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DPI Diary

July 18, 2014

Summarizing FDACS/DPI Social media activities this week

Members of the team working to eradicate the giant African snail from Miami-Dade always handle the animals with gloves. Students participating in the Junior Detective Program are advised to report, but not handle, snails.

Members of the team working to eradicate the giant African snail from Miami-Dade always handle the animals with gloves.

The seizure of dozens of giant African land snails at the airport in Los Angeles this week caused Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam to issue a warning to Floridians to continue to watch for the invasive species. The department has been working to eradicate the snail from Mimi-Dade County since 2011.  The discovery allowed California agriculture to narrowly avoid an environmental catastrophe. The snail is known to consumer more than 250 agricultural crops, poses a threat to human health and can damage buildings by consuming stucco.

The early life of FDACS/DPI

#ThrowbackThursday brought a link to a historical blog entry as we recalled how the Division of Plant Industry began life in the early 20th century as the State Plant Board. It was not until 1961 that it became part of the Florida Department of Agriculture.

Florida number two in fresh produce exports

Our friends at the Ultimate Citrus Page called our attention to a report on the Fresh Plaza website from Florida Tax Watch,  the independent taxpayer research institute and government watchdog, calling Florida the second largest produce exporter in the nation. The report finds that farming and processing of Florida produce contributes more than $7.5 billion to the state economy.  Florida is home to more than 47,500 commercial farms covering 9.25 million acres, and producing fresh fruits, vegetables and juices.

J-lo gets a mite named after her

J-loMite

J-lo and the water mite named after her

Here’s a tidbit that made us wonder. We wondered how excited Jennifer Lopez was after scientists gave her a shoutout by naming a newly discovered water mite they foundoff the coast of Puerto Rico – where the Bronx-born singer’s parents come from – after the singer/actress. They had been kept happy listening to J-Lo’s music while they worked, so all agreed the mite would be named Litarachna lopezae in her honor.

Coming events:

  • The Second Annual University of Florida South Florida Bee College will be held Friday and Saturday, Aug. 15-16, at the Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education center, 3205 College Avenue, Davie, FL  33314. The two-day event is open to the public and offers classes for all levels of interest. Beekeepers of all ages and experience levels, gardeners, naturalists, teachers, farmers, county agents, and anyone else interested in honey bees is encourages to attend. You do not have to keep bees to attend; the only prerequisite is your interest in the subject. Register here by Aug. 14.
  • The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is accepting nominations for the 2014 Woman of the Year in Agriculture Award.
  • The Florida Small farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference, “Embracing Opportunities, Boosting Profits,” will beheld Aug. 1-2 at Kissimmee.
  • Citrus Expo is less than 4 weeks away. It will take place August 13-14 in Fort Myers. A variety of topics will be discussed, including federal HLB funding.

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