Upcoming Events



‘Fall Gardening Extravaganza’ Coming September 29th

We are pleased to announce that our ‘Fall Gardening Extravaganza’ will return in September!

After much success in 2014 and 2015, the Tallapoosa County Extension Office and Tallapoosa County Master Gardener Association have decided to host another grand event.  The 2017 event will be on Friday, September 29th at Central Alabama Community College in Alexander City.

We are very excited to offer another slate of well-known horticulturists and gardeners that have all agreed to come to Alexander City to speak at our 2017 “Fall Gardening Extravaganza.”  Get ready for this amazing 2017 all-star lineup of speakers as featured in the “2017 Fall Gardening Extravaganza” Event Pamphlet:

Chris VanCleave, “The Redneck Rosarian”, is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. His writing is seen at HomeDepot.com and on his popular website, RedneckRosarian.com.

Sara L. Van Beck currently serves as a Corresponding Member of the Royal Horticulture Narcissus Classification Advisory Group. She has recently published Daffodils in American Gardens, 1733-1940 (2015), co-authored, with her mother Linda, Daffodils in Florida: A Field Guide to the Coastal South (2003), and has written articles for numerous other publications.

Felder Rushing is the international founder of Slow Gardening, a highly satisfying approach that focuses on finding and following personal garden bliss. He is author or co-author of 18 gardening books and a former Extension Service urban horticulture specialist who actually started the Master Gardener program in his home state of Mississippi. Felder has written thousands of gardening columns in syndicated newspapers, and has had hundreds of articles and photographs published in regional and national garden magazines.

Carol Reese is an Ornamental Horticulture Specialist with UT Extension. She is a contributor to several garden magazines, and writes a weekly gardening and nature column for the Jackson Sun in Jackson TN. Her talk – Take a Walk on the Wild Side –  will discuss how to create fabulous habitat and wildlife garden alive with birds, bees and butterflies, yet have a sense of strong design and year-round appeal for the humans and other critters that enrich and entertain.

The 2017 ‘Fall Gardening Extravaganza’ will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Betty Carol Graham Technology Center located on the Central Alabama Community College campus.  Cost is only $25 per person and includes a lunch. Seating is limited and reservations are required.

“2017 Fall Gardening Extravaganza” Event Pamphlet


Register by calling the Tallapoosa County Extension office at 256-825-1050.

Registration Deadline is Friday, September 22, 2017

What did the Drought do to my Calving Season?

Memories of the fall of 2016 and its impacts on pasture availability and cow nutritional status are still fresh on most every Alabama cattle producer’s mind.  As fall calving programs move past the breeding season and spring programs focus on this important time, many producers are likely scratching their heads as to what impacts the drought may have on their cowherd’s breeding season success. This is rightly so, as lowered grazing availability likely led to some loss of body condition in many herds, and stand loss may leave some producers without adequate summer forage emergence.

The drought’s effects on your herd’s breeding season can be closely tied to the nutrition you were able to provide your animals to maintain their body condition score (BCS) throughout the calving and breeding season. Cows that calved at BCS lower than five could have experienced poor performance in the breeding season for two reasons:

1. Cows that calve at a BCS lower than five take more time to return to cycling than their BCS 5+ herdmates. Expect thin animals at calving to take an added 20+ days to return to cycling past their appropriately conditioned herdmates.

2.Animals that have a BCS lower than five during the breeding season experience lower pregnancy rates per breeding. Animals of BCS 4 or lower may experience a conception rate 10-30% lower than their BCS 5+ pasture mates.

Follow these two links (link 1, link 2) to learn more about BCS and its impact on pregnancy outcomes in your herd.

These facts are helpful in managing cattle to have a successful breeding season, but if the season has passed and you are questioning exactly what impact the drought had on your operation’s reproductive success, keep this factor in mind:  

You can know the pregnancy status of your herd quickly and economically. It is extremely important to perform annual pregnancy examination in your herd to identify and cull open cows. However if you are resistant to pregnancy check your herd, keep in mind that this year may be the most important year to implement this management practice. If cows became thin during the breeding season and you move forward on “faith alone” until calving time, there is a very high chance that you will experience lower calving rates than you had hoped for or seen in previous years. Pregnancy check cows 60 days after the conclusion of the breeding season or at calf weaning time to gain a true perspective on your herd’s reproductive status. With no pregnancy exam, you may feed open cows for 6-7 months before realizing that there is a problem. Without this information, you cannot manage your herd for profit potential as you look into the near future. Click here to read more about pregnancy exam options and how such knowledge can impact your herd.

