April 11, 2014
A Summary of the Week’s Social Media Activities at FDACS/DPI
DPI Bureau Chief Trevor Smith to lecture in Barbados
Dr. Trevor Smith, chief of the Bureau of Methods Development and Biological Control at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry (FDACS-DPI), will visit Barbados next week, helping to educate farmers and agricultural officials about strategies to eradicate the giant African land snail and other invasive species. He will deliver a series of lectures and workshops highlighting programs and practices that are being used to eradicate the snails in Miami-Dade County. Read more about his visit here.
Dr. Smith has broad experience with the snail eradication program, which he oversees, in association with other personnel in the Division of Plant Industry and USDA. The snail, which is a major invasive pest in Barbados, was discovered in Miami-Dade County in 2011 and agricultural officials immediately began efforts to detect and eradicate it.
FDACS-DPI still working on snail eradication in Miami-Dade
Please take a couple of minutes to watch a video of DPI’s Paul Skelley as he looks for and finds giant African land snails in a Miami-Dade neighborhood. Our teams are gradually winning the snail war, but more snails will likely appear as the rainy season arrives. http://bit.ly/1hpvuJY
FDACS to receive federal farm bill funding for ag research
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced in a press release that Florida will receive $5.4 million in federal funding through the federal Farm Bill to help eradicate pests and control diseases that affect the state’s $108 billion agriculture industry.“ Pests and diseases are significant threats to Florida agriculture,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “By working to prevent the entry and spread of these threats, we can help ensure Florida’s famed agriculture industry can continue for generations.”
Citrus harvest figures paint grim picture
Florida citrus industry figures released this week underline the importance of focused research on citrus greening. As the end of the harvest season approaches, Florida orange producers expect to harvest just a bit more fruit than they did in in 1989-90. That was just after the worst citrus freeze in Florida history. Citrus greening is a bacterial disease spread by an insect. It makes fruit unmarketable and eventually kills trees. Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam has repeatedly characterized greening as an “existential threat” to the citrus industry in Florida. “We must continue to invest in research to find a long-term solution, while supporting growers in their efforts to replant lost trees and to battle the invasive pest that spreads this disease,” said Putnam. Read more here.
Spring plant sale a success for FSECC
FDACS/DPI employees supported another successful Florida State Employee Charitable Campaign fund raiser April 4: our annual Spring Plant Sale. We don’t have the final numbers yet, but we had a great turnout and all the plants are gone! When we mentioned our sale on social media, one follower asked if we included Florida native plants in the sale. We were pleased to be able to answer, “Yes.”
We passed on word of a scam in the form of thousands of letters demanding payment for overdue highway tolls. They were represented as being from an outfit called “Toll Enforcement, LLC.” There’s no such company listed in Florida and Florida officials said they don’t have a contract with any such organization. Details here, from Miami Herald: