IFAS News

University of Florida

Many career options for this year’s UF CALS grads

Topic(s): CALS, Families and Consumers, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

CALS Commencement Javan Brown 032616

Javan Brown

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Unlike most graduating college seniors, Javan Brown gets up at 5:30 every morning. While his classmates sleep in, Brown goes to the Army ROTC center on the University of Florida campus to go through physical training and to train other cadets.

Brown will graduate Friday from the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in family, youth and community sciences. He will be among 658 UF CALS students earning bachelor’s degrees at the April 29 commencement. Another 84 will receive master’s degrees while 59 will get doctorates, according to figures provided by the UF CALS dean’s office. CALS is part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

When he gets his diploma, Brown will also be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He intends to make the military his first career. After that, who knows? He has a passion for helping others.

“People can improve their position,” Brown said. “But if they don’t know how, it’s tough. I want to motivate and empower people. If you get a map and identify where you want to go, you can succeed.”

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UF/IFAS Extension Broward County program prevents tree abuse through education

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A volunteer of the Duval County Tree Stewards trims a tree limb at a park near Jacksonville, Florida.

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.

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UF/IFAS to host panel about global food security with Rep. Ted Yoho on May 2

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition

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.
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UF/IFAS researchers: Florida sees dramatic increase in school gardens

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Lawn & Garden, Nutrition, Vegetables

4H counselor gardening with children.

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.”

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UF/IFAS researchers try to expand muscadine grape market

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

Charles Sims

Please see caption below story

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers are trying to expand consumers’ knowledge of muscadine grapes, and they hope that awareness leads to more people buying them.

“They’re full of nutrients and flavor,” UF/IFAS food science professor Charles Sims said of the tick-skinned fruit.

Right now, muscadine grapes are grown only in the South and are not very well known in other parts of the country, Sims said. Apparently, more consumers are apt to buy muscadine grapes if they know about them, at least according to a recent UF/IFAS experiment.

For her master’s thesis, Mailys Fredericq, a graduate student in food science and human nutrition, studied 139 participants – 70 of whom considered themselves familiar with muscadine grapes, and 69 who were not. Fredericq found that those who knew about muscadine grapes like their appearance, flavor and texture much more than those who didn’t know much about the grapes.

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UF/IFAS scientist: Pinellas County a model for mosquito-borne disease surveillance

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pests

Mosquito surveillance 042016 - Jonanthan Day

Jonathan Day

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As we inch closer to summer and its inevitable rain, we also head toward mosquito egg-laying season. And as we do, Florida mosquito control officials may learn to emulate Pinellas County’s mosquito-borne disease surveillance program and its response to a West Nile virus outbreak in 2005, a University of Florida entomologist says.

“They have a top-notch mosquito surveillance program in Pinellas County,” said Professor Jonathan Day, a faculty member at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “That’s the model that we always go back to. They averted a much larger West Nile epidemic in 2005.”

Day will speak April 26 at the Southwest Regional Workshop on Arboviral Surveillance in Lehigh Acres, Florida. The workshop is organized by the Florida Mosquito Control Association and FMEL, and participants will analyze the 2011 and 2015 South Florida surveillance data regarding mosquito-borne viruses.

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UF/IFAS scientists honored as UF Research Foundation professors

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biofuels, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Environment, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Nutrition, RECs, Research, Soil and Water Science

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.”

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UF/IFAS recognizes top faculty research

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Aquaculture, Economics, Environment, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Nutrition, Pests, RECs, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Whether it’s hybrid termites, grain pathogens, mosquito mating or something in between, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers are studying important topics and helping to solve global issues.

The UF/IFAS Research Dean’s Office recently recognized more than two dozen UF/IFAS faculty members for their impactful research, and Dean for Research Jackie Burns said she could not be more proud of the scientists.

“We recognize that these research articles are examples of the many published by UF/IFAS that are highly impactful and help reach solutions to worldwide issues including food shortages, nutrition, diseases and economic development,” Burns said. “Our faculty perform top-quality, globally-recognized scientific work, and we’re proud to recognize them.”

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UF/IFAS will host entrepreneur workshop for future Florida business owners on May 13 and 27

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition
Soohyoun Ahn.  Assistant Professor.  Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Soohyoun Ahn. Assistant Professor. Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Gainesville, Fla.— Do you have a passion for cooking and want to invest your ideas in a restaurant? The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension offers helpful information at the “How to Start a Food Business in Florida” workshops on May 13 and 27.

Anyone who is interested in running his/her own food business in Florida can attend the one-day workshop at one of the two locations and dates. The May 13 workshop will be held at Straughn UF/IFAS Extension Professional Development Center in Gainesville; the May 27 event will be held at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee, Florida. Both workshops will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“How to Start a Food Business in Florida” workshop will provide participants with general information on food safety and quality, basic food science, business planning, and federal and state regulatory requirements for food businesses.

The registration fee for the course is $125; early bird registration by April 30 is $100. Registration includes course materials, lunch, coffee breaks and certificate of completion. Register by May 6 for the Gainesville workshop at http://tinyurl.com/FoodBusinessGNV, and by May 20 for the Immokalee workshop at http://tinyurl.com/FoodBusinessImmokalee. Classes will be limited to the first 45 registrants for each site.

For more information, contact Dr. Soo Ahn at sahn82@ufl.edu or 352-294-3909.

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By: Brinkley Clark, 954-600-8257, brinkleycclark@ufl.edu

Source: Soo Ahn, 352-294-3909, sahn82@ufl.edu

Mosquito may play key role in transmitting Eastern equine encephalitis in the Southeast

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Families and Consumers, IFAS, RECs, Research

EEE - mosquito species - photo of Culex_erraticus_female_courtesy of Burkett-Cadena 040716

See caption below article

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A mosquito species that’s very abundant in the Southeast may play a more significant role in transmitting Eastern equine encephalitis than originally thought, according to a University of Florida scientist.

Nathan Burkett-Cadena, an assistant professor of entomology at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, helped investigate the role of the mosquito species known as Culex erraticus and Culista melanura, the latter of which is most commonly associated with spreading the potentially lethal virus.

“Our study shows us how a mosquito that is a relatively poor transmitter of the virus can actually have a huge impact on human health, due to its overwhelming abundance,” Burkett-Cadena said.

The study, published recently online in the Journal of Medical Entomology, was led by Thomas Unnasch, distinguished professor of global health at the University of South Florida.

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