Once you know your herd’s pregnancy status, you can make management decisions to increase your profitability outlook. You will also have tools to help you cull appropriate animals if the drought returns.

1. You will know which cows are not doing their job. Regardless of your breeding season existence or length, cows that are not pregnant by the time of traditional  calf weaning are not performing up to par. These animals are keeping you from reaching your profit potential and are consuming resources away from their herdmates. They need to go – even if they may become pregnant after weaning. Keeping such animals will only lower your herd’s overall reproductive performance and slowly suck dollars from you bottom line.

2.You will know what to expect for the upcoming calving season. If the drought led to thin cows at calving and breeding, you may have a higher percentage of late calving animals. Knowing your expected calving distribution will help you divide your manpower at calving time and begin thinking of a plan for calf marketing and how to manage cows to calve earlier in subsequent years.

3. You can combine body condition scoring with pregnancy examination to help identify thin, pregnant cows that may need additional supplementation to improve their condition before calving. Remember, we want cows to calve at a BCS 5-6. Post weaning is the best time to improve condition on thin cows. Evaluate your pasture availability and consider your ability to get weight on thin cows. Keep in mind that cows should gain about 80 pounds to improve one BCS. It is critical to return thin cows to an acceptable BCS before calving to limit the negative impacts of last year’s drought on your herd. If you do not have adequate pasture for such gains, you will need to supplement feed. Thin, pregnant cows with low production records may be a logical culling option if pasture availability is low and you do not have the resources to supplement feed.

If you have a large number of open cows at pregnancy check, you may be faced with hard decisions. There are several options to successfully move past this disheartening news:

1. Evaluate your cowherd. Discover possible reasons for the very low pregnancy rates. What is the herd average BCS? Were many cows of all ages open, or just your 2-3 year olds? What is the bull’s BCS and age? What was your bull:cow ratio? Did the bulls pass a breeding soundness exam before the breeding season?

2.Thin cows can be expected to gain weight at calf weaning if adequate grazing or supplement is available. If calves are still nursing and you are early in the breeding season, consider early weaning to allow cows to gain weight and hopefully avoid the low pregnancy rates we are currently discussing. Follow these two links to learn more about early weaning options (link 1, link 2)

3. If your breeding season is well over, consider the advantages and disadvantages of converting to a spring and fall calving season. In some herds, this management scheme works extremely well. Thin, open cows at this year’s pregnancy check can be moved to the opposite breeding season to reduce culling rates and still maintain a defined calving season. It is important to maintain a strict culling of animals in subsequent years to avoid creating a “reproductively lazy” herd. Using this second breeding season to strategically produce bred cows for sale versus open cull cows is also a viable option.

4.Retain your high standards. If your pasture availability is very low and you need lower stocking rates for your fields to recover, these open cows may be just your ticket. Culling of higher than normal numbers of open cows will lead to an increase in immediate monetary intake while decreasing your stocking rates for the near future as your pasture recovers. Rebuild your herd as your forages recover.

If the drought wreaked havoc on your breeding season, remember that it may take a few years to return to an ideal breeding season length. However, through proper management strategies of correct nutrition, strict culling, and replacing open or late calving animals with early calving heifers or purchased cows you can recover your herd from possible impacts of the 2016 drought.

If you have questions about determining and improving your herd’s reproductive performance, contact myself or other members of the ACES Animal Science and Forages Team.

Sarah Dickinson, M.S.

Regional Extension Agent I – Animal Science & Forages

Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Ph.D. Student – Reproductive Physiology / Molecular Genomics

Cell: 256-537-0024

Office: 256-825-1050

Email:sed0029@auburn.edu

Serving Chambers, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Lee, Randolph, Shelby, Talladega, and Tallapoosa Counties

Trying New Vegetable Seeds Can Be Fun

Have you ever given much thought to the vegetable seeds you plant? Why do you plant them? Taste? Production? Disease resistance? Recommended from a friend? Many people plant the same cultivars each year and never think of planting anything else. The Extension System has taught many tomato workshops over the years and have a tomato taste test as part of the program. Many gardeners bring in some of their favorite tomatoes. We assign the tomato a number, then slice it up for tasting. Participants eat the tomatoes, not even knowing which one they brought. It is very interesting to see the participants who have grown a particular tomato for years because they thought it was the best, only to actually like several others that they have never grown. There are actually thousands of different tomato cultivars to choose from, and I do not know if someone would ever eat fruit from all of them but they can certainly have fun trying.

