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Preventing Foodborne Illness: Bacillus cereus

A colony of Bacillus cereus
Ingesting foods contaminated with Bacillus cereus bacteria can lead to nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Though B. cereus is commonly found in many types of fresh and processed foods, proper cooking, handling, and storage can minimize the risk of contamination. This 5-page fact sheet explains how B. cereus is transmitted, what foods it is commonly associated with, the methods used to prevent contamination, and good practices for receiving, handling, processing, and storing food. Written by Keith R. Schneider, Renée Goodrich Schneider, and Rachael Silverberg, and published by the UF Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, August 2015.

Flatwoods Citrus Best Management Practice: Riser-Board Structures

Figure 2. Typical riser-board structure within a citrus grove drainage system. Water discharge structures are used to control water table levels and surface water levels in drainage and irrigation ditches within flatwoods citrus groves. The type of structure selected can significantly influence the quality of water discharged. With flashboard risers, water is forced to flow over the top board. This flow path creates a low current area toward the bottom, which facilitates the deposition of sediments and their accompanying nutrients or pesticides, essentially removing them from the discharges. Conversely, screw-gate structures do not create this dead-current zone. Since they open from the bottom, sediments are swept out along with the discharge water. Written by Chris Wilson, Liberta Scotto, Brian Boman, and Tim Gaver. Original publication date February 2002. Revised April 2012 and August 2015.

Flatwoods Citrus Best Management Practice: Soil Stabilization

Figure 5.  Canal bank stabilization in a high velocity area using a hardened synthetic ground covering. Credit: PCW
This best management practice describes stabilization practices for erosion-prone soils within flatwoods citrus groves. Significant amounts of soil may be deposited in drainage ditches and canals because of the erosion of grove soils. These deposited soils reduce the capacity for holding and transporting water. Plus, very small soil fractions may be suspended in discharge water then settle out in slower flowing areas and destroy submerged aquatic habitats, resulting in the loss of fish, invertebrate, and plant species important for healthy ecosystems. Fortunately, a variety of slope stabilization methods are available. This publication describes considerations for using plants for stabilization, or mulch-like materials. Written by P. Chris Wilson, Liberta Scotto, Brian Boman, and Tim Gaver. Original publication date March 2002. Revised April 2012 and August 2014. Reviewed August 2015.

Implications of Cow Body Condition Score on Productivity

Mature beef cow with a body condition score of 6

Body condition score (BCS) indicates how much fat a cow has on its body, which is an important factor in cow health and reproductive capacity. Growers can use BCS to understand and manage the health of a herd and maintain a profitable operation. This 6-page fact sheet explains how BCS is measured, what different scores mean, the economic impact of various scores, and how changing cow nutrition can move BCS in a desired direction. Written by Matt Hersom, Todd Thrift, and Joel Yelich, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, September 2015.

Clavate Tortoise Beetle, Plagiometriona clavata (Fabricius)

Figure 1.  Adult clavate tortoise beetle, Plagiometriona clavata (Fabricius).  Credit: David Cappaert,
Plagiometriona clavata (Fabricius) is common and can be recognized easily by its general form and appearance. Written for Featured Creatures Collection by Robert E. Woodruff. Original publication date December 2006, revised August 2015. (Photo Credit: David Cappaert,

Resetting in Citrus Groves

Scattered resets in a citrus grove
To maintain the overall productivity of a citrus grove, dead or declining trees should be promptly removed and replaced with young, healthy trees, a practice known as resetting. Resetting presents many challenges for growers because young trees require more attention and care than more established trees. This 4-page fact sheet discusses effective resetting methods and maintenance for citrus. Written by Zekri Mongi, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, August 2015.

