Spring Issue, 200oo7
Officers: Donna Miller (president), Tom Cobb (vice president) Sheri Brothers (secretary and treasurer), Jeff
Williamson (educational program director and newsletter editor).
Board of Directors: Joe Keel, Jerry Mixon, Alto Straughn, Bill Brasswell, Jack Green, and Paul Lyrene.
Disclaimer :The information in this newsletter was selected with good intentions by the editor. It does not necessarily
reflect the opinions of the editor, the Florida Blueberry Growers' Association or the Association Directors. The reader
should not assume that the information presented in the newsletter is being recommended for his or her farm. Especially
where pesticides or growth regulators are mentioned, be sure to follow their labels exactly. If you have comments,
corrections, or suggestions regarding the newsletter, please write to the editor..
Spring Blueberry Meeting and Field Day
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Gulf Coast Research and Education Center Balm
14625 CR 672, Wimauma, FL
8:00 a.m. Late Registration late registration at the door is $20 per person and does not guarantee a meal. See enclosed pre-
registration form for pre-registration rate.
8:00 a.m. Visit Trade Show
Editor- Jeff Williamson
Board of Directors
University of Florida
9:00 a.m. Annual Business Meeting Ms. Donna Miller, FBGA president, presiding.
9:15 a.m. USHBC update Mr. Ken Patterson, grower, Island Grove Ag. Products, Island Grove, Fla.
9:25 a.m. Food safety issues facing the Florida blueberry industry Mr. Dan Botts, director, Environmental and Pest
Management Division, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Orlando, Fla.
9:55 a.m. Blueberry irrigation research- Dr. JeffWilliamson, horticulturist, Horticultural Sciences Dept., IFAS,
University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
10:15 a.m. Research update on Dormex and chemical defoliation of blueberries Dr. JeffWilliamson,
horticulturist, Horticultural Sciences Dept., IFAS, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
10:30 a.m. Break visit trade show
10:50 a.m. Field identification of blueberry diseases Ms. Amada Watson, graduate student, Department of Plant
Pathology, IFAS, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
11:10 a.m. Blueberry entomology research update- Dr. Oscar Liburd, Dept. of Entomology and Nematology,
IFAS, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
11:30 a.m. Propagation licenses and royalties for patented blueberry cultivars from the UF breeding program -
Mr. Berry Treat, assistant director, Office of the Dean for Research, IFAS, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
11:50 a.m. Spanish high tunnels for early fruit maturation Mr. Jerry Mixon, grower, SunnyRidge Farm, Inc., Haines City,
12:05 p.m. Breakout group discussions on FBGA activities
12:30 p.m. Lunch and Trade Show
1:45 p.m. Depart for tour of Clear Springs Blueberry Farm Details will be provided at the meeting.
Location and Directions to the Spring Blueberry Meeting and Field Day
The 2007 Spring Blueberry Meeting and Field Day will be held at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center -Balm .
The address is 14625 CR 672, Wimauma, FL. From 1-75 north or south take Exit 246 merge onto Big Bend Road/CR
672 East towards US 301. Turn right onto US301/CR672 and travel approximately 1.4 miles. Turn left onto Balm Road/
CR 672 and travel 7 miles. The center is located on the south side of Balm Road.
Booth space is still available for the FBGA Spring Blueberry Meeting and Field Day. Contact Ms. Sheri Brothers before
February 26 for further information (352) 4815558.
Letter from the President
Your Board of Directors met in January to plan the Spring Field Day Meeting and this newsletter. We voted to make
four changes in order to better meet the needs of our growers. First, each newsletter will contain a column written by a
grower. Second, each association meeting will feature a grower as one of the speakers. Third, we will re-implement
the breakout session time for growers to talk about specific concerns. And fourth, at the fall meeting we will have a
separate short course for new growers.
The harvest is approaching and so is the rain and cool temperatures of a weakening El Nifio. Disease and pollination will be
on everyone's mind, and vigilance is needed with field scouting to detect Botrytis Bloom Blight and to use the proper fungicide
spray. A mix of bumble bees and honey bees will help with pollination. One bumble bee can carry 4,500 particles of pollen,
vs. 170 particles of pollen carried by a honey bee. Think about it!
The cool temperatures in September, October, November, and warm temperatures of December and part of January have crops
in North and Central Florida blooming early and developing fruit, leaving them vulnerable to frosts and freezes that come
in February and March. South Florida fields south of Interstate 4 will learn a lot about how fewer chill hours will affect their
production and its timing.
In late January in north and central Florida I saw everything from Primadonna with tight buds, to ripe Emeralds and
Snow Chasers. At the same time some growers were harvesting a few berries in south Florida.
