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Learn from UF/IFAS Extension experts at 37th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo

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

Sun Belt Ag Expo Russ Mizzell

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Find out when to plant crops, how to can foods safely and how to use paper to pot plants from University of Florida experts at the 37th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo – the largest agricultural expo in the southeast.

The Sunbelt Ag Expo, Oct. 14-16 in Moultrie, Georgia, draws more than 100,000 people each year.

“The Sunbelt Expo gives people from all walks of life a chance to learn about everything Extension offers from our experts,” said Nick Place, dean of Extension for UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The expo features the latest agricultural research, a live farm harvest and insights into various agricultural businesses, according to its website.

UF/IFAS will have a permanent building, popular with visitors because of engaging displays and giveaways such as peanuts from the Florida Peanut Growers Association, Florida Orange Juice provided by Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company and many other “Gator Giveaways.”

This year, the Extension Service celebrates the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which created the national service, through which agents deliver unbiased research data to the public. Florida’s program remains as viable as ever, helping its many stakeholders. That includes guiding growers to maximize production through the most efficient use of their resources.

UF/IFAS’s three branches, Extension, research and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) will host six interactive booths with the theme “Solutions for the Next 100 Years.”

Experts will interact with the public on several topics:

  • “Canning parties” were some of the first Extension programs to help people better understand how to safely preserve foods. Expo visitors can learn more about this tradition as Family and Consumer Science Extension agents share from the past and present to provide the latest innovations for home food preservation.
  • 4-H is one of UF/IFAS’ oldest recognized Extension programs. See how youth are leading and learning to meet the challenges of the next century. Visitors will learn about a 4-H recycling project and can take home a start to their family garden.

 

  • Farming tools and methods are constantly improving. Visitors can see some of UF/IFAS’ favorites from the past and contrast them with flying drones and infrared scanners for today and the future. These new tools aid farmers in early identification of disease, pest and nutritional problems.
  • Natural Resource and Sea Grant Extension agents are bringing Florida’s beaches and bays to Georgia. Touch tanks and displays with animals will highlight this exhibit focused on beach and boating safety and stewardship.
  • Horticulture displays will give visitors insight into establishing a Florida Friendly yard by using appropriate plants and cultural methods. Butterfly gardening plants will be featured. Visitors will also learn how to distinguish beneficial insects from problem pests.
  • Visit with CALS Ambassadors and learn about life as a UF agriculture student. Ambassadors will give information about major programs, admission, enrollment and hand out plenty of Gator goodies.

The expo is on 1,680 acres, 4 miles southeast of U.S. 319 (Veteran’s Parkway) on Georgia Highway 133 near Moultrie. Expo hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. Admission price is $10 per person per day, or $20 for a three-day pass. Children 10 and under get in free, if they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For more information, go to www.sunbeltexpo.com.

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

Source: Nick Place, 352-392-1761, nplace@ufl.edu

Cutline: Russ Mizell, a UF/IFAS entomology professor, who conducts research and does Extension work from the North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy, is seen at a recent Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga. UF/IFAS Extension experts will again be at this year’s expo, Oct. 14-16.

Credit: UF/IFAS photo by Tyler L. Jones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rogers named interim head of UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Citrus, IFAS, RECs

Michael Rogers2

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University Florida today named Michael Rogers interim director of the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. The CREC is part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Rogers has a doctorate in entomology from the University of Kentucky and specializes in citrus integrated pest management.  His research has focused on the Asian citrus psyllid, the insect that carries the bacterium that causes citrus greening.

Citrus greening disease starves the tree of nutrients and produces fruits that are green and misshapen — unsuitable for sale as fresh fruit or juice. Most infected trees die within a few years. The disease has affected millions of citrus trees in North America.

“Currently, the survival of the Florida citrus industry is threatened by citrus greening disease, and time is something many growers don’t have,” Rogers said. “The Florida citrus industry is looking to the research and extension programs of the University of Florida, IFAS, to develop and deliver the solutions needed to continue production of Florida’s iconic crop.”

Although current methods to control the spread of citrus greening are limited to the removal and destruction of infected trees, UF/IFAS researchers are working to defeat it on a number of fronts, including trying to eradicate the insect that carries the bacteria, breeding citrus rootstock that shows better greening resistance, testing laboratory treatments that could be used on trees and harnessing steam to treat trees.

Rogers takes the place of Jackie Burns, who becomes UF/IFAS’ dean for research. Both start their new jobs Nov. 1.

“While Dr. Burns leaves the leadership role of CREC director, she will continue to serve the Florida citrus industry, and UF/IFAS as a whole, in an even more important role as dean for research,” Rogers said.  “On behalf of the faculty and staff of the CREC, I thank Dr. Burns for her years of dedicated service to the CREC.”

By Kimberly Moore Wilmoth, 352-294-3302, k.moore.wilmoth@ufl.edu

Sources:      Michael Rogers, 863-956-8801, mrgrs@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS study: Florida’s climate boosts soil-carbon storage, cuts greenhouse emissions

Topic(s): Biocontrols, Conservation, Environment, Forestry, Green Living, IFAS, Pollution

Sabine Grunwald. Associate Professor, Ph.D.  Soil and Water Science.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Warm temperatures and a wet landscape increase soil’s ability to store carbon, which in turn helps mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new University of Florida study covering 45 years of data.