Some Common Diseases of Pepper in Florida

Figure 13. Symptomatic pepper fruit infected with Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus.
Pepper is an important commercial vegetable crop in Florida. During the months of November through May, the country is dependent on Florida for its supply of domestic fresh peppers. But disease problems often limit Florida pepper production. This fact sheet describes the symptoms and provides control recommendations for bacterial spot, phytophthora blight, wet rot, cercospora leaf spot, southern blight, blossom end rot, tobacco mosaic virus, aphid-transmitted viruses, and tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV). Written by Gary Vallad, Pamela Roberts, Ken Pernezny, and Tom Kucharek. Originally published by the UF Department of Plant Pathology in March 1991, Revised September 2015. (Photo credit: Gerald Holmes,, CC BY-NC 3.0 US). We would like to extend special thanks to professors emeriti Ken Pernezny and Tom Kucharek for interrupting their shuffleboard schedules to contribute to the revision of this publication.

General Recommendations for Fertilization of Turfgrasses on Florida Soils

gator head on lawn
In many neighborhoods, people envy the individual with the most beautiful lawn and think they cannot grow a lawn of equal quality. That is not necessarily true. A well-maintained lawn only requires some knowledge about fertilization, watering, pest control, and mowing. This publication provides basic information about fertilization. By far, the best approach to a proper fertilization program is to start with a soil test, but, if a soil test is not available, these guidelines can be used for a general turfgrass fertilization program. Original publication date May 1991. Revised August 2013 and August 2015.

Get SMART: Improve Your Extension Objectives

WC217 blurb photo
SMART Objectives assist educators and program planners in developing strong objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. This 3-page fact sheet was written by David C. Diehl and Sebastian Galindo-Gonzalez. Published by the UF Department of Family Youth and Community Sciences, June 2012 and revised September 2015.

Hurricane Preparation: Evacuating Your Home

evening lightning storm
Every year Floridians are faced with the possibility of hurricanes. Hurricanes have had devastating effects on many communities in Florida, and every year the possibility exists that communities will be hit by hurricanes during the summer and fall months. During the months of potential hurricanes, it is important to plan for the worst and hope that it never happens. For example, you and your family may be asked to leave your home due to some emergency conditions in your community. Have a plan for a possible evacuation and be prepared to evacuate. This 3-page fact sheet lists fifteen things to keep in mind. Written by Elizabeth Bolton and Muthusami Kumaran and published by the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, May 2015.

Implants for Cow-Calf and Stocker Beef Cattle

Cow with ear tags in a pin with other beef cattle
Getting cattle to put on a lot of muscle quickly is a crucial part of a beef cattle operation’s profitability. Growth promoting implants are one of the most cost-effective ways of increasing lean tissue in cattle and work by releasing hormones into the cow’s body that encourage muscle growth. This 4-page fact sheet explains implants’ mechanisms of action, how implants are administered and used, and concerns associated with implants. Written by Matt Hersom and Todd Thrift, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, August 2015.

?Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum?: An Emerging Pathogen Infecting Potato and Tomato

Fruit deformation of a tomato plant infected with Ca. L. solanacearum
A bacterium called “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum” infects potatoes and tomatoes, causing zebra chip in potatoes and psyllid yellows in tomatoes. These disease are highly destructive and have been known to reduce yields by up to 85%. “Ca. L. solanacearum” has been reported in several states, though it has not been detected in Florida, which is the second largest producer of tomatoes and seventh largest producer of potatoes in the US. This 9-page fact sheet covers the biology, distribution, symptoms, transmission, diagnosis, and management of the pathogen and its associated diseases. Written by Binoy Babu, Mathews L. Paret, Nicholas Dufault, and Carrie L. Harmon, and published by the UF Department of Plant Pathology, August 2015.

Value-Added Products for Fresh Highbush Blueberries

High-bush blueberries grown in Florida
Blueberries are one of the most popular fruits worldwide. Blueberries’ health benefits have fueled this popularity, and today, blueberries can be found in products ranging from nutritional supplements to pet food. This 4-page fact sheet covers the processing methods such as freezing or drying that transform fresh blueberries into ingredients that can be used in other products. Written by Ruiqi Li and Liwei Gu, and published by the UF Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, June 2015.

