Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Division of Marketing and Development
Below is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that pertain to programs administered by the Division of Marketing and Development. Some related topics are addressed as well. Clicking on the questions below will display the answers. Please keep in mind that these FAQs do not cover all programs and issues dealt with by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For questions pertaining to other divisions within the Department, please click here.
Agricultural Awards Programs
- How do I apply so my farm can receive the Century Pioneer Family Farm designation?
The Century Pioneer Family Farm program honors families who have maintained at least 100 years of continuous family farm ownership. Families receive a certificate of recognition and a sign that can be posted on their property. For an application, call Richard Gunnels at (850) 488-3022, or go to https://florida-agriculture.com/pubs/pubform/pdf/
Agricultural Dealers License / License and Bond Law
- What is the Florida License and Bond Law?
The Florida License and Bond Law requires dealers of agricultural products to obtain a license from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and post appropriate bonds before they do business in Florida. The law gives agricultural producers protection against buyers who write bad checks, declare bankruptcy, or fail to pay on account. Should a licensed dealer fail to pay for the agricultural products they receive, the Department will take the money from the bonds that agricultural dealers are required to post and return the unpaid balance to the producer.
- I am interested in purchasing and reselling produce. Do I need an agricultural dealer’s license?
Under the Florida Agricultural License and Bond Law, any person, partnership, or corporation doing business in Florida by buying, receiving, soliciting, handling, or negotiating agricultural products from Florida producers or their agents for resale or processing for sale must be licensed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Exemptions to the law, as set forth in Section 604.16, Florida Statutes, are as follows:
(1) Farmers or groups of farmers in the sale of agricultural products grown by themselves.
(2) A dealer in agricultural products who pays at the time of purchase with United States cash currency or a cash equivalent, such as a money order, cashier's check, wire transfer, electronic funds transfer, or debit card.
(3) A dealer in agricultural products who operates as a bonded licensee under the federal Packers and Stockyards Act.
(4) Dealers who purchase less than $1,000 worth of agricultural products from Florida producers or their agents or representatives during the peak month of such purchases within the calendar year.
If you purchase at least $1,000 worth of agricultural products by check or on account in any given month from a Florida producer or the agent of a Florida producer for the purpose of resale or processing for sale, then you will need to be licensed as a dealer in agricultural products. Section 604.20(1), Florida Statutes, states the following for bond or certificate of deposit requirements: "Before any license is issued, the applicant therefore shall make and deliver to the Department a surety bond or certificate of deposit in the amount of at least $5,000 or in such greater amount as the Department may determine. No bond or certificate of deposit may be in an amount less than $5,000. The penal sum of the bond or certificate of deposit to be furnished to the Department by an applicant for license as a dealer in agricultural products shall be in an amount equal to twice the dollar amount of agricultural products handled for a Florida producer or a producer's agent or representative, by purchase or otherwise, during the month of maximum transaction in such products during the preceding 12-month period."
The forms for becoming licensed as an agricultural dealer can be found at http://www.freshfromflorida.com/onestop/mkt/licensebond.html. You must contact an insurance agent to obtain information about the bonding process.
- Do you write agricultural bonds?
No, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services does not write agricultural bonds. Below is a list of surety bond brokers who have assisted agricultural dealers in obtaining bonds. The Department does not recommend any one of these brokers over another, and there may be other brokers in Florida that you would like to contact. This is simply a list of brokers that we know have dealt in the area of agricultural bonds.
Bonds Express Surety Company
1937 Teall Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13206
106 Whispering Pines
Birdsboro, PA 19508
JW Surety Bonds
Rick Bredow, Commercial Bond Manager
6023A Kellers Church Road
Pipersville, PA 18947
Lance Surety Bond Associates, Inc.
4387 Swamp Road, #287
Doylestown, PA 18902
Nations Insurance Group
1217 Miccosukee Rd.
Tallahassee, FL 32308
The Prosure Group, Inc.
David B. Shick
7217 Benjamin Rd.
Tampa, FL 33634
Security Bond Associates, Inc.
10131 SW 40th St.
Miami, FL 33165
Surety Specialty Group
Post Office Box 600962
Jacksonville, FL 32259
Columbia, MO 65203
Worldwide Insurance Specialists, Inc.
2424 W. Missouri Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85015
- My company has changed locations and I need to change the address for our bond. What do I do?
Please send notification of your new address on your company letterhead to the address listed below. Please include your file number in the subject line of your letter.
Bureau of Agricultural Dealer’s Licenses
407 S Calhoun Street, Suite 208
Mayo Building, M-38
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0800
- How can I find out if there are any claims filed against an agricultural dealer licensed with the State of Florida?
For a list of Florida agricultural dealers that currently have at least one outstanding claim for non-payment filed against them, please visit https://florida-agriculture.com/marketing/licensing_claims.htm, or call the Bureau of Agricultural Dealer’s Licenses at (850) 617-7150.
- Can I file a claim against an unlicensed agricultural dealer? I delivered my products to the company in question but never received payment.
You can file a claim against an unlicensed dealer; however, since there is no bond against which the Department may proceed on your behalf, the chances are very slim that we would be able to assist you in recovering the costs for your agricultural products. To help you reduce your risk in the future, we encourage you to visit http://app1.florida-agriculture.com/bond/DealerSearch.aspx to search for licensed dealers. We recommend that you do business only with dealers that are licensed and bonded.
Agricultural Land Classification
- How can I find out if my land qualifies for an agricultural classification?
An agricultural classification is a designation of land by your county property appraiser, pursuant to Florida Statute 193.461, in which the assessment is based on agricultural use value.
To qualify for an agricultural classification, a return must be filed with the property appraiser between January 1 and March 1 of the tax year. Only lands which are used for bona fide agricultural purposes will be classified as agricultural.
"Bona fide agricultural purposes" means good faith commercial agricultural use of the land. Prior to classifying the land, the property appraiser may require the taxpayer to furnish information to establish that the land is actually being used for agricultural purposes.
For more information about agricultural classification, please contact your local county property appraiser’s office.
- Where can I find information about the Agriscience Education Leadership Program?
Program participants are chosen through a highly competitive selection process. Each school district superintendent in Florida is asked to nominate an agriscience teacher or curriculum administrator from his or her county. (Nominees must have at least three years of teaching experience.) The nominees must submit completed applications to be reviewed by the selection committee. The selection committee then chooses up to 20 participants based on their application information and essay answers.
For more information about the Agriscience Education Leadership Program, please visit https://florida-agriculture.com/consumers/
agriscience_education.htm, or call Darica Land at (386) 362-1001 ext. 3034.
- Who is eligible to participate in the Agriscience Education Leadership Program?
Program participants are chosen through a highly competitive selection process. Each school district superintendent in Florida is asked to nominate an experienced agriscience teacher or curriculum administrator from his or her county. The nominees must submit completed applications to be reviewed by the selection committee. The selection committee then chooses 20 participants based on their application information and essay answers.
For more information about the Agriscience Education Leadership Program, please visit https://florida-agriculture.com/consumers/
agriscience_education.htm, or call Darica Land at (386) 362-1001 ext. 3034.
- How can my students take part in your Xtreme Cuisine Cooking School?
The Xtreme Cuisine Cooking School introduces students aged 10 to 15 to the world of cooking and good nutrition. Through this curriculum students learn to prepare whole-wheat pizzas, fruit parfaits, and other nutritious treats. They also learn how the fruits and vegetables used in these recipes contribute to good health.
The program materials (activity books, posters, and promotional items) can be reviewed online at https://florida-agriculture.com/education/xtreme.htm, and are free to those who would like to participate. However, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services cannot supply food for the cooking classes.
If you would like to bring the Xtreme Cuisine Cooking School into your classroom, please download our Xtreme Cuisine partner application at https://florida-agriculture.com/education/xtreme.htm. Fill it out and e-mail it to Arlette Roberge at . You can also fax it to Arlette at (850) 617-7331, or mail it to: Arlette Roberge, Division of Marketing, 407 South Calhoun Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0800. If you have any questions, please contact Arlette at (850) 617-7330.
- I am an agriculture teacher looking for teaching materials. Can you suggest any resources?
