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Why We Should Be Concerned about Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Scanning electron microscope image of S. aureus cells (20,000X magnification, unpublished data).Treatment and complete resolution of MRSA infections can be extremely challenging, since many MRSA strains are multidrug-resistant. This 6-page fact sheet provides an overview of MRSA, different strains, risk factors, symptoms, prevention, and the pathogen’s effects on human health and agriculture. Written by Austin B. Mogen and Kelly C. Rice, and published by the UF Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, September 2015.

Breast Cancer: Preparing for Surgery

Images of Rahim Remtulla working at the Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh for the CALS lookbook project.Once you and your doctor schedule your breast cancer surgery, you may have additional questions about how you can prepare for your operation. This 5-page fact sheet provides information to help you get ready for breast cancer surgery through a brief overview of common surgical options, medical appointments, social support systems, and standard surgical procedures as well as reactions and memories of women who have gone through this experience. Written by Martha C. Monroe and Barbara F. Shea, and published by the UF Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences. Revised February 2016.

Postharvest Storage, Packaging and Handling of Specialty Crops: A Guide for Florida Small Farm Producers

Figure 7. Thermoformed 28-count produce insert tray for peaches.
Every year farmers must harvest their crops. This process marks the end of the growing season and carries social significance in communities, but it also creates challenges for producers trying to deliver fresh, high-quality produce to market. Good postharvest practices establish appropriate cold chains that maintain the correct temperatures, humidity, and respiration rates while also ensuring the safety, sanitation,and quality of the fruits. These postharvest practices differ, depending on the size and economic situation of an operation. This eighteen-page fact sheet provides postharvest storage, packaging, and handling recommendations for small farm specialty crop producers. Written by Jonathan Adam Watson, Danielle Treadwell, Steven A. Sargent, Jeffrey K. Brecht, and William Pelletier, and published by the Horticultural Sciences Department.

Ocho Pasos para Desarrollar un Plan Simple de Mercadeo

person in silhouette runs up eight steps
El mercadeo es parte esencial de un negocio. De hecho es el corazón de cualquier negocio que sirva la función vital de convertir actividades de producción en desempeño financiero, asegurando la supervivencia del negocio. El mercadeo es clave, sin importar el tipo de negocio (incluyendo la agricultura).
This 5-page fact sheet provides a rationale for developing a marketing plan, a step-by-step process for creating one, and a marketing plan worksheet. Written by Edward A. Evans and Fredy H. Ballen, and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics. Translated into Spanish November 2015. (Photo credit: Thinkstock)

(also available in English as “Eight Steps to Developing a Simple Marketing Plan” at

Weed Control for Ornamentals inside Greenhouses and Other Enclosed Structures

Figure 2. Close-up of mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa), which can harbor whiteflies and other insects.
Maintaining a weed-free greenhouse is important for producing healthy and marketable crops. Weeds will compete with crops for water, light, and nutrients. Weeds can find favorable conditions for growth in gravel and along edges, tears, and worn areas of ground cloth. It is important to frequently scout for weeds. This five-page fact sheet describes both chemical methods of controlling weeds, but also non-chemical methods, such as sanitation and prevention, hand weeding, and cultural control practices. Written by Chris Marble and Jeremy Pickens, and published by the Environmental Horticulture Department.

Zika, a Mosquito-Transmitted Virus

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Zika is a mosquito-transmitted virus that has spread broadly in tropical regions and caused epidemics, especially in the past 8 to 9 years. In its native range in West Africa and Uganda, the Zika virus stays in the forest for the most part, and human infections are considered incidental and medically inconsequential. In 2015, however, Zika became a larger concern when a strain of the virus traced to outbreaks in French Polynesia emerged in northeastern Brazil. This strain provoked alarm because of increased incidence of microcephaly in babies born to Zika-infected mothers. Local transmission, mainly by the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, has now been documented in most tropical countries of the Americas but has not yet been detected in the continental United States. This 7-page fact sheet written by L. P. Lounibos, B. W. Alto, N. D. Burkett-Cadena, C. C. Lord, C. T. Smartt, C. R. Connelly, and J. R. Rey and published by the Department of Entomology and Nematology describes the Zika microbe, its mosquito hosts, and the disease it causes. A history of the virus and its migration are included, along with some details about the virus in the state of Florida and preventative measures people can take to avoid infection. The best way to avoid contracting Zika (and other mosquito-borne diseases) is not to get bitten in the first place. Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

See also 2/9/2016 press release:UF/IFAS scientists write document explaining Zika virus; urge vigilance.

