Agri Leader

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Joe's Stone Crab receives award MIAMI BEACH - Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam presented an award last Tuesday to the family members behind the iconic Joe's Stone Crab restaurant in Miami Beach. Joe's Stone Crab was awarded the first Fresh From Florida Century of Excellence Award by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for its promotion and stewardship of fresh Florida agriculture and seafood products, especially Florida stone crabs. "We are proud to recognize Joe's Stone Crab as this Florida institution celebrates its 100th anniversary," said Putnam. "Over the last century, Joe's Stone Crab has served Florida's finest seafood to locals, tourist and celebrities from around the world. There's no greater endorsement for the fresh, high-quality products we produce and harvest here in Florida."
Florida's renowned stone crab claws are harvested Oct. 15 through May. After a claw has been harvested, the stone crab can be returned back to the sea, where it will regenerate a new claw. Most stone crab claws in the United States are harvested in Florida, from Sarasota to Fort Lauderdale, making it one of Florida's top commercial seafood products. In 2011, more than 2.7 million pounds of stone crab claws were harvested in Florida, generating $24.7 million in cash receipts. Putnam presents agriculture awards PONTE VEDRA BEACH - Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam presented awards Oct. 25 to the three winners of the state's Agriculture-Environmental Leadership Award, which recognizes agricultural enterprises that are at the forefront of developing and adopting environmentally innovative farming practices. "These recipients represent the best of the best in developing and implementing progressive techniques to safeguard the environment and conserve natural resources," Putnam said. "All three share a commitment to protect and preserve Florida's resources while continuing to provide top-notch agricultural products for our state, our country and across the globe." The awards were presented during a breakfast at the 72nd Florida Farm Bureau Annual Convention. The recipients were Barbra Goering of Farmton Tree Farm, a 59,000-acre forest timber operation straddling Volusia and Brevard counties; Dudley Calfee of Ferris Farms Inc, in Floral City; and Shane Platt of Kissimmee Park Properties LLC, in St. Cloud. Nominees from different parts of Florida's agricultural industry were reviewed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as well as industry and environmental groups. Environmental practices considered in the nominations include wildlife protection and habitat conservation, pesticide/nutrient management and waste management/recycling. R.I. groups getting $205K to boost crops PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Several Rhode Island organizations are getting a total of $205,000 in U.S. Department of Agriculture funds to promote specialty crops. The awards from the Specialty Crop Block Grant program were announced by the state Department of Environmental Management. Farm Fresh Rhode Island is getting $50,000 to increase specialty crop purchases by public schools. The African Alliance of Rhode Island is getting $20,000 to provide greater access to African vegetables, including by creating African vegetable markets in pilot corner stores in African and Latino neighborhoods. The University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension is getting $31,865 to improve the yield and quality of melons by testing innovative ways to protect them from certain beetles. Neighbors harvest after farmer's death EARLHAM, Iowa - More than a dozen farmers worked with six combines and other equipment to harvest a crop near the central Iowa community of Earlham, little more than a month after the owner died of cancer. Dennis Scar died on Sept. 25 at age 64, less than a year after being diagnosed with lung cancer. He died just days before farmers in the area began harvesting corn and soybeans. Scar's daughter-in-law, Nikki Scar, told KCCI-TV the gratitude the family felt for their neighbors was hard to put into words. Area farmers harvested the family's soybeans and then returned last Monday to harvest the corn. "It's actually overwhelming, brought tears to our eyes when you see all this machinery pull in," she said. "You know and we didn't ask for any of this help. Everybody took it upon themselves to come. We're just very blessed to have family and friends and live in a small town." The corn harvest normally would have taken days to complete, but the volunteers finished it in about three hours. The need to harvest quickly was especially intense for some farmers, who knew impending rainy weather could limit their ability to work in their own fields. Despite her loss, Dennis Scar's wife, Chris, said this is always a good time of year. "It's one of the best times of the year for all farmers. They get to reap the harvest of all their work," she said. From the Associated Press and staff reports