Food safety should be one of our tops concerns during harvest. One grower with contaminated fruit can damage
consumer confidence and ruin the season for all growers in Florida Proper planning before harvest makes for smoother
1. Take water samples from all sources used on farm wells, ponds, lakes, etc., and have them analyzed for microbial
content, especially coli form bacteria and E. coli.
2. Review and implement food safety measures for your farm and educate your workers.
3. You and your marketer must have a working traceability protocol.
4. Sanitize all buckets and lugs before and during harvesting, and after each use.
5. Be ready all year for your third-party audit and consult your marketer about what is required for the audit.
I hope everyone has a wonderful harvest with strong prices!!!
Donna G. Miller
Florida Blueberry Growers Association
By Tom Cobb, Blueberry Grower
Bee Branch Berry Farm is located in Labelle approximately 30 miles east of Fort Myers When the farm was started in 1997
it was the most southerly blueberry farm in the state. The strategy behind the farm was to attempt to use its southerly
location to get a jump on the rest of the state with early fruit. The plan was to try to peak our production in the second week
of April when major producers in the Gainesville area were just getting started and pricing was strong.
10 years, and a large number of dead blueberry plants, later I can report that the strategy, in general, works. But it isn't
easy. While we have enjoyed average fruit prices in excess of $7 per pound every year save one, there are many
problems getting substantial production this far south.
Chilling in this location averages less than 60 hours through Christmas so very careful attention to varietal selection is required.
Additionally we utilize a form of non dormant cultivation to assure reliable bud set, flowering and leafing with very low
chill. This involves some complex and precise management of water and fertilizer profiles. Low chilling has become
somewhat less of an issue with new varieties and Dormex but it still requires very careful management to achieve decent yields.
The very distinct wet/ dry seasons in south Florida place major burdens on drainage and leaf disease control. It is not unusual to
get rain every day for a month or to get 2 inches a day every day for a week. Drainage must be absolutely flawless. This is
not easy to achieve in the low flat sheet flow prone lands of south Florida Very wet summer conditions also
severely exacerbate leaf spot issues and special control measures are required.
My brother Lee and I are currently working on ways to move our production further to the left (earlier). We would
rather compete with inferior Chilean CA fruit in March than the growing volume of quality fruit coming from the Plant
City area in April. We think we have developed some strong solutions to the problems of ultra southerly growing but we're
2007 SPRING MEETING SCHEDULE
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
8:00am to 5:00pm NABC Blueberry Industry Tour
Thursday, March 1, 2007
8:00am to 9:00am NABC Finance Committee Meeting
9:30am to 12 Noon NABC Board Meeting
1:00pm to 6:00pm USHBC Strategic Planning Session
6:30pm to 7:30pm NABC Reception
7:30pm to 9:00pm NABC Dinner
Friday, March 2, 2007
7:30am to 10:30am USHBC Strategic Planning Session
10:30am to 11:00am USHBC Pre Meeting
12 Noon to 2:00pm USHBC Finance Committee Meeting
2:30pm to 6:30pm Concurrent Meetings:
USHBC Industry Relations Committee Meeting
USHBC Research Committee Meeting
USHBC Promotion Committee Meeting
6:30pm to 7:30pm USHBC Reception
Saturday, March 3, 2007
8:00am to 12 Noon USHBC Council Meeting
USHBC 2007 SPRING MEETING TOPICS
March 1 to March 3, 2007
Hilton Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista- Florida
Thursday, March 1, 2007
1:00pm to 6:00pm- USHBC Strategic Planning Session
Update USHBC Strategic Plan for Next 3 Years- Presentation of Food Foresight 2007 Trends Report Identify Priority
Threats and Opportunities in 2007 That Will Impact Success Review
USHBC Vision and Core Business
Review USHBC Strategic Priorities, Accomplishments
Determine Key Changes Since 2003
Identify Priority Internal Strengths and Vulnerabilities in 2007 That Impact Effectiveness
Determine Changes/Updates for the 2010 Strategic Plan
Determine Gaps Between 2006 and 2010 Plan
Set Strategic Priorities to Fill the Gaps
Determine Major Strategies Needed to Carry Out the Strategic Priorities
Complete Final 2010 Strategic Plan
Friday, March 2, 2007
7:30am to 10:30am- USHBC Strategic Planning Session
Topics: Finalization of Update Process Initiated Previous Day
10:30am to ll:00am- USHBC Pre-Meeting
Topics: Review of 2007 USHBC Spring Meeting Agenda and USHBC Strategic Plan Priorities; Discussion of
