Each year UF/IFAS NW Extension District Faculty participates in the annual Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie Georgia. This is the largest agricultural expo in the southeast attended by over 200,000 visitors. In addition to the over 1,200 commercial exhibitors, visitors also learn from the many university and research specialist displays on hand throughout the expo. This year’s event will be October 16 – 18, 2012, in Moultrie, GA. For more information please visit the website: Sunbelt Ag Expo.
The University of Florida has its own permanent building for educational displays at the Expo. The 2012 theme for UF/IFAS is “Small Farms, Big Opportunities,” and we will have 12 interactive, educational displays related to this topic. A brief description of these exhibits follows below. So, come out and visit your Extension Agents at the UF/IFAS building and learn more about Small Farms!
“SMALL FARMS, BIG OPPORTUNITIES” EDUCATIONAL DISPLAYS
- Hydroponic Systems and Crops This display will include several types of hydroponic systems (floating, vertical towers, containers, etc.) with opportunities to interact, touch, and see how they work.
- Bees, More than Just Honey This display will include a bee hive encased in glass for kids’ and adults’ viewing pleasure. Activities for youth may include Bee Bingo, kids coloring worksheet or find a word or crossword puzzle that discusses all the products that can be marketed from bees as well as the benefits of pollination. Tupelo honey sticks will be given out.
- Organic and Sustainable Farming This display will feature photos showing the diversity of soil organisms and what they do (in terms of plant health), organic-compliant fertilizers and pesticides, one-page handout of the organic program, laptop showing YouTube videos of conservation tillage equipment in action, cover crops in pots, and possibly a scope showing rhizobia nodules on roots and the organisms.
- Small Livestock for Small Farms This livestock display will feature poultry and poultry products and perhaps goat and sheep. One aspect of the display will be the Virtual Field Day modules on pastured poultry.
- Creating a Buzz About Your Business: Florida MarketMaker and Other On-line Tools for Success This display will include an interactive presentation using several types of marketing techniques, branding, using social media, blogs, and Twitter to increase sales of a business. This area will also feature Florida MarketMaker. There will be opportunities for participants to learn more about this important web-based resource for producers and buyers to connect with each other, and for consumers to connect with producers. Participants will have the opportunity to create a profile on MarketMaker.
- Integrated Pest Management Integrated pest management techniques, tools, pest specimens, and beneficial specimens will be demonstrated. Farmscaping strategies to be displayed include: bluebird and other bird houses, solitary bee houses, insect traps, trap crops, and other IPM tools.
- Extension Programs Reaching Florida Small Farmers This display will feature ongoing UF/IFAS educational programs including Florida Small Farms Web Site, Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference, Small Farms Academy, Regional programming like Agritunity, Regional Small Farms Working Groups, and local county programs such as Living on a Few Acres.
- Building a Farm Food Safety Program This display will show the online and printed resources available to help farmers build their food safety plans.
- Mushroom Production Systems This display will showcase mushroom production using both log and bag culture techniques. Tools of the trade will be demonstrated, and information provided.
- Alternative and Emerging Fruit Crops in Florida This display will feature specialty fruit crops that are emerging as viable alternatives on small farms. Fruit crops may include: blueberry, cold hardy citrus, grapes, persimmon, pomegranate, peach, plum, and tropicals.
- 150th Anniversary of the Morrill Act Banners will spotlight the 150th Anniversary of the Morrill Act. The Morrill Act established the land-grant university system and essentially initiated what could be defined as “The Education Revolution” that thrives to this day. Some of the most highly regarded universities in the nation are land-grant institutions. The University of Florida is proud to be one of them.
- University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Ambassadors This area will feature the CALS Ambassadors answering questions about becoming a student at UF.
This article was written by Judy Ludlow, Extension Agent, Calhoun County and only reposted by Kristin Jackson. For more information from Judy Ludlow or Calhoun County visit http://calhoun.ifas.ufl.edu/