One question is where would someone find different tomato cultivars? Nurseries and farm supply stores have many cultivars ready for transplanting, and growing your own transplants is an option as well. Seed starting can be fun, and this opens the door to thousands of cultivars. The Extension System can help you if you have questions about growing transplants.

Tomato plants get several diseases that lower production, and cultivar selection could help decrease some of those diseases. Some of the common problems you can find resistance to include fusarium wilt and nematodes. However, resistance to verticillium wilt, alternaria stem canker, bacterial speck, gray leaf spot, tobacco mosaic wilt virus, and others are available. Tomato spotted wilt virus is common, and cultivars such as Bella Rosa, Amelia, BHN 640, Christa, Primo Red, and others are resistant. Growers can even find heat set tomatoes. Many tomatoes do not set fruit well with temperatures in the 90’s. While tomatoes do not perform well with high temperatures, the heat set tomatoes do better than others. Some of the heat set tomato cultivars include Phoenix, Red Bounty, Redline, Solar Fire, and others. Some tomatoes are more suitable for greenhouse production or high tunnel production than others, and choosing the right cultivar for those locations is very important.

Just check the tags where you purchase plants or seeds, and it will list the plant resistance. Tomatoes are not the only crop in which you can find disease resistant cultivars. If you have questions about disease resistance, seed starting, or most anything else, just call your local Extension office for additional information.

by Dr. Chip East, Regional Extension Agent for Commercial Horticulture

Regulating Salt Intake for a Healthy Lifestyle

Choosing to eat smart with a balanced diet is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and lose weight.  One of the most overlooked ways to do this is to reduce your sodium intake.

Sheree Taylor, an Alabama Extension regional  agent in Human Nutrition, Diet and Health, said the average American adult consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day, which exceeds the recommendations to have no more than 2,300 mgs. Additionally, those who have hypertension and diabetes are recommended to consume no more than 1,500 mgs per day.

What’s so Bad About it?

Consuming excessive amounts of sodium can cause your body to hold onto excess water. Taylor said it can lead to increased blood pressure. The American Heart Association says that excess levels of sodium can put people at increased risk for heart failure, stroke, stomach cancer, osteoporosis and kidney disease.

Step Away From the Processed Food Aisle 

One of the main sources of excess sodium is processed food which use it to enhance flavor.  “Most of the foods high in sodium are processed foods, fast foods and ready to eat foods. They usually come in cans, boxes, packages and jars,” said Taylor.  She recommends making a shift to preparing meals at home using more whole foods, such as fresh or frozen vegetables, and no salt added canned goods if you do use canned vegetables.” She said that when you prepare food at home, you have the ability to control the amount of sodium you take in, unlike when you eat out.

Fake Healthy

A common misconception is that diet focused frozen meals are a healthy alternative.

“On the food label, you will find these provide more than the salt recommendation per serving. This is usually due to reducing the amount of fat in foods. Fat provides flavor in our foods, so when you remove the fat, you have to get it from another source, such as salt or sugar.”  As a result of reducing the fat content, companies may raise the sodium levels, thus making your healthy option merely a less fatty option, Taylor added.

What Can You Do?

The most efficient ways to reduce sodium intake are to avoid eating processed foods, to reduce how often you eat out and to cook at home using whole foods.

Taylor suggests for those people wanting to reduce their sodium intake, “Learn to read food labels. To be low in sodium, a food should be 140 mgs or 5 percent or less per serving. Learn to cook more meals, increase fruit and vegetable intake, do not eat after 7:00 p.m., and consume more whole foods and less processed quick foods.”

Source: Extension Daily

Herbicide Knowledge Required to Control Weeds

One of the most laborsome chores for landowners and homeowners is controlling weeds and brush.  The constant mowing, trimming, pulling, and spraying of unwanted vegetation is a constant and aggravating battle during the peak spring and summer months.  The frustration only increases when the nuisance plants just re-grow, come right back, and all that work was for no avail.   When nothing else will grow, one can bet the weeds sure will.

Herbicides are usually the method of choice to provide longterm or permanent weed control. To add fuel to the fire of frustration is when herbicides don’t seem to work or provide long lasting control.  Herbicides can be expensive and time consuming to apply,  so they better work.  A better understating of how herbicides work and plants react might be in order.

