IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS’s Folta named Pro Farmer Ag Person of the Year

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Renowned University of Florida genomics and photobiology researcher Kevin Folta has been named 2016 Pro Farmer Ag Person of the Year. Folta is professor and chair of the horticulture sciences department at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“Dr. Folta has been a leader in the fight against the anti-GMO movement for years,” said Chip Flory, Pro Farmer editorial director. “He was a natural choice for his leadership and many years of education on biotechnology, and for being committed to sharing that knowledge with the general public.”

Folta publishes a website and podcast titled “Talking Biotech” (www.talkingbiotechpodcast.com). Its purpose is to “help connect the public to current science and technology and let scientists tell the stories of how science can help our farmers, industrialized world consumers, the environment and the developing world,” Folta said. “The hope is this resource can explain how new tools can improve food security, reduce poverty and improve agricultural and medical practices.”

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UF honors Marjorie Reitz Turnbull with Distinguished Service Award

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Graduation, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Marjorie Reitz Turnbull was presented with the Stephen C. O’Connell Distinguished Service Award by the University of Florida at the 10 a.m. fall graduation ceremony on Dec. 17. The award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon UF alumni, recognizing exceptional public service to the state of Florida or the nation at large.

Turnbull was nominated for the award by the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) and UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). Turnbull earned her undergraduate degree in political science from CLAS, and continues to honor her father J. Wayne Reitz’s legacy at UF. She has endowed a fund for the J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence Award given to an outstanding senior in CALS to honor her father’s service as provost of agriculture (1949-1955) and fifth president of UF (1955-1967). Her late husband Augustus B. Turnbull III was a former provost of Florida State University.

“Ms. Reitz Turnbull has continuously served the University of Florida by maintaining a relationship with students and alumni, and returning to Gainesville to support the University’s various projects such as the renovation and expansion of the J. Wayne Reitz Union,” said retired UF Vice President for Student Affairs David Kratzer in his letter of support for Turnbull’s nomination.

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UF honors Louis E. “Red” Larson with Distinguished Achievement Award

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Graduation, IFAS, Livestock

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Louis E. “Red” Larson was presented with the Distinguished Achievement Award by the University of Florida at the 10 a.m. fall graduation ceremony on Dec. 17.

The award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon a UF supporter. The award recognizes exceptional achievements of the individual in his or her chosen profession, demonstrated leadership, and other exemplary accomplishments that merit special recognition by the university. Larson was nominated for the award by the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS).

Larson’s first job as a Miami Daily News paperboy in the 1930s enabled him to purchase his first cow. He worked on weekends and during summers to hand-milk cows for a local dairyman. In 1947 he began his own dairy farm and now Larson Dairy, Inc. is one of the largest dairy operations in the Southeast, producing more than 200 million pounds of milk annually.

“Through [Larson’s] hard work, entrepreneurial spirit, business ability and willingness to embrace modern science and cutting edge management practices, he built Larson Farms from the ground up by leading people and building a team of employees that believed in Larson and his vision for modern dairy operation,” said the Executive Vice President of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association Jim Handley in his letter of support for Larson’s nomination.

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UF/IFAS study: Women earn nearly half the doctorates in ag sciences, but gaining limited stature

Topic(s): Agriculture, IFAS, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Despite earning 44 percent of the doctorates in agricultural sciences, women hold just 23 percent of the tenure-track faculty positions at U.S. land-grant institutions, according to a new study led by a research team at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Although the 23 percent is nearly double the 12 percent reported in 2005, females hold very few administrative positions in agricultural academia, the study shows. They also hold fewer significant roles on the editorial boards of scholarly journals in their field, serve on relatively few agricultural industry boards and hold fewer significant positions in global peer groups.

“While progress has been made by both land-grant institutions and other agricultural science employers in moving women into leadership positions, we are still far from parity,” said Diane Rowland, a UF/IFAS agronomy professor who participated on the research team conducting the study. “Efforts should be made to understand the gap between Ph.D.-level training and the rate of progression to the faculty level and above.”

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UF CALS honors outstanding supporters, celebrates award-winning student leaders at graduation

Topic(s): Announcements, CALS, Graduation, IFAS

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida honored distinguished College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) supporters and outstanding students at the 10 a.m. fall graduation ceremony on Dec. 17. Two of three Outstanding Four-Year Scholars were CALS students, and two of three Outstanding Student Leaders were CALS students.

Outstanding Four-Year Scholars – Jeanelle Brisbane and Kelly Schwanebeck

Outstanding Student Leaders – Brooke Cicero and J. Clay Hurdle

Outstanding Four-Year Scholars were chosen by a UF selection committee that considered grade point average, curriculum, academic awards, research projects or honors thesis. The students began at UF as freshmen and have minimal work conducted at other institutions. Outstanding Student Leader awards were given by the UF Alumni Association and chosen by a selection committee that considers the quality and scope of leadership activities, university-wide leadership, experience, special awards and recommendations of faculty, staff and students.

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UF/IFAS Extension Specialist: Time to keep those New Year’s resolutions

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Finances, IFAS, Nutrition

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It’s almost a new year, another chance to make resolutions. But will they stick this time? Or will you see your determination peter out by February?

An Extension specialist with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences offers tips on how you can develop good habits and keep those New Year resolutions. “It can be tough to start a new habit, and there are a lot of things that can get in the way. Change is not easy, and sometimes we’re just not ready,” says Heidi Radunovich, associate professor, human development specialist, and UF/IFAS Extension program director for UF Engagement. She offers a few suggestions for success:

  • Work on getting the resources you need. For example, you want to exercise regularly, but you can’t afford a gym membership. Schedule regular walks, use community facilities, or buy some used and/or inexpensive equipment or videos.
  • Think carefully about attitude. We have to believe that we are capable of making the change. It can be hard to stick with something if we don’t truly believe we are capable, or even if we have doubts. Make sure to give yourself a pep talk and search for examples of others who have been successful.