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers a wide variety of educational materials that can be used in many different educational settings. You can find out more about our programs at https://florida-agriculture.com/education.htm.
You might also want to check out Florida Agriculture in the Classroom (FAITC) at http://www.flagintheclassroom.com. FAITC is a Gainesville-based nonprofit organization that provides agriculture education curriculum for K-12 students. It sponsors an annual Agriculture Literacy Day and offers teacher-training workshops as well as grants for teachers and volunteers. The telephone number is (352) 846-1391.
- Do you have any teaching materials available on wildlife and the environment?
Please visit the Department’s Kids’ Corner at http://www.freshfromflorida.com/kids.html. There you will find a number of resources for agriculture and environmental educators. Topics range from fire prevention to beekeeping to insect and wildflower identification.
Teaching materials are also available from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary/ed/default.htm) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (http://myfwc.com/learning/index.htm).
- Where can I find information about FFA and its activities?
FFA, formerly Future Farmers of America, is a national organization dedicated to preparing young people for leadership and careers in the science, business, and technology of agriculture. Members learn by taking part in and conducting meetings, speaking in public, gaining hands-on experience in agriculture, and getting involved in community service projects. For more information about FFA in Florida, contact the Florida FFA Association at http://www.flaffa.org or (352) 378-0060.
- Where can I find information about earning a college degree in agriculture?
Start by checking out the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at http://www.ifas.ufl.edu. At IFAS you can choose from dozens of different degree programs, including agronomy, entomology, forestry, horticulture, and veterinary medicine. The main campus is in Gainesville, but there are satellite locations in Apopka, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce, Milton, and Plant City.
Another option is Florida A&M University’s College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture (http://www.famu.edu) in Tallahassee. FAMU offers bachelor’s degrees in agribusiness, landscape design, and agriscience with specializations in agronomy, ag education, animal science, and more.
You might also consider enrolling at a community college or technical school. These institutions offer a wide variety of degrees, diplomas, and technical certifications in ag-related areas. Areas of study include forest management, landscape design, golf course management, and veterinary assistance, and programs can usually be completed in two years or less.
- Where can I find information about college scholarships available to agriculture students?
Two of Florida’s four-year universities offer agriculture degrees, the University of Florida in Gainesville and Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. We suggest you start your search for scholarships by visiting their websites. You can find information about the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at http://www.ifas.ufl.edu. Visit http://www.famu.edu to find out more about FAMU’s College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture.
- I will be vacationing in Florida soon and would like to tour a citrus grove. Do you have a list of growers that offer tours?
The Florida Department of Citrus maintains a list of citrus growers that offer public tours of their groves and other facilities. You can find the list at http://www.floridajuice.com. For more information, contact the Florida Department of Citrus at (863) 499-2500. Visit Florida (http://www.visitflorida.com), the state’s official source for travel planning, is another good source of information on agri-tourism.
- I am planning a vacation to South Florida and would like to tour a tropical fruit orchard. Where can I find information about orchards that are open to the public?
Fruit and Spice Park near Homestead has orchards you can tour. It’s a 37-acre botanical garden that focuses on tropical edibles and features 500 varieties of rare fruits, herbs, spices, and nuts from around the world. The park is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day except Christmas, and visitors are invited to explore herb and vegetable gardens as well as groves of bananas, mangos, and other tropical fruit. You can even sample fallen fruit. For more information, visit http://www.fruitandspicepark.org.
Another place you might like to visit is Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables. Fairchild has one of the largest tropical fruit collections in the world, including avocado, jackfruit, mamey sapote, sapodilla, canistel, abrico, caimito, Spanish lime, and tamarind. The garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day except Christmas. For more information, visit http://www.fairchildgarden.org.
Agri-tourism is becoming more and more popular in Florida, and there are many exciting ag-oriented attractions throughout the state. Visit Florida (http://www.visitflorida.com), the state’s official source for travel planning, is a good resource if you want to learn more about what’s available.
- Where can I find information about starting a commercial beekeeping operation?
All beekeepers in Florida must be registered with the Division of Plant Industry’s Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection. For more information, please call Jerry Hayes at (352) 372-3505 ext. 128 or email him at .
It might also be helpful to speak with some working beekeepers. You can visit the Florida State Beekeepers Association website at http://floridabeekeepers.org.
- Where can I find information about Colony Collapse Disorder?
Detailed information is available on the Division of Plant Industry’s website at http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/plantinsp/ccd.html.
- How can I find local apiaries that sell beeswax?
Check with the Florida State Beekeepers Association at http://floridabeekeepers.org. You might also try taking out a wanted ad in the Florida Market Bulletin at https://florida-agriculture.com/fmb/submit_classified.htm. Ads are free and are posted on the web on the first of each month. Advertising in the Bulletin is a great way to connect with agricultural producers across the state.
- I have a swarm of bees in my yard. Where can I find information about bee removal services?
You can find a list of bee swarm and nest removal companies in your area on the Division of Plant Industry’s website at http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/. Look under “Featured Links” on the left-hand side of the homepage. Companies are listed by county.
- I am interested in raising and breeding game birds in Florida. Do I need any sort of license or permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services?
Floridians interested in propagating game birds or game mammals for commercial or private use must obtain a Game Farm License from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Farris Bryant Building, 620 South Meridian Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399. The telephone number for Fish and Wildlife is (850) 488-3641.
- I would like to purchase some exotic birds from outside the country and have them shipped to Florida so I can keep them as pets. Is this legal? Would I need any special permits?
Regardless of the species of pet bird, a health certificate is required from a full-time, salaried veterinarian of the government agency responsible for animal health in the exporting country of origin. The certificate must be issued within 30 days of entry into Florida, must state that the animal or animals listed are free of signs of infectious or communicable diseases, and must accompany the animals being shipped.
In addition, you must obtain an import permit from the USDA and arrange for quarantine at a designated port of entry. For detailed information please contact the USDA at the Miami Animal Import/Export Center at (305) 526-2926.
Certain species of exotic birds also require a permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Call Fish and Wildlife at (850) 488-6253, or visit http://floridaconservation.org/permits.
- Where can I find information about whether or not it is legal to keep chickens in my back yard? I live in a residential neighborhood within the city limits.
Rules regarding backyard poultry vary from county to county, city to city, and even neighborhood to neighborhood. Check with your local county and city governments to learn about animal ordinances in your area. If you have a homeowners association, be sure to check your neighborhood covenants, too.
- Do you sell citrus? If so, I would like to order a box for a gift.
Assisting Florida's farmers and agricultural industries with the production and promotion of agricultural products is part of the mission of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. However, we do not sell any agricultural products. For a list of gift fruit shippers, please visit the website of the Florida Gift Fruit Shippers Association at http://www.fgfsa.com.
- I am worried that a tree in my yard has citrus canker. What do I do?
To avoid potential spread of the disease, avoid coming into contact with the suspect plant or moving any citrus plant material or fruit from your property. Do not mail or bring samples of suspected citrus canker to extension offices. Instead, call your local county extension office and ask if it would be possible for an agent to be sent to your property. You may also call the Division of Plant Industry’s toll-free Citrus Canker Helpline at 1-800-282-5153.
Community Supported Agriculture
- How can I find out if there is a CSA in my area?
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services maintains a list of CSAs across the state on its website at https://florida-agriculture.com/consumers/community_supported_agriculture.htm. Because CSAs are not required to register with the Department, our list is not a complete one. Your local county extension office might be aware of other CSAs near you. To find a telephone number for your extension office, visit http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu.
Cracker Cattle and Horses
- What does a Florida Cracker cow or bull look like? How is it different in appearance from other breeds of cattle?
For a detailed description of the characteristics of the Florida Cracker breed, please visit our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/livestock/cracker_characteristics.htm. For photos, visit the Florida Cracker Cattle Association’s website at http://crackercattle.org.
- I am interested in the history of Cracker cattle in Florida. Can you provide any information?
You can find an overview of the 500-year history of Cracker cattle and horses in Florida on our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/livestock/cracker_cattle.htm. For more information, contact the Florida Cracker Cattle Association at http://crackercattle.org, and the Florida Cracker Horse Association at http://www.floridacrackerhorses.com.
- I want to learn more about Cracker cattle and horses and about Cracker culture in general. Can you suggest any resources?
