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DPI Diary for April 19, 2013

April 19, 2013

SealColorGALS coverage went world-wide this week

Last week, media in north-central Florida gave generous coverage to the FDACS/DPI efforts to eradicate the giant African land snail from Miami-Dade. This week, national and international media picked up the story. We were inundated with calls after Reuters distributed the item. The snail and the efforts to eradicate it from Miami-Dade County was reported in weekly news magazines, by television and radio stations, by national and international networks and, of course, daily newspapers. The media coverage also gave a shot in the arm to DPI’s social media efforts. For example, in just about 48 hours, visitors followed links from external media leading to about 80,000 additional views of DPI’s YouTube GALS videos. The division is preparing to deploy another round of  billboards, bus signs, bus benches  in Miami-Dade in the second quarter of 2013  to continue to increase public awareness of the GALS.

April is Invasive Plant Pest Disease and Awareness Month 

PestMan_01Imagine not having real maple syrup with your pancakes or Florida orange juice to enjoy with breakfast. Or not relaxing under the shade of an ash tree with a glass of California wine. Invasive pests and diseases threaten so many things we hold dear. If left unchecked, these “hungry pests” can affect many aspects of life—the fabric in clothing, food on the table, lumber used to build homes, flowers in the garden—and have already cost billions of dollars to the U.S. economy. Some can even threaten public health. This month we are continuing to support the efforts of our partners at USDA to raise public awareness of invasive pests. Visit www.HungryPests.com to learn more. And to prevent hungry pests from entering Florida, remember, when you travel, Don’t Pack a Pest.

Before you give, know your charity

Deeply saddened by the recent events in Boston, MA and West, TX, Commission of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam reminds everyone to follow these tips when considering contributing to a charity:

  • When solicited for a donation, always ask for the charity’s registration number (CH#), as well as the paid solicitor’s registration number, if applicable. Visit our online Gift Givers Guide to determine what percentage of donations go to administrative, fundraising and program expenses. Information is also available by phone at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).
  • Never give out your personal, financial or account information over the phone unless you initiated the call and the phone number is from a trusted source.
  • Be sure to obtain a receipt or printed copy of your donation in order to have a record for tax reporting purposes. Even if an organization is tax exempt, your contribution may not be tax deductible. Ask for the charity’s tax–exempt number issued by the Internal Revenue Service and call them or go online for verification.
  • Do not let yourself be pressured into contributing on the spot. Reputable charities and organizations are just as willing to receive your donation tomorrow as today.

994 Twitter Followers and counting

t_small-cLast time we looked, the FDACS/DPI Twitter account, @FLAPlantIndustry, had 994 followers. We’re still trying for that nice round number 1,000. If you use Twitter, please follow us and we’ll return the favor.

Where to see the department’s traveling history exhibit

Currently the traveling exhibit featuring 500 years of Florida agricultural history is on display at Florida Southern College in Lakeland through April 30. Here’s its schedule into 2014:

On the Calendar:

  • Reminder to DPI division chiefs and employees: Please forward any items for the spring edition of Open Lines, the FDACS employee newsletter, to Rodlee.hemphill@freshfromflorida.com by close of business, April 24.
  • May 1 is the deadline for nominations for the Commissioner’s Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award, presented annually since 1994. The program spotlights the environmentally innovative farming practices of the state’s growers and ranchers. Click Here  for a nomination form and additional information.
  • Ag Literacy Day is April 30. Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. is urging volunteers to register to read in classrooms to tell agriculture’s story to elementary school students.  Volunteers can register, teachers can request a reader, and books can be requested and downloaded at:  http://www.flagintheclassroom.com/agliteracyday.html.

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