Bureau of Education and Communication
Overview of Bureau Activities for 1999-2000
Florida Market Bulletin
The Florida Market Bulletin is a primary vehicle for keeping Floridaís farming community informed of issues affecting the stateís 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 agriculture-related items through its classified advertising section. During the 1999-2000 fiscal year, 4,497 classified ads appeared in the Market Bulletin, which is published monthly and serves approximately 15,000 Florida farming households.
Print, Video and Radio Production
The Bureau of Education and Communication is responsible for educating and informing consumers and helping coordinate the communication efforts of the Department through news releases, brochures and other publications, exhibits and displays, and graphics presentations, the Internet, and other multimedia productions. Bureau productions are a major component of the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign (FAPC), which assists the stateís agricultural community in expanding markets and promoting and selling Florida-grown products.
During fiscal year 1999-2000, the bureau issued approximately 120 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 Departmentís Annual Report; the Consumer Interest newsletter, which deals with consumer education and product safety issues; and Open Lines, the Departmentís employee newsletter.
In addition, the bureau produced numerous brochures, booklets and other printed materials pertaining to the varied activities of the Departmentís 12 divisions. The bureauís graphics section was involved in the production of more than 160 major/intermediate projects and 200 ancillary projects. The bureau also responds to inquiries from the public, and mails out publications and other informational and promotional materials upon request.
The bureau produces and disseminates informational, educational and promotional audio and video productions, such as television and radio public service announcements, radio programming, television news segments, documentaries, and training videos.
A major agricultural producer assistance video produced during fiscal year 1999-2000 examined the growing potential for Florida alligator leatherís use in high-fashion products. This educational and instructional video was distributed to designers nationwide in order to help increase the sale of Florida alligator leather to the fashion industry.
The 1999 Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Awards video documentary details the progressive environmental efforts of Lykes Bros., Inc., of Okeechobee; Two Rivers Ranch of Thonotosassa; and Suwannee Farms of OíBrien.
The bureau also produced a video promoting the more than 50 agricultural fairs and livestock expositions that are held yearly throughout the state. This video is shown at Florida Welcome Stations and other venues to help increase visitor interest and attendance at these events, which positively impact their local economies.
An introduction/overview video outlining the organizational structure and functions of the Department was also produced for use in the Departmentís new employee orientation program as well as for public presentations.
Numerous television public service announcements and promotional spots were produced on such issues as: wildfire/arson prevention; the Citrus Canker Eradication Program in South Florida; the reforestation efforts of Florida foresters and landowners; the versatility and efficiency of propane gas; and the Florida State Fair.
Radio programming during the fiscal year included promotional spots for Florida strawberries, tomatoes, propane gas, and the Florida State Fair, as well as public service announcements promoting the WIC/Farmersí Market Nutrition Program.
Marketing Florida Agriculture on the World Wide Web
The Bureau of Education and Communication designed and maintains the Division of Marketing and Developmentís Internet web site, www.fl-ag.com. The site contains information and materials that help Florida farmers more effectively market their commodities. These marketing tools include trade leads, market prices, information about export assistance programs, agricultural statistics, weather reports, license and bond requirements, agricultural classified ads, and more. The web site also helps inform consumers about the wholesomeness, variety and availability of Florida agricultural products. This is done by providing nutritional data, recipes, seasonal availability information, food safety tips, and more. The web site fosters the notion that the more consumers know about the many agricultural commodities grown in Florida, the more they will choose to buy products that are "Fresh from Florida."
An educational web site for students is also found at florida-agriculture.com. "Planet Ag" contains information to assist students in selecting a topic and carrying out their science fair project. The site provides students with an explanation of the scientific method, from choosing a topic and stating a hypothesis, to deciding on a procedure and recording the results. It also provides a sample project for students to review, a look at previous winnersí projects, and links to other agriculture- and science-related sites. Planet Ag also provides an overview of the importance of agriculture to Florida, and examines career possibilities in agricultural science, offering suggestions to students on courses to take in high school and college. The goal of Planet Ag is to encourage todayís bright young students to become interested in agriculture and its role in our planetís future.