Florida Ag Hall of Fame Invites Nominations

The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame, which honors those who have made significant contributions to agriculture, is accepting nominations for inductees.

“We invite the agriculture community to nominate those who have demonstrated selfless dedication to advocacy and advances in agricultural production,” said Ray Hodge, president of the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Foundation.

The online nomination form is available on the Florida Ag Hall of Fame website here. Submission deadline is Sept. 1. Nominations should be mailed to AHOF Nominations, 100 S. Mulrennan Road, Valrico, FL 33594. For more information, call 813-230-1918. Inductees are honored at a February banquet during the Florida State Fair in Tampa.

Danny Kushmer

 

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Food Photography?

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to be on-hand while filming a celebrity chef. I followed a local photographer as she would shoot the final product. One thing I find difficult in food photography is getting the right angle. I would look over her shoulder than take the same shot.

Here are my attempts:

 

Danny Kushmer

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A Drive in the Everglades

As a kid I was fortunate enough to spend many hunting seasons in the Everglades. I remember parking our vehicles just off the hard road, unloading swamp buggies and trudging through the swamp. While the cabin was only 1 mile from where we would park our cars, often it took well over 2 hours to get there. From high water to breakdowns we were always happy to see the oasis of our camp.

During the evening, fireside stories would be told and one particular story came rushing back to my memory the other day. After an unusually difficult journey, both high water and swamp buggy breakdowns we made it to camp just before dark. Once settled in and after dinner we retired to the fire. My dad began talking about a hunting trip he had made to Georgia. As we swatted mosquitoes and listened intently thinking he was going to talk about a trophy buck he bagged. He started speaking the virtues of this camp, hot and cold running water, indoor plumbing (no outhouse) heat and A/C and you could drive a Cadillac to the front door of the cabin. After several hours trudging through the swamp just to get 1 mile I thought that would be a nice change.

Well, we no longer hunt in the Everglades. The State and U.S. governments have purchased much of the land for conservation. Over the years park officials have created trails and scenic drives through many of the same areas I used to hunt using swamp buggies. A few days ago I had the opportunity to visit land very close to where we used to have our camp. As I drove my car (I have a truck as well but my wife and I were travelling in comfort and was not planning stop) down a scenic trail in Fakahatchee Strand near Everglades City I parked and began to walk down a trail. Before hitting the trail I looked back one last time to make sure I locked the car and the story my dad told came rushing back.

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I drove a Cadillac in the Everglades, not quite to the old camp but close.

Oh, and on the other side of the trail I saw this. Someone drove their Mercedes in there too. LOL

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Danny Kushmer

 

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February Walk

Recently, Polk County Parks and Natural Resources opened the Panther Point Trail located on the East Side of Lake Hancock. While biking the trail I took a few photos.

Danny Kushmer

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An IMPAC Farmer

 

Find out more at www.impac.org

 

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Thanksgiving 2016

2016 saw many positive changes for the Kushmer’s. One change was our youngest daughter moving to Boone, N.C. for an opportunity to work for Wine To Water. So we could all be together for Thanksgiving (as is our family tradition) we decided on a road trip. Here are a few photos of our time.

 

Danny Kushmer

 

 

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Fall in San Francisco with Alyssa

Last Fall I visited Northern California for work. While there I was able to spend the weekend with my oldest in San Francisco. Here are a few photo’s.

Danny Kushmer

 

 

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Williston, Florida Grower Meeting

Brad Ehteridge of Etheridge Cattle Company hosted Highland Precision Ag and several growers in North Central Florida to learn more about precision agriculture and ways to improve water quality, reduce water use and lessen their environmental footprint.

The meeting took place at the Cracker House and dinner was catered by the Trenton FFA. Below are a few of the photos.

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Wade Carter discussing precision ag

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Danny Kushmer

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Highland Hub to Launch at Sunbelt Ag Expo 2016

HPA Introduces New Online Farm Management Tool

Highland Precision Ag will introduce its newest online farm management tool, Highland press-release-hpa-at-sunbeltHub at the Sunbelt Ag Expo, October 18-20 in Moultrie, Georgia. Highland Hub is an innovative technology tool that keeps track of regulatory information, crop data, weather forecasts, areas of concern, historical data and most importantly, aerial imagery. Data is organized and presented in a simple and interactive online dashboard that can be securely accessed at any time so farmers can make quick, accurate decisions.

Highland Precision Ag will also have the entire HPA Team on-site including their Lab Services, Regulatory and Compliance, Imagery and Analysis and Marketing departments. All areas will include interactive displays and leaders in the field of precision ag to answer any questions.

Steve Maxwell, CEO and founder is passionate about such leading edge technology in agriculture, “We are working towards building customized treatment plans for farmers that will reduce the footprint environmentally, and reduce costs to growers, while still producing the yields we need to produce for a hungry world.”

