IFAS Extension: 2011 Statewide Programs
Featured Story: Weed Control Education Program
Jay Ferrell, Extension State Specialist:
"This program is all about weed management and agronomic crops. The main weed we're working with now and dealing with is palmer amaranth. It is a weed that has really swept the Southeast in the last ten years. It is very rapidly growing, it is very competitive with crops, but the biggest issue is we have multiple resistance to a lot of herbicides."
"We're having to go back and use herbicides we haven't used in twenty years, and a lot of our agents weren't here then, and they don't have any experience with them. So we're trying to make sure they understand the herbicide chemistry and then really understand the cropping system and why early intervention is so critical."
"The main crops I'm targeting are peanuts and cotton in particular. My program is specifically trained at county agents because what we need and what we've got to have is a cohesive message across the state--teaching prevention, early intervention to maximize our effectiveness."
"We have got to get in here early. Each plant is capable of producing 500,000 seeds. So we can't just say, 'Oh control was good enough.'"
"As the state specialist I am trying to do everything I can to make sure the county faculty have, not just opinion, but they have facts, the information. Without the county faculty I could do almost nothing. They are the ones that are taking my program and implementing it and making it work."
"Crop production in the Panhandle of Florida is vital to the way of life up here. It's vital to the economy, and it's vital to the culture. We have weeds and we have issues that are affecting that and dramatically altering how these people make their livelihood. But we're developing solutions that they can use, that keep them profitable, that keep them productive, and this is a solution for their life."
Statewide programs focused on improving the lives of youth through out Florida.
The Youth Understanding MyPyramid, or YUM program, is designed to teach elementary ages children about food groups and nutrition. State Specialist Karla Shelnutt and UF researcher Gail Kauwell created the program using Sunshine State Standards and their desire to show kids how food can be fun. Each lesson includes a short lecture, a hands-on activity, and a snack. The goal to get kids started making healthy choices when they’re young, so they’ll continue to make healthy choices as they get older.
For State Specialist Kate Fogarty, Health Rocks, and so does this new program that trains high school students to go into middle school classrooms and teach healthy lifestyle choices. Health Rocks is part of a 3-year national 4-H grant, and in two years the program has trained almost 800 volunteers in counties like Broward, Collier, and Santa Rosa. The next step is to expand the program into Northwest Florida.
And the 4-H Marine Ecology event is getting kids excited about science education. The program brings together Sea Grant and 4-H agents from around the state to teach kids about coastal ecosystems, plants, and animals in order to prepare them for an annual competition. The goal is to teach kids in landlocked counties about coastal concerns.
Hard work is a key component of these successful Extension programs. Behind every one of these programs and thousands of others across the state are Extension faculty members working to improve lives in their communities. Extension faculty are teaming up with researchers from the Agricultural Experiment Station and with educators from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences to develop new successful programs that will offer solutions for the lives of Florida residents.
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