GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Nurseries are very interested in two new early Valencia orange varieties from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Growers need help because citrus greening has infected more than 80 percent of Florida’s citrus trees, according to a recent UF/IFAS survey of growers. Although these two new early Valencias are not resistant to greening, the scientist who bred them thinks it’s a harbinger of good things to come.
“Many citrus growers are replacing trees or entire groves severely impacted by greening,” said Jude Grosser, a professor of citrus breeding and genetics at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center. “As they replace trees, they now have a chance to replace a poor-quality orange with Valencia types.”
The two new varieties can be harvested beginning in December, about three months earlier than standard Valencia oranges, Grosser said. The traditional early-season Florida orange, the Hamlin, is harvested from November through February, said Grosser, a faculty member at the Lake Alfred, Florida, facility.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences thanks the many partners who are helping sponsor this year’s Flavors of Florida festivities, an annual event designed to showcase how top-notch science creates delectable, nutritious food and beverages.
Two of those partners for the May 9 event in Gainesville are Straughn Farms, which gave at the platinum level, and Florida Tomatoes, which gave at the gold level.
“The Flavors of Florida features the advances of modern plant breeding that is the foundation of the Tomato Industry,” said Reggie Brown, manager of the Florida Tomato Committee. “The search for the best flavors for Florida Tomatoes is an ongoing effort that provides the opportunity to expand demand. Florida Tomato growers have supported variety improvement for decades. The opportunity to feature the ‘flavor’ simply highlights the advancements of the science of plant genetics. Solutions through applied science is the path to the future of the Florida Tomato grower.”
Who: The UF/IFAS – Leon County Extension Office to host the 2016 Spring Open House.
What: The community is invited to learn more about gardening related topics, including tree ID, invasive plant ID, the Florida-Friendly Yards program, composting and vermicomposting (worms!), and providing wildlife habitat at the UF/IFAS Extension Leon County Spring Open House. Visitors can tour demonstration gardens, and purchase a plant at the plant sale. Other Extension program areas will also be there. The Family Nutrition Program – Farm to School will have children’s activities and school garden resources for teachers. Leon County 4-H will introduce folks to archery. The Big Bend Woodwind Quintet will also be providing musical entertainment while you tour the gardens. Light refreshments will be available.
When: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturday, May 7
Where: UF/IFAS Extension Leon County Office, 615 Paul Russell Road, Tallahassee, Florida, 32301.
By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, email@example.com
Source: Mark Tancig, 850-606-5202, firstname.lastname@example.org
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences tropical fruit expert is doing his best to help commercial and residential avocado tree owners battle the dangerous laurel wilt pathogen.
With 12,000 commercial avocado trees already destroyed by laurel wilt, growers need a solution, but so do residential homeowners, as the pathogen has now been reported in all but six of Florida’s 67 counties, said Jonathan Crane, a UF/IFAS professor of horticultural sciences and a tropical fruit Extension specialist.
The only counties not to have reported laurel wilt are Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla – all in the Panhandle, said Crane, a faculty member at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida.
“Eventually, all Florida counties will have laurel wilt,” Crane said.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Royal Entomological Society has awarded its 2016 Best Paper Award to a paper written by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers. The paper was based on a study about a new way to monitor and trap a beetle that transmits a dangerous pathogen to certain trees.
Lukasz Stelinski, an associate professor of entomology at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, spearheaded the study in which investigators came up with a synthetic aroma to lure redbay ambrosia beetles into traps.
“Identifying an effective lure for the beetle is an important step in developing management tools for this pathogen-spreading insect in Florida,” Stelinksi said.
GAINESVILLE, Fla.— Arbor Day is approaching and Seffner, Florida, residents are geared up to celebrate with an Arbor Day mail art contest presented by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Hillsborough County.
National Arbor Day, April 29, is a time for the global community to come together and celebrate the importance of trees by planting new ones and taking care of the trees already in existence. Trees play an essential part in the ecosystem because they provide clean air and water as well as slow climate change. They also prevent species loss and alleviate poverty and hunger.