Additional Areas of Concern to Cover During March 2007 Meeting; Other Business
12 Noon to 2:00pm- USHBC Finance Committee Meeting
Topics: Results of 2006 USHBC Financial Audit; Report on 2006 USHBC Domestic Crop and Import Assessment
Income, Calendar Year 2007 Import Assessments Received to Date, and Update on Efforts to Collect Outstanding 2001 and
2002 Import Assessments; Review of Final 2006 Budget Expenditures and 2007 Budget Expenditures to Date, Current
Cash Position and Projected Funds Available for 2007; Discussion of Revised Administration Versus Marketing
Budget Allocation Percentages; Discussion of Any Changes to 2007 USHBC Budget
2:30pm to 6:30pm USHBC Committee Meetings (Held Concurrently)
USHBC In dustry Relations Committee
Topics: Discussion of Revised Nomination Procedure to be Conducted by Industry Relations Committee and Review
of Updated Election Timelines; USHBC 2007 Election Update for State and Handler Members Seated January
2008 (Discussion and Recommendation ofHandler Nominees) ; Updates on USHBC Meeting Sites and Revised Fall
Meeting Dates; Discussion of International Blueberry Acreage Survey Proposal; USHBC Crisis Plan Update and Discussion
of "Trial Run" of Plan; Discussion of Procedure to Screen and Evaluate Requests for Seminar and Grower
Meeting Sponsorships, Establishment of Funding Levels; Consideration of Sponsorship of July 2008 International
Vaccinium Conference; Discussion on How to Publicize Organic Assessment Exemption and Plan of Action to
Encourage Organic Growers to Participate in USHBC
USHBC Research Committee
Topics: Research Committee Activity Updates (Standardized Product for NIST, Berry Nutraceutical Symposium 2007
Update, USHBC Research Study Progress Reports and Final Reports) ; Review of 2007 Research Budget and
Funds Committed to Date; Review of 2007 USHBC Research Proposals; Study Selection(s) and Finalization of 2007
Research Budget; Discussion of USHBC Position Statement on Blueberries and Health in Light of Third Party Health Claims
USHBC Promotion Committee
Topics: Market Promotion Activity Updates for 2006 and 2007 (C i,:,~,~ I I, 1, ., i. Public Relations, Food Manufacturer
Publicity, Export Market Development, Magazine Advertising); Discussion of Possible Modifications and/or Additions to 2007
Market Promotion Activities Based on Final 2007 USHBC Budget Allocations; Consideration of Participation in
PBH "Campaign for Children's Health"; Finalization of Recommended 2007 Market Promotion Budget; Update on Korean
Fresh Blueberry Import Protocol Efforts
Note: USHBC Reception 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Saturday, March 3, 2007
8:00am to 12 Noon- USHBC Council Meeting
Topics: USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Updates; Discussion of USHBC Nomination and Election Procedure
for Importer, Exporter, Handler and Public Member and Selection of USHBC Handler Member and Alternate to be
Seated January 1, 2008; USHBC 2007 Election Timeline Update for State Members to be Seated January 1, 2008
(Discussion of 3-Year Time Frame to Identify Top Production States, Discussion ofSource for Production Figures--USHBC
Assessment, NABC, USDA); Nomination and Selection of USHBC Chairman and Officers for 2007; USHBC 2006
Audit Report, Committee Reports and Recommendations (USHBC Finance Committee, USHBC Research Committee, USHBC
Industry Relations Committee, USHBC Promotion Committee); Consideration of 2007 USHBC Budget Modifications
and Finalization of 2007 Budget; Recap of Strategic Plan Next Steps; Discussion of Cooperation with WBANA (Crisis Plan,
Research); Time and Place of Next Meeting
NABC ANNUAL BOARD MEETING
Thursday, March 1, 2007
9:30am to 12 Noon
Hilton Walt Disney World
1751 Hotel Plaza Blvd., Lake Buena Vista, Florida
PRELIMINARY AGENDA (12/06)
Call to Order- Roll Call
Approval of Minutes from NABC Fall Board Meeting of October 5, 2006
Crop Year 2006 Final Reports by Area Representatives
British Columbia- Parm Bains Michigan/Indiana- Verne Rambo
Oregon Mark Hurst Georgia Southern States- Allen Miles
Washington- Dorothy Anderson Quebec /Lowbush- John Senneville
New Jersey- Tim Wetherbee
NABC Treasurer's Report and 2006 Audit Report, Finance Committee Report and Finalization of 2007 Budget
Approval of New Grower Member and Associate Member Applicants and an Update Concerning Discontinued NABC
Legislative Representation and NABC Legislative Committee Update
Immigration, Farm Bill, New Senate/Congress Bob Redding
Washington D.C. March 2007 "Fly-In" Meeting Topics and Goals
National Berry Crops Initiative (NBCI) Update
Discussion of Potential Cooperation with WBANA (Crisis Plan, Research)
Introduction of NABC Officers for 2007 to 2009 Term
Note: NABC Reception and Dinner begin at 6:30 pm Thursday evening.