HPA and the entire team will be located at A-3-94 and A-3-101
(next to John Deere).

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About Highland Precison Ag
Highland Precision Agriculture blends farming and technology, creating a system to help growers maximize their full potential by providing them with the tools to make quick, accurate decisions. Learn more at http://www.highlandprecisionag.com

Danny Kushmer

 

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Bad for Farmers, Bad for Workers, Bad for California, & Bad for America

CALL TO ACTION………..
California Assembly Bill 1066 sponsored by Gonzales is scheduled for the Assembly Floor today. This is a solution to a problem that DOES NOT EXIST and needs to be opposed. This bill will result in massive farmworker un-employment, less wages for farmworkers and an increase in your food prices.

Below is an excerpt of the bill followed by what already exists in federal law. Currently, at the end of any growing season, farmworkers will average much more than a minimum wage. IF this law goes into effect their wages WILL DECREASE and YOU WILL PAY MORE FOR GROCERIES.

Text excerpt from California Assembly Bill 1066

“Existing law sets wage, hour, meal break requirements, and other working conditions for employees and requires an employer to pay overtime wages as specified to an employee who works in excess of a workday or workweek, as defined, and imposes criminal penalties for the violation of these requirements. Existing law exempts agricultural employees from these requirements. Under existing law, the function of the Department of Industrial Relations is to, among other things, foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners of California, to improve their working conditions, and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment. 

This bill would remove the exemption for agricultural employees regarding hours, meal breaks, and other working conditions, including specified wage requirements, and would create a schedule that would phase in overtime requirements for agricultural workers…..”

The following (and current) overtime exemptions was taken from the U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division webpage.

The following are examples of employees exempt from both the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements:

  • Executive, administrative, and professional employees (including teachers and academic administrative personnel in elementary and secondary schools), outside sales employees, and certain skilled computer professionals (as defined in the Department of Labor’s regulations)
  • Employees of certain seasonal amusement or recreational establishments
  • Employees of certain small newspapers and switchboard operators of small telephone companies
  • Seamen employed on foreign vessels
  • Employees engaged in fishing operations
  • Employees engaged in newspaper delivery
  • Farm workers employed on small farms (i.e., those that used less than 500 “man‑days” of farm labor in any calendar quarter of the preceding calendar year)
  • Casual babysitters and persons employed as companions to the elderly or infirm

The following are examples of employees exempt from the overtime pay requirements only:

  • Certain commissioned employees of retail or service establishments
  • Auto, truck, trailer, farm implement, boat, or aircraft salespersons employed by non‑manufacturing establishments primarily engaged in selling these items to ultimate purchasers
  • Auto, truck, or farm implement parts‑clerks and mechanics employed by non-manufacturing establishments primarily engaged in selling these items to ultimate purchasers
  • Railroad and air carrier employees, taxi drivers, certain employees of motor carriers, seamen on American vessels, and local delivery employees paid on approved trip rate plans
  • Announcers, news editors, and chief engineers of certain non‑metropolitan broadcasting stations
  • Domestic service workers who reside in their employers’ residences
  • Employees of motion picture theaters
  • Farmworkers

Certain employees may be partially exempt from the overtime pay requirements. These include:

  • Employees engaged in certain operations on agricultural commodities and employees of certain bulk petroleum distributors
  • Employees of hospitals and residential care establishments that have agreements with the employees that they will work 14‑day periods in lieu of 7‑day workweeks (if the employees are paid overtime premium pay within the requirements of the Act for all hours worked over eight in a day or 80 in the 14‑day work period, whichever is the greater number of overtime hours)
  • Employees who lack a high school diploma, or who have not completed the eighth grade, who spend part of their workweeks in remedial reading or training in other basic skills that are not job specific. Employers may require such employees to engage in these activities up to 10 hours in a workweek. Employers must pay normal wages for the hours spent in such training but need not pay overtime premium pay for training hours

Out of nineteen bullets above, five instances are covered where certain farmworkers are exempt from overtime pay. Do you qualify under one of the other 14 instances?

Typically, farmworkers start with pre-planting and growing season. This usually results in most of them making minimum wage as set forth by local, state, and federal law. Once the harvest season begins these workers move to a piece rate which results in much more than the minimum wage. Then, as the season winds down, they may go back to receiving minimum wage.

When the growing season is all said and done, usually a farmworker’s pay is far more than a minimum wage for the hours worked.

If California forces farmers to start paying overtime, you can count on one (or all) the following:

  • Workers will make less money during the season
  • Farmers will employ less workers during the season
  • Consumers will pay more for their food

California, call you legislator TODAY, demand they oppose Assembly Bill 1066.

Danny Kushmer

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