FORT PIERCE, Fla. — An entomologist recognized internationally as a specialist in biological control of insect pests has been named interim director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Indian River Research and Education Center.
Ronald Cave will serve as the sixth leader of the Indian River REC.
From the Indian River REC’s 1947 start as the Indian River Field Laboratory, it has served agricultural and natural resources interests with research, Extension and education programs.
Cave was appointed to his new position by Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.
“In this challenging time for the citrus industry and for other agricultural commodities, we cannot afford a leadership gap even for a few months,” Payne said. “Ron Cave is the right leader for this transition because of his accomplishments as a scientist, his dedication as a mentor and his familiarity with the center. It’s this combination of excellence and stability that makes him an ideal choice for this important role.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Faculty, administrators and friends of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences now know even more about the fine foods and beverages produces by UF/IFAS faculty after the annual May 9 Flavors of Florida event.
Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, commended faculty and thanked friends for attending.
“Flavors of Florida is a chance for UF/IFAS to showcase the many fine foods and beverages developed by our world-renowned scientists to not only make food tastier and more nutritious but to help growers sell more food at the grocery store,” Payne said. “And with the help of our many friends around Florida, we can continue the laboratory and field research necessary to continue producing these incredible foods.”
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.”
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. — University of Florida Professor Emeritus William S. “Bill” Castle, who is internationally recognized as the leading authority on rootstocks and work that has shaped the entire Florida citrus industry, will be inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame on March 11.
“Dr. Castle inspired numerous students to become involved in the citrus industry, and many serve in leadership roles today,” said Jack Payne, senior vice president of agriculture at UF. “His impact on the citrus industry and the role he played were vital to the survival of that industry.”
Castle conducted research at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred for more than 30 years. His research has resulted in improved citrus scions and rootstocks, orchard designs and management of high density plantings, citrus propagation and pre-plant expert systems, windbreak design and establishment, along with pomegranate cultivars and plantings.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Roses are red; violets are blue, and University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers are developing better breeds of Valentine’s Day plants just for you.
Here are just a couple of examples.
Zhanao Deng, a professor of environmental horticulture at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Florida, is breeding gerbera daisy cultivars that are resistant to powdery mildew, the most destructive fungal disease for this type of flower. Deng said his daisies are also becoming more attractive.
“These daisy cultivars can be used for cut flowers or potted plants,” he said.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will address production constraints for organic strawberry producers, thanks to a new $2 million federal grant.
The grant comes from the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) program, which is administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The research focuses on strawberry production systems, rather than just one part of the production process, said Mickie Swisher, associate professor of sustainable agriculture in the UF/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences.
“Controlling weeds is a significant cost for all strawberry producers, not just organic producers,” Swisher said. “The project examines the effectiveness of cover crops as a supplementary weed management technique, used in conjunction with plastic mulch.”
UF/IFAS Photo: Tyler Jones.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Costa Farms will donate 200 orchids for the University of Florida Agriculture and Gardening Day during the Homecoming football game on Nov. 7. UF Athletics and UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are hosting the event that revolves around the game between the Gators and the Vanderbilt Commodores, which kicks off at noon.
Costa Farms is a third-generation, family-owned group of companies headquartered in Miami, Florida. The company sprouted in 1961 when its founder, Jose Costa Sr., purchased 30 acres south of Miami to grow fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes in the winter and calamondin citrus in the summer. That soon morphed into houseplants, and the Costa Farms family started innovating and introduced new houseplants such as the canela tree and Cecilia Aglaonema.
The UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center, located in South Florida, supports the orchid industry by offering a full semester online course on orchid biology and culture, in addition to research conducted on orchid production and conservation using biotechnology.
Families who come for the festivities can enjoy tours of the community garden and bat house, plus games, giveaways and special gardens. And a lucky few will get a Costa Farm orchid.
UF/IFAS is the largest entity on campus, comprised of 18 schools and departments with about 5,400 students and 3,000 employees. It is a federal-state-county partnership dedicated to developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences, and enhancing and sustaining the quality of human life by making that information accessible.
By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, firstname.lastname@example.org
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Are you interested in learning about new advances in nematode control? Would you like to get a glimpse at the new turfgrass cultivars that are being developed? The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has all your answers at its annual Central Florida Turfgrass Field Day, being held tomorrow at the Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra. (more …)