GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Six University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty members, who are trying to solve global issues as wide-ranging as better alternative fuels and nutrient absorption, have been named as UF Research Foundation Professors for 2016-19.
The recognition goes to faculty who demonstrate a distinguished record of research and a strong research agenda that’s likely to continue to distinguish them in their fields.
“UF/IFAS faculty research continuously shows its value in practical ways, but these faculty members stand out because the University of Florida is recognizing their outstanding work,” said UF/IFAS Dean for Research Jackie Burns. “Their scientific research helps solve global issues ranging from potential solutions to citrus greening to growing crops in a changing climate to finding new sources of alternative energy.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s citrus growers say as much as 90 percent of their acreage and 80 percent of their trees are infected by the deadly greening disease, which is making a huge dent in the state’s $10.7 billion citrus industry, a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences survey shows.
The survey, conducted in March 2015, shows the first grower-based estimates of both the level of citrus greening in Florida and the impact of greening on citrus operations in Florida.
“Even though the industry acknowledges that greening has reached epidemic proportions across the state, estimates of the level of infection and its impact on citrus operations are scarce,” the researchers wrote in the paper.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — More Florida inmates will have an opportunity to leave prison with real job skills and likely reduce their chances of being reincarcerated, thanks to a contract between the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Lloyd Singleton, an extension agent with UF/ IFAS Extension Sumter County, was recently awarded a $2.67 million contract to expand a vocational training program. Singleton leads a program to teach horticulture and culinary arts at the Federal Correctional Center in Coleman, Florida.
The five-year contract will help organizers expand a current program that offers horticulture training, Singleton said. He has headed the program for five years, which offered horticulture training to approximately 80 inmates a year. Now, the new contract will include culinary arts and will allow organizers to train more inmates.
“In the past five years, we have trained 415 inmates, 195 of whom have been released. Only seven of those released have been re-incarcerated,” Singleton said. “The recidivism rate of four percent is substantially lower than the national average, which shows that giving inmates training before they leave prison helps them to become productive citizens.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — People who buy their produce from farmers markets love the freshness and nutritional value of the product. Not only that, rural residents seek out such markets more than urban residents, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher says.
The latter finding surprised the researchers, led by Alan Hodges, an Extension scientist in the UF/IFAS food and resource economics department.
“We interpret this effect as due to greater awareness of farming and farm-fresh foods in rural areas,” Hodges said. “The finding also suggests that rural households may be seeking out farmers’ markets as a travel destination rather than as part of a multi-stop shopping trip, as would often be the case with urban consumers. In addition, there is greater competition among food retailers in urban areas, simply due to the larger number of venues available.”
Please see caption below
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — More than three quarters of Florida’s strawberries are shipped to American markets east of the Mississippi River. Most of those out-of-state consumers enjoy the fruit, but some mistakenly think Sunshine State strawberries aren’t available at their grocery stores, a new University of Florida study shows.
That means marketers and others must do a better job ensuring consumers know strawberries come from Florida, said Joy Rumble, an assistant professor of agricultural education and communication. This is particularly true in light of increased competition from California and Mexico, Rumble said. In Florida, the strawberry harvest brought in $267 million in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Rumble, a faculty member at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and a team of researchers from the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education conducted 10 focus groups in five cities east of the Mississippi River. The cities were Charlotte, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Columbus, Ohio; New York City and Boston.
Please see caption below
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Farmers or those who aspire to grow fruits and vegetables crops can attend the third UF/IFAS Regional Small Farms Conference on April 1-2 in Fort Myers, Florida.
The UF/IFAS Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Extension Team will host the conference at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Fort Myers, Florida.
This event provides an opportunity to share practical farming knowledge that can help growers across the region, said Jose Perez, small farms Extension coordinator for UF/IFAS. In addition, networking and activities with consumer stakeholders will promote local food systems in southwest Florida.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Researchers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Plant Diagnostic Center will help shed light on potentially devastating plant diseases at the 4th National Meeting of the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) in Washington, D.C.
Held every three to four years, this year’s conference will take place March 8 to 12 in the nation’s capital.
Among those representing UF will be Jason Smith, a UF/IFAS associate professor of forest pathology. Smith’s topic is titled, “Holy Guacamole: Insights into the Emerging Laurel Wilt Pandemic.”
Please see caption below
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers hope to help farmers hop into the beer business by cultivating hops.
UF/IFAS researchers will work with a $158,000 grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services to develop a viable hops crop. Hops, which have a long history of use in Chinese herbal medicine, are currently used to make beer.
What started as a personal experiment turned into a trial of four hops varieties at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, Florida, said Brian Pearson, an assistant professor of environmental horticulture at the center. Pearson has been growing hops for two years at his lab.
“I was looking to help homeowners augment what they were growing. It was just a labor of love,” Pearson said. “Then it dawned on me that this might have some serious potential.”
Pearson will work on the hops research project with Zhanao Deng, a principal investigator and professor of environmental horticulture, and Shinsuke Agehara, an assistant professor of horticultural sciences, both with the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Florida.
“We hope to find out how well these hop varieties can grow in Florida, their yield potential, resistance to downy mildew disease and insect problems,” Deng said.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two acclaimed faculty, internationally recognized for their work in tropical agriculture, have joined the faculty at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Pedro Sanchez has been named a professor in the department of soil and water sciences, while Cheryl Palm will be a professor in the department of agricultural and biological engineering. Both will work with the UF/IFAS Institute of Sustainable Food Systems.
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Sanchez and Dr. Palm to UF/IFAS because of the great work we are already doing in tropical agriculture, and Drs. Sanchez and Palm will help grow our programs,” said Jack Payne, senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources at UF. “Both scientists bring a wealth of knowledge and passion for agriculture and its impact on the world. They will complement the work we do at UF/IFAS to improve our local and global communities, and will help position UF as a global leader in tropical agriculture.”
Sanchez and Palm both work at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, which brings together the people and tools needed to address some of the world’s most difficult problems, from climate change and environmental degradation, to poverty, disease and the sustainable use of resources.
Eugene McAvoy. County Extension Director and Extension Agent IV, MS. Vegetable/Ornamental Horticulture.
GAINESVILLE, Fla.— University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Agent Euguene “Gene” McAvoy was inducted into the Syngenta Resistance Fighter Leadership Program on Feb. 11 for his extensive work in protecting Florida crops from pesticides.
McAvoy’s expertise is in pesticide resistance management and he is being recognized by Syngenta Resistance Fighter Leadership Program, which was formed to honor those who help growers manage resistance. As a new inductee, McAvoy will have the opportunity to expand his resistance knowledge to others outside of UF/IFAS Extension. Being inducted into Syngenta Resistance Fighter Leadership Program is a validation McAvoy said.
“It makes me feel good to be recognized by my peers.” McAvoy said. “It calls attention to the clientele, the growers that I work with, that I am doing something beneficial for them.”