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IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS’ Sturmer recognized with prestigious national Extension award

Topic(s): Announcements, Aquaculture, Extension, IFAS

STURMERAWARD 022615

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Leslie Sturmer is rooted in the culture – or should we say “aquaculture” – of Cedar Key.

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension agent works with shellfish harvesters and farmers in the small North Florida Gulf Coast town.

“I’ve been in aquaculture my whole life,” said Sturmer, “I’ve lived here for 22 years. I’m married to a clam farmer. I’d like to think I provide assistance to the industry.”

Last month, Sturmer was honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the U.S. Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society.

“To be honored by your peers is very rewarding,” she said. “I’d hate to think it’s because I’m getting old. To see Cedar Key continue to be a working waterfront community, to see this community be supported by aquaculture is more rewarding than the plaque. But the plaque is recognition that your peers see you’re doing worthwhile work.”

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UF/IFAS part of new website showcasing land-grant university impacts

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Extension, IFAS, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — To help inform agricultural producers, policymakers and the public about its accomplishments, the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is contributing to a new website, http://landgrantimpacts.org, that showcases projects by research and Extension programs at UF/IFAS and other land-grant universities nationwide.

By participating, UF/IFAS will raise awareness of accomplishments by its research arm, the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, and its Extension unit, the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

“We’re very pleased to contribute to this effort and inform our stakeholders about the great successes UF/IFAS faculty are having in research and Extension, which are two of UF/IFAS’ primary missions, along with education,” Payne said. “I’m often asked about the impacts of our work, and the Land-Grant Impacts website provides an excellent venue for us to demonstrate those impacts.”

The website provides brief narratives about individual research and Extension projects, submitted by land-grant institutions around the country. Florida is home to two land-grant institutions, UF and Florida A&M University. The database is searchable by state or region, as well as the year the posting was submitted and the subject matter the posting involves. (more …)

UF/IFAS partners with USDA to conduct grant workshop to support local foods

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Extension, Families and Consumers

Farmers Market

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – UF/IFAS Extension is working with federal partners to offer a workshop in Miami in April to help interested parties write and submit federal grant applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion programs.

UF/IFAS is part of a national effort to train people in attaining these grants.

Workshops are being conducted across the nation, but the Florida workshop will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., April 8 at the Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department, 3071 SW 38th Ave., Miami. Pre-registration is not required but is strongly encouraged to ensure materials are available for all participants. Please register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/amsta-technical-assistance-program-tickets-15668841928.

With $30 million authorized annually through fiscal year 2018 by the 2014 Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awards grants to develop new markets for farm and ranch operations serving local and regional markets. The Farmers Market Promotion Program supports farmers markets and other direct producer-to-consumer activities, while the Local Food Promotion Program supports enterprises that aggregate, store, distribute and process local and regional food.

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Two UF/IFAS experts chosen for national program to help solve community issues

Topic(s): Announcements, Extension, IFAS

COMMUNITIES Spranger 022315Muthusami Kumaran.  Family, Youth, and Community Sciences.

Spranger, left, and Kumaran

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty members will help a national effort to solve “wicked” community issues.

“Wicked issues” are not evil – they just can’t be easily fixed, said Michael Spranger, a professor in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences and one of the UF/IFAS faculty members selected for the program. Wicked issues are incomplete, contradictory or continually changing and involve many people come from diverse sets of values and beliefs, Spranger said.

“These issues cannot be easily fixed with a technical solution, but may involve discussions with those impacted by the decision to find common ground,” he said.

Muthusami Kumaran, an assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences, will join Spranger in the training program.

Issues they tackle could include obesity and wellness, food safety and security, low-income housing, poverty, homelessness, public safety, economic development and environmental protection and all matters in between.

(more …)

3 blueberry, 3 coleus cultivars approved for release by UF/IFAS

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Cultivars, IFAS

Cultivar release FEBRUARY 2015 FL06-203_field cluster

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Three new cultivars each of blueberry and coleus have been approved for release by a University of Florida panel.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Cultivar Release Committee approved Avanti “FL 06-203,’ Arcadia ‘FL 07-399’ and Endura ‘FL 06-377’ – all blueberry cultivars.