Here is a list of good books, some non-fiction and some fiction, about Cracker culture and Florida history:
- The Florida Cowman, by Joe Akerman, Jr.
- Jacob Summerlin, King of the Crackers, by Joe Akerman, Jr. and J. Mark Akerman
- The Way Hit Wuz, by Mary Ida Bass Barber
- Conquerors, by Deb Bennett
- Live from the Devil, by Wayne Blasingame
- Tellable Cracker Tales, by Annette Bruce
- Old Tales and Trails of Florida, by Myrtle Hilliard Crowe
- Pioneer Daughter, by Margaret Garnett Harris
- The Trouble of It Is, by David Newell
- If Nothin’ Don’t Happen, by David Newell
- The Barefoot Mailman, by Theadore Pratt
- Cracker, by Dana St. Claire
- A Land Remembered, by Patrick Smith
- At the End of the Oxcart Trail, by Maria Stone
- A Florida Cowhunter, the Life and Times of Bone Mizell, by Jim Bob Tinsley
- Before the Timber Was Cut, by Gilbert Tucker
- Cracker Tales, by Iris Wall
- How can I become a member of the Florida Cracker Cattle Association?
The mission of the Florida Cracker Cattle Association is to preserve this heritage cattle breed and educate the public about its important role in Florida’s agricultural history. For an application for membership, please contact Stephen Monroe at or (850) 410-0944 ext. 9999. Annual dues are $25. You can find out more about the Florida Cracker Cattle Association at its website, http://crackercattle.org.
- What kind of market is available for Florida Cracker cattle?
The market for Florida Cracker cattle is primarily people who are interested in preserving the breed. Many Cracker cattle are used as commercial beef cows on lands where other breeds don't do as well. When used as commercial beef cows, they are bred to beef-type bulls to produce market calves. Surplus males are often used as sport cattle for roping, etc.
Prices start at about the same level as commercial cattle prices and go up depending on the individual animal. Weanling heifers and bulls usually sell for about $300 - $500, while adult animals have been selling recently for $500 - $1,200 per head.
Each November the Florida Cracker Cattle Association and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services host a Cracker cattle sale at the Withlacoochee State Forest near Brooksville. The purpose of the sale is to share this heritage breed with interested members of the public. For more information about the sale, contact Stephen Monroe at or (850) 410-0944 ext. 9999.
- How do I go about registering my Cracker calf?
Florida Cracker cattle are now being registered through the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ABLC) in Pittsboro, North Carolina. You can download an application for registration at https://florida-agriculture.com/livestock/cracker_cattle.htm. The registration fee is $10 per calf. Please make your check payable to ALBC, and mail it to:
Dr. Tim Olson, P.O. Box 110910, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611-0910. If you have any questions about the registration process, please contact Dr. Olson at .
- Where can I purchase Cracker cattle?
Each November the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Cracker Cattle Association team up to host a gathering and sale at the Withlacoochee State Forest near Brooksville. The purpose of the sale is to share this heritage breed with interested members of the public. For more information about the sale, please contact Stephen Monroe at or (850) 410-0944 ext. 9999.
Cattle may also be purchased from private individuals. For a list of producers, please contact Stephen Monroe. You might also check the Florida Market Bulletin at https://Florida-Agriculture.com/fmb/cattle.htm. Each month the Bulletin features hundreds of classified ads for agriculture-related products and often includes ads for Cracker cattle.
- Where can I purchase Cracker horses?
Each November the Florida Cracker Cattle Association and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services team up to hold a gathering and sale at the Withlacoochee State Forest near Brooksville. The sale includes both Cracker cattle and Cracker horses and is open to the public. For dates, times, and directions, please contact Stephen Monroe at or (850) 410-0944 ext. 9999.
Cracker horses may also be purchased throughout the year from private individuals. The Florida Cracker Horse Association’s website, http://www.floridacrackerhorses.com, includes a list of breeders and a list of horses currently for sale.
- Where can I find information on the history of Florida’s cattle industry?
The Florida Cattlemen’s Association has information available on its website at http://www.floridacattlemen.org. Other good resources include the State Library and Archives of Florida (http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us), the Florida Agricultural Museum in Palm Coast (http://www.flaglerlibrary.org), the Florida Cracker Cattle Association (http://crackercattle.org), and the Florida Cracker Horse Association (http://www.floridacrackerhorses.com).
- I’m interested in learning to eat seasonally. Where can I find information about the harvest times for crops in my area?
Eating with the seasons is a great way to support your local farmer and make every meal fresher, tastier, and more nutritious. Information on the seasonal availability of about three dozen Florida fruits and vegetables can be found on our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/marketing/seasonal_availability.htm.
- Where can I find this year’s dates for my county fair?
For dates, locations, and contact information for fairs and livestock shows around Florida, please visit our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/consumers/fairs.htm.
- I would like to sell concessions at my county fair. How can I find out about vendor requirements?
You can find dates, locations, and contact information for fairs across the state on our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/consumers/fairs.htm. For specific information, including vendor requirements, please contact each fair directly.
- I am interested in organizing a community farmers’ market. Can you provide any information to help me get started?
A guide to starting a farmers’ market is available on our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/pubs/pubform/pdf/How_To_Organize_
Farmers_Market_Brochure.pdf. If you have specific questions, please contact Carl Penn with the Bureau of State Farmers’ Markets at (850) 617-7380 or .
- I am interested in organizing a community farmers’ market. Are there any grants available to help me get started?
The USDA’s Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) is a competitive grant program that provides funds to assist in establishing, expanding, and promoting domestic farmers’ markets, roadside stands, CSAs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. Approximately $5 million is allocated to the program for 2009 and 2010, and $10 million for 2011 and 2012. For more information, go to http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ and click on “AMS Grant Programs” on the right hand side of the page.
For more information on grant opportunities, contact your local county extension office. You can find a telephone number for your local office at http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu.
You can also contact Carol Strange with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at (850) 410-6723 or .
- Where can I find a list of retail farmers’ markets in my area?
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services maintains a list of community farmers’ markets throughout Florida on its website at https://florida-agriculture.com/consumers/farmers_markets.htm. Because community farmers’ markets are not required to register with the Department, our list is not a complete one. The markets are listed by county. Click on the one you are interested in and contact information will be displayed. It is best to call the markets before visiting to confirm days and hours of operation.
- How can we get our farmers’ market listed on your website?
Please contact Carl Penn with the Bureau of State Farmers’ Markets at (850) 617-7380 or . Keep in mind we do not list commercial single-vendor produce stores or farm stands. The listing on our website is for farmers’ markets that include a number of vendors selling fresh produce.
- I’d like to sell at some of the farmers’ markets listed on your website. What do I do?
Each retail farmers’ market in Florida is independent and establishes its own vendor rules and regulations, so please contact the individual market you are interested in to obtain its vendor requirements.
If you will be selling by weight, contact the Division of Standards at (850) 488-9140 to have your scales certified. If you plan to sell processed food items, check with the Division of Food Safety at (850) 245-5595 for the appropriate permits.
If you are selling only fresh fruits and vegetables, you do not need a license or permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Please check with your local tax collector for the occupational licenses and permits required in your county.
Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign
- How can I become a member of the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign?
The Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign (FAPC) is a promotional membership program designed to boost the image of Florida agricultural products and increase sales. To download an application/registration form, please visit https://florida-agriculture.com/marketing/fapc_membership.htm, or call Kechia Dean at (850) 921-1845.
- I am a member of the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign and would like to use your "Fresh from Florida" logos on my product packaging. How can I obtain the logos?
High-resolution, print-quality logos can be downloaded by authorized users at https://florida-agriculture.com/marketing/logos.htm. There are several varieties of logos available, including vertical, horizontal, full color, and black and white. The logo files are available in TIF, JPG, and Vector formats.
- I am a member of the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign. Is it okay for me to use the "Fresh from Florida" logo on my company’s website?
As long as you are a current member of the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign, you are welcome to use the "Fresh from Florida" logo on your website or any other materials promoting your agribusiness. For information about our logo incentive program, please visit https://florida-agriculture.com/marketing/logo_incentive.htm.
