Cooperative Extension Service 

  Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Southwest Florida Vegetable Newsletter

Hendry County Cooperative Extension Office
PO Box 68
Labelle, Florida 33975

September/October 1998


Note from Gene
Taste Tests:  Florida Tomatoes Are Better
Watermelon Shipments
Labor Pains Demand Nudges Congress Toward Reforms
EPA/USDA Tolerance Reassessment Advisory Committee Established
Who is the real Enemy?
“Safety” of 2 OP Residues in Food
Partial List of Products at Risk Under FQPA
Federal Legislation
Country-of-Origin Labeling
Labor H2A Reform
Free Pesticide Safety Training Classes Available in Ten Counties
Annual International Methyl Bromide Conference in Orlando, Florida
Commodity - Pesticide Tolerences Considered At Risk
Interesting Ag Web Sites
Vegetable Production Guide for Florida
Production Guides for Tomatoes and Peppers
Handling Facilities for Pesticides
Old FAIRS Web Site Undergoes Makeover
Pesticides Registrations and Actions
The SW Florida Vegetable Advisory Committee
Laugh Lines


    October 22                Vegetable Grower Meeting - Vegetable Disease Management
                                      SWFREC Immokalee,  12-2 pm.
                                      Contact Sheila Griffith 863-674-4092

    October 24                 Florida Small Farm Conference & Trade Show
                                       Hernando County Fairgrounds, Brookeville, FL
                                       Contact Chris Yermel 352-392-1869

    November 1-3            Florida Society of Horticultural Science
                                       Bayfront Hilton Staint Pertersburg, FL.
                                       Contact Kathy Murphy, 407-678-5337

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Note from Gene 
Gene McAvoy
Vegetable Extension Agent II
Hendry County Extension Office
PO Box 68
LaBelle, Florida, 33975

September has been a busy month for all with the all the preparation and planting taking place to mark the  beginning of the 98-99 production season, in addition to a number of industry meetings including the Tomato Instate in Naples and FACTS in Lakeland at the end of the month.  Fortunately, we were spared the ravages of Hurricane Georges which passed uncomfortably close and which served as a reminder that in spite of all our modern technology and sophistication how vulnerable we really are when it comes to the  forces of nature.  This is especially true in the area of agriculture and is a lesson that has been brought home repeatedly several times over the last year with the torrential rains of last winter’s El Nino and the hot dry
spring that followed.

In addition to all the natural phenomena that affect vegetable growers and farmers in general, it is unfortunate that there are many other problems facing growers that are manmade and which often seem to  be the most persistent and difficult to overcome.  The labor issue that threatens to rear it’s head again this season in SW Florida is a good example of such a problem.  A number of groups have been accusing growers of exploiting labor and paying unfair wages to workers.  It is interesting how agriculture has been  singled out by these groups when farmers are doing exactly what many other employers are doing.

By federal law, all workers are entitled to receive a minimum wage which is set by law.  In addition to the minimum wage, working conditions and other aspects of the workplace are regulated by legislation.  Why is it then that when farmers comply with and even surpass these standards they are accused of exploitation and worse, when many other businesses including the fast food industry employ low skill workers at the same minimum wage and are exempt from criticism?

What has happened in America?  Not too long ago, farmers were looked up to as independent  self-made people that greatly contributed to the formation of this great country that we live in.  People spoke proudly of their parents and grandparents who arrived in this country with little more than the shirt on their  backs and how through hard work and effort improved themselves and carried each succeeding generation further up the soci-economic ladder.  Now it seems that history is being rewritten and entrepreneurship and  hard work are no longer the basis for advancement.  Agriculturists who were once credited with being the backbone of the nation are now being branded as the bad guys by a number of groups.  Given this atmosphere, agricultural interests need to take a pro-active stance and publicize the positive contributions that they continue to make to the economy and society as a whole.

The impending methyl bromide ban and the potential loss of many pesticides under the Food  Quality and Protection Act continue to loom as some of the most significant challenges faced by the vegetable industry and agriculture in general.  Their have been tremendous lobbying efforts on both sides of the issue.  Farmers must continue to make their views known by contacting their elected officials and supporting and participating in agricultural organizations in order to ensure the continued supply of safe American grown produce for the public.  In modern society, people are so far removed from agriculture and
have so little understanding of the production process, growers have a great stake in educating people about agriculture so that they will be able to consider issues objectively and not blindly accept allegations being made against agricuculture.

In contrast to the uncertainty generated by the Food Quality Protection Act, has been the tremendous positive response by the plant protection industry in developing a new generation of reduced risk bio-rational products which are much more selective in their action and carry  little potential for harm of human and environmental concerns.  Several developments along these lines are particularly exciting.