Jim Olmstead, UF/IFAS assistant professor of horticultural sciences and a blueberry breeder, said the cultivars performed best in the central and southern part of Florida’s blueberry region, which includes Desoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Orange, Pasco, Polk and Sarasota counties. Those areas currently produce more than 50 percent of the state’s blueberries.

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UF survey shows Floridians want to conserve water, but not if it costs too much

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, Florida Friendly, IFAS, Landscaping, Lawn & Garden, Research

PIE Center water photo 021815

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Floridians remain concerned about water and are willing to make changes to conserve it, at least until their efforts cramp their lifestyles, according to an annual University of Florida study on state residents’ attitudes about this precious resource.

For the second consecutive year, an annual online survey conducted by UF’s Center for Public Issues in Education shows that water ranks third on a list of 10 topics people consider important — behind the economy and healthcare and ahead of public education and taxes. Eighty-three percent of 749 respondents indicated water is an important or extremely important issue.

Yet while three-quarters of them said they were likely to vote to support water conservation programs and nearly as many said they would support water restrictions issued by their local government, only 42 percent were willing to take action to conserve water if it meant their lawns would suffer.

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Agricultural systems modeling group to hold meetings Feb. 23-28 at UF

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Environment, Weather
Jim Jones

Jim Jones

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — In recent years, computer technology has begun to help agricultural producers solve dilemmas as old as farming itself — predicting future crop yields, supplies and prices — using sophisticated models that account for weather patterns, soil types, crop management practices and other factors.

It’s known as agricultural systems modeling, and next week, experts in this emerging field will converge on the University of Florida campus to discuss their latest findings at two meetings held by the leading professional organization in the field, the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Program, or AgMIP.

The first event, held Feb. 23-25, will focus on ways that models can account for the potential effects of global climate change on pest and disease pressures, said Jim Jones, a distinguished professor emeritus with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and one of AgMIP’s four co-principal investigators.

The second event, held Feb. 25-28, is an AgMIP global annual workshop and will feature a wide-ranging slate of activities related to agricultural systems modeling, including discussions and presentations on climate change, specific crops, economics and computer technology, he said.

AgMIP’s overall mission, Jones said, is to help scientists and producers understand how agricultural production systems should evolve to ensure food security under variable and changing climate conditions, and how modeling can guide efforts to develop more resilient and sustainable farming systems.

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UF/IFAS beef cattle specialist receives national Extension award

Topic(s): Extension, Honors and Appointments, Livestock

Hersom EXTENSION AWARD 021815

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences beef cattle specialist has received the Southern Section Extension Award given by the American Society of Animal Science.

Matt Hersom, an associate professor in animal sciences and an Extension beef cattle faculty member won the award Feb. 2 in Atlanta, Georgia. The award was given in collaboration with the award sponsor, Boehringer Ingelheim, Vetmedica Division.

To be eligible for the award, scientists must be southern region Extension specialists and make an outstanding and noteworthy contribution in animal science in beef cattle, swine, sheep, horses, goats, 4-H livestock or meats. The nomination was based on Hersom’s Extension accomplishments.

“I think what this award represents to me is acknowledgement from my peers of the quality of the Extension programs we’re doing here in the state of Florida,” Hersom said. “I think the great thing about Extension is that I won the award, but I don’t do my Extension programs by myself. I’ve had some great mentors, some great people and great specialists here in the department and county faculty throughout the state of Florida that have helped me along the way.”

Hersom has been a part of the American Society of Animal Science since he earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Iowa State University in 1995. He also earned a master’s degree in animal nutrition from Iowa State, with a focus on beef cattle grazing systems, and a doctorate in animal nutrition from Oklahoma State University. There, he focused on the effect of grazing systems on feedlot performance.

From day-to-day, Hersom fields calls from county faculty and producers and researches the effects of feeding strategies on beef cattle production. His UF/IFAS appointment is 60 percent Extension and 40percent research, but how much time he spends in each area depends on the week and the day, Hersom said.

“My favorite part about being an Extension specialist is being able to get out and interact with our clientele,” Hersom said. “My wife tells me ‘I can always tell when you come back from an Extension program because you’re in a good mood.’ I get a lot of job satisfaction out of delivering information and interacting with county faculty and clientele. I get the pleasure of working with different people form UF/IFAS employees to the farmer who has 10 cows to the manager of a 10,000-cow operation.”