- I’d like to purchase some of your "Fresh from Florida" posters and other display materials. How much do they cost?
If you are a current member of the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign (FAPC), our point-of-purchase materials are available to you free of charge. We have posters, bin wrap, tags, decals, brochures, banners, and many other retail display materials in stock. You can review the available items at https://florida-agriculture.com/marketing/fapc_retail.htm. When you decide what you’d like, please call Kechia Dean at (850) 921-1845 to place your order. She will mail the requested items to you and you should receive them in just a few days.
- I own a horticultural company and am a member of the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign. Do you have any marketing materials available that are designed specifically for horticulture?
We have a variety of materials available for our horticulture members, including two styles of plant tags. Our "Go Green with Florida Horticulture" plant tag can be hung on larger plants and trees and has the original "Fresh from Florida" logo on it. Our "Grow and Bloom with Florida Horticulture" plant tag, which is smaller and can be placed in pots, features the original logo along with a picture of an orange blossom and a zebra longwing butterfly.
Another resource you might be interested in is the "from Florida" logo website (https://florida-agriculture.com/marketing/logos.htm). This site lists a variety of logos and includes special horticulture logos like "Ferns from Florida," "Orchids from Florida," and "Plants from Florida," all of which can be downloaded and utilized on your website or packaging as long as you an FAPC member.
We also offer graphic design assistance. If you have a logo or poster in mind for your business, send us your ideas and we can design an illustration for you.
We are currently in the process of developing more horticulture-specific materials, so if you have an idea for a marketing tool that you think would be useful to you, please let us know. We always appreciate feedback from our members.
Florida Cuisine Cookbook
- Where can I get a copy of your Florida Cuisine Cookbook?
The Florida Cuisine Cookbook is out of print and no longer available for distribution. However, all the recipes that appeared in that cookbook can be found online at https://florida-agriculture.com/recipes/index.htm.
A new cookbook, titled The Florida Chef: Flavorful Seasons, was published in 2008. A PDF version can be downloaded from this link: http://app2.florida-
Cookbook.pdf. For a printed copy, contact Chef Justin Timineri at (850) 617-7307 or .
Florida Market Bulletin
- How do I place an ad in the Florida Market Bulletin?
You can submit a classified ad online at https://florida-agriculture.com/fmb/submit_classified.htm. The deadline for submitting an ad is the 20th of the month prior to the month the ad is to appear. For example, for an ad to run in the June issue, it must be received by 5 p.m. on May 20. All ads must be agriculturally related and must be 20 words or less. For more information, call (850) 617-7350.
- How much does it cost to place a classified ad in the Florida Market Bulletin?
There is no charge for placing an ad in the Bulletin.
- How do I place an ad in the Florida Market Bulletin?
Ads may be submitted online at https://florida-agriculture.com/fmb/
submit_classified.htm. Click on the appropriate category (“Farm Machinery,” “Cattle,” etc.) and fill in all the information boxes (your email address is optional). Ads must be 20 words or less. Your name, address, telephone numbers, email address, required statements, and permit numbers are not included in the 20-word limit.
If you do not wish to submit your ad online, you may fax it to (850) 617-7351, or mail it to: Classified Ads, Florida Market Bulletin, 407 South Calhoun Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-6555.
For additional information, call (850) 617-7350.
- What is the deadline for submitting an ad to the Florida Market Bulletin?
The deadline for submitting a classified ad is the 20th of the month prior to the month the ad is to appear. For example, for an ad to run in the June issue, it must be received by 5 p.m. on May 20. Ads are posted on the web on the first of each month. Ads received by the 20th of the month will be posted online on the first day of the following month.
- How can I access back issues of the Florida Market Bulletin?
We do not provide online access to non-current issues of the Florida Market Bulletin. However, you can start your own archive of past issues. When you go to the main page of the Florida Market Bulletin (https://florida-agriculture.com/fmb/view_ads.htm), you’ll see a box labeled “Print All Ads” on the lower right-hand side. If you click on that box, a PDF file with all the ads for the current month will open and you can save it to the hard drive of your computer for access at any time.
- Why is the Florida Market Bulletin no longer being printed?
All areas of state government were directed to reduce expenses to help alleviate Florida’s serious budget shortfall. As part of this cost-cutting measure, the Florida Market Bulletin ceased publication. The June 2008 issue was the last to be printed in paper form and mailed to subscribers. Even though the printed Market Bulletin has been discontinued, we continue to post the classified ads online each month.
- I think I’m being scammed. What do I do? I recently placed a for-sale ad in the Florida Market Bulletin. Then I started receiving emails from a buyer offering to pay for the item with a cashier’s check. The check came, but it was for much more than the price of the item. The buyer asked me to return the overage. I’m glad I hesitated, because my bank soon called me and told me the cashier’s check was fake.
This is definitely a scam. To protect yourself, never accept a check that overpays for any item that you have offered for sale in the Florida Market Bulletin. Be especially wary of individuals who insist on communicating with you by email only. Ask for their name, telephone number, and address, and try to verify the information using telephone directories or online resources. If you feel the least bit uncomfortable about a potential transaction, do not proceed with that transaction. Trust your instincts; if something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't.
If you receive an offer for your advertised item via email from someone offering to pay by cashier’s check for more than the purchase price, forward the email to the Federal Trade Commission at .
If you have lost money to one of these schemes, call your local Secret Service field office. Local field offices are listed in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory, or visit www.secretservice.gov/field_offices.shtml on the web.
- How can I subscribe to your FloridAgriculture magazine?
FloridAgriculture is not a publication of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It is produced by the Florida Farm Bureau and mailed monthly to all Farm Bureau members. It is also available online to anyone with a web browser. You can view the magazine online and/or fill out an application for Farm Bureau membership at http://www.floridagriculture.org.
Food Distribution Programs
- What is the Food Recovery Program?
Florida’s Food Recovery Program gathers food that has been deemed unmarketable and distributes it to the needy. When food is rejected at the retail and wholesale levels, the Food Recovery Program is an excellent alternative to dumping at the local landfill.
The program is a coordinated effort involving the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida farmers, wholesalers, retailers, community action agencies, and other food relief agencies. It supplements federal food assistance programs by making better use of a food source that already exists.
The four most common methods of food recovery are:
Field gleaning: The collection of crops from fields that have already been mechanically harvested or from fields where it has not been economically profitable to harvest.
Perishable Food Rescue or Salvage: The collection of perishable produce from wholesale and retail sources.
Food Rescue: The collection of prepared foods from the food service industry.
Nonperishable Food Collection: The collection of processed foods with long shelf lives.
- What is the Emergency Food Assistance Program?
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program that helps improve the diets of low-income Americans, regardless of age, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost. TEFAP plays a vital role in providing food assistance by supplementing other donated foods distributed by emergency feeding organizations.
Under TEFAP, commodity foods are made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to all 50 states. The states provide the food to eligible recipient agencies that they have selected and which in turn distribute it to the needy through local emergency feeding organizations.
In Florida, TEFAP is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For more information, please visit our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/foodprograms/emergency_food_program.htm.
- We are a nonprofit that distributes food to the needy, and lately we are struggling to maintain adequate supplies for our clients. Why are there so few commodities available through the Emergency Food Assistance Program?
The amount of TEFAP food available for distribution to a particular county is dependent on the amount allocated by the USDA to the state of Florida. Unfortunately, in recent years the amount of USDA TEFAP funding allocated to Florida has been reduced. In addition, there has been a significant reduction in the amount of bonus ("surplus") food purchased by the USDA for distribution through TEFAP. As a result there is less food available to each county and, correspondingly, to the emergency feeding organizations. Unfortunately, the situation is not expected to change in the near future.
- We have just started a food pantry at our church to help those in need. Do we qualify for any state assistance to keep the pantry going?
You can locate food banks and other food sources near you through Florida Impact's Food Resource Directory website at http://www.flimpact.org/directory/index.cfm. By entering your zip code, city, or county, you can locate food sources in your area.
For information on food recovery, please contact Farm Share, Inc., at (305) 246-3276 or http://www.farmshare.org. Farm Share is a Florida-based nonprofit that works with farmers, packers, wholesalers, and grocers to recover nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables considered unsuitable for the retail market due to size or minor blemishes. Farm Share arranges deliveries to participating nonprofit organizations so they can distribute the food to needy individuals.