Breakthroughs by several groups in developing products which activate a plant’s naturally occurring immune response are particularly exciting.  Other developments include the development of products which are based on naturally occurring organisms, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and nematodes which attack plant pathogens.  These are generally very selective in their action and are only a threat to the target organism.  Genetic engineering for resistance or even defense against pests is another exciting area of ongoing research.  This is exemplified by the recent release of Bt sweet corn varieties, which actually manufacture the Bt proteins which have proven so effective in combating lepidopterous worms.  These recent developments in environmentally friendly plant protection will hopefully lend some measure of optimism about our continued ability to produce clean, safe, high quality produce for the consumer.  The critical question here may be whether these new products can be fully tested and registered quick enough to fill the gaps created by the loss of older pesticides at risk under FQPA.  Let us hope that rational minds will prevail and some mechanism is put into place to coincide the phase out of products deemed to be unsafe with availability of the reduced risk alternatives.
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Taste Tests:  Florida Tomatoes 
Are Better
Tomato lovers who wonder how to find lucious tomatoes—ripe, red, firm but juicy, sweet but tangy—might well ask their grocer whether he’s selling Mexican imports or tomatoes grown in Florida.  It makes a difference, says Dan Cantliffe, chairman of the UF/IFAS horticulture department.  In the broadest tomato taste tests ever, Cantliffe and other horticultural scientists subjected the types of tomatoes grown in Florida and Mexico to taste panels, laboratory analyses of substances that
contribute to taste and even a newly developed electronic nose, a computerized unit that detects odor
molecules. Florida-grown tomatoes were the runaway winners of all the tests.

“We used everything we could to get to the bottom of tomato taste,” Cantliffe said.  “The Florida tomatoes came out higher.”
Mexican tomatoes are popular with supermarkets because they’re cheap and can be labeled vine ripe.  But the vine ripe label is bogus, Cantliffe said.  “They’re called vine ripe because they can be picked pink,” Cantliffe said.  “The problem is they
never really ripen because they’ve been bred with a gene that delays ripening, enabling them to be shipped long distances.
“But the gene that delays ripening prevents them from developing full flavor,” Cantliffe said.  “How can a tomato be vine ripe if it never ripens at all and is hard as a rock?”

Most Florida tomatoes are not labeled vine ripe because they’re harvested green which reduces bruises and allows growers to pick them less often.  The tomatoes ripen completely in packing houses, where they are exposed to ethylene gas, a ripening hormone produced naturally in tomatoes.  “We found very little difference between the tomatoes ripened with gas to vine ripe ones,  providing they were handled right,” Cantliffe said.

“Our studies show that Florida tomatoes could taste even better—approaching those that grandma used to pick in her back yard,” Cantliffe said.  “To obtain optimal flavor, Florida packing houses would have to be more careful in how they sort and store their tomatoes.” Cantliffe said tomatoes that have not turned red after three days in the ripening room should not be
sold to supermarkets. “If a tomato doesn’t ripen by then, it was picked too soon,” Cantliffe said.

In addition, tomato temperatures need to be controlled better, the research showed.  Ripe tomatoes stayed fresh for a week and a half at room temperatures of 68 degrees but started going bad after only two days at a typical refrigerator temperature of 41 degrees, the tests showed.  “There are a lot of problems with temperature control as tomatoes move from the farm to the packing house and on to the warehouse, then to the supermarket,” Cantliffe said.  “It’s hard to know what the next guy along the way will do.”

The researchers decided to compare imported and home-grown tomatoes because Mexican tomatoes have flooded the U.S. market since the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.  Representatives of the Florida tomato industry welcomed the research. “We’ve been fighting for survival since NAFTA,” said Wayne Hawkins, manager of the Florida Tomato Committee.  “More than 100 growers have quit and 24 packing houses have gone out of business in the last
four years.  Now we have scientific data showing that our product is better.”

Newsline: South Florida UF/IFAS Research and Education Highlights
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Watermelon Shipments

(Shown in 45,000 lb. units each)

State  Aug. 6, 1997 Aug. 6, 1998
Arizona Truck
California Truck
Delaware, Maryland
   and Virginia Truck
Florida Truck
FL, GA, SC Rail-Truck
Georgia Truck
Indiana Truck 
North Carolina Truck 
Missouri Truck
South Carolina Truck 
Texas Truck
Mexico Truck




Total: 50,269 56,800
Source:  USDA National Watermelon Report.

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Labor Pains Demand Nudges Congress Toward Reforms

The farm labor situation has been deteriorating for growers over the past few years, with decreasing numbers of workers and heightened regulatory enforcement activity.  The combination of these factors has forced an increasing number of ag employers to use the federal H-2A temporary agricultural worker program, which they say is slow, hard to use and needlessly burdensome.