Hersom also leads the Florida Beef Cattle Short Course program, the longest-running beef cattle short course program in the country and works with the Beef Quality Assurance program, an educational program for producers, teaching best management practices for animal production to make products safe, wholesome and nutritious. He has been working as an Extension specialist with UF/IFAS since January 2004.

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Cutline: Matt Hersom, an associate professor in animal sciences and an Extension beef cattle faculty member, has won the Southern Section Extension Award given by the American Society of Animal Science.

Credit: UF/IFAS file photo.

By Rachel LaVigna, 352-294-3302, rlavigna@ifas.ufl.edu

Source: Matt Hersom, 352-392-2390, hersom@ufl.edu

 

 

UF/IFAS awards 17 young faculty with research seed money

Topic(s): Announcements, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Seventeen young scientists at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have earned grants from the Dean for Research office, thanks to their innovative proposals addressing critical agriculture and natural resources issues that impact farm production and consumer behavior.

UF/IFAS scientists will examine a wide range of topics, including ways to detect E.coli in meat to herbicide resistance to developing better-tasting tomato products and why students don’t eat their school-provided lunches.

“The future of UF/IFAS and UF is driven by the young faculty that join us to build their careers and impact our world through their research, teaching, and extension efforts,” said Jackie Burns, dean of research at UF/IFAS and director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. “This year the IFAS Dean for Research office, in partnership with the senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and the vice president for research, has once again implemented an Early Career Scientist Seed Funding program to facilitate development of new faculty research, jumpstart their research programs and provide a platform for their future success.”

Burns called this year’s selection “highly competitive,” with 26 early career scientists presenting excellent proposals. After a rigorous review by a panel of UF/IFAS scientists, Burns announced the awards.

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12 CALS alumni recognized for entrepreneurship

Topic(s): Announcements, CALS, Honors and Appointments

CALS breakfast reception for the Gator 100 alumni.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A creator of organic fertilizers, an inventor of tasty seasonings and a wealth-management advisor are just three of 12 alumni of the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences honored Feb. 6 for their entrepreneurial efforts.

UF recognized each of them for leading one of the 100 fastest-growing, most innovative and emerging companies at the inaugural Gator100 Awards at UF’s Reitz Union Grand Ballroom in a celebration organized by the Warrington College of Business Administration’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Ernst & Young calculated each company’s compound annual growth rate over the past three years to generate the ranking.

The honorees, their entrepreneurial efforts and their CALS degrees are listed in alphabetical order, by last name:

 

  • Nate and Sarah Bazinet; founders of Sunshine Plumbing and Gas; Micanopy, Florida. In 2003, Nate earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and cell science, and Sarah earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in wildlife ecology and animal sciences. They founded Sunshine Plumbing and Gas in 2009. Prior to launching Sunshine Plumbing and Gas, Nate worked part-time in the plumbing industry while also working at the UF Cytogenic Lab, and Sarah was working as a veterinary technician and contemplating a career as a veterinarian. Together, they have grown the company to more than 30 employees and a service area reaching across central Florida from multiple regional offices.
  • Chad Buckmaster; CEO of Processing Point; Carlsbad, California. Buckmaster earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 2002. Processing Point is a leading provider of innovative solutions for small businesses nationwide. Products range from cutting-edge, cloud-based timekeeping software to the latest in mobile payment processing and point-of-sale solutions. San Diego Business Journal named Buckmaster a 2014 finalist for its “Most Admired CEO” award.
  • William “Bill” Hamm Jr.; founder and CEO of Independent Financial Partners; Tampa, Florida. Hamm earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 1979. He founded William E. Hamm and Associates, Inc. in 1995 and formed IFP in 2000. IFP consists of a national network of more than 500 advisors in 38 states, providing comprehensive wealth management services with $35 billion in assets under advisement.
  • Robert “Mike” Lester Jr.; founder and CEO of Talon Wealth Management; The Villages, Florida. Lester earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 1996. He founded Epic Financial Group in 1998 and has grown it to a multimillion dollar financial service company. He then partnered with ING Financial Partners to provide independent investment services and in 2012, he rebranded his branch offices as Talon Wealth Management to continue providing independent investment advice and services.

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