Herbicide Facts

Here’s a reality check for landowners and homeowners using herbicides.  You are not going to see pesky plants melt and cry out before your eyes as if you poured water on the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz.  One has to have realistic expectations. Herbicides today just don’t work that way.

Herbicides are effective because they hinder or stop processes in a plant that are essential for life.  This is referred to as the mode of action. They might regulate growth, effect photosynthesis, block enzymes, etc. The effect of the herbicide can be slow or fast, depending on the mode of action or plant species.

For example, glyphosate, commonly sold as Round-up, once applied to a plant, translocates through the leaves.  It then inhibits amino acids blocking a specific plant enzyme. This process can take a while to occur thus is why weeds may not show signs of yellowing or death for a week or so.

The very popular broadleaf herbicide 2-4-D kills plants by mimicking a plant hormone that is important for growth. It actually overloads the plant with hormones that causes the weed to grow itself to death.  This type of mode of action is rapid and thus has quick visible results as seen in the leaf curling, yellowing, and then death.

The timing of the herbicide application is also very critical and can vary with weed species.  This can ultimately be the difference between success or failure – joy or frustration.  As a general rule, annual weeds are best controlled with herbicides when they are small and actively growing. For biennial weeds, apply herbicides when they are in the rosette stage of growth.  Established perennials and woody brush are most vulnerable in the bud to bloom stage, which often occurs in the early fall when food reserves are moving into the roots.

Brush is defined as woody shrubs, vines or trees that are undesirable in a specific location.  If you haven’t had much success controlling certain brush thus far, then your window of opportunity could be this fall.  Some brush species are harder to control than others. Plant size often dictates which application technique is required to achieve adequate control.  One may need to consider both foliar and cut stump applications. With plants storing food reserves, this means the fall season is a great time to tackle and spray some of those hard to kill plants like kudzu, privet, poison ivy, or sweetgum.

Buyer Beware

Lastly, do your homework on what herbicides are labeled for use on specific plants and locations.  There are lots to choose from, both homeowner and commercial products, so knowing which to buy and use can be quite confusing.  You must read the label and know what the product contains.  Don’t go by brand names or trust fancy phrases and images as many products are honestly marketed for consumer confusion.  Look for the active ingredient on the label in small print and be educated on what that is and really does. Herbicides can also be very expensive as well as an costly mistake on your lawn or garden if you buy the wrong thing.

Success is knowing these facts and using it your benefit and to the demise of the weed.

by Shane Harris 

4-H Indoor and Outdoor Roundup – May 6th

It’s time for the next round of 4-H contests! Our 2017 Tallapoosa County 4-H Indoor and Outdoor Roundup will be on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Dadeville Rec Center.

This county contest includes the following projects (rules and descriptions can be found by clicking on the link for each one):

Blocks Rock*, eXtreme Birdhouse*, Nature Craft*, The World I See*, What Wood U Build?*, The World I Imagine, Present it with Power, $15 Challenge, Chicken Que, Lawn Tractor, Project Green Thumb, and Freestyle Demonstration.

(Rules for Nature Craft, What Wood U Build? and Present it with Power can be provided upon request.)

4-H’ers may participate in up to 3 contests. Contests with an * are for club winners advancement only, however 4-H’ers may enter these contests if it was not offered to their club. (Ex. Nature Craft was a 5th Grade club contest, so 5th Grade Nature Craft club winners and anyone NOT in 5th Grade may enter at the county level.)

All members wishing to participate must register with our office no later than Friday, May 5 by calling us at 256-825-1050.

10 Facts to Know About Dogwood Trees


Loved for early spring blooms, dogwood trees are features in many Alabama landscapes and celebrated in festivals throughout the South.  The white flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), plentiful across Alabama, is an ornamental deciduous tree native to the eastern half of the United States.

10 Dogwood Facts to Know

1. Dogwood trees sport white or pink flowers. However, the true petals are not the four showy blossoms. The tightly packed cluster in the center form the real blooms. What appears to be petals are actually bracts, which is a type of leaf.

2. Flower color of the native dogwood is a creamy white. A naturally occurring variety of the native dogwood, Cornus florida rubra, has pink blooms. Many cultivated varieties are available in nurseries and landscape centers. Dogwood trees often appear in brilliant shades ranging from soft pink to deeper cherry reds. As a result, these showy bracts can attract pollinating insects to the flowers.1. Dogwood trees sport white or pink flowers. However, the true petals are not the four showy blossoms. The tightly packed cluster in the center form the real blooms. What appears to be petals are actually bracts, which is a type of leaf.