Now help may be on the way from Congress.  Both the House of Representatives and Senate had been considering bills that substituted a new guest worker program for H-2A.  Evidence of labor pressure from across the country has been so compelling that a bipartisan bill reforming the existing H-2A program sailed through the Senate July 23 on a 68-31 vote.

The Senate bill was a “rider” - an attachment to the appropriations bill for the departments of Commerce, Justice and State.  There are no plans to introduce the H-2A reform language on the House side.  Each version of the appropriations bill then go to a conference committee, and it is there that H-2A reform proponents hope to retain the language in the final bill.

If successful, agricultural employers hope the bill brings relief to a system that has so far this season provided moments that could fall under the headings of worrisome (labor shortages), frightening (seizure of crops and strong-arm attempts to get growers to sign documents) and ludicrous (Department of Labor agents raiding an Easter egg hunt).

The reform bill

The H-2A reform legislation replaces the current labor certification process with a domestic worker registry.  This registry would use existing Department of Labor job bank computers to match domestic workers seeking jobs in particular crops or states with employers.  The registry would also list wages and benefits for each job.  In the event not enough domestic workers apply for a particular job, employers can then bring in temporary alien workers.  Individual farmers and agricultural associations would both be able to use the registry and only legally authorized workers will be allowed access to it.

The present H-2A program requires ag employers to apply for workers 60 days in advance of the anticipated date of need.  Employers have said that date is too long and does not take into consideration disasters caused by weather or other unpredictable features of agriculture.  The reform bill slashes that 60-day period to 21 days.  Referral of workers must be made seven days before the date of need.

A General Accounting Office review found that under the current program, workers overstay their visas.  Under the reforms, temporary workers must go home when their visas expire or be banned from future participation in the program.

Workers in the present H-2A program are paid on the basis of the adverse effect wage rate, which can be inflationary.  The new bill redefines that rate, and allows payment in terms other than the prevailing wage method.  The current law sets the same wage for all workers, while the new bill allows employers to pay higher rates to workers with more tenure, experience and skill.

The reform allows housing or a housing allowance to be provided workers, which is crucial because the present H-2A cannot be used unless housing is provided.  Eight years after the reform is enacted, if insufficient housing is available in an area, housing will have to be provided instead of an allowance.

The current situation

Across the United States, ag labor availability is tight.  There is not a general crisis situation, although some individual growers are in that position.  The general opinion is that fewer ag laborers are available than in prior years.  Sharon Hughes, Executive Vice President of the National Council of Agricultural Employers, said her organization has been receiving reports of a tight labor market from across the country, even Florida.  The major reasons for the shortage are an improved economy which leads to more permanent job opportunities for workers, and heightened enforcement activities by Federal agencies.

“As soon as INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) opens an office in a region, workers disappear, even without them taking any enforcement action.” said Hughes.  “That means it’s taking longer to do planting, pruning and harvesting.  They’re having a more difficult time.”

On the east Coast, participation in the H-2A program has swelled by approximately 4,000 workers over last year, said Hughes.  Ohio and Illinois employers are looking at it and even West Coast employers may need to use it in future years.

“That’s another reason to get this bipartisan reform through — to make it easier to get growers to use H-2A,” said Hughes.

In Michigan, most ag employers are managing to get enough workers, said Craig Anderson, director of Farm Bureau’s Regulatory Compliance Assistance Program.  To do so, some growers have had to find new ways to manage their available labor pool.   One blueberry grower is using “off shift workers.”  This farm is rescheduling the harvest period for after 6 p.m. and using people who already have day jobs.  Another grower has made the decision to move from using 60-100 hand laborers to mechanical harvesting of his fruit.  “If you ask if this grower has enough labor, the answer is yes,” said Anderson.  “But it is a function of accepting a lower value and higher loss of product.”

The supply of workers at Leitz Farms in Berrien County, Michigan is okay, said Fred Leitz III.  Some other growers in the area have called wondering if he had any employees to spare.  “My supply is adequate, but there’s no surplus,” he said.  “But we do need immigration reform.  The current H-2A program is not a viable alternative for us in agriculture.”

The state’s employers are using more farm labor contractors this year, some for the first time ever and others for the first time since the 1960s.  These people must have a valid farm labor contractor license if they offer any cash, transportation or other type of compensation, said Anderson.

Feds in the field

Agents of INS and DOL have already been active this season, with some of their most dramatic activity taking place in Georgia and Texas during the onion harvest. In Georgia, the INS activity focused on attempting to coerce growers to sign written settlement agreements in exchange for allowing them to harvest and ship their crops.  An NCAE analysis of the agreements found these shortcomings:

Several Congressmen from Georgia along with the state’s senators contacted Attorney General Janet Reno about the incidents.  Hughes said the agreements were the idea of a local INS agent, and were not authorized by headquarters in Washington, which put a stop to the practice.

