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We hope you find this communication tool to be useful for the latest news and updates from the South Florida Fair, focusing on the Fair’s agriculture, Sundy Feed Store, Discover the Outdoors, 4-H/FFA, small animal exhibits, equestrian, volunteers and the AgriPlex Shopping and Lifestyle Experience. Watch your “in-box” for upcoming editions, or check this page often.


LegenDAIRY farmers in their own right

The Larson Family on the farm and at the South Florida Fair

Editorial note: The following article is reprinted with permission from the Florida Dairy Farmers publication. Founder and owner of Larson Dairy Inc., Louis “Red” Larson died on July 17, 2020. The family’s roots, support, and involvement with the South Florida Fair run deep with showing dairy cattle, providing cows for the Mooternity exhibit and dairy cows for the milking parlor educational exhibit.

Considered by many as the dean of dairymen in South Florida, Louis “Red” Larson started in the business as a teenager in 1942 looking for a summer job. He made $2 a day milking cows by hand.

After military service in World War II and college, Larson and wife Reda started their first dairy in 1947 west of Fort Lauderdale. A few years later they moved the farm to Palm Beach County and then to Okeechobee County in the 1960s. More than four decades later, the Larson name means dairy throughout the state. Red, his two sons and two grandsons own and operate several dairies, milking a total of more than 10,000 cows. They are Florida’s largest dairy family.

As testament to his leadership, Larson served on the USDA Dairy Advisory Committee during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and was instrumental in developing milk-marketing methods that benefit both the dairy industry and the consumer.

Now in his 90s, Red still checks his cows’ milking production and assures they are comfortable and healthy. He stays current with industry issues and trends.

“My dad is the youngest thinking old man I know,” says son Woody. “And I’ve been saying that for 30 years.”

Woody’s sons, Jacob, and Travis, each operate a Larson farm in Okeechobee. Woody owns farms in North Florida too, as well as beef operations. He is the president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association.

Red’s other son, John, also owns a dairy in Okeechobee County. In addition, he serves on the Florida Dairy Farmers board of directors and on the Dairy Management Inc. board, a national organization that represents dairy farmers across the country. As a member of those two groups, John has been actively involved with initiatives to increase dairy sales at McDonald’s and Dominos. He also strongly supports the Fuel Up to Play 60 program that combines schools, dairy and the NFL to promote health and fitness.

While successful, Woody and John and their families owe it all to the man who started it.

“There are only two ways you become a legend,” Woody says of his dad. “One is you live a long time or you do something really legendary. In his case, he’s done both.”

The Larson family has long been known for their vision of progression, viability, and sustainability.

It is no surprise that they are joining forces with San Francisco’s Brightmark Energy to develop a biogas project.

This innovative initiative will be featured at the South Florida Fair, January 29-30 to showcase how 230 tons of dairy manure per year from 9900 cows into renewable natural gas.

“Cows are the ultimate recyclers, creating wholesome milk from byproducts of the citrus, ethanol, brewing and textile industries. This technology now also allows us to convert manure to energy and improve the environment,” said Woody Larson in oilandgasnews365.com.


Florida Guava no-bake cheesecake

Want something quick and easy for dessert tonight? Why not try Fresh from Florida’s Guava no-bake cheese?
Here are the details:

For the crust:
2 cups graham crackers
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons peanut butter, melted

For the topping:
½ cup Florida guava preserves, jam, or paste
1 tablespoons Florida Key lime juice
1 tablespoons water (as needed)

For the filling:
¼ cup Florida guava preserves
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until broken down into crumbs. Add the melted butter and peanut butter and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Press into a pie pan or other dish that can be refrigerated, pack tightly so that it will form a pie crust. Store in refrigerator until ready for filling.

Combine very cold heavy cream and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Whip or beat until stiff peaks form and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Mix topping by combining the guava preserves (or paste) and the lime juice. Melt over low heat until smooth, remove from heat and cool completely. If the mixture is too thin, add a tablespoon of paste until desired consistency. If the mixture is too thick add water 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency.

Using a stand or hand mixer combine the cream cheese and sugar. Mix until the cream cheese is completely smooth. If there are lumps at this point it is because the cream cheese was too cold. Allow mixture to sit at room temperature for a few minutes and mix until smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, guava preserves and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Fold in whipped cream by hand until combined. Do not overmix. Pour cheesecake mixture into the chilled pie crust. The guava topping can be piped on, spread on using a spoon, or poured over entire cheesecake.