How to Perform a Fetotomy in Cattle: An Illustrated Guide

cow and calf in silhouetteTo perform a fetotomy means to dissect (to cut apart) a dead fetus in utero. Fetotomy is applicable particularly to cows because of the size of the uterus and the opportunity to introduce instruments to the full depth of the fetus. Fetotomy is an obstetric procedure that should only be performed by a trained veterinarian or under a trained veterinarian’s supervision. This 4-page fact sheet lists the circumstances when a fetotomy can be performed to save the life of the dam, the tools needed, fetotome preparation, the sequence of cuts for anterior presentation, and final comments. Written by Myriam Jimenez, Carlos Risco, and Klibs N. Galvão, and published by the UF Department of Veterinary Medicine-Large Animal Clinical Sciences, August 2015.

Strategies to Encourage Adoption of Stormwater Pond Best Management Practices (BMPs) by Homeowners

Pond surrounded by plants

Man-made ponds can be a useful way to collect, store, and treat stormwater runoff in residential areas. However, these ponds can become polluted when runoff contains fertilizers, pesticides, and pet waste from the neighborhood. This 8-page fact sheet outlines several best management practices (BMPs) for reducing stormwater pond pollution. Based on a survey of residents who live near stormwater ponds, the authors recommend strategies Extension educators can use to encourage residents to adopt these BMPs. Written by Emily Ott, Paul Monaghan, Ondine Wells, Gail Hansen, Laura Warner, and Michelle Atkinson, and published by the UF Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, July 2015.

What is 4R nutrient stewardship?

A man checks fertilizer levels on a tractor on a farm
A new and innovative approach to Best Management Practices for fertilizer application known as 4R nutrient stewardship is available, to ensure the environmental, social, and economical sustainability of commercial crop production. This 3-page fact sheet focuses on the basic concepts of the 4R nutrient stewardship principles for commercial crop production. Written by Guodong Liu, Kelly Morgan, Yuncong Li, Lincoln Zotarelli, James DeValerio, and Qingren Wang, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, July 2015.

Getting the Most out of Social Media

Examples of several social media platforms
Agriculturalists can use social media as a powerful tool for marketing their products and establishing a brand identity. The goal of this series is to help agriculturalists understand how social media can work for them. The series also discusses the various social media platforms and how to use social media strategically and wisely. Written by Jessica C. Fernandez and Joy N. Rumble, and published by the UF Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, August 2015. (Photo credit: tanuha2001/iStock/

Letting Them In: Sharing Your Story with People outside of Your Industry

WC216 blurb photo
Those who work in agriculture often face the challenge of explaining their work to people outside of their field. Identifying what your audience cares about is the first step in formulating a story you audience will understand and value. This 3-page fact sheet also offers do’s and don’ts for crafting a story for non-expert audiences. Written by Brandon Telg, Jaron Jones, and Ricky Telg, and published by the UF Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, July 2015. (Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/

Story Development

WC215 blurb photo

Stories let you share who you are with the world. Storytelling can help develop an organization’s identity, improve interactions with the public, and foster teamwork. This 2-page fact sheet covers the basics of good storytelling and strategies for crafting an engaging story. Written by Brandon Telg, Jaron Jones, and Ricky Telg, and published by the UF Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, July 2015. (Photo credit: elwynn1130/iStock/

HOT TOPIC: Oriental Fruit Fly

Figure 4. Adult female oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), laying eggs in fruit. Credit: Scott Bauer, USDA
On Tuesday September 15th 2015, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam declared a state of agricultural emergency due to the oriental fruit fly infestation in Miami-Dade County. The oriental fruit fly is considered one of the most serious of the world’s fruit fly pests due to its potential economic harm. For general information on this destructive pest of fruit, see EENY-083: Oriental Fruit Fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel) (Insecta: Diptera: Tephritidae) an informative Featured Creatures fact sheet describing the species, its distribution, life history, hosts, damage, quarantine & management, and selected references. (Photo Credit: Scott Bauer, USDA)

Also see these useful sources for news and information on the emerging threat:

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