DOL has been active as part of its “Operation Salad Bowl,” which is intended to target illegal child labor in the fields.  This activity has gone to the extent of using the “hot goods” provision of the law, where a grower’s crop is seized at the packing house and held until he agrees to correct the alleged abuses.  This “hot goods” provision, which was used in Texas, has rarely been implemented in production agriculture.  Because of the perishable nature of its product, agriculture had been exempt from hot goods provisions, but that exemption was not included in the latest version of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

DOL is trying hard to detect kids in the fields, said Hughes.  Sometimes they are there because of insufficient day care, and other times for fun - but that can backfire. Hughes reports an incident where a grower in Texas was having an Easter egg hunt for the children of his migrant workers.  DOL agents were stationed on the roadside videotaping the event.  Children were finding the plastic Easter eggs containing prizes, but when one child picked up an onion instead, the agents swarmed onto the property on suspicion of child labor violations.

“Be aware that when DOL comes around for Salad Bowl, they are going to be looking for kids.  Don’t have them in the field at all,” said Hughes.

 By Lee Dean , Managing Editor
The Great Lakes Vegetable Growers News
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EPA/USDA Tolerance Reassessment Advisory Committee Established

The EPA-USDA Tolerance Reassessment Advisory Committee (TRAC) was established on April 30, 1998, as a subcommittee under the support of EPA’s National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology.  The purpose of TRAC is to provide advice and counsel to EPA and USDA Administrators regarding stategic approaches for reassessing tolerances, including those for organophosphate pesticides, as required by the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA).

TRAC is composed of approximately 45 members approved by the Deputy Administrator of EPA and the Deputy Secretary of the USDA.  Members were selected based on their relevant experience and diversity of perspectives on organophosphate pesticide/food safety issues from the following sectors:  environmental and public interest groups; pesticide industry and trade associations; user, grower and commodity organizations; pediatric and public health organizations; Federal agencies, tribal, state, and local governments; academia; and, consumer groups.  The Deputy Administrator of EPA and the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture serve as Co-chairs for the Committee.

The goal of TRAC is to provide independent advice and counsel to the Agencies on specific issues such as:

The Committee is holding public meetings that analyze issues, review and compile information, make recommendations, compile reports, and undertake other activities necessary to meet its responsiblilties.  The estimated operating cost for the meetings will total approximately $170,000.  The original meeting dates for the Committee were as follows:  May 28-29, June 15-16, July 13-14, and July 28-29, 1998.  -Struggling with the complexities of risk management and transition strategies for implementation of FQPA, TRAC has now decided to hold an additional meeting September 15-16 instead of concluding deliberations as previously planned.

A significant step taken during the June 15-16 meeting was that TRAC panelists agreed to “walk through” hypothetical reassessments for several organophosphate insecticides during the next meeting.  This walk through should help to alleviate some frustration expressed by panelists struggling to understand the process EPA is developing to reassess pesticide tolerances (the transparency issue).  The walk through will also help resolve disputes revolving around the validity of various exposure models, the reliability of exposure data, the accuracy of preliminary assessment results, and the economic effects of the reassessments.

Members of TRAC have diagreed over whether preliminary assessments should be released immediately to the public or released after initial review by pesticide manufacturers.  EPA contends that to improve the preliminary risk assessments with additional real data on pesticide use, the Agency should share parts of the assessments with the public.  They feel some information on the chemicals must be released for the user community and others to contribute data, for purposes of refining the assessments.

For more information on TRAC and to review agenda items associated with each of the TRAC meetings, look on the internet at

EPA - TRAC Info. Release
Food Chemical News; June 29, 1998
Chemical Regulation Reporter; July 3, 1998
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Who is the real Enemy?

In June 30 New York Times article, a science adviser to the Atlantic Foundation writes in a freelance article that the shortest list of problems threatening our children should include: 1) obesity, 2) poor nutrition, and 3) asthma.  Yet the EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee included only asthma on its top-five list.  Instead, the EPA panel has adopted essentially the agenda that environmental groups wanted them to take, emphasizing the dangers of pesticides as the greater enemy.  The article goes on to say that this is what might be expected from an agency with the word “environmental” in its name, but the problems facing American children are not so easily cataloged.  What seems like solutions from a narrow environmental viewpoint could be distractions from other, more important issues and in fact could hurt children’s health.

Data shows that asthma is growing at a terrible rate.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 15 million Americans now suffer from it, with the number of doctor’s office visits resulting from the disease doubling between 1975 and 1995.  African Americans are hit hardest of all.  Their hospitalization rate for asthma was more than three times that of whites, and their death rate from the disease is more than seven times higher.