You should also contact the Society of St. Andrew, a nationwide nonprofit that uses volunteers to glean nutritious produce from farmers' fields after harvest and deliver it to people in need. You can reach the Florida office in Orlando at (407) 650-1956 or (800) 806-0756.
Under the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the USDA provides commodities to all 50 states for distribution to eligible households. States provide the food to local agencies that they have selected, usually food banks, which in turn distribute the food to soup kitchens and food pantries that directly serve the public. In Florida, TEFAP is administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Information about this program can be found on our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/foodprograms/emergency_food_program.htm.
For details about TEFAP eligibility criteria for households, donated foods available, and criteria for sub-distributors, contact the Recipient Agency serving your county. If you are not familiar with your Recipient Agency, go to https://Florida-Agriculture.com/foodprograms/recipient_agencies_counties.htm. The Recipient Agencies are listed by county.
- I own a restaurant and must throw away a large amount of good food each day. I would like to donate it to the needy, but I am worried about liability. Can you tell me about any laws that might protect me?
The federal Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act provides uniform national protection to those who act in good faith to donate, recover, and distribute excess food. Likewise, Florida has enacted Florida Statute 768.136, specifically addressing the liability of donating canned or perishable food. According to the statute, "A good faith donor or gleaner of any canned or perishable food, apparently fit for human consumption, to a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization for free distribution shall not be subject to criminal penalty or civil damages arising from the condition of the food, unless an injury is caused by the gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of the donor or gleaner."
Please contact your local food bank to inquire about the logistics of making donations. You can find a food bank near you through Florida Impact's Food Resource Directory website at http://www.flimpact.org/directory/index.cfm. Just enter your zip code, city, or county to get started.
- How do I apply for Food Stamps?
In Florida, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as the federal Food Stamp Program, is administered by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). For information, please call DCF’s Office of Economic Self-Sufficiency at (800) 342-9274 or (850) 488-3271 or email . You can locate a DCF office near you through the DCF website at http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/ess/.
- I have applied for Food Stamps, but I am told my application will take time to process. Is there any help available to me until it is complete?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides commodities under the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) for distribution to eligible households. In Florida TEFAP is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Information about this program and the eligibility criteria may be found on our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/foodprograms/emergency_food_program.htm.
Donated foods are distributed to eligible households through local food pantries. If you are not familiar with the food pantries in your area, you may contact the state-contracted Recipient Agency serving your county to obtain information. Contact information for the Recipient Agencies can be found at https://florida-agriculture.com/foodprograms/recipient_agencies_counties.htm. The Recipient Agencies are listed by county and can provide you with the name and address of food pantries in your community and the eligibility criteria for receiving donated foods.
You can locate other food sources near you through Florida Impact's Food Resource Directory website at http://www.flimpact.org/directory/index.cfm. Just enter your zip code, city, or county.
- How do I apply for WIC benefits?
A federally funded nutrition program for women, infants, and children, WIC is administered in Florida by the Department of Health. WIC provides the following at no cost: healthy foods, nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding support, and referrals for health care. To apply for WIC, you need to contact your local WIC office. Call 1-800-342-3556 and the operator will provide you with the local phone number.
- What is the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program?
The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is available in 16 counties in Florida to low-income women and children who participate in the federal WIC program. The FMNP provides coupons that can be used to purchase locally grown, fresh Florida fruits and vegetables at authorized farmers’ markets from April 1 through July 31. For more information on the FMNP, please visit our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/consumers/wic.htm.
- In which counties is the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program available?
Florida’s Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) started as a pilot project in three counties in 1998 and has since expanded to 16 counties. The FMNP currently operates from April through July in Alachua, Bay, Escambia, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, St. John’s, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, Walton, and Washington counties.
Further expansion of the program is dependent on receiving additional funding on both the state and federal level. Should there be an increase in funding, the program will expand to those counties that already have retail farmers’ markets in operation.
- Who qualifies for the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program?
The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program currently operates in 16 counties in Florida. It is open to participants in the WIC program, a federal program that provides supplemental food, health care referrals, and nutrition education to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, and to children five and under who are nutritionally at risk.
- Where can I find information about the Elder Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program?
The Elder Farmers' Market Nutrition Program provides low-income elders living in select counties with coupons that can be redeemed for locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables from participating farmers' markets. The program is administered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. For information, please visit http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/english/nutrition_farmersmarket.php, or contact Holly Greuling, nutrition program manager, at .
- I own forest land in Florida and would like to develop a management plan for my property. Is there anybody who can help me?
County foresters provide technical assistance to Florida’s private landowners. They can help with forest management, prescribed burns, insect and disease identification, cost-share programs, and more. For contact information, please visit http://www.floridaforestservice.com/field_operations/county_foresters/index.html.
- Where can I find information about current timber prices?
Timber Mart-South, published by the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forest Resources, is a quarterly market price survey and report of the major timber products in the 11 southeastern states. You can access the reports at http://www.tmart-south.com.
- How can I obtain pine seedlings to reforest my land?
The Division of Forestry provides bare-root pine seedlings to support the reforestation needs of Florida landowners. Beginning on July 1 the division’s Andrews Nursery begins accepting seedling orders for the upcoming tree-planting season (December through February). Seedlings are generally sold by the thousand; however, customers with smaller needs may purchase either 250 or 500 seedlings. Orders above 1,000 seedlings must be in increments of 1,000. For information on how to order, please visit the division’s website at http://www.floridaforestservice.com/forest_management/seedling_sales_index.html.
- My forestland is being overrun by invasive plants and I don’t know how to stop them. What do I do?
The Florida Invasive Species Partnership has created a web site, FloridaInvasives.org, to help connect Florida's land owners and land managers with the best invasive species management programs available. Visit FloridaInvasives.org to find financial and/or technical assistance to meet your personal needs.
Your county forester can also help. Telephone numbers and email addresses are available at http://www.floridaforestservice.com/field_operations/county_foresters/index.html.
Fresh from Florida Kids
- Where can I find information about your "Fresh from Florida Kids" program? How can I get involved?
The "Fresh from Florida Kids" program teaches parents how to prepare healthy baby foods at home using fresh fruits and vegetables. Introducing these fresh, healthy foods at an early age can help infants and toddlers develop a lifelong preference for them.
Participants in the program receive a kit containing a food grinder, bib, storage container, freezer tray, health and nutrition information, and recipes and instructions on how to prepare healthy foods for their children and family.
For more information about "Fresh from Florida Kids," please visit http://www.freshfromfloridakids.com. To find out how to register for the program, go to http://www.freshfromfloridakids.com/participate.htm.
Gardening, Lawn, Plants, Insects
- My plant is sick. How can I find out what’s wrong with it?
Your local county extension office is your best resource when you have questions about plant health and your home garden in general. You can find contact information for your local county office at http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu. The purpose of extension is to "extend" university resources out to the people where they live. Your local county office has University of Florida-trained Master Gardener volunteers on duty to answer gardening questions from the public. Volunteers are trained to offer up-to-date, research-based answers using a wide array of information sources provided by UF. If the volunteers are stumped, horticultural extension agents are available to help them out.
- I need help identifying a strange insect in my garden. Who can I contact?
Your local county extension office can identify many insect pests. Contact information can be found at http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu. Master Gardener volunteers will usually be able to answer your insect questions over the phone, but occasionally it will be necessary for you to actually bring the insect to the office for correct identification. If a sample is needed, please submit several insects, preferably live, in an appropriate container. If there is going to be a delay in submitting the sample, please preserve the insect by freezing or covering with rubbing alcohol.
- Where can I find information about backyard vegetable gardening in Florida?
UF/IFAS Extension will provide you with the latest research-based information on gardening in your area. You can find contact information for your local county extension office at http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu. UF-trained Master Gardener volunteers are on hand at your county office to answer your gardening questions. Extension also offers educational workshops and training sessions on a wide range of gardening topics.
- Do you do soil testing?
No, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services does not do soil testing, but UF/IFAS Extension does. You can find contact information for your local county extension office at http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu. The first step is to stop by your county office for soil sample bags. You’ll also receive an addressed shipping container so you can send your sample to the University of Florida’s Soil Testing Laboratory. Master Gardener volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions you might have.
- Can you direct me to someone who can help me identify a plant?
Master Gardener volunteers at your local county extension office can provide assistance with plant identification. Contact information for the office nearest you is available at http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu.
- Where can I find advice for dealing with unwanted moles in my yard?
Mole tunnels can cause cosmetic problems in your yard, but the presence of moles actually improves your yard’s overall health. Moles are often accused of eating the roots of grass and other plants, but this just isn’t true. These small mammals are insect eaters and consume many damaging garden pests, including mole crickets, beetle larvae, ants and ant brood, moth larvae and pupae, and slugs. In addition, their tunneling helps loosen and aerate the soil.
For advice on managing moles, call your county extension office. To find contact information for your local office, go to http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu.
- My yard has been taken over by poison ivy. How can I get rid of it?
Staff at your county extension office will be able to offer you the best advice. To find contact information for your local office, go to http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu.
- Where can I find information about installing a rain barrel?
Many county extension offices have rain barrel demonstration exhibits and offer workshops on building and installing rain barrels. Contact information for your local extension office can be found at http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu.
- I am interested in raising and selling goats in Florida. Where can I find information on getting started in the business?
Contact the Florida Dairy Goat Association (http://fdga.org) at , and the Florida Meat Goat Association, Inc. (http://www.fmga.org), at (386) 496-2379 or . The associations offer educational workshops and conferences, as well as opportunities to meet more experienced producers.
- I am having trouble finding hay for my horses. Can you suggest some sources?
You can find a list of hay suppliers on our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/livestock/haysuppliers.htm. In addition to suppliers in Florida, the listing also includes suppliers in many other states and Canada. Be sure to call ahead to confirm availability, days and hours of operation, prices, types and sizes of bales, and transportation requirements.
- Do you sell hay?
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services assists Florida’s farmers and agricultural industries with the production and promotion of their products; however, we do not sell hay or any other agricultural products.
You can find a list of hay suppliers from Florida and other states on our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/livestock/haysuppliers.htm. You might also check the Florida Market Bulletin at https://florida-agriculture.com/fmb. Every month the Bulletin features hundreds of classified ads for agriculture-related items, including various types of hay and livestock forage.
- Where can I find information about planting perennial peanut in Florida?
Perennial peanut is a high-quality persistent tropical forage legume that can be grazed or fed to horses, cattle, hogs, goats, sheep, and rabbits. It is well suited to our region, and unlike many traditional grass forages grown in Florida it thrives without the use of pesticides or applied nitrogen. For information about land preparation, planting time, planting rate, and more, please contact the Perennial Peanut Producers Association at P.O. Box 352, Madison, Florida 32341. The telephone number is (850) 973-2399, and the email address is .
Perennial peanut is planted using rhizomes, or underground stems, dug from a nursery planting. For a list of rhizome producers in Florida, please visit our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/livestock/peanut_hay.htm.
- I’m planning to drive to Florida with a load of fresh hay. Are there any restrictions I need to be aware of?
If the hay is from your own farm, all you need is a short letter stating that the hay was baled on your property and listing the address. (Basically, you are providing a certificate of origin.) If you purchased the hay, officers at the Department’s agricultural inspection stations will ask to see an invoice/bill of sale. Whether the hay is homegrown or purchased, officers will inspect it for noxious weeds. They will also check that the hay is "clean," meaning that it is free of ants, mold, and other problems.
History of Florida Agriculture
- Where can I find information about the history of agriculture in Florida?
The State Library and Archives of Florida, housed in the R.A. Gray Building at 500 South Bronough Street in Tallahassee, would be good place to start. If an on-site visit isn’t convenient, services are also offered electronically. An online catalog is available for public access at http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us/.
Here are a couple of other helpful links:
Importing and Exporting
- I am interested in shipping my agricultural products overseas. Could you direct me to the proper channels?
Here are some contacts to help you get started:
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Marketing and Development: Contact Liz Gablehouse at (850) 617-7330 or .
- Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA): (504) 568-5968. SUSTA is a non-profit agricultural export trade development association comprised of the departments of agriculture of the 15 southern states and Puerto Rico. SUSTA’s programs and services assist exporters of high-value food and agricultural products.
- U.S. Export Assistance Center-Miami: (305) 526-7425
- USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Economic Analysis Division: (202) 720-1294
- Florida Department of Health, Processed Food or Grocery: (305) 623-3500
- Where can I find information about importing exotic fruits and vegetables into Florida?
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services does not work with importers or importing, by legislative mandate. It works exclusively with Florida producers exporting Florida products.
Please contact the Miami Inspection Station at (305) 526-2825 for assistance. The World Trade Center Miami is another good resource. You can visit its website at http://www.worldtrade.org.
- Where can I find information about how to start a livestock auction market?
The USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) is responsible for overseeing livestock auction markets in the United States. Please contact the regional office in Atlanta at (404) 562-5840 or . GIPSA’s web address is http://www.gipsa.usda.gov.
- Where can I find a list of USDA-inspected meat processors?
The Meat, Poultry, and Egg Product Inspection Directory is a listing of establishments that produce meat, poultry, and/or egg products regulated by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) pursuant to the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act. You can view the directory at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/Meat_Poultry_Egg_
Inspection_Directory/index.asp. Updates are made monthly.
You might also want to check the Florida Business Directory’s listings for meat processors at http://www.floridalookup.com/meat-category.htm.
- Where can I find help starting an agriculture-based small business?
Your county extension office will be able to provide assistance. Contact information for your local office can be found at http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu.
- How do I obtain a certificate of registration for my nursery?
If you are growing plant material in Florida for sale or distribution, you are required to register as a nursery with the Division of Plant Industry. The first step in obtaining a certificate of registration is to call your local plant inspector. For contact information, visit http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/
plantinsp/pi_inspectordirectory/pi_insp_map.html. The inspector will inspect your plants for pests and diseases, help you complete your application for registration, and collect a registration fee.
- I’m searching for sources of wholesale nursery plants in Florida. Do you have any suggestions for where I might begin?
The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association, based in Orlando, has a "Plant and Product Locator" feature on its website at http://www.fngla.org. You can contact the association by calling (407) 295-7994 or e-mailing .
You might also try Betrock’s PlantFinder, a wholesale guide to foliage and ornamental plants across Florida, at http://www.plantfinder.com. Listings are updated every month.
- Where can I find information about what is involved in organic certification?
The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) is a federal regulatory program that sets national standards for organic food production. Visit the NOP’s website (http://www.ams.usda.gov/NOP) to familiarize yourself with organic rules and regulations.
Once you are acquainted with the National Organic Program, you will need to contact an accredited organic certification agency and obtain an application packet. You can find a complete list of certifiers on the NOP’s website. One such agency is Quality Certification Services (QCS), based in Gainesville. QCS is associated with Florida Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc. (FOG), a non-profit that works to educate organic producers and consumers. Visit FOG’s website at http://www.foginfo.org, or call (352) 377-6345.
As part of the application process, an applicant must develop an organic farm plan, which includes water management plans; crop and marketing plans; soil management and crop rotational plans; seed sources; weed, disease, and pest management; post-harvest handling and storage; and plans for recordkeeping.
When completed, the application is submitted to the certification agency for review. After review, a qualified inspector conducts an on-site inspection and submits a report to the certifying agency. If no problems are found, the agency then grants certification.
- How much will it cost to get my farm certified organic?
The cost of certification depends on the size and sales of your farming operation. It also depends on the certification agency you choose, because different agencies charge slightly different fees.
You can find a full list of accredited organic certification agencies on the USDA’s website at http://www.ams.usda.gov/NOP. One such agency is Quality Certification Services (QCS), which is associated with Florida Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc. (FOG), headquartered in Gainesville. You can contact QCS by calling (352) 377-0133 or e-mailing . QCS is the only certification agency based in Florida, but that doesn’t mean it is your only option; you can choose an agency based in another state or even another country.
Government cost-share programs can help offset the cost of organic certification. FOG is currently accepting applications from certified organic growers and handlers in Florida for reimbursement of up to 75 percent of certification costs, or a maximum of $750. For more information about the cost-share reimbursement, please visit http://www.foginfo.org.