FBGA Membership Dues
The beginning of the new calendar year is also the beginning of the FBGA membership year. Many of our members are not up-
to-date on their membership dues. Please look at the address label on this newsletter. If the year in parenthesis is 2006, or
less, then you need to renew your membership. For information on how to calculate and pay your dues, please refer to
the enclosed invoice or the back of this newsletter. Your membership and participation in our activities is greatly appreciated!
Please note that FBGA's current mailing address is:
Florida Blueberry Growers' Association
P.O. Box 163
Island Grove FL 32654
New Comprehensive Blueberry Book
Blueberries: for Growers, Gardeners, Promoters A comprehensive reference book on worldwide blueberry production. $50 +
$6 postage and handling.
Dr. Norman F. Childers
3906 N.W. 31 st Place
Gainesville FL 32606
Ph: (888) 501-5653; (352) 372-5077
BLUEBERRY PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
A-1 plants! The Doc's Blueberry Nursery. Since 1988, quality Southern Highbush plants at competitive prices. Winter
Haven, Central Florida. (863)325-8215. Popular commercial varieties available as liners or 1 gal pots. Call Dave Weber
for price and availability. Lic No 47219637.
Blueberry Plants. High-quality, heavily-rooted, blueberry plants in one gallon containers. One or thousands, for price
and availability call 813-244-5877 Sun-Robin Horticulture 14923 CR39, Lithia. Lic. No. 47236647
Bob's Blueberry Farm and Nursery. West Pasco County. (727)863-4214 or toll free (888) 654-4214. Year around
plant sales, southern highbush blueberry plants, all sizes and varieties, over 40,000 on hand. Call for prices and
availability. Plan ahead, have the plants you need when you need them. Lic. no. 47227344.
Elixson Wood Products, Inc. Pine bark shredded, nuggets, or fines available. Ph (904) 964-6649.
Far Reach Ranch Blueberry plants for sale. 30 miles North of Orlando. Jewel, Emerald, Star liners and 1 gal. Call
Jerry (352) 516-7428.
Harvest/Grading Carts and Lugs For Sale Two covered self-tracking harvest carts. Eight tipping grade stations per cart.
$2200.00 each. 500 Ropak lugs with 10 pound capacity are also available with carts for $2.00 each. Call Chad at Brookdale
Farms (813) 597-6841.
Honey Bees for Blueberry Pollination. We use the Buckfast strain, which pollinates at temperatures 20 cooler than other
strains. Bees guaranteed for strength. $20.00 per hive. Call Robbie Bell toll free (800) 822-1558; home (863) 285-7785;
mobile (863) 698-9525.
Island Grove Ag Products. Don't buy plants until you've talked with us. We have all varieties including new releases from the
University of Florida We grow specifically for your needs. Lic. no. 47217870. Sheri Brothers at (352) 481-5558
or firstname.lastname@example.org Website islandgroveagproducts.com.
Jacto Sprayers/Henry Mitchem Equip. Save time and chemical costs with a Jacto Airblast Sprayer. Jacto is the number
one sprayer in the blueberry and nursery industries and has proven itself in helping productivity. For more information or
a demonstration, call Kenny Mitchem at (352) 787-4109, Leesburg FL.
Miller Blueberry Nursery Rt. 3, Box 5700 Palatka, FL 32177 Telephone (386) 325-7373. Let us supply your
blueberry plants. All varieties. All sizes. Bare root and potted. Please call for prices. Lic. no. 04720531.
Mixon Family Farm, Inc. We have excellent quality blueberry plants for sale. We sell Bare Root or Rooted Cuttings and we
have the newest releases form the University of Florida. Call Jerry Mixon (863) 439-8335 for price and availability.
License no. 472255191.
ROPAK Berry Lugs, Boxes, Totes & Picking Pails, Florida warehouse 1-800-776-7376.
Smith Family Honey Comp. Honeybee pollination service for blueberry growers. 772-633-1134 Charles.
We welcome advertising from blueberry nurseries and suppliers. The cost is 30 cents per word per issue of the newsletter
in which your message appears. Send your blueberry-related message and a check payable to FLORIDA BLUEBERRY
GROWERS' ASSOCIATION to our address given below under membership information. Advertisements and claims therein
to do not constitute an endorsement by the Florida Blueberry Growers' Association or the University of Florida.
To join or renew your membership to the Florida Blueberry Growers Association, mail a check payable to
FLORIDA BLUEBERRY GROWERS' ASSOCIATION to our address:
Florida Blueberry Growers' Association
P.O. Box 163
Island Grove FL 32654
The Association annual dues depend on which membership category you fit best.
1. Regular Florida Member $10.00 per acre of blueberries, except a minimum of $50.00 and a maximum of $200.00.
2. Out-of-state member $50.00
3. Associate member $100.00 (Equipment and chemical companies, etc.)
4. Educational and Research $10.00 (University and USDA personnel who do not grow blueberries commercially)
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