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UF/IFAS names Irani family, youth and community sciences chairwoman

Topic(s): Announcements, Departments, Families and Consumers, IFAS

Tracy Irani

UF/IFAS Professor Tracy Irani has been named as the new chairwoman of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A 15-year UF/IFAS faculty member and administrator has been named chairwoman of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Tracy Irani’s appointment is effective April 11, said Jack Payne, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at UF. Irani has been running the department on an interim basis since Oct. 1.

Before this appointment, Irani worked simultaneously as a professor in the UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural Education and Communication and director of the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education (PIE). She will leave her PIE center appointment to work full-time as the leader of family, youth and community sciences, Payne said.

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UF/IFAS finds way to reduce E. coli in cows, improving food safety

Topic(s): Agriculture, Food Safety, Livestock, Research, Safety


K.C. Jeong, an assistant professor of animal sciences at UF/IFAS, led the study.

K.C. Jeong, an assistant professor of animal sciences at UF/IFAS, led the study.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new biological treatment could help dairy cattle stave off uterine diseases and eventually may help improve food safety for humans, a University of Florida study shows.

Kwang Cheol Jeong, an assistant professor in animal sciences and UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, examined cattle uterine illnesses because they can make cows infertile, lower milk production and because those maladies are often linked to bacteria, he said. The UF researchers did their experiments in labs and at the Dairy Unit on the Gainesville campus.

Jeong and his research team infused chitosan microparticles ─ an antimicrobial material derived from dissolved shrimp shells ─ into diseased cow uteri. When bought in stores, chitosan can be used to treat many ailments from obesity to anemia. On its own, chitosan only works at acidic pH levels, Jeong said. For cattle, Jeong’s team developed chitosan microparticles, which work in acidic and neutral pH, because cattle uteri have a neutral pH.

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UF/IFAS part of $4.9 million national child obesity study

Topic(s): Agriculture, Families and Consumers, Nutrition, Research
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida students will create obesity prevention programs for their peers and later, for high school students, as part of a $4.9 million federal research and extension grant awarded last week.

University of Tennessee Assistant Professor Sarah Colby will lead the national study, called “Get Fruved,” a phrase that alludes to fruits and vegetables.

“Get Fruved” is a campaign that uses peer interaction to try to get high school and college students to eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise more and manage stress more effectively.

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UF/IFAS study: Computer model can help coastal managers with nourishment decisions

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

beach erosion

Cutline: UF/IFAS researchers say a new computer model can help coastal managers make better beach nourishment decisions and possibly save millions of dollars. Above, the beach is shown with a fence at St. Augustine Beach, Fla.

UF/IFAS file photo

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A computer model developed, in part, by University of Florida researchers can help coastal managers better understand the long-term effects of major storms, sea-level rise and beach restoration activities and possibly save millions of dollars.

Researchers used erosion data following tropical storms and hurricanes that hit Santa Rosa Island, off Florida’s Panhandle, and sea-level rise projections to predict beach habitat changes over the next 90 years. But they say their model can be used to inform nourishment decisions at any beach.

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UF/IFAS faculty member coordinates global pest paper contest

Topic(s): Agriculture, Household Pests, Pests
Jiri Hulcr, a University of Florida assistant professor of forest entomology, coordinates a global contest that encourages students to write original research papers about insects as pests. Courtesy: Jiri Hulcr

Jiri Hulcr, a University of Florida assistant professor of forest entomology, coordinates a global contest that encourages students to write original research papers about insects as pests.
Courtesy: Jiri Hulcr

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida entomology faculty member coordinates a global contest for students’ original insect research, and he recently announced the two winners for 2013.

The contest encourages students to research the natural history of pests, said Jiri Hulcr, a UF assistant professor in forest entomology and a member of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

For their research papers, Stephen Taerum, who attends the University of Pretoria in South Africa and Emily Meineke, a student at North Carolina State University, won the most recent contest, now in its second year, said. For winning, they shared the annual prize of  $500.