- I would like to begin growing and selling organic fruits and vegetables part-time. Do I need to get certified even if I own just a small hobby farm?
If your sales are less than $5,000 a year, you do not need to certify your operation. However, if you plan on labeling or selling your products as organic you must abide by the National Organic Program’s rules and regulations for organic production. While you may label your products as organic, you may not use the USDA seal or the seal of an accredited organic certifying agency. In short, you may not make any claims that your product is certified. Furthermore, you may not sell your products for use as ingredients in somebody else's certified organic product. If you are planning on selling your products at a retail store, the store may require you to sign an affidavit stating that your farm adheres to national organic standards.
For more information about this exemption for small farmers, please visit the National Organic Program’s website at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop.
- If I use manure to enrich my soil, is my farm still eligible for organic certification?
The National Organic Program (NOP) imposes strict regulations on the use of manures in organic agriculture.
If you are applying raw manure to a crop intended for human consumption, you must do so at least 120 days before harvest if the edible portion has direct contact with the soil and 90 days before harvest if the edible portion has no soil contact. Application of properly composted manure, however, is always allowable under NOP rules. Proper composting reduces the presence of pathogens and transforms manures into safe, effective fertilizers.
For more information about manure use in organic farm practices, please visit the Organic Trade Association’s website at http://www.ota.com/organic/foodsafety/manure.html. The Organic Trade Association is a membership-based business association that promotes and protects the growth of organic trade in North America.
- I am interested in establishing a small organic farm. Where can I find information to help me get started?
There are many organizations that can provide support. The Florida Organic Growers Association (FOG), a non-profit based in Gainesville, is an excellent resource. FOG is a clearinghouse for information about organic agricultural practices, sustainable agriculture, small farm systems, and networking with others in the sustainable agriculture community. FOG offers lectures, educational workshops, and seminars on such topics as organic and sustainable farming practices, how to become certified organic, and niche marketing for small and sustainable farmers. You can telephone FOG at (352) 377-6345 or visit its website at http://www.foginfo.org.
You should also contact your local county extension office at http://www.solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu. Extension agents provide information and assistance to the local agriculture community.
Another good resource is the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (Southern SAWG), a non-profit working to create a sustainable food and farming system in our region. Southern SAWG provides learning opportunities for farmers, and tools and support for farmer entrepreneurs. To learn more about Southern SAWG, visit www.ssawg.org.
Florida A&M University in Tallahassee offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in agriculture, and its Statewide Small Farm Program promotes sustainability and economic opportunities for small farmers. The Small Farm Program offers a variety of educational workshops and helps organize local growers’ markets. For more information visit http://www.famu.edu.
The University of Florida now offers an undergraduate degree program in organic farming. It requires 120 credit hours, most of them in science courses, including chemistry, botany, genetics, entomology, and soil science. Students must also complete several production-agriculture classes. For more information visit http://www.ifas.ufl.edu.
- I’m looking for organically grown fruits and vegetables in my area. Do you have a list of growers?
For a directory of certified organic growers in Florida, please visit the website of Florida Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc. (FOG), at http://www.foginfo.org/directory.php. FOG is a Gainesville-based nonprofit that works to promote organic and sustainable agriculture and provides educational opportunities for both producers and consumers. You can contact FOG at (352) 377-6345 or .
You might also try searching the Local Harvest website at http://www.localharvest.org. Local Harvest helps you find the sustainable farm products that are closest to you. Just type in your zip code to begin your search.
- I’m confused about labeling. What is the difference between "grass-fed" and "organic" beef?
The USDA defines grass-fed beef as beef that comes from cattle whose diet since weaning has consisted only of grass, hay, and other non-grain vegetation. The cattle must have continuous access to pasture throughout the growing season. Though USDA standards do not address the issue of antibiotics and hormones, most grass-fed cattle are raised without either.
Organic beef is beef that comes from cattle raised according to national organic standards. Hormones and antibiotics are banned, and the animals are given access to pasture. They are fed 100 percent organic feed, but the feed isn’t necessarily grass (which is a cow’s natural diet). It might be corn or other grains. National organic standards ban animal bi-products from cattle feed and specify that feed must be produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides.
- I am a small farmer planning to switch from conventional to organic production. Is there any assistance available to me as I make this shift?
Florida Organic Growers (FOG), with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is currently operating a program that provides free technical assistance to Florida farmers who commit to transition to organic production or reduce pesticide use. Participants are paired with crop advisors experienced in organic approaches to pest and disease control, soil fertility management, and other important aspects of successful fruit and vegetable production.
The organic transition program is scheduled to run through May 2010. Participating growers can attend informational workshops and field days at successful organic farms, receive answers to organic production and certification questions, and learn about market opportunities for transitional and organic produce. For more information, call Marty Mesh at (352) 377-6345, or e-mail .
FOG is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit based in Gainesville. For 20 years FOG has been educating growers, consumers, educators, media, and the general public about organic and sustainable agriculture.
- Where can I find current price information for fruits and vegetables and other agricultural commodities?
Agricultural commodity prices from the Florida Market News Service are available on our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/marketing/commodities.htm. The Federal-State Market News Service is a cooperative program between the USDA and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Market News Service compiles and issues daily reports on price, supply, demand, quality, movement, and market conditions of Florida agricultural commodities. For more information, call (407) 277-0013. A regularly updated recorded message with selected commodity price information is available by calling 1-888-816-6854.
- Where can I find information on getting started in rabbit farming?
The Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises website, http://smallfarms.ifas.ufl.edu/livestock_and_forages/rabbits.html, has information on rabbit production. The site is maintained by a team of cooperative extension service faculty from the University of Florida and Florida A&M University and is designed to help small farmers develop business skills, learn the latest technical information, and gain access to profitable markets.
Your local county extension agent can also provide assistance. For contact information, visit http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu.
There is a brief overview of the rabbit industry in Florida on our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/livestock/rabbit_farming.htm.
- Where can I find a list of rabbit producers in Florida?
Please call Terrie Fishman with the Bureau of Development and Information at (850) 617-7330.
- Where can I find information about the rules and regulations for importing live plants into Florida?
Importation of plant products into the United States and Florida from another country is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For information, please visit the website of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/plant_imports/index.shtml. You can download PPQ Form 587, an application for permit to import plants or plant products, at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/permits/
downloads/forms/ppqform587.pdf. Fax the completed application to (301) 734-5786, or mail it to USDA-APHI-PPQ, Permit Unit, 4700 River Road, Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236. If you have questions, please call the USDA’s automated telephone number at 1-877-770-5990.
- I am moving to Florida from another state. Is it legal to dig some of the plants in my yard and bring them with me to my new home?
All plants entering Florida must be accompanied by a certificate of inspection. To obtain a certificate of inspection, contact the local inspector from your state department of agriculture or call your local county extension office. For more information, contact Amber Totten in the Division of Plant Industry’s Bureau of Plant Inspection at (352) 372-3505 ext. 157 or .
- I am moving to Florida from another state. Can I bring my houseplants with me?
All plants entering Florida must be accompanied by a certificate of inspection. If the plants originate from a state that does not offer an inspection and certification service for houseplants, the owner must be able to furnish the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services with a Florida address where the plants will be located. The address will enable the Department to conduct a follow-up inspection if necessary.
For more information, please contact Amber Totten in the Bureau of Plant Inspection at (352) 372-3505 ext. 157 or .
- Where can I find information about tropical fruits grown in Florida?
Please visit our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/tropical/index.htm for photos and information about Florida’s tropical fruits. You’ll find nutrition information, recipes, tips for handling and storage, harvest times, a list of growers and distributors, and more.
- Where can I purchase tropical fruits grown in Florida?
Avocados and other well-known tropical fruits from Florida can be found in many grocery stores. To locate more unusual varieties, you might want to visit a farmers’ market in South Florida, close to the groves and orchards where these delicate fruits are grown. You can find a list of community farmers’ markets in the area at https://florida-agriculture.com/consumers/farmers_markets.htm. Please note that most community farmers’ markets are open on a seasonal basis. Be sure to contact each market ahead of time to confirm dates and hours of operation.