This year’s Arbor Day theme for the mail art contest is titled “I appreciate trees because…” Contestants will submit their art, along with their name, age and number, to the Extension office for a chance to be one of three winners. The categories are divided by three age groups: child, youth and adult. Three winners will receive a tree planting kit worth $100, and their art work will be displayed in the lobby of the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County office.
The winners from each age group will be chosen before Arbor Day, and they must be present at Kerby’s Nursery on April 29 at 6 p.m. to receive their prizes.
By: Brinkley Clark, 954-600-8257, email@example.com
Source: Nicole Pinson, 813-744-5519, firstname.lastname@example.org
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Have you ever had a tree trimmed back to bare bones because you thought you were getting your money’s worth? You may be guilty of tree abuse, says a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension agent.
For the last 16 years, the UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Tree Trimmer Program has been teaching tree trimmers and arborists in South Florida how to avoid tree abuse with best pruning practices. Broward County requires tree trimming businesses to be certified and licensed, and the Extension program provides the certification training. Since its start in 2001, the program has issued between 10,000 and 11,000 certifications.
UF/IFAS Extension Broward County agent Michael Orfanedes developed and now oversees the training program. Orfanedes said that when it comes to pruning trees, “Some customers think that the more that gets removed, the better the job.” However, certain pruning practices are considered tree abuse because they can make trees vulnerable to decay and instability. “When trees decline and fall apart, there can be liability and loss of property,” Orfanedes said.
Background: The House of Representatives recently passed the Global Food Security Act, a bill crucial to the continuation of the important Feed the Future Innovation Lab research at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Congressman Ted Yoho’s district includes the University of Florida, and he is a supporter of this legislation and other USAID-supported research at public land-grant institutions. This panel will provide a greater understanding of how that research affects his district and U.S. efforts to promote nutrition, food security and partnerships with farmers abroad.
What: A panel discussion to highlight the important contributions being made by the University of Florida to the fight against global food insecurity and malnutrition.
Where: UF Animal Sciences Horse Teaching Unit; 1934 SW 63rd Ave. From main campus, head south on SW 13th St., and turn right onto SW 63rd Avenue. The HTU is located about 0.4 miles down the road on the right. Parking is ample.
Who: The University of Florida IFAS department of animal sciences will host the 65th Annual Florida Beef Cattle Short Course.
What: Both small and large beef producers are invited to hear experts discuss hot topics and current research related to the beef industry. Presentations will include “Modern Ag in a Facebook Culture,” “Understanding the Use of GMOs in Agriculture” and “Beef Cattle Improvement in the Genomics Era.” Hands-on demonstrations will cover animal production, disease monitoring, and feed evaluation. Participants will have the opportunity to meet others in the industry during the trade show and catered dinner.
When: 1 p.m. to 5:45 p.m, Wednesday, May 4
8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, May 5
8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Friday, May 6
Where: Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center
2142 Shealy Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611
For more information, visit http://animal.ifas.ufl.edu/beef_extension/bcsc/2016/short.shtml
To register, go to http://bit.ly/1plNY4k
By: Samantha Grenrock, 352-294-3307, email@example.com
Source: Matthew Hersom, (352) 392-2390, firstname.lastname@example.org
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — School gardens have been popping up like pea plants all over Florida, and students and teachers are eating up the benefits.
There are approximately 1,300 school gardens in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. These gardens provide numerous benefits to students and teachers, said Kohrine Counts, a dietetics intern and master’s student at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
A recent study by Counts and Karla Shelnutt, an associate professor in the department of family, youth and community sciences and UF/IFAS Extension nutrition specialist, shows that school gardens are an excellent way to get fresh produce into classrooms and cafeterias. And, they also provide students with a living classroom where concepts related to science, math, agriculture and nutrition can be learned and applied, Counts said.
“School gardens get children outside and offers an interactive learning environment,” Counts said. “It gives them a chance to see where their food comes from, and allows children to develop life skills such as leadership, self-awareness, decision making and responsibility.”