Allow to chill for at least 2 hours to properly set. Serve with more whipped cream if desired.



Keeping us sanitized in the ag area

If you did not have a chance to meet Pam Hickman at last year’s Fair, you are bound to this year in the ag area. New to the Agriculture Department for the 2020 South Florida Fair, Ms. Hickman a crucial force in the “behind the scenes” worked to make sure safety measures were followed relating to E. coli. For 2021, she will add focusing on her efforts on COVID safety measures.

And her role will be just as vital in 2021, if not more, due to the pandemic. Last year, it was important to Ms. Hickman to keep things clean and make sure the Fair’s visitors had a good time. This year, she has placed higher standards on herself. She knows many guests might not feel comfortable being around others. Her goal is to be even more conscientious about safety protocols and hygiene. Many of the guidelines implemented by the fair’s administration and approved by the county include, but are not limited to:
• Frequent disinfecting high touchpoints
• Bleachers being wiped down after shows or patrons have used them
• Hand washing stations cleaned, sanitized often, and documented when disinfection measures took place
• Proper storage of cleaning products
• Other measures include among others: stressing social distancing of being 6 feet apart for patrons, facial coverings, no food in the agriplex where animals are housed.

More of the safety measures the South Florida Fair will be observing can be found at www.southfloridafair.com/COVID.

Originally from Miami but living most of her life in West Palm Beach, Ms. Hickman said she is looking forward to the 2021 South Florida Fair. “I want fairgoers to come out, feel safe and have a good time.”

Before joining the Fairgrounds Team, Ms. Hickman worked at the amphitheater. She enjoys being outdoors “doing anything outside and taking in the salt air at the beach. She and her husband have two sons, a daughter and one grandson.


What style of boots will you strut at the 2021 South Florida Fair?

It is time to be putting the “spit shine” on your boots for the 2021 South Florida Fair!

What style of boots will you be strutting? Square toed? Round toed? Pointed toed? Steel toed? Will they be ankle height? Calf height? Knee height?
Will your boot soles have a message?

And who is your favorite boot maker? Ariat, Justin, Ropers, Tony Lama, Twisted X, Dan Post, Anderson Bean, Tin Haul?
And what are your favorite boots made of. Leather? Sea bass? Ostrich? Alligator? Snake? Singray? Elk?

Not matter the style, no matter the color, no matter the brand name, no matter the material that they are made from, our boots often tell the story about our love for western flare! But first, some background about cowboy boots.

According to Wikipedia, “Cowboy boots refer to a specific style of riding boot, historically worn by cowboys. They have a high heel that is traditionally made of stacked leather, rounded to pointed toe, high shaft, and, traditionally, no lacing.

“There are two basic styles of cowboy boots, western (or classic), and roper. The classic style is distinguished by a tall boot shaft, going to at least mid-calf, with an angled “cowboy” heel, usually over one inch high. A slightly lower, still angled, “walking” heel is also common. The toe of western boots was originally rounded or squared in shape. The narrow-pointed toe design appeared in the early 1940s.”

Wikipedia also tells us that “Many cowboy boots companies have been in operation since the 19th century. Each manufacturer has developed its own proprietary lasts for producing boots, which are considered trade secrets and are highly guarded. Because of this, fitting between companies is not always consistent. Each brand will fit a little differently from their competition. When considering wearing a cowboy boot from a different manufacturer, it is recommended to seek assistance from a knowledgeable merchant who specializes in cowboy boots if a person cannot try them on in person. Some wearers will swear by one manufacturer’s fit, while others will not perceive any difference between brands.”

Morale of the story, it is time to be getting your boots in shape for the Fair, January 15-31. We will look forward to seeing your social media posts with you and your boots. And if you know who made the song “These Boots are Made for Walkin,” famous, you might just be showing your age!


‘New’ Ag Office and location

If at Fairtime you are looking for the cabin that once housed the Fair’s Ag Office, look no more because around December 1, the structure will be burned in a firefighter’s practice session. The Cracker House is being removed due to structural compromises.

The “new” Ag Office, an in-progress renovated office trailer, can be found on the northeast corner of the Sundy Feed Store where Ag Assistant Tracy Hamlin and her Fair Team will be based. The new location will also serve as the location for all livestock exhibitor check-ins.

