Florida Agriculture

MHP Salud / http://mhpsalud.org/who-we-serve/farmworkers-in-the-united-states/

State lawmakers want to cut fees for the manufacturers of harmful pesticides. That could make it cheaper for chemical companies to sell their products in the state. But a critic of the measure is worried how the change could affect farmworkers’ health.

ball of hemp twine
Emilian Robert Vicol

Across the country, advocates are hailing industrial hemp as a miracle crop. Some Floridians even think the plant could surpass oranges as an agricultural powerhouse. But lawmakers in the capitol are urging caution.

An endangered species of Magnolia is the Garden Club of America’s 2017 plant of the year. Researchers at the University of Florida are studying why it’s become rare.

azaleas; Maclay Gardens
Kate Payne

Observant local residents may be noticing it’s looking a lot like springtime in Tallahassee. Walking down the red brick path at Maclay Gardens State Park in Northeast Tallahassee, flowers are everywhere. Thirty foot high Japanese magnolias tower above rows of camellias. Soft pink and deep fuchsia petals dust the ground. And then there’s the rows and rows of azaleas...in February.

tomato
Sean Hickin via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/sean_hickin/

Scientists have unlocked the secret to why so many supermarket tomatoes are tasteless. The findings mean there’s hope for delicious, marketable and affordable tomatoes. The miracles of modern agriculture mean tomatoes are available nearly year round. But ever wonder why those supermarket tomatoes turn out mushy and flavorless? That’s because growers favor bulky tomatoes with high yields and long shelf lives, and flavor got lost along the way.

Jeff Kovacs via Flickr

After declaring an agricultural state of emergency last week, Florida Agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam is steadily tracking an Oriental fruit fly outbreak in South Florida. In a recent update, Putnam said scientists have found one more fruit fly since last week’s count, for a total of 159. Department spokeswoman Jenn Meale says officials have mechanisms in place for fighting the potentially devastating pest.

In celebration of National Nutrition Month, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is hosting kindergarten and third grade students from Roberts Elementary School. The students planted potatoes and learned about the garden.

Third grade teacher, Darlene Lowery says Roberts Elementary has a school garden of its own.

We’re loving it because in our science class we’re studying living things and watching seeds germinate,” Lowery says.