Soil-stored carbon can slow the build-up of carbon-based gases in the atmosphere, a phenomenon believed to be a cause of global climate change. So it’s vital to preserve soil carbon, said Sabine Grunwald, a UF soil and water science professor who led the research.

“The conservation of the ‘black gold’ below our feet, which is not only a natural part of Florida’s soils but also helps to improve our climate and agricultural production, is a hidden treasure,” said Grunwald, a member of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty. “Soils serve as a natural container to hold carbon that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases that accelerate global climate change.”

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UF/IFAS researcher continues quest for peanut that won’t cause allergic reaction

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, New Technology, Research

Wade Yang, an assistant professor in UF?s food science and human nutrition department, left, and graduate student Sandra Shriver, use pulsed ultraviolet light to reduce allergens in peanuts in Yang's laboratory in Gainesville, Fla., on April 15, 2011. The technique has been shown to significantly reduce the allergenic potential of peanuts by up to 90 percent. IFAS photo by Tyler L. Jones

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida scientist has moved one step closer to his goal of eliminating 99.9 percent of peanut allergens by removing 80 percent of them in whole peanuts.

Scientists must eliminate peanut allergens below a certain threshold for patients to be safe, said Wade Yang, an assistant professor in food science and human nutrition and member of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

If Yang can cut the allergens from 150 milligrams of protein per peanut to below 1.5 milligrams, 95 percent of those with peanut allergies would be safe. It’s challenging to eliminate all peanut allergens, he said, because doing so may risk destroying peanuts’ texture, color, flavor and nutrition. But he said he’s using novel methods like pulsed light to reach an allergen level that will protect most people.

Yang, whose study is published online in this month’s issue of the journal Food and Bioprocess Technology, cautioned that he has done peanut allergen experiments only in a laboratory setting so far. He hopes to eventually conduct clinical trials on animals and humans.

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North Florida REC to unveil new cattle fence and gates at Beef/Forage Day

Topic(s): Announcements, Livestock, RECs

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — North Florida ranchers are being prodded to attend this year’s annual Beef and Forage Day at the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna on Friday, Oct. 3.

All things bull and cow, along with what to feed them, will be discussed.  In addition, REC leaders will be showing off a new $275,000 cattle fence and gate. The Florida Cattlemen’s Association helped secure the project’s funding from state legislators.

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UF/IFAS faculty members named to ‘40 under 40’ agriculture list

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Environment, IFAS

Alexa Lamm.  AG-AG ED AND COMMUNICATION Sam hutton

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two relatively new University of Florida faculty members have earned Vance Publishing’s second annual 40 Under 40 Award, which recognizes those making a significant contribution to America’s food system.

Alexa Lamm and Sam Hutton work for UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and graduated from UF’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Two other CALS graduates made the list: Ben Butler, who earned a bachelor’s in animal sciences in 2002 and Christy Bratcher, who earned a bachelor’s in 2002 and a master’s in 2004, both in animal sciences.

Lamm has worked as an assistant professor of agricultural education and communication since 2012 and was recently named associate director of the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education. Hutton is an assistant professor of horticultural sciences at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, where he started in 2010.

Lamm and the other honorees were chosen from nearly 200 nominees, said officials with Vance Communications, which publishes agricultural publications nationwide. A six-judge panel with distinguished agricultural careers chose the winners.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, global food production must double by 2050 to head off mass hunger. Vance Publishing is committed to raising awareness to the 2050 Challenge.

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Don’t drink the (warm) water left in a plastic bottle, UF/IFAS study says

Topic(s): Food Safety, IFAS, Safety

Water bottle toxin news release images.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Americans can take a warning from a University of Florida study of bottled water in China ─ don’t drink the liquid if you’ve left it somewhere warm for a long time.

Plastic water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate. When heated, the material releases the chemicals antimony and bisphenol A, commonly called BPA.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said BPA is not a major concern at low levels found in beverage containers, it continues to study the chemical’s impacts. Some health officials, including those at the Mayo Clinic, say the chemical can cause negative effects on children’s health.

And antimony is considered a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization.

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UF/IFAS researchers use steam to treat citrus greening

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, IFAS, New Technology, Pests, Research

UF/IFAS researchers are using steam to treat citrus greening.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers are turning to the old-fashioned method of steaming to help treat citrus greening, a disease devastating citrus trees throughout Florida.

Reza Ehsani and his UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences colleagues are tenting and then enveloping trees in steam that is 136 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 seconds in an attempt to kill the citrus greening bacterium. (more …)

UF/IFAS study: Consumers will pay more for eco-friendly plants

Topic(s): Conservation, Economics, Environment, Green Living, IFAS

Hayk Khachatryan

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – People concerned with future consequences of their decisions will pay up to 16 cents more for eco-friendly plants, a new University of Florida study shows.

While 16 cents may not seem like much, researchers see any willingness to pay more to help the ornamental plants industry and the environment as good news.

Previous research has investigated the effects of perceived long-term consequences on people’s environmental behavior, including recycling or using public transportation. So UF food and resource economics assistant professor Hayk Khachatryan wanted to understand how differences in people’s perceptions of long- and short-term consequences affect plant preferences and purchase decisions.

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