3. In addition, there are 17 species of dogwood native to North America. Gardeners are most familiar with the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida). According to Kerry Smith,  Master Gardener program coordinator for Alabama Extension, another common species is the Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa), or Chinese Dogwood. Kousa thrives in either full sun or shade and is much tougher than the flowering dogwood.

4. Many towns enjoy dogwood trees so much, they host annual parades or dogwood tours once the trees open their blooms in the early spring. North Carolina, Texas and Atlanta each host popular Dogwood Festivals each year. Vestavia Hills celebrates Alabama’s oldest Dogwood Festival and Trail.

5. Dogwood trees are often a preferred choice for planting because they are  low maintenance. Depending on the species planted, you might have a short, stout bush or a 25-foot tall tree. If carefully treated, a mature dogwood tree species may reach up to 30 feet in height as a result.

6. Since dogwoods grow in nature as understory trees, they prefer afternoon shade to shield them from blazing sunlight. According to Alabama Extension regional agent Sallie Lee, dogwoods are pretty versatile as a small tree. “It can be planted where larger-maturing trees would be a nuisance or a hazard,” said Lee. However, dogwoods still need room to grow. Lee advises planting dogwood trees at least 25 feet from structures to give the roots plenty of room to grow.

7. In the Southeast, the dogwood typically begins blooming in early March in the southern portion of Alabama and two to three weeks later in northern areas of the state. The bloom duration can last from two to four weeks.

8. Dogwood branches droop as the tree grows, and may need pruning to clear pedestrian or vehicle traffic. Pruning dogwoods can help shape them and improve their health. Prune if needed anytime after blooming. Alabama Extension regional Agent Mike McQueen said “since dogwoods bloom in early spring before May, wait until after they bloom to prune.”7. In the Southeast, the dogwood typically begins blooming in early March in the southern portion of Alabama and two to three weeks later in northern areas of the state. The bloom duration can last from two to four weeks.

9. Dogwoods have been used medicinally for generations. Since the bark is a rich source of bitter-tasting tannins, dogwood leaves often treated pain, fevers, backaches, dizziness, or weakness. According to McQueen, “dogwood bark was one of many barks used as a fever medicine before quinine came into general use.” Tea made from the bark was used to treat pain or fever.

10. Blooming by Easter, the tree and its flowers have inspired legends of their part in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Legend says that the bracts of the dogwood are set in the shape of a cross and bear nail marks of the Crucifixion, while the red leaves in autumn point to Jesus’s blood on Calvary.

To learn more about dogwoods, see Alabama Extension’s Selection and Care of Dogwoods at http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1077/ANR-1077.pdf.

From Extension Daily

Dead Trees Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Have you looked up lately? Many times after a long winter, people fail to look up and notice that something is wrong with their tree. If and when people do, they are surprised to find that a tree on their property is not doing well or has died. By mid spring, every deciduous tree that is healthy has at least shown some type of sign that it is alive by either blooming or putting on new leaves. Trees with no leaves, when they should have some, are either declining, dying, or dead. Any tree that you see that has yet to become green should raise a red flag and be labeled as a hazard.

A hazardous tree is defined as any tree that might fall and cause property damage and/or bodily harm and should be removed immediately.  This includes all trees that have dead branches, dieback in the top of the tree, extensive damaged or diseased areas, hollowed out, and/or are completely lacking foliage when they should not.

There are numerous reasons that cause trees to decline or die. Any time the most sensitive area of the tree, the roots, are attacked directly or indirectly, the tree will be harmed. Building construction near the tree, digging within the root zone, old age, and insects are the most common reasons. The traffic of heavy equipment during house construction causes soil compaction and limits the tree ability to take up nutrients and water.  Digging, for whatever reason, ultimately always severs trees roots and limits the tree’s longevity.  There is really no way to know how long a tree will live and bugs always manage to go undetected until the damage has been done.

Although the reason why a tree is unhealthy is important, your main concern should be removing that tree.  Once trees begin showing symptoms like that above, they may live several more years or could come tumbling down at any moment. Leaving them is very risky. Get rid of it and go buy yourself a new and better tree.