The EPA blames air pollution for the increase in incidence of asthma because bad air quality from pollution or cigarette smoke, for example, can aggravate the symptoms of asthmatics.  Yet EPA’s own data shows that air pollution levels have steadily declined as the disease has skyrocketed.  A study published recently in The Lancet (a British medical journal) looked at the hospital admission records for 460,000 children in 56 countries and found that asthma rates were highest in countries with the least air pollution.  A study on the causes of asthma published in The New England Journal of Medicine says that blaming air pollution “is political, not medical,” and that research has found that the disease’s primary cause in American inner cities, where asthma rates are the highest, is actually the inhalation of dried cockroach excrement.  Researchers were cited as saying we should not concentrate so much on air pollution and instead declare war on roaches.

Concurrently, however, the EPA is considering limiting or banning many organophosphates and carbamates, two types of pesticides that are potent cockroach killers.  The authors cited the fact that although 30 years’ use has shown these chemicals pose very little danger to humans when used properly, the EPA committee on children continues to voice concern about the use of both of these classes of pesticides, a campaign that they say can only harm children and help roaches.  They also believe that making these insecticides a target will harm children’s health in another way:  because these pesticides are vital in controlling crop-eating insects, restrictions on their use would mean that fruit and vegetable prices would probably rise.  More than 200 studies associated low consumption of fruits and vegetables with higher risk of cancer.  A study published in 1995 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that the one-quarter of the U.S. population with the lowest dietary intake of fruits and vegetables, disproportionately inner-city minorities, suffers roughly twice the cancer rate as the one-quarter of the population that eats the most produce.

The University of California-Berkeley’s Dr. Bruce Ames, a biochemist and director of environmental health science, has been quoted as saying that “It just does not make any sense to spend $146 billion on EPA regulations, a few billion on cancer treatment research, and practically nothing to get people to eat good diets.”  Further, our youngster’s atrocious eating habits have led to an explosion in obesity, making American children among the fattest on earth.  From 1963 to 1970, Government data show only 5 percent of children ages 6 to 11 were obese.  Since then, that percentage has almost tripled.  For children ages 12 to 17, it has more than doubled.  Again, minority groups suffer the most.

Moreover, a recent Harvard study reported that one apparent cause of asthma is, yes, obesity.  In the past, doctors presumed that people who have asthma become obese because the disease makes it difficult to exercise.  But this study found that the heavier adults are, the more likely they are to develop asthma.

Chemical Regulation Reporter; June 26 and July 10, 1998
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“Safety” of 2 OP Residues in Food

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), food residues of two commonly used organophosphate insecticides are unlikely to cause adverse health effects.  Levels of diazinon detected in edible crops and animal feeds “have been far below the acceptable daily intake” thresholds, declares WHO summaries.  Additionally, the Organization says that the general population’s food residue exposure to oxydemeton-methyl (Metasystox-R) likewise does not put humans at risk .

The WHO stated that both dietary and occupational exposure to these two organophosphates are unlikely to produce adverse health effects if recommended safety precautions from the chemical’s manufacturer are followed.  There is, however, still the need for precautions to minimize exposure of non-target organisms, but these chemicals do not persist in the environment and are “not accumulated by organisms.”  WHO’s summaries in part draw their conclusions from reports of accidental, suicidal, and occupational poisonings.

The book number for WHO’s Environmental Health criteria series summary for diazinon is #198, and for oxydemeton-methyl is #193.  Additional information on these summaries and other similar books is available on WHO’s Internet site at

Conversely, a preliminary analysis by the EPA shows that 20 organophosphate insecticides expected to be found in some people’s diets pose risks that exceed those allowed by the Food Quality Protection Act.  The Agency did not identify which 20 OP’s were analyzed.  These assessments are, according to EPA, “truly works in progress” and represent varying levels of refinement in their risk assessments to date for OPs.  EPA wants it known that a “major message for all’ is that there is opportunity to refine assessments to reflect actual or potential risks better, with information from pesticide users, registrants and public interest groups.