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2016’s Top 10 UF/IFAS Extension publications cover snakes, avocados, vegetable gardening, more

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Invasive Species, Lawn & Garden, Pests

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Vegetable gardening, bahia grass, living with snakes and identifying poisonous plants. These are the topics for some of the top University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension documents from 2016. Here’s this year’s list of the top 10 publications from the UF/IFAS Electronic Data Information Source:

  1. Vegetable gardening offers fresh air, sunshine, exercise, enjoyment, mental therapy, nutritious, fresh vegetables and economic savings, as well as many other benefits: http://bit.ly/2hgLzbV. (124,723 visits)
  2. In the U.S., people kill thousands of snakes each year, yet only five or six people die of venomous snake bites. In order for snakes and people to safely coexist, it is important that Floridians learn to identify, understand and respect snakes: http://bit.ly/2h66sDM. (91,417)
  3. Living with snakes in Florida: About 50 species of snakes live along the Atlantic and Gulf coastal states. An EDIS document, http://bit.ly/2hgK7Xf, teaches you how to identify black snakes.  (89,724)
  4. Here’s everything you need to know about common diseases that afflict poultry: http://bit.ly/2ganzHn. (84,556)
  5. Before you go for a walk, it helps to know if there are poisonous plants along your path. Find out how to identify them: http://bit.ly/2hgJGvJ. (72,245)
  6. How do producers make sure food-handling and processing equipment stays clean? A UF/IFAS expert shows you: http://bit.ly/2hitCpe.
  7. St. Augustine grass is dense and well-adapted to Florida soils, but you’ve got to make sure you water it, according to this EDIS document, http://bit.ly/2gZIYQb. (47,072)
  8. We live with alligators here in Florida. So what do we do about it? Find out here: http://bit.ly/2hdKwpe (45,686)
  9. Bahia grass prefers acidic soil and has relatively few insect and disease problems. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/2gOaaUy. (42,178)
  10. Learn more about growing avocados in your backyard in Florida from UF/IFAS experts in this EDIS document: http://bit.ly/2m3zRU. (36,064)

EDIS, a free service of UF/IFAS Extension, provides information on topics relevant to you: profitable and sustainable agriculture, the environment and natural resources, 4-H and other youth programs, Florida-friendly landscapes, communities that are vibrant and prosperous, economic well-being and quality of life for people and families. UF/IFAS Extension faculty statewide write the documents for EDIS.

“EDIS is a longstanding public-service tradition of UF/IFAS Extension in which we use an electronic system to disseminate top-notch, science-based research to our many stakeholders,” said Nick Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension. “We hope people continue to go to the website and read this critical information that provides solutions for their lives.”

That website is www.edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

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Caption: Vegetable gardening, bahia grass, living with snakes and identifying poisonous plants. Those are among the 10 most popular UF/IFAS Extension publications for 2016.

Credit: UF/IFAS file.

By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS SHARE Council honors HM.CLAUSE CEO for volunteer service

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Matthew Johnston, chief executive officer for international vegetable seed company HM.CLAUSE, has been named 2016 Volunteer of the Year by the UF/IFAS SHARE Council, a volunteer leadership board that works to secure sources of private support for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Johnston was honored Dec. 12 at a dinner event held in downtown Gainesville at the Old Gainesville Depot Building at Depot Park.

“Matthew is a valued partner in UF/IFAS’ mission to improve the lives of all Floridians through science,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources. “He has shown a strong commitment to our institution, its people and its future, and this award celebrates that friendship.”

During his acceptance, Johnston stated, “Florida is in a unique position to advance agriculture both in the state and around the world. I am grateful for the partnership with UF/IFAS and look forward to a bright future filled with opportunities.” Johnston was instrumental in securing financial support from HM.CLAUSE and parent company, Limagrain, for the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ Challenge 2050 Project. The project aims to find ways to meet the agricultural and natural resource needs of 9.6 billion people, the projected global population of 2050.

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UF/IFAS hires Baker as new Director of School of Forest Resources and Conservation

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has hired esteemed educator and researcher Terrell “Red” Baker as the new director of the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation. He begins his new position on April 1.

Baker is currently the chair of the forestry department at the University of Kentucky and the James Graham Brown Endowed Professor of Forestry. He replaces Tim White, who has retired.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Baker, who has a rich background in Extension, research and teaching,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “Dr. Baker brings a wealth of knowledge that can only help UF’s program in forestry, fisheries and geomatics become even stronger.”

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Accepting Academic Challenges to Reach Graduation

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Departments, Graduation, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. –  College was never a thought in Leigh Ann Skurupey’s mind as a high school student. Now, she’ll be graduating this week with a doctorate in animal sciences.

The University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) graduate student began her higher education journey in an effort to change people’s minds about her abilities. Skurupey has dyslexia, a learning disability that makes learning to read and interpret words, letters or symbols difficult. School has always been harder for her as she works daily to overcome her reading challenges.

Skurupey joined 458 UF/CALS students who graduated at 4 p.m. on Dec. 16, and 10 a.m. on Saturday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

As a high school student, Skurupey overheard her mother telling her younger brother he needed to work on improving his grades. Skurupey’s brother asked why their mother didn’t scold her for lower grades, to which their mother replied, “she’s just not quite smart enough.”

“Once I heard her say that, it was my only reason why I went to school – to prove her wrong,” Skurupey said.

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