Discover Florida: State Partnership With University Of Florida Benefits All

The following sponsored article is from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Nicole “Nikki” Fried, Commissioner.

As COVID-19 upends the Florida economy, hurting agricultural businesses across the state, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services continues to strengthen its strong partnership with the University of Florida and its Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).

“This unprecedented pandemic has taken its toll on Florida’s agricultural community, including farmers, ranchers, breeders and aquaculturists. As a result, we need detailed, accurate information to effectively impact our recovery efforts,” said Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. “The University of Florida’s IFAS study on the pandemic’s impact has helped our local, state and federal government to take action.”

Within days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a collaborative effort was quickly established between the agencies to inform the equine and farm communities across Florida on a number of essential issues including: care of horses and other livestock during a pandemic, owner preparedness, access to feed and farm supplies, sanitation practices, emergency veterinary services and biosecurity.

Working in partnership with University of Florida assistant professors Drs. Carissa Wickens, PhD and Sally DeNotta, DVM, the Florida Department of Agriculture together with its animal industry division were able to share important information with Florida horse owners and farmers across the state.

The COVID-19 pandemic study represents just one of the ways in which UF/IFAS and FDACS have continued to work together to share vital scientific information and knowledge to assist Florida’s agriculture and equine industries.

As another example, the agencies have fostered close collaborations through the Livestock Education and Certification for Agricultural Law Enforcement (LECALE) program. The program was developed in partnership with the Florida Farm Bureau and Florida sheriffs.

“The main objective of the program is to provide law enforcement and state attorney personnel with rigorous and relevant training curriculum to better understand livestock production, animal well-being practices, and to acquire knowledge during litigation proceedings,” said Dr. Carissa Wickens, Assistant Professor and State Extension Horse Specialist with the University of Florida.

“Participation offers law enforcement personnel a great opportunity to increase their knowledge and skills regarding livestock animal production and handling, with an emphasis on cattle and equine behavior, health, and welfare assessment.”

Additional joint programs also focus on best management practices related to manure and pasture management for equine operations leading to positive benefits for the environment and horse health. These include important variables applicable to Thoroughbred owners, breeders and facilities.

UF/IFAS researchers have also helped Florida farmers identify areas where the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services can assist horse owners and managers in improving the management of both their animals and facilities.

UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project

The second year of the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project has also kicked off and continues to move forward. The project’s official website contains in-depth coverage regarding the goals of the project, how to stay up to date on the latest information, and opportunities to help support continuous research. In addition, a statewide hemp communications team comprised of local and regional UF/IFAS county extension agents, faculty and researchers has been established to provide information, guidance and presentation materials.

The Florida Department of Agriculture has also launched the state’s online Hemp Cultivation Licensing Portal, allowing interested growers to apply for a license to grow the crop for the first time. The FDACS hemp website contains information on rules and regulations, established guidelines and more.

The post Discover Florida: State Partnership With University Of Florida Benefits All appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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