Do-It-Yourself Insect Pest Traps

Benjamin A. Hottel, University of Florida
Many types of traps can be used to monitor or control insect pests. Traps to capture insects vary greatly, depending on the target, location, and purpose. Traps may be inexpensive and disposable, or more complex. This 12-page fact sheet describes several traps for common pests in the home, garden, and landscape that can be made using common household materials or that are readily available in stores. Written by Steven Arthurs and Adrian Hunsberger and published by the Entomology and Nematology Department.

El Zika, un Virus Transmitido por Mosquitos

aegypti_albo2 blrrb
Zika es un virus transmitido por mosquitos que se ha esparcido recientemente en regiones tropicales y ha causado epidemias, especialmente durante los últimos 8 o 9 años. En su ámbito nativo en África Occidental y Uganda, el virus se mantiene en los bosques, circulando entre mosquitos que viven en huecos de árboles y primates arbóreos; las infecciones de humanos se consideran incidentales y de poca importancia médica. Una cepa del virus que se implicó en brotes en Polinesia Francesa emergió en el Norte de Brasil en el 2015 y causó gran consternación debido a la alta incidencia de microcefalia en bebes nacidos de madres que fueron infectadas con el virus durante la gestación. Transmisión local, principalmente por el mosquito de la fiebre amarilla Aedes aegypti, ha sido documentada en la mayoría de los países tropicales de las Américas, pero aún no se ha detectado en Los Estados Unidos Continentales. Los síntomas de la infección incluyen, salpullido, dolor de cabeza, fiebre, dolor muscular y en las coyunturas, conjuntivitis, y malestar general.
This 7-page fact sheet written by J. R. Rey, L. P. Lounibos, B. W. Alto, N. D. Burkett-Cadena, C. C. Lord, C. T. Smartt, and C. R. Connelly and published by the Department of Entomology and Nematology is the Spanish language version of Zika, a Mosquito-Transmitted Virus and describes the Zika microbe, its mosquito hosts, and the disease it causes. A history of the virus and its migration are included, along with some details about the virus in the state of Florida and preventative measures people can take to avoid infection. The best way to avoid contracting Zika (and other mosquito-borne diseases) is not to get bitten in the first place. Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Landscape Design Software: Evaluation and Recommendations for Homeowners

Figure 2. Screenshot of Punch! 3D view plant groupings.jpg
Homeowners who are computer literate and want to improve their landscapes often consider purchasing software so that they can create the design themselves and save money. To help you select a program from the dozens that are available, each with different levels of cost and difficulty, UF/IFAS scientists tested seven popular do-it-yourself programs, compared them to a professional landscape design software program, and rated them for quality of features and ease-of-use. This 9-page fact sheet written by Gail Hansen, Smith Watkins, and Sydney Park Brown and published by the Department of Environmental Horticulture will help you estimate costs, ensure compatibility with your Windows-based or Apple-based operating system, and compare reviews from consumer websites so that you can choose the software that best fits your needs.

Writing Instructional Objectives

Elaine Turner at the chalkboard.
Good teaching begins with well-written instructional objectives. Instructional objectives identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities that students will possess upon successfully learning the material. This four-page fact sheet outlines the three types of objectives (cognitive, psychomotor, and affective) as well as the different components of objectives (condition, performance, criterion). A well-written instructional objective will lead to clear teaching and ultimately, student success. Written by R. Kirby Barrick and Andrew C. Thoron, and published by the Agricultural Education and Communication Department.

Teaching Behavior and Student Achievement

Master Gardeners teaching and working with youth in a garden
Student achievement can clearly be enhanced through effective teaching behaviors, but what kinds of teacher behaviors lead to higher achievement among learners? This six-page fact sheet describes five different teacher behaviors that can lead to higher student achievement. These behaviors are clarity, variability, Enthusiasm, task oriented and/or businesslike behavior, and student opportunity to learn criterion material. Written by R. Kirby Barrick and Andrew C. Thoron, and published by the Agricultural Education and Communication Department.

Principles of Teaching and Learning

Horticulture Professor Balasubramanian Rathinasabapathi (Saba). Teaching, students, lecture, classrooom.
Effective teaching involves careful consideration and planning. There are several different principles that can be used to guide teachers in planning their lessons. This two-page fact sheet provides information on how to organize and structure subject matter, motivate students, effectively use reward and reinforcement, and other techniques for instruction. Written by R. Kirby Barrick and Andrew C. Thoron, and published by the Agricultural Education and Communication Department.

Principles and Practices to Secure and Hold Interest

WC216 blurb photo
Securing and holding student interest is a major challenge for teachers. Once the curriculum is set, then teachers must decide how to teach the content, particularly how to build lasting interest in the content being taught. Students learn more and retain what they have learned longer when they are interested in the content, see its usefulness, and are motivated to learn and apply what they have learned. This three-page fact sheet discusses what makes a topic or lecture interesting for students and ways to improve teaching methods to keep students engaged and interested in the subject matter. Written by R. Kirby Barrick and Andrew C. Thoron, and published by the Agricultural Education and Communication Department.