Chemical Regulation Reporter; June 26 and July 10, 1998
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Partial List of Products 
at Risk Under FQPA
Carbamates Organophosphates Group B1 & B2  Carcinogens
Common Name Trade Name Common  Trade Name Common  Trade Name
Aldicarb Temik Acephate Orthene Aciflourfen Blazer
Asulam  Asulox Azinphos-methyl Guthion Alachlor Lasso
Bendiocarb Ficam Bensulide Prefar Amitrole  Herbizole
Benomyl  Benlate Chlorpyrifos Lorsban Cacodylic Acid several
Carbaryl  Sevin Coumaphos  Co-Ral Captan  several
Carbofuran Furadan DEF  De-Green Chlorothalonil  Bravo
Carboxin Dichlorvos  DDVP Creosote several
Chlorpropham Diazinon  Spectracide Daminozide Alar, B-Nine
Desmedipham Batanex Dicrotophos DDV Folpet
Formetanate HCI Carzol Dimethoate Cygon Formaldehyde
Methiocarb  Mesurol Disulfoton Di-Syston Iprodine (Rovral)
Methomyl  Lannate Ethion Lindane Isotox
Oxamyl  Vydate Ethoprop Mocap MGK Repellent 326
Phenmedipham Fenamiphos Nemacur Mancozeb several
Propamocarb Tattoo Fenitrothion Maneb several
Propoxur  Baygon Fenthion  Baytex Metiram Polyram
Thiodicarb  Larvin Fonofos  Dyfonate Metam Sodium Vapam
Thiophanate methyl Topsin Isofenphos  Oftanol Orthophenylphenol OPP
Troysan KK Malathion  Cythion Oxythioquinox  Morestan
Methamidophos  Monitor Pentachlorphenol
Methidathion Supracide Pronamide  Kerb
Methyl Parathion Propargite Comite, Omite
Naled Dibrom Propoxur Baygon
Oxydemethon  Metasystox-R Propylene oxide
Phorate Thimet Telone Dicloropropene
Phosmet  Imidan Terrazole Koban
Primphos Methyl Thiodicarb Larvin
Profenofos  Curacron TPTH  Super Tin
Propetamphos  Safrotin Vinclozolin  Ronilan
Sulfotepp  Bladafum
Sulprofos  Bolstar
Temephos Abate  
Terbufos Counter
Tetrachlorvinphos Gardona
Trichlorfon  Dylox
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Federal Legislation

Country-of-Origin Labeling

Thanks to the hard work of both Senators Graham and Connie Mack, the Senate version of the Ag Appropriations bill earmarks funding that will assist Florida producers.  Both senators were also responsible for getting language to provide “country-of-origin” on perishable produce.  Although Florida doesn’t have representation on the conference committee, FFBF is working with AFBF to pass country-of-origin labeling.

This is very important as the U.S. enters into Fast Track debate, as well as discussion on the Fast Track of the Americas Agreement (FTAA).  Country-of-origin labeling will allow consumers freedom in choosing the origin of the food used in their diet.  Labeling will also allow domestic producers to differentiate the superior product from foreign competition.
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Labor H2A Reform

The Senate passed H2A reform legislation, thanks to the hard work of Sen. Graham. Sen. Mack was also an original sponsor of the Senate H2A reform bill.

Florida Farm Bureau took several producers to Washington to visit House members and urge them to support this much-needed safety net to protect Florida growers from labor shortages. Florida Farm Bureau is optimistic that the Senate’s overwhelming support of H2A reform will motivate the House to pass similar language.

By Derick Thomas, FFBF Director of National Affairs
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Free Pesticide Safety Training Classes Available in Ten Counties

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now requires that farm workers receive pesticide safety training within the first five days of work.  Free bi-lingual training provided by Americorps is currently available in ten Florida counties.

According to a Florida Department of Education brochure, pesticide safety training helps to create a safer working environment and ensures a healthy and productive work force.

Bi-lingual Americorps members will help employers comply with EPA’s Worker Protection standard by providing the free training.  The training sessions can be scheduled for almost any time and classes can include between one and 50 participants. Upon completion of the training, workers will receive an EPA Worker Protection training Verification Card.  The card is valid for five years and certifies that the agricultural worker training was completed.

The 11 points covered in the pesticide safety training include:  how pesticides may be encountered during work; hazards of pesticide toxicity and exposure; how pesticides enter the body; symptoms of pesticide poisonings; emergency first aid for pesticide poisonings and injuries; how to obtain medical care; routine and emergency decontamination procedure; hazards from chemigation and drift; hazards from pesticides on clothing; dangers associated with taking pesticides home, and; worker protections in the Worker Protection Standard.

Americorps provides this free training in Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee, Volusia, Flagler, Putnam, Collier, Lee, Dade and Broward counties.  For more information, contact Linda Grisham at 813-744-6303.

August 98
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Annual International Methyl Bromide Conference in Orlando, Florida

The Annual International Research Conference on Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Reductions conference is being held December 7-9, 1998, at the Omni Rosen Hotel in Orlando, Florida.