The corner where the cabin has been located will be dedicated to educational and special exhibit space at fair time.

“We want to make good use of this space so that it’s a natural transition coming from Yesteryear Village into the ag area, and vice versa,” said Vicki Chouris, South Florida Fair’s President/CEO. “This will really serve as the gateway to enhancing the merging of the two areas and giving us the opportunity to do some things that we couldn’t in the past,” Ms. Chouris continued. “It will surely be a work in progress.”

New events, activities in Discover the Outdoors,

Small Animal Exhibits

Participants and vendors expecting to participate in the 2021 South Florida Fair’s Discover the Outdoors or Sundy Feed Store are asked to submit applications. Operational guidelines will dictate the spacing of vendors for safety reasons, making it more necessary to advise of participating expectations. For more information, contact Paige Poole at paige@southfloridafair.com, or call 561-790-5232.

Meanwhile, some new exhibits and activities are taking place in the Discover the Outdoors and the Small Animal Exhibit areas for 2021.

For starters, some 4-H indoor competitive exhibits will be featured in Discover the Outdoors, according to Ms. Poole, Education and Community Outreach Manager at the South Florida Fair. “We’re excited to be showcasing the youth’s exhibits such as Horticulture (dish gardens, hanging baskets, herbs, potted plants, terrariums, vegetables; Natural Sciences and Outdoor Programs (forestry, wildlife and fisheries, outdoor education/recreation; shooting sports, waste management, geology and minerals, marine science, entomology; Science and Technology (astronomy, veterinary science, large animal science, small animal science.”

She added that demonstrations and presentations from 4-H members in Discover the Outdoors and in Building 3 will feature: Signage will be in both areas regarding dates and times.

Activities in Discover the Outdoors:
• 11 a.m. Saturday, January 16 – Fizzy Foam and acid/base reaction experiments
• 11 a.m. Monday, January 18 – Teach Me in 3 (youth demonstrations)
• 11 a.m. Saturday, January 23 – Balloon Rockets STEM challenge

Activities in Building 3 (arts and crafts):
• 4 p.m. Friday, January 15 – Bee Buzzer Science Inquiry Activity
• 4 p.m. Friday, January 22 – Blubber burger/sugar shocker activity
• 4 p.m. Friday, January 29 – Vermicomposting: make your own worm bin
• 11 a.m. Saturday, January 30 – Recycled hydroponics

In the Small Animal Exhibit, Tracy Hamlin, Agriculture Assistant, said a full-size duck slide will be highlighted with Muscovy ducks from Misfit Island. A new Guinea pig farm display will also be showcased. And did you know that another name for a Guinea pig is Cavy? Fairgoers can learn more about feathered and furry small animals that come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.


Meet South Florida Fair’s Serge Mardy

New to the Agriculture Department at the 2020 South Florida Fair was Serge Mardy. He was one of those instrumental Team members who was “behind the scenes,” but was crucial to logistics being adhered to and shows and events taking place as planned.

When the job description says, “and all other duties as assigned,” Mardy took on his 2020 agriculture Fair assignment to heart and always with a smile. As with his “regular” job in with the Expo and Ops teams, Mardy’s approach was “Learn by doing,” and he jumped in all 17-plus days with both feet! Whether hopping on a skid loader, moving livestock panels, mucking stalls, fixing water leaks, his first year in the agriculture operations was an induction he’ll never forget.

“People often think dealing with animals such as dogs and cats can be difficult but, ‘no.’ Dealing with cows, pigs and even chickens are much more difficult,” he said. “This coming January, my goal is to make sure everything is organized and is as fluid as possible.”

Mardy, hailing from Rhode Island, has been in South Florida since age 7. He grew up in Delray but has been in West Palm Beach for most of life. Even though he has only been with the fair for a year, he is not new to the fairgrounds. He has been an actor and involved with Fright Nights for 11 years. His heart is in acting and he loves to entertain. A personal goal is to someday entertain at the Fair during or between shows and events.
Time apart from the fairgrounds for Mardy is spent by going to the beach and doing karaoke.

By the end of the 2020 Fair, Mardy was well-ingrained in his role at the AgriPlex, and it was also his first purchase of a cowboy hat. Do not be surprised if you see him at the 2021 Fair decked out in a pair of cowboy boots, and “yes, a belt buckle too!”

