Overview of Bureau Activities for 1997 -1998
During fiscal year 1995-96, the bureau issued approximately 150 press releases to inform the public about various regulatory and promotional activities of the Department. Additional publications regularly produced and distributed by the bureau include: the Department's Annual Report; the Consumer Interest newsletter, which deals with consumer education and product safety issues; the Consumer Watch product safety and recall notices; and Open Lines, the Department's employee newsletter. In addition, the bureau produced numerous brochures, booklets and other printed materials pertaining to the varied activities of the Department's 11 divisions.
The Florida Market Bulletin is a primary vehicle for keeping Florida'a farming community informed of issues affecting the state's agriculture industry and the Department. This agricultural newspaper has been published regularly by the Department since 1917. In addition to disseminating agricultural news and information, the Florida Market Bulletin provides a forum by which Florida residents can advertise to buy or sell agriculturally related items through its classified advertising section. During fiscal year 195-96, more than 8,000 classified ads appeared in the Market Bulletin. As part of a cost-reduction program, publication of the Market Bulletin was changed from twice a month to once a month, effective September 1996, yielding savings in production costs and postage. The Market Bulletin currently serves approximately 27,000 Florida farming households.
The Bureau of Education and Communication produces and disseminates informational, educational and promotional audio and video productions, such as television and radio public service announcements, radio programming, television news segments and documentaries, and internal training videos. Video productions during fiscal year 1995-96 covered a broad variety of regulatory and promotional issues.
Among the agricultural producer assistance videos produced during fiscal year 1995-96 were: "Tropical Fruit Handling," which encourages retailers to add Florida tropical fruits to their produce lines; "Florida Christmas Trees," which promotes the state's choose-and-cut Christmas tree industry; "Florida International Agricultural Trade Council," which encourages Latin American trade representatives and agricultural buyers to attend the annual FIATC trade show; and "Florida Hard Clams," which explains the economic and environmental benefits of farm-raised clam aquaculture operations.
The bureau also produced a documentary video, "1996 Agricultural-Environmental Awards," which details the progressive environmental efforts of several Florida farming operations. Other videos, such as "Proper Tree Care," "Tree City USA" and "Florida's State Forests" explain the important economic, environmental and aesthetic benefits of trees.
The bureau also produced several television public service announcements including: "Ephedra," which warns of the dangers of consuming certain unregulated herbal products being marketed primarily to young people; "Oyster Safety," which warns of the potential health risks associated with eating uncooked oysters; "Hurricane Price Gouging," which warns against illegally inflating prices for vital consumer goods following a natural disaster; and "Cattle Drive 1995," which promoted the state's 150th anniversary celebration and historical cattle drive re-enactment.
The bureau also produces a popular weekly radio show, "Now You Know," which educates consumers about important consumer-related issues. In addition, several radio public service announcements were produced and distributed, including a PSA informing the public about the Citrus Canker Eradication Program in Dade County.
The Bureau of Education and Communication also responds to inquiries from the public, and mails out publications and other informational and promotional materials upon request.
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