GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Find out when to plant crops, how to can foods safely and how to use paper to pot plants from University of Florida experts at the 37th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo – the largest agricultural expo in the southeast.
The Sunbelt Ag Expo, Oct. 14-16 in Moultrie, Georgia, draws more than 100,000 people each year.
“The Sunbelt Expo gives people from all walks of life a chance to learn about everything Extension offers from our experts,” said Nick Place, dean of Extension for UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
The expo features the latest agricultural research, a live farm harvest and insights into various agricultural businesses, according to its website.
UF/IFAS will have a permanent building, popular with visitors because of engaging displays and giveaways such as peanuts from the Florida Peanut Growers Association, Florida Orange Juice provided by Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company and many other “Gator Giveaways.”
This year, the Extension Service celebrates the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which created the national service, through which agents deliver unbiased research data to the public. Florida’s program remains as viable as ever, helping its many stakeholders. That includes guiding growers to maximize production through the most efficient use of their resources.
UF/IFAS’s three branches, Extension, research and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) will host six interactive booths with the theme “Solutions for the Next 100 Years.”
Experts will interact with the public on several topics:
- “Canning parties” were some of the first Extension programs to help people better understand how to safely preserve foods. Expo visitors can learn more about this tradition as Family and Consumer Science Extension agents share from the past and present to provide the latest innovations for home food preservation.
- 4-H is one of UF/IFAS’ oldest recognized Extension programs. See how youth are leading and learning to meet the challenges of the next century. Visitors will learn about a 4-H recycling project and can take home a start to their family garden.
- Farming tools and methods are constantly improving. Visitors can see some of UF/IFAS’ favorites from the past and contrast them with flying drones and infrared scanners for today and the future. These new tools aid farmers in early identification of disease, pest and nutritional problems.
- Natural Resource and Sea Grant Extension agents are bringing Florida’s beaches and bays to Georgia. Touch tanks and displays with animals will highlight this exhibit focused on beach and boating safety and stewardship.
- Horticulture displays will give visitors insight into establishing a Florida Friendly yard by using appropriate plants and cultural methods. Butterfly gardening plants will be featured. Visitors will also learn how to distinguish beneficial insects from problem pests.
- Visit with CALS Ambassadors and learn about life as a student at the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Ambassadors will give information about major programs, admission, enrollment and hand out plenty of Gator goodies.
The expo is on 1,680 acres, 4 miles southeast of U.S. 319 (Veteran’s Parkway) on Georgia Highway 133 near Moultrie. Expo hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. Admission price is $10 per person per day, or $20 for a three-day pass. Children 10 and under get in free, if they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian.
For more information, go to www.sunbeltexpo.com.
Writer: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Nick Place, 352-392-1761, email@example.com
Cutline: Russ Mizell, a UF/IFAS entomology professor, who conducts research and does Extension work from the North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy, is seen at a recent Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga. UF/IFAS Extension experts will again be at this year’s expo, Oct. 14-16.
Credit: UF/IFAS photo by Tyler L. Jones