Safe Harbor Agreement: A Regulatory Assurance under the Endangered Species Act

Red cockaded woodpecker
The involvement of the private sector is critical for the conservation and recovery of many species, but landowners’ fears that increased management restrictions could keep them from enjoying their land can present a challenge to securing their trust and assistance in conservation efforts. A Safe Harbor Agreement is a regulatory assurance that removes the risk of additional regulation in the future and encourages landowners to maintain important habitat on their lands. This three-page publication written by Melissa M. Kreye, Elizabeth F. Pienaar, Raoul K. Boughton, and Lindsey Wiggins and published by the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department provides Extension agents, decision-makers, and landowners with a basic understanding of a landowner’s obligations and the benefits of enrolling.

Pureed Foods: Texture Testing with the Slump Test

Figure 6. A) puréed canned beets with water separation; B) puréed canned beets with the addition of a small amount of puréed kidney beans and showing no water separation (cylinder filled to 2? marking).
For individuals with dysphagia, the texture of puréed foods is extremely important. If the puréed foods are either too thick or too thin, it can make it more difficult to swallow. The slump test is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to assess the texture of foods. This four-page fact sheet describes the slump test, how to perform a slump test, and how the slump test can be used to evaluate the texture of puréed foods. Written by Wendy J. Dahl, and published by the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department.

Teaching Students with Disabilities: Autism Spectrum Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome

Students in an auditorium classroom.
Teachers of all subjects must familiarize themselves with the specific needs of the students in their classrooms, especially in the case of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and Asperger’s syndrome because students may vary greatly in the degree to which they are affected by these disabilities. This four-page fact sheet explains the differences between autism and Asperger’s syndrome and how instructors can modify their lessons to effectively meet the needs of learners with these disabilities in different types of learning environments and achieve greater classroom success for the educator and the learner. Written by Sara E. LaRose and Andrew C. Thoron, and published by the Agricultural Education and Communication Department.

Making Decisions Using Force Field Analysis

Some home occupants are more bothered by their utility bill than others.
Should I adopt water conservation practices? Should I start a community garden? Should I stop using fertilizer on my lawn? These kinds of complex decisions are often difficult because many factors are at play, each with different degrees of importance. Conducting a force field analysis is a simple technique that can help an individual or groups more effectively make decisions and also more holistically consider key factors. Force field analysis allows you to make decisions based on the idea that a point of equilibrium exists within any system. Any proposed change causes a shift in this equilibrium. This four-page fact sheet describes how to conduct a force field analysis, provides a relevant example, and suggests possible applications. Written by Seth Heinert and Sebastian Galindo-Gonzalez, and published by the Agricultural Education and Communication Department.

Smart Strawberry Advisory System for Mobile Devices

Freshly harvested strawberries.Like the web-based SAS, the SAS: Strawberry Advisory System mobile app monitors real-time and forecast weather conditions that increase the risk for Botrytis (gray mold) and anthracnose fruit rots, providing risk level information for each disease. The app provides easy access to the information growers need to make spraying decisions in the field, saving them time, helping improve disease control, and avoiding unnecessary fungicide applications. This 3-page fact sheet provides an overview of the SAS mobile app. Written by Clyde W. Fraisse, Natalia Peres, and José Henrique Andreis, and published by the UF Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, August 2015.

The Savvy Survey #6d: Constructing Indices for a Questionnaire

Theresa Ferrari, left, extension youth development specialist in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and Steve Jacob review findings form the citizen survey.
One of The Savvy Survey Series, this article will help Extension agents understand indexes and how to use them when evaluating an educational program. This six-page fact sheet provides an overview of constructing indices for a questionnaire. Specifically, it will discuss why composite measures like index numbers are important, what the index number means, the difference between indexes and scales, steps for the construction of indexes, and recommendations for use by Extension educators. Written by Anil Kumar Chaudhary and Glenn D. Israel, and published by the Agricultural Education and Communication Department.

The Savvy Survey #18: Group-Administered Surveys

colorful people around a table
Group-administered surveys are a great way to collect information from participants about the outcomes of an event or program. These kinds of surveys are best used for documenting short-term outcomes and can make use of an audience response system. This four-page fact sheet details how to develop a group-administered questionnaire, how to use an audience response system, and how to prepare and implement the survey. Written by Glenn D. Israel and Jessica L. Gouldthorpe, and published by the Agricultural Education and Communication Department.

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