states are now being presented with a choice to make: to either stay in or opt out of ATFS Certification status depending on the importance we see in it.  The Florida Tree Farm Committee will be required to make a formal declaration by December 31, 2015 of whether or not we want to continue as a state program of “third party certified” Tree Farms.  The alternative is to revert to a “recognition” program that no longer has a “certification” status.  As Tree Farmers, The Florida Tree Farm Committee would like your opinion of whether Florida should remain in a “certified” Tree Farm program, or drop the requirement for third party certification.  Please reply with any comments you may have on this to Phil Gornicki, State Tree Farm Coordinator at 850-222-5646 or phil@forestfla.org.    

 

GOT AN INVASIVE SPECIES PROBLEM?
Go to floridainvasives.org for information, assistance and partnership opportunities.

 

SOMETHING BUGGING YOUR TREES?
Do you have pests or a disease in your trees? Leaves or needles wilting, and you don’t know why? Sawdust falling out of your trees, and you don’t know how to save them? There is help: ask your question at the free Forest Health Diagnostic Forum: http://sfrc.ufl.edu/treehealth/forum/.


LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ON A PARTICULAR TOPIC?
Check the vast array of extension publications available through UF/IFAS on the EDIS publication site:  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/  Wow, there’s a publication about that?

 

HELP STILL NEEDED - COYOTES VS BOBCATS: WHAT ARE THEY EATING?
The University of Florida is conducting a study of coyote dietary habits in Florida and needs YOU to donate your catch! We are especially interested in how coyotes are affecting white-tailed deer, turkeys, bobwhite quail, livestock, and pets! YOUR help is needed to obtain legally acquired coyote carcasses, with or without pelts. We will also accept coyote stomachs and intestines if you cannot store the whole carcass. Carcasses or stomachs and intestines should be frozen in a suitable bag or container, and include the name of contributor, animal weight/sex, date harvested/obtained, and location harvested/obtained. Arrangements can be made to get carcasses from you at the University or combine your animals with others in your area for a pickup. We have obtained a permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for this project, and will keep information provided by you for this project anonymous to the extent possible by law. We greatly appreciate your help with this valuable study!

Lauren N. Watine & Bill Giuliano
E-mail: LNWATINE@UFL.EDU
Office: 352-846-0575


FWC REQUESTS REPORTS OF WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS:


FWC WILDLIFE LEGACY INITIATIVE NEWSLETTER

See the latest news at: http://myfwc.com/conservation/special-initiatives/fwli/news/spring-2014/

UF/IFAS SCHOOL OF FOREST RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION EXTENSION PROGRAMS
See http://sfrc.ufl.edu/extension

FORESTRY AND NATURAL RESOURCES WEBINARS
For a calendar of upcoming webinars in a variety of land management topics see:
http://www.forestrywebinars.net/webinar-calendar/month#.T-zLkBhgZys.blogger

UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA CONTINUING FORESTRY EDUCATION CLASSES
See http://conted.warnell.uga.edu/ for the latest offerings.

ALABAMA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION FORESTRY WEBINARS
See http://www.aces.edu/natural-resources/forestry/

SUPPORT FLORIDA'S FOREST STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM
Your contribution will help support Forest Stewardship Program outreach events across Florida. More information


Other Events Listings

Additional UF/IFAS Extension Events

UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation Events

Florida Forest Service

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Southern Region Extension Forestry

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