In addition, many growers sell tropical fruits from their farms—and some will even ship them. For a list of Florida tropical fruit growers, suppliers, distributors, and shippers, please visit our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/tropical/suppliers.htm.
You might also want to check the website of Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida, Inc., http://www.tropicalfruitgrowers.com. The site features a list of member growers and the fruits they produce. The list includes contact information and shipping options.
- How can I find U-pick farms in my area?
You can find a list of U-pick farms across Florida on our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/consumers/upick.htm. Farms are listed by county. Because U-pick farms are not required to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, our list is not a complete one. For more information about farms near you, contact your local county extension office. You can find the telephone number for your local office at http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu.
You might also try searching the Local Harvest website at http://www.localharvest.org. Local Harvest can help you find U-pick farms, CSAs, farmers’ markets, co-ops, and more in your area. Just type in your zip code to get started.
- How can I get my farm added to the list of U-pick farms on your website?
Please contact Kechia Dean at and she will add your farm to the list. Please provide the following information: name of farm, farm’s address, farm’s phone number, email address, website, hours of operation, and products for U-pick. If you have questions or would like more information, please call Kechia at (850) 921-1845.
- I would like to purchase a large number of Florida watermelons wholesale. Who should I contact?
For a list of watermelon producers in Florida, call the Florida Watermelon Association, headquartered in Immokalee, at (239) 658-1442.
- Where can I purchase native Florida wildflower seed?
For information about purchasing native wildflower seed, please contact the Wildflower Seed and Plant Growers Association, Inc., a co-op of Florida wildflower seed farmers, at (352) 988-8117 or . Visit the association’s website at http://www.floridawildflowers.com to view photos of native Florida wildflowers and to find planting instructions and information about seed availability.
- Where can I find information on how to plant native Florida wildflower seed?
The Wildflower Seed and Plant Growers Association, Inc., a cooperative of Florida wildflower seed growers, has planting information on its website at http://www.floridawildflowers.com. There’s also information on how to purchase wildflower seed and a photo gallery featuring dozens of native species.
- I am interested in converting some of my acreage to wildflower seed production. Where can I find information to help me get started?
It might also be a good idea to speak with some experienced growers. Contact the Wildflower Seed and Plant Growers Association, Inc., a co-op of Florida seed growers, at (352) 988-8117 or .
Your local county extension office is another good resource. You can find contact information for your local office at http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu.
- Where can I find information about grants available for funding a native wildflower project?
The Florida Wildflower Foundation funds roadside, park, and community plantings; educational programs; and research projects through the sale of the State Wildflower license tag. However, the grants program has been temporarily suspended while it undergoes reorganization. For updates on the program’s status, please visit http://floridawildflowerfoundation.org. The mission of the Florida Wildflower Foundation is to protect and replenish native wildflowers while increasing public knowledge of them as important parts of our ecosystems.
- My neighborhood has too many Muscovy ducks. They are becoming a nuisance. Can I relocate them to a nearby park or lake?
Wildlife officials consider feral domestic ducks to be undesirable in the wild because of their potential to transmit diseases to or interbreed with Florida's native waterfowl. To minimize these problems, Florida Statute 372.265 prohibits the release of exotic animals, including Muscovy ducks. Relocating Muscovy ducks into a wild situation is illegal; however, you could legally move the ducks to a captive situation where they would not come into contact with wildlife and could not escape. For more information on removing nuisance waterfowl, please contact one of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s waterfowl offices at (850) 488-5878 or (321) 726-2862.
- How can I find out if I need a permit to keep an exotic pet?
Depending on the type of animal, a captive wildlife permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission may be required. Go to http://myfwc.com/rulesandregs/Rules_Captive_index.htm to find permit applications and information regarding regulations. For more information, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Captive Wildlife Section at (850) 488-6253.
- I can no longer care for my exotic pet. Is it okay if I just let it go?
It is illegal to release a nonnative animal into the wild in Florida. Released pets often die, so “freeing” them is really not a humane thing to do. On the other hand, some exotic species thrive, multiply, and create an even larger problem by upsetting the balance of the local ecosystem. Each year the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) hosts a series of pet amnesty events that provide exotic-pet owners with an alternative to releasing unwanted pets into the wild. Pet owners can surrender their pets for free, with no questions asked, and the FWC will work to place them in good homes. For more information about pet amnesty days, contact Jenny Tinnell at (850) 926-0128.
- Do I need a license to raise quail or other game animals?
Yes, to raise game animals in Florida you need a Game Farm License from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Applications are available online at http://myfwc.com/License/LicPermit_CaptiveOtherPermits.htm. For more information, call Donna Carpenter in Licensing and Permitting at (850) 488-3641.
- I have a gopher tortoise on my property. Can I relocate it?
The gopher tortoise is a threatened species in Florida and protected under state law. It is illegal to capture or relocate a gopher tortoise without a permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). For more information about permitting, please contact the FWC regional conservation biologist nearest you. Contact information can be found at http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/gophertortoise_contact.htm.
Wineries and Vineyards
- Which grape varieties have proven to grow most successfully in Florida's subtropical climate?
Muscadine and hybrid bunch grapes perform best in Florida. Some of the most popular muscadine cultivars are Carlos, Noble, and Fry, while the most popular hybrid bunch grapes include Stover, Conquistador, and Blanc du Bois. For specific information about the best grapes for your area, please contact the Center for Viticulture Sciences and Small Fruit Research at Florida A&M University at (850) 412-7393. Another good source of information is the Florida Grape Growers Association at (386) 329-0318.
- Where can I find information about grape cultivation techniques?
Florida A & M University’s Center for Viticulture Sciences and Small Fruit Research in Tallahassee does most of the grape-growing research in Florida and can provide you with the latest information on cultivation. You can contact the center at (850) 599-8685.
Another good resource is the Florida Grape Growers’ Association (http://www.fgga.org). A non-profit serving farmers and hobbyists, the Florida Grape Growers’ Association holds an annual conference and sends out a newsletter containing expert cultivation tips. You can contact the central office at (386) 329-0318 or .
Of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your local county extension office. Visit http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu to find contact information for your local office (every county has one). The phone number may also be found in your phone book in the government offices section for your county, under "Cooperative Extension Services." Extension brings the latest agricultural research from the University of Florida to local communities throughout the state.
- Where can I purchase grape vines that will perform well in Florida?
Please visit the website of the Florida Grape Growers Association at http://www.fgga.org. Click on the Nurseries Directory link and you will find sources for vines.
- I’m taking a vacation to Florida soon and would like to visit some wineries. Do you have any brochures or other materials that would be helpful in planning my trip?
Visit our website at https://florida-agriculture.com/consumers/wineries.htm to read about the history of wine-making in Florida and watch a video introduction to Florida viticulture. You can also find a list of Florida’s wineries, complete with contact information and links to the wineries’ websites.
The list includes both certified farm wineries and other wineries. A farm winery is an operation that grows at least 10 acres of grapes or other fruit and makes wine from the harvest. You can download a map of Florida’s certified farm wineries at https://florida-agriculture.com/pubs/pubform/pdf/Florida_Wineries_And_Vineyards_Map.pdf. All of the farm wineries offer tastings and tours.
- What is a certified Florida farm winery?
A certified Florida farm winery is a working agribusiness producing a Florida product. Specifically, it is a Florida winery that produces and sells less than 250,000 gallons of wine annually, maintains a minimum of 10 acres of vineyards in Florida, is open to the public for tours, tastings, and sales at least 30 hours each week, and makes an annual application to the Florida Department of Agriculture for recognition as a Florida farm winery. To download an application for certification, please visit http://www.freshfromflorida.com/onestop/mkt/devinfo.html. For more information, contact Tom Thomas at (850) 617-7330 or .
- How can I get my Florida winery added to the list on your website?
Please contact Tom Thomas at (850) 617-7330 or and provide the name, physical address, web address, and telephone number of your winery.
Above is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that pertain to programs administered by the Division of Marketing and Development. Some related topics are addressed as well. Clicking on the questions below will display the answers. Please keep in mind that these FAQs do not cover all programs and issues dealt with by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For questions pertaining to other divisions within the Department, please click here.