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International food security expert to speak at UF

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Economics, IFAS
Oxford University Professor Charles Godfray is speaking at the University of Florida on Friday, April 4, as part of the Florida Climate Institute’s Distinguished Scholar Seminar.

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GAINESVILLE – Oxford University Professor Charles Godfray, one of the most influential scientists involved in research and outreach on global food security, is speaking at the University of Florida on Friday, April 4, as part of the Florida Climate Institute’s Distinguished Scholar Seminar.

Godfray is Professorial Fellow in Zoology at Oxford University’s Jesus College, with interests in environmental sciences, and has published articles on ecology, evolution and epidemiology. He is interested in how the global food system will change and adapt to the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. He is focused on the concept of “sustainable intensification” and the relationship between food production, ecosystem services and biodiversity. (more …)

UF/IFAS study shows promise for castor crop planting in Florida

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Cultivars, Economics
This castor plant at the UF/IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra, can be grown in Florida, according to a new UF/IFAS study. Courtesy: David Campbell, former University of Florida graduate student

This castor plant at the UF/IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra, can be grown in Florida, according to a new UF/IFAS study.
Courtesy: David Campbell, former University of Florida graduate student

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Castor, grown in Florida during World War II and currently considered as a component for military jet fuel, can be grown here again, using proper management techniques, a new University of Florida study shows.

Those techniques include spacing plants properly and using harvest aids to defoliate the plant when it matures.

Growers in the U.S. want to mechanically harvest castor, which is typically hand-picked in other parts of the world, the researchers said. Among other things, the UF/IFAS study evaluated whether the plant would grow too tall for mechanical harvesting machines.

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Gov. Rick Scott signs resolution honoring Extension service at Florida State Fair

Topic(s): 4-H, Agriculture, Announcements, CALS, Economics, Extension, IFAS

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TAMPA, Fla. – Florida Gov. Rick Scott pauses to be in a photograph with 4-H members, left to right,  Marissa Coughlin, Meagan Borg and Krista Baker at the Florida State Fair. Scott attended the fair and the Fresh From Florida breakfast to talk about the importance of agriculture in Florida. In the photograph, he and the 4-H’ers stand in front of cutouts of political leaders who helped create the land-grant university and cooperative extension systems. UF/IFAS photo by Javier Edwards.

 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a resolution, sponsored by state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Thursday, at the state fair in Tampa recognizing the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which established the federal Cooperative Extension Service.

Scott formally opened the 110th Florida State Fair and held a cabinet meeting on the fairgrounds as a way to highlight the state’s agricultural heritage. He spoke briefly at the Fresh From Florida Breakfast.

Through the Smith-Lever Act, extension agents in every state work to share research information with various constituents, including farmers. Florida has an Extension office in every one of its 67 counties.

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UF/IFAS researcher to growers: Peaches can be profitable in three years

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida peach growers, some of whom are looking for an alternative to citrus as greening takes a toll on that crop, could see a small profit by their third year of operation, a UF researcher says.

Greening, a disease first found in Florida in 2005, has led to $4 billion in lost revenue and industry-related jobs since 2006 for the $9 billion-a-year citrus industry.

As some farmers turn to peaches, they want to know how long before they turn a profit and how long they can sustain that profit, said Mercy Olmstead, assistant professor in horticultural sciences at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Growers should see steady profit through years 10-12, when the tree starts to decline in the South.

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UF/IFAS researchers’ work helps U.S. military deliver fresher MREs

Topic(s): Economics, IFAS, New Technology, Research

Jan. 15, 2014

Jeffrey Brecht, the director of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Research Center for Food Distribution and Retailing, and former UF Professor Jean Pierre Edmond hold up a Meal, Ready-To-Eat.

Jeffrey Brecht, left, the director of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Research Center for Food Distribution and Retailing, and former UF Professor Jean Pierre Edmond hold up a Meal, Ready-To-Eat.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida researcher Jeffrey Brecht is leading a team of scientists working to eliminate waste and streamline the process of distributing the U.S. Army’s legendary Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MREs).

In a five-year, $6.7 million study, Brecht, the director of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Research Center for Food Distribution and Retailing, and colleagues tested the longevity of MREs, along with First Strike Rations (FSRs) for front-line troops, including special forces.

“These rations were originally developed with a shelf life of three years for MREs and two years for FSRs – but at 80 degrees,” Brecht explained. “However, when they send them to the Middle East, they could be exposed to temperatures as high as 140 degrees, at which point the shelf life could be 4 weeks or less, instead of the three years.” (more …)

UF research shows coral reefs worth saving

Topic(s): Agriculture, Aquaculture, Conservation, Economics, Environment

coral reefs photo

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Although some scientists suggest that coral reefs are headed for certain doom, a new study by University of Florida and Caribbean researchers indicates even damaged reefs can recover.

In a 13-year study in the Cayman Islands, warm ocean temperatures led to bleaching and infectious disease that reduced live coral cover by more than 40 percent between 1999 and 2004. But seven years later, the amount of live coral on the reefs, the density of young colonies critical to the reefs’ future health, and the overall size of corals all had returned to the 1999 state, the study showed.

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UF/IFAS researcher to use $500,000 grant to try to make peanuts more drought-resistant

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Weather

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida researcher plans to use a $500,000 federal grant to study ways to make peanuts more drought tolerant.

Diane Rowland, an associate professor of agronomy and faculty member in UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, won the four-year grant in November from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Grants to help UF researchers grow pine trees faster, produce more energy

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biofuels, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Forestry

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida researchers will use $1.45 million in federal grants to develop trait-prediction models and accelerate the growth of loblolly pine trees to produce more bioenergy.

In his grant application, UF associate professor Matias Kirst, the principal investigator for the study, said Southern pines can be used as renewable biomass for bioenergy and renewable chemicals. However, for pines to meet their potential as a bioenergy crop, researchers must develop more productive cultivars that can be efficiently converted into liquid fuels, said Kirst, who teaches in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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UF/IFAS expert part of beef team honored with national USDA award

Topic(s): Agriculture, Economics, Livestock, New Technology

Cliff Lamb.  Professor and coordinator, Animal Science Programs.  UF/IFAS Photographer Tyler Jones.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A multistate beef cattle Extension team that includes Cliff Lamb of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has garnered a national award for its efforts to help ranchers boost calving rates and strengthen U.S. beef production.

This week, the Beef Reproduction Task Force was named one of five programs chosen to receive a 2013 NIFA Partnership Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The award was formally presented at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities annual meeting Nov. 10-12 in Washington, D.C.

Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, called the award a “well-deserved milestone” for the task force, which was launched in 1999 to help Extension personnel educate ranchers about the latest reproductive technologies and explain how those technologies might benefit their operations.

“Beef cattle production is a key agricultural industry for Florida and high calving rates are key to ranchers’ success,” Payne said. “We could not be more pleased that Dr. Lamb and his colleagues are being honored for their efforts to help ranchers succeed with one of the pivotal economic issues they face.”

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UF researcher: Southeast must prepare for wild weather from climate change

Topic(s): Agriculture, Disaster Preparedness, Economics, Environment, Research, Weather

ingram

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. —  People who live in the southeastern United States should begin to prepare for more drastically changing weather conditions – everything from heat waves to poorer air quality – caused by climate change, according to a new book, edited by a University of Florida researcher.

The book, which UF’s Keith Ingram helped write, is titled “Climate Change of the Southeast United States: Variability, Change, Impacts and Vulnerability.” Ingram was the book’s lead editor.

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