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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



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 expert available to offer relationship tips, advice for Valentine’s Day coverage

Topic(s): CALS, Families and Consumers

Victor Harris.  Family, Youth, and Community Sciences.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Whether you are in a blissfully happy, everything-runs-like-a-charm relationship or whether your significant other is your cat, the University of Florida’s Victor Harris – an expert in couples and premarital education – has tips to help strengthen your relationship.

Harris, an assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences at the University of Florida, says it’s a great time for relationship reflection.

Here are six tips from his arsenal:

  1. The old adage about never going to bed angry? It’s a marriage myth, he says. Sometimes it’s best to get some rest before your tired, cranky self says something you can’t take back. During those times when you’re most aggravated by your spouse, he suggests calming down for at least 30-minutes and taking at least a three-minute meditation break, focusing on the things you love most about your partner.
  2. The idea that marriage must always be a 50-50, straight-down-the-middle partnership? Also a myth. Many couples prosper and thrive with many different power balances and imbalances, he says. As long as both partners are happy, the balance works.
  3. Every couple needs rituals, both the everyday and special occasion varieties, he says. “Men seem to especially need a ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’ touch. Basically, rituals help us increase positive bonds, which are a major aspect of the ongoing nurturing of friendship.” Rituals can include physical affection, gifts, keeping promises, acts of kindness, surprises and giving compliments. “The most important compliments are those that tell you ‘You are lovable and you are capable,’” Harris says.
  4. One of the easiest routes to a busted union is when couples don’t learn how to de-escalate a disagreement. Couples stuck in criticism-defensiveness-contempt-stonewalling mode are in big trouble, he warns. “For a relationship to work, researchers have found that you’ve got to have at least a 5-to-1 ratio of positive to negative interactions and experiences, and you’ve got to learn how to short-circuit the argument cycle before it becomes a mud fight.”
  5. If you’re wondering if your marriage is doomed: Find a couples therapist. Harris said some studies show that of couples who contemplate divorce but choose to stay together, more than 90 percent say later that they’re glad they did.
  6. And for singles looking to find someone with whom to celebrate future Valentine’s Days, Harris advises: “Besides just finding a hottie, as my students say, you need to find someone who fulfills your needs – and you do that by finding someone first who knows how to meet their own needs. Another big key is finding someone who can accept influence from you when you express what your needs and opinions are.”

Harris can be reached at 352-273-3523 or at victorharris@ufl.edu. Here are links to three more of his pertinent publications:

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1277  9 important communication skills for every relationship; http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1335 10 things you need to know before you get married, and http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1334 Are you ready to tie the knot? A quick checklist

UF/IFAS to showcase Extension at Florida State Fair

Topic(s): 4-H, Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS

Feb. 3, 2014

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will celebrate 100 years of UF/IFAS Extension achievements and community service at Florida’s 2014 State Fair, scheduled for Feb. 6-17 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

UF/IFAS Extension personnel will be on hand in the State Agricultural Hall of Fame to explain the many services provided by Florida’s leading agricultural and research university. (more …)

Florida cooking show debuts Jan. 4 on WUFT-TV, will include UF/IFAS food topics

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Nutrition

chef's table photo1

Gainesville, Fla. —  A new television show that starts Jan. 4 on WUFT Channel 5 will give viewers tasty tidbits about Florida food along with a focus on fresh, sustainable food and native Florida cooking.

Independent videographer Jeff Goertz produces and directs the program, “The Chef’s Table with Randal White,” from his home studio in Ocala, said Sue Wagner, WUFT’s community relations director. Studios for public television station Five WUFT are located on the University of Florida campus. WUFT (digital channel 5.1) can be located on Cox Cable Chanel 3 in Gainesville and Channel 5 in Ocala.

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UF/IFAS study: Confusion surrounds added vs. natural sugar in drinks

Topic(s): Agriculture, Families and Consumers, Nutrition, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumers who are more concerned about what types of sugars are in their drinks will likely choose a less-sweetened beverage, although most people don’t know the difference between natural and added sugars, a new University of Florida study shows.

Gail Rampersaud, a UF registered dietitian, and Lisa House, a UF food and resource economics professor ─ both with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences ─ teamed with other UF researchers to conduct the 60-question online survey, in which people from across the U.S. answered questions about their perceptions about various drinks.

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