Tips on Buying Container Plants

This time of year, true plant lovers know how tempting it is to walk through a garden center full of vivid blooms and beautiful foliage. It is difficult not to pick up at least one extra plant.

“While a spontaneous purchase can turn out to be a real blessings in the garden, more often impulses lead to wasted money and plant materials. There is either no planting spot suitable for the plant or the plant doesn’t fit the needs of the garden”, says Mallory Kelley, a regional horticulture agent in Montgomery County.

Avoid Impulse Buys

Kelly offers some suggestions to help you avoid impulse buys and choose healthy plants on your list.

First, know your needs. How much attention are you willing to give a specific plant? Is the planting area sunny or shady? Moist or dry? Know the size and color requirements of your landscape. Avoiding plants that don’t suit these needs will save you time, money and worry.

Examine Each Plant

Kelley says, “once you know what species you need, examine each specific plant.” Often the plants have been on the shelf a long time without proper care and attention and are no longer the best buy for your money.

Gently tap the plant out of its container and look at the roots. If the roots swirl around the bottom of the mass and there is little remaining soil, the plant is “pot bound” and has been constricted too long in a pot that is too small.  This environment can lead to stunting, poor performance and, in many cases, death.

Check For Insects

Bedding plants, such as impatiens or begonias, packed too close into flats are likely to have increased insect and disease problems. These same plants can become overgrown, tall and lanky.  Choose plants that are small and stocky. Many insect pests feed underneath the young, tender leaves and may go unnoticed without special attention. A garden center employee should be able to assist you in identifying any insect you may find.

Following a few simple recommendations in your plant-shopping routine will save time and money, and in the long run, provide you with a healthier garden.

Source: Extension Daily

Farm & Agribusiness Management Services Available

Alabama Cooperative Extension has created a Farm & Agribusiness Management team of regional agents to be a resource for business and economics related questions producers may have. With decisions increasingly tied to analytics and trying to decide what makes sense financially, the farm and agribusiness agents are available to provide information that will help in making those decisions. Information can include:

  • How to create a business plan for new or beginning farmers.
  • Bookkeeping and tax information to ensure records are accurate while being informed and taking advantage of existing tax law.
  • Enterprise budgets for producers to use and plan their year.
  • Assistance with marketing through social media and other strategies to increase awareness of the business.
  • Transition and estate planning information is available and lastly, a specialized farm financial tool that will provide detailed analysis and insight into a producers business.

FINPACK

The farm financial analysis tool is through software called FINPACK, a business application used to examine a farms financial position. This was developed by University of Minnesota’s Center for Farm Financial Management as a way to help producers analyze their current position, plan for the future and have data on the financial health of their operation.

There are several options available to producers who are interested in having a FINPACK review. Not only will the software produce common financial statements such as a balance sheet, cash flow, and income statement. It will run ‘what-if’ scenarios for farms to see how their business could be affected by various situations. For instance, the 2016 drought that impacted much of Alabama, if a producer had their information within the FINPACK system, they could contact Extension and see the effects on their operation for increased feed costs, additional cattle being sold or any other sales or expenditures they are considering. Another example, a producer that has always produced strawberries may be interested to see what would happen if they shifted some of their strawberry production into blueberries, the FINPACK project will be able to run several different scenarios changing parameters such as price, acreage, expense and market conditions. Projections are not guarantees but more information on financials can help producers make informed decisions.

If you would like to have a review, a balance sheet and budget are information agents need in order to be able to complete the analysis. Farm and agribusiness agents are available to help producers create these items to be ready for a review. As with all Extension programs, the information and service is free or low-cost in an effort to provide impactful research-based education to communities. Additionally, all financial information will remain private to the producer and the agents working to complete the review.

Livestock

As livestock producers get ready to file their taxes for 2016, they may consider discussing cattle sales with their accountant. The IRS provides tax relief in events like weather disasters and this past year much of Alabama was affected by the drought. We know because of the drought, producers had to manage animals differently. Either additional purchases of feed were necessary or additional livestock were sold in order to consume fewer resources. If producers decided to sell additional livestock, the IRS provides tax breaks and ACES has information on that. Your local livestock agent, Sarah Dickinson, is a great resource for information to manage the animals or land and your local agribusiness agent, Kevin Burkett, has additional information on taxes and any other items in this article.

Agriculture producers in Alabama may be interested in learning more about Alabama Cooperative Extension’s new farm and agribusiness management team by contacting their local Extension office.