Over 200 people from Florida and Georgia attended the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Twilight Field Day at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Suwannee Valley (NFREC-SV).
The event began with a facility tour for legislators and other VIPs. The facility tour was followed by dinner, during which one of Florida Farm Bureau’s fieldmen, Dan Buchanan, was presented with the 2003 NFREC Hall of Fame award. After dinner, attendees were given tours of various research demonstration plots.
The research tours included, “Greenhouse, Outdoor Hydroponics & Field Cut Flowers,” “Fruit and Nut Crops for North Florida,” “Agronomic Crops,” Vegetable Crops,” and “Forestry Research Programs,” which were all designed by NFREC-SV and local county agents to educate agriculture professionals.
“If you’re in agriculture, if you’re farming, it’s a really good resource, there’s a lot of cutting-edge technology; there’s a lot of help for the asking,” said Mark Randall, a local cantaloupe and hay farmer.
NFREC-SV, which serves the diverse agricultural interests in the region, including vegetables, fruit crops, protected culture, forestry, tobacco and forage crops, provided attendees with an opportunity to learn about some of the latest agricultural research and get their questions answered by experts. “This facility, this station, does a tremendous amount of high-tech research and that research benefits my members, my farmers,” said Buchanan.
“I’ve spread the word to everybody I see. They need to come to the Field Day and if they don’t come to the Field Day, they need to come by during the month, ‘cause they’ll pick up some pointers.”
In addition to getting updates, attendees were also able to network and build with other agriculture professionals from Pensacola, Apopka, Jacksonville, Tifton, Ga., and everywhere in between. “The Field Day is a great opportunity to become updated as to what’s going on at the Center and to meet other folks that you might have interest in as well,” said Emil Belibasis, a greenhouse vegetable farmer from Wellborn. “So it’s not just the things you see at the Center but the people that you meet, as well.”
The NFREC-SV researchers are also available throughout the year to educate farmers and others about the on-going research they are conducting. “This Center is here for you to come back when you have serious questions, ideas, and thoughts about doing some of the things that they can teach you,” said Dwight Stansel, a state representative from Live Oak.