Anna William's Methyl Bromide Alternatives Outreach, 144 W. Peace River Drive, Fresno, California  93711-6953;  phone (209)447-2127, fax (209)436-0692; e-mail
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Cabbage - Azinphos-methyl, Bensulide, Benomyl, captan, Carbaryl, Chlorothalonil, Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon, Dichloropropene, Dimethoate, Disulfoton, Ethoprop, Fenamiphos, Fonosfos, Malathion, Maneb, Metam, Methamidophos, Methomyl, Naled, Oxydemeton-methyl, Parathion-methyl, Thiodicarb

Cucumber - Azinphos-methyl, Benomyl, Bensulide, Carbaryl, Carbofuran, Chlorothalonil, Chlorpyifos, Diazinon, Dichloropropene, Ethoprop, Malathion, Mancozeb, Maneb, Metam, Methamidophos, Methomyl, Oxamyl, Oxydemeton-methyl, Thiophanate-methyl

Eggplant - Azinphos-methyl, Benomyl, Benslide, Captan, Carbaryl, Dichloropropene, Fenamiphos, Malathion, Maneb, Metam, Methamidophos, Methomyl, Naled, Oxamyl, Oxydemeton-methyl

Pepper - Acephate (Bell & Non-Bell), Bensulide (Bell & Chili only), Captan, Carbaryl, Carbofuran, Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon, Dichloropropene, Dimethoate, Disulfoton, Fenamiphos (Non-bell only), Fonofos, Malathion, Maneb, Metam, Methamidophos, Methomyl, Naled, Oxamyl, Oxydemeton-methyl, Parathion-methyl, Vinclozolin (Bell only)

Squash (Summer & Winter) - Benomyl, Bensulide, Carbaryl, Carbofuran, Chlorothalonil, Diazinon, Dichloropropene, Fenamiphos, Fonofos, Iprodione, Malathion, Metam, Methomyl, Naled, Thiophanate-methyl, Parathion-methyl, Thiophanate-methyl

Watermelon - Azinphos-methyl, Bensulide, Captan, Carbaryl, Carbofuran, Diazinon, Dichloropropene, Dimethoate, Malathion, Mancozeb, Maneb, Naled, Oxamyl, Oxydemeton-methyl
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Interesting Ag Web Sites

Florida Agricultural Information Retrieval System (FAIRS) - - Access to the vast collection of IFAS information.

Florida Tomato Scouting Guide Website - - Great photos and detailed info on many tomato insects and diseases.

The Agrisurfer - - Information overload?  Unable to keep up with all the ag websites that seem to pop up every day?  Try the Agrisurfer-the worlds first customizable, direct-delivered, free, online Internet guide for farmers and other agriculturists! (“more grain, less chaff”!)

New Crop Resource Online Program - - Information on all those crops you’ve never heard of before.  From achiote to zapotillo.

Weed Images and Descriptions - - A variety of high quality images of over 80 weed species.

Extension Search Tools - and - Both sites allow you to search all the great extension information produced by the 50 Land Grant universities throughout the USA.

Farm Bureau - - Great website by one of the premier organizations representing agriculture in the USA.  Links to state sites.
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Vegetable Production Guide for Florida - Bayer Corporation and the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) have joined forces to produce the third edition of the Vegetable Production Guide for Florida.  The new Guide will be available in September.

Since its first printing in 1994, the 320-page Guide has become a fixture in truck cabs across the state as a handy reference for growers and farm managers and an important teaching tool for Florida Extension service personnel.  Now, because of Bayer’s sponsorship, the Guide will be provided free of charge.

“This publication effort is the first of its kind where public and private organizations have teamed to provide up-to-date Extension production information to vegetable growers,” say George Hochmuth and Don Maynard, the Guide’s editors.

The Guide contains information on variety selection, plant nutrition, irrigation, pest control, post-harvest handling and other cultural topics.  In addition, Hochmuth and Maynard say, the Guide is easy to use because “it contains recommendations arranged by crop to be readily accessible to the user.”

The Guide will be published by Citrus and Vegetable Magazine and will feature color pages for the first time.  It will be available at the Florida Agricultural Conference and Trade Show September 29-30 in Lakeland.

To order the Guide, growers may contact their local Extension agent or Bayer sales representative.
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Production Guides for Tomatoes and Peppers — two economically important Florida crops - now are available from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Tomato Production Guide for Florida (SP 214) and Pepper Production Guide for Florida (SP 215) are comprehensive guides that cover all aspects of production.  Chapters in both guides cover varieties, fertilization, cultural practices, crop establishment, management of pests, nematode, insect, weed, and disease control and harvesting and handling are discussed by various crop specialists at the UF/IFAS.

Both guides are edited by Dr. George Hochmuth, Professor of vegetable crop nutrition.  Each guide sells for $7., plus appropriate state sales tax and $3. shipping and handling.  Orders shipped to Florida addresses must include appropriate county sales tax (6%, 6.5%, 7%, or 7.5%).

