2016 POLK COUNTY AG TOUR
Myself and Land Specialist, Trevor C. Williams attended the 2016 Polk County Ag Tour provided by the Polk County Farm Bureau on September 15, 2016.
FIRST TOUR STOP
The first stop was Highlands Precision Agriculture. Their moto is “Take Part in the Future of Farming” and they weren’t kidding. As they mentioned in their website: “Traditionally, agriculture is practiced by performing a particular task – such as planting or harvesting – against predetermined schedule. But by collecting real-time data on weather, soil, air quality, crop maturity, equipment, labor costs, availability, predictive analytics can be used to empower the grower to make smarter decisions. And they can help handle it all. Now even building websites for growers.
SECOND TOUR STOP
The next stop was a bus tour of Warner University in Lake Wales, Florida. The Director of Agricultural Development, Scarlett Jackson graciously led our tour and told us about the current campus and future development it will see in the coming months.
Back in the far corner lies a Polk County gem, HEART Village (Hunger Education and Resource Training). It is situated on 40 acres and as they put it, it is the ideal place to prepare your heart, mind and body for effective cross-cultural service. Community members live in an intentional simulated majority world village and gain skills in cross-cultural adjustment. Members get their hands dirty in the gardens, with the animals and acquire the skills for addressing the needs of the poor around the world. While we were here we experienced leaves that tasted like cranberries and sweet peas. Took in the beautiful gardens of guava, avocados, banana trees, and so many other tropical fruits.
Attended the PCFB Board Meeting
THIRD TOUR STOP
Their mission is simple: supply Florida growers with the highest quality citrus trees possible through the best innovative combinations of time honored nursery practices with modern advances in agriculture. The nursery employs a state-of-the-art tissue culture laboratory equipped with robotic technology to handle plants with the utmost precision, and top-of-the-line greenhouses. They are contracting now for the 2016-17 season.
FINAL TOUR STOP
One of my favorite places in Florida is the Lightsey’s Tiger Lake Ranch. Eight generations of their family have worked in cattle ranching in Central Florida and many still work on their ranches today. Cary and Layne Lightsey were there to greet us. It was a long day but very well worth it and I welcome you to attend the next one. Contact the PC Farm Bureau for more information 863-533-0561.