Meet our sponsor: Farm Credit of Florida

The South Florida Fair is built and stands strong through its deep and valued partners and sponsors.Farm Credit of Florida, sponsor of the AgriPlex Show Arena, has been an integral partner with the Fair for many years, and in this month’s newsletter edition, we celebrate them and say Thank You!

Here is our interview with Farm Credit’s Ashley Layson, Chief Marketing Officer, Senior Vice President.

Tell us what you and your company sponsor at the South Florida Fair?

Farm Credit of Florida is proud to be the Livestock arena sponsor at the South Florida Fair. This is an important sponsorship to us because supporting the agricultural community with financing is what we do. We offer financing for farms, land, and homes. As a part of the Farm Credit System we can provide localized financial servicing and decision making on our loans and we are governed by farmers and business professionals in our own communities.

What do you like best about the South Florida Fair?

Our goal at Farm Credit of Florida is to walk alongside our hard-working members and help make their dreams come true. The same is true for the South Florida Fair. The children that participate in the livestock shows have a dream that they have worked very hard all year long to achieve. Seeing how preparation, hard work and a dream all come together to create special moments in the show ring for these children is our favorite thing about the South Florida Fair.

Why do you sponsor with us?

We choose to sponsor the South Florida Fair because we believe in supporting our community and our local agriculture.

Why do you believe that the South Florida Fair is still important and relevant in our community?

The South Florida Fair is very important to our community. Sometimes the fair is the only link to the farm for some families. At the fair they can get up close to chickens, cows, horses, goats, and pigs. They can watch the miracle of a calf being born, witness how farm animals are fed, bathed, and cared for and share in the joy of a job well done rewarded with ribbons and accolade.

What type of equipment sales are the most popular here locally at your business? i.e. farm equipment? Landscaper equipment? Home, lawn, and garden equipment?

We do not sale equipment, we finance the sale of land, homes, farms, and equipment.

How many customers do you service company-wide, and is agriculture a big part of your business clientele?

Farm Credit of Florida has 13 branches across the state of Florida, and we service around 3200 members. Our mission is to support rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services today and tomorrow. We know ag, we love ag, we are ag!

Where are the locations of your businesses? Is this a family-owned business? How many employees do you have company-wide?

Our branches are in Alachua, Arcadia, Homestead, LaBelle, Lake Placid, Live Oak, Ocala, Okeechobee, Palatka, Trenton, Vero, Wauchula, West Palm Beach. We are a cooperative, which means we are owned by our member/borrowers and they share in our profits each year. This last year we returned $13.5 million in cash to our members in Florida.

How has your business changed over the last 10 years? Where you see yourselves in the next 10 years?

Farm Credit began in 1918 with the sole mission of providing financing for rural communities and agriculture. Today this is still our mission. The only thing that has changed is the technology we use to service these members more efficiently, thankfully the rates have changed (lowered) as well! In 10 years, even in 100 years we will still be serving our rural and agricultural communities. You cannot find another financial group that understands agriculture the way Farm Credit understands agriculture.


Market Animal Auction logo

South Florida Fair expects a ‘really big show’

Youth market entries indicate a strong-numbered event for 2021

Yes, Florida, we are having the 2021 South Florida Fair, and we cannot wait to see you here, January 15-31!

By the numbers of our youth livestock entries coming from the surrounding 18 counties, the Fair’s AgriPlex Barns will be filled with 52 number of steers and 136 head of hogs for the first weekend.

For the youth livestock weekend, only market steers arrive on-site from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, January 13, while market hogs are scheduled for arrival from 7 - 11 a.m. Thursday, January 14.The market steer show and showmanship are set for 1 p.m. Friday, January 15, followed by market hogs at 5 p.m.. For specifics, please refer to the Fair’s Premium Book and schedule at southfloridafair.com/premiumbook.

New time/format for Livestock Market Auction

Youth market exhibitors should be contacting current and any prospective new buyers for the market auction that begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, January 16, in the AgriPlex Farm Credit Arena. Please make note of this new start time. The buyer’s reception will also be held at a new time, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the Bink Glisson Museum at Yesteryear Village.

The market auction, under the bid calling of Brian Trimble, will be a hybrid of on-site and on-line bidding opportunities. Cattle in Motion from Caldwell, TX, will be live streaming the market auction as well as taking on-line bids in real time. That means anyone from Florida, across the country or even around the world can bid on exhibitors’ market projects! Please advise buyers to log on at least 24 hours prior to the January 16 auction to register at www.cattleinmotion.com.