Order the publication from UF/IFAS Publications, PO Box 110011, Gainesville, FL  32611-0011.  Phone:  352-392-1764; fax:  352-392-2628.  Checks should be made payable to the University of Florida.  For credit card orders call 1-800-226-1764.
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Handling Facilities for Pesticides

For growers who are building or planning pesticide storage facilities, a 22-page publication titled “On-Farm Agrichemical Handling Facilities” is available.  The piece is published by the Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service and can be ordered by contacting NRAES at 152 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca, NY  14853-5701, phoning 607-255-7654, faxing 607-254-8770, or e-mailing

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Old FAIRS Web Site Undergoes Makeover

The Old FAIRS Web Site has undergone a complete makeover.  It has been redesigned and rebuilt from scratch in response to the many request for improvement that we have received over the last year.

The new site, to be called EDIS Web Site, is complete replacement for the FAIRS Web Site, which will be officially retired along with the “FAIRS” brand name.  It will provide facilities for searching the EDIS database, viewing whole documents in both HTML and PDF formats, and ordering printed copies through the Docutech print-on-demand system.  It will sport a clean and contemporary design, a new database system, a faster search engine, and will provide links to all EDIS-related information of use to authors, faculty, administrators, county agents and the general public.

The new EDIS Web Site will be launched on September 14, 1998.  Links for the old FAIRS Web Site will continue to function as before, and will be automatically translated into the equivalent URLs for the new EDIS address.
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The SW Florida Vegetable Advisory Committee will hold it’s second meeting of the season on October 22nd at SWFREC/Immokalee.  This committee represents the local vegetable industry and is charged with assisting in planning research and extension activities.  The committee was selected to represent a wide range of vegetable interests.  It is hoped that you will consider this committee as representing your interests and that you will communicate with them about concerns, needs, and ideas that will allow research and extension do a better job in serving the vegetable industry in SW Florida.

If you have concerns or ideas that you feel the committee should be addressing, please feel free to contact any of the committee members and share your thoughts with them.  This is your committee and will only be effective if you contribute to it!

SW Florida Vegetable Advisory Committee Members

Homer Betancourt 
Box 5005
Immokalee, FL  34143
Tim Nance 
PO Box 990129 
Naples, FL  34116
Mike Clevenger
609B 107th Ave. N
Naples, FL  34108
Wade Purvis
6091 12th Ave. NW
Naples, FL  34119
Ed English
9500 CR 858
Immokalee, FL  34142
Wes Roan
11900 6 L Farm Road
Naples, FL  34114
Fred Heald
710 Broward Street
Immokalee, FL  34142
Mike Seese
PO Box 11094
Naples, FL  34101
Cecil Howell
1201 Orchid Street
Immokalee, FL  34142
Eugene Tollar
PO Box 5029
Immokalee, FL  34143
Tom Mueller
PO Box 400
Immokalee, FL  34143
Jamie Williams
1130 Park Drive
LaBelle, FL  33935
Chuck Obern
PO Box 1649
Clewiston, FL  33440
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Laugh Lines

Farmer Brown is working hard on his farm. It’s a fabulous place.  It has been meticulously weeded, irrigated, fertilized and sprayed.  The vegetables are all flourishing and beautiful.

Along comes the parson, he says, “Glory be there, Farmer Brown.  Isn’t it a miracle what the Lord can produce from the land?”

Farmer Brown responds, “Reckon so, Pastor, but you should’ve seen it when he had it all to himself?”

Dennis was a typical Irish farmer in a section of Ireland where electricity was still a rumor.  One day his pregnant wife, feeling the pains, knew her time was near, so the doctor was sent for.  The doctor asked Dennis to bring him a kerosene lamp so the delivery could be performed.  The doctor asked Dennis to hold the light up close.  The doctor worked for a while, and then the sound of a crying baby was heard.  The doctor said, “You’ve got a son.”  Dennis said, “That deserves a bit of a drink, doesn't it?”  The doctor indicated that there was more work to do.  Soon another baby emerged, and the doctor reported, “That’s two boys.”  “I think I’ll open the good whiskey,” Dennis said.  The doctor said, “Hold the light closer.”  In several minutes he came up with a little girl.  He displayed her for the dazed father, who said, “Do you think the light’s attracting them?”

A rich older farmer had his family over to the house for a fancy Sunday dinner.  The farmer looked around and saw his five sons, his two daughters, and their various spouses, but no children of any of these pairings.  The farmer said, “I’d love to see some grandchildren sitting at this table.  To show you how much I yearn for that, I’m offering fifty thousand dollars to the first one of you who gives me a grandchild.  Now let us bow our heads and say grace.”  When he looked up again, his wife and he were the only ones left at the table.

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