Exhibitor Marketing Clinics

This past October, nearly 20 of our youth market exhibitors took part in the Fair’s three-part Marketing Clinic series, presented by Paula Daniel, 4-H Extension Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Okeechobee County; Brian Trimble, Agriculture Teacher/FFA Advisor, Osceola Middle School; Daniel Gonzalez, 4-H Extension Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Palm Beach County; Derrick Crum, Agriculture Teacher/FFA Advisor, South Fork High School; Tracy Hamlin, South Florida Fair’s Agriculture Assistant; and Paige Poole, South Florida Fair’s Education and Community Outreach Manager.

Exhibitors were given tips on how to stock their marketing “show box” when searching for, meeting with and thanking auction buyers.

Over the three-week series, exhibitors were coached on:

• Brushing up on their sales pitch

• Grooming tips to be successful salespersons

• Feeding the correct information about marketing their project to buyers

• Championing the exhibitors’ visions and values

If you missed the clinics, click here to download them.

Masks required

Ag Exhibitors encouraged to practice safety guidelines at South Florida Fair

Taking proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of everyone has never been so vital as it is today. The following guidelines for the agriculture area and livestock shows at the 2021 South Florida Fair are crucial to everyone’s cooperation.

A. The Fair’s livestock presence on the grounds allows for enhanced distancing among exhibitors, their animals, and general patrons. In 2021, generally only one specie will be housed in the open-aired ApriPlex Barn and the enclosed AgriPlex Arena.

B. Move-in and move-out times of individual species will be staggered to allow for enhanced distancing among exhibitors and their family members.

C. Service aisles will be closed to the public. Walkways will be widened, and consideration will be given to use of one-way guest flow patterns for educational exhibits like Mooternity.

D. Bleacher seating shall be offered. The AgriPlex is large and the size of the guest body attending the shows is relatively small compared to the seating capacity of the AgriPlex. Seating will be designated for exhibitors and their families, while the public will have separate seating.

E. Livestock barns hosting judging competitions/shows will be open to the public. Capacity controls and distancing goals can be more easily met with established occupancy limits for each bleacher livestock show seating or viewing area based on Phase 2’s 50% capacity level. Specific patterns for bleacher sitting area ingress and egress shall be identified.

F. The Fair will exercise great efforts to discourage stand-up attendance around the various show rings while the shows are in progress to ensure social distancing.

G. For those family members or guests who cannot be accommodated with in-person livestock show viewing of judging being conducted in the AgriPlex, the Fair is researching live-stream opportunities for those specific judging events via the Fair’s Facebook page/site.

H. Because of the popularity of the annual Youth Market Animal Auction, the annual auction will be conducted as a hybrid of both on-site and a virtual format using a commercial online platform. On-site audience capacities will be limited to comply with social distancing.

I. Since livestock judges actively engage with both exhibitors and animals in the show ring, the Fair has prescribed new guidance for judge participation and interaction to include the following:

• Specifying minimum distance of 6’ between judge and handler/exhibitor except when examining the animal by touch or feel is required; and

• Administering a no-contact temperature check of all judges at the start of each day of judging. Temperature should be below 100.4 F (38 C) according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

• Allow only immediate family members to appear in any livestock show staged photos




Cover of June Issue of Ag Zone Newsletter

Welcome to the kick-off edition of the AG ZONE Newsletter!

We hope you find this new bi-monthly communication tool to be useful for the latest news and updates from the South Florida Fair, focusing on the Fair’s agriculture, Sundy Feed Store, Discover the Outdoors, 4-H/FFA, small animal exhibits, equestrian, volunteers and the AgriPlex Shopping and Lifestyle Experience. We will even have some recipes to share!

Tracy Hamlin, Ag Assistant, along with Paige Poole, Education & Communications Relations Manager, and Stacy Wakefield, Volunteer Services Coordinator, are among those providing featured content for the newsletter. If you have some feature story ideas, photos, upcoming Fair ag-related events, and programs, please feel free to share.

In each newsletter, we are planning to feature a Fair ag-related volunteer, we will give a “shout-out” to our sponsors, you’ll learn what’s new and different with the Sundy Feed Store and Discover the Outdoors. So stayed tuned and watch your “in-box” for upcoming editions, or check this page often.

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