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University of Florida

Fruit and vegetable production conference coming to Apopka on Nov. 6

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, RECs

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The UF/IFAS Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Extension Team will present the Mid-Florida Specialty Crops Conference from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 6 at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka.

This marks the second of a series of new regional events created by a team of UF/IFAS Extension agents.

“Participants will walk away with knowledge of how to establish, manage and market fruits and vegetables in Central Florida,” said Orange County Extension Director Richard Tyson, one of the event’s organizers. “They will also obtain a better understanding of local food systems.”

(more …)

UF/IFAS helping to train the next generation of farm labor supervisors

Topic(s): Agriculture, Economics, Extension, IFAS, RECs, Safety
Workers picking and loading lettuce onto a conveyor belt.

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IMMOKALEE, Fla. — University of Florida Agricultural Economist Fritz Roka is putting into action the adage “When you know better, you do better.”

Roka and his team from UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are leading training programs all over the state, beginning Oct. 7, to help farm labor contractors, crew leaders, drivers and office staff become better at managing crews of farm workers and keeping them safe. (more …)

UF/IFAS study: Although it’s a niche market, guava can be profitable

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Extension, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

Two halves of a fruit.  2007 Research Report Photo by Tom Wright.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Asian guava orchards can bring nine times the profit as mango and avocado, all staples of South Florida’s agricultural sector, a new University of Florida study shows.

But Edward “Gilly” Evans, a UF/IFAS associate professor of food and resource economics, cautioned that guava is a niche market that can easily be oversupplied.

“The fruit is not mainstream, so if everyone were to rush out and start producing it, prices would tumble,” said Evans, a faculty member at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida. “It also involves a lot of work as each fruit has to be netted and bagged to avoid fruit fly damage or blemishes.”

Evans also said: “The main consumers are Asian, in northern cities such as New York and Chicago. The fruit is not as popular elsewhere, even though it is very nutritious and has a lot of health benefits.”

Guava contains several vitamins, including A, B2, C and E, along with calcium, copper, folate, iron, manganese, phosphorus and potassium, he said.

Evans led a study of costs and returns on a 5-acre guava orchard in Miami-Dade County. To get their cost and revenue figures, he and intern Stella Garcia interviewed farmers and Extension agents. Then they put the numbers through several economic calculations.

(more …)

Florida Sea Grant offers seafood information in new Florida Trend report

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Aquaculture, Economics, Environment, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS
Grouper and assorted seafood fillets on display at a store in case. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

Grouper and assorted seafood fillets on display at a store in case. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — October is National Seafood Month, and Florida Sea Grant has spotlighted the safety and variety of the state’s seafood products with a special report published in the September issue of Florida Trend magazine.

Although the average Floridian’s seafood consumption is twice the national average  – 31 pounds per year, compared with 15 – a recent Florida Sea Grant survey indicates that 40 percent of state residents don’t eat two servings each week, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“With this special report, we hope to raise awareness of our state’s seafood production and the fact that seafood is a healthy, delicious dining option,” said Karl Havens, Florida Sea Grant director and a professor with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, or UF/IFAS. “We’re very fortunate in Florida to have access to a wide range of local seafood items as well as products sourced elsewhere.”

Florida is the nation’s seventh-largest seafood producing state, offering about 80 wild-caught and farm-raised items, he said. Some of the state’s best-known seafood products include grouper, snapper, oysters, spiny lobster and stone crab. (more …)

North Florida farmers are using sesame as a rotation crop

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Extension, IFAS, Research
North Florida farmers discuss sesame as a rotation crop during a recent field day at UF/IFAS Extension Suwannee Valley Agricultural Center in Live Oak

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LIVE OAK, Fla. — In between seasons of corn, peanut, and cotton, North Florida farmers were interested in growing a rotation crop that could withstand the wilting heat of summer and be harvested by machine.

So, since 2011, University of Florida researchers have been experimenting with growing the tiny seeds you find on top of hamburger buns or garnishing salads – sesame – as a viable, money-making crop.  (more …)

UF/IFAS honors alumni, friends at Dinner of Distinction

Topic(s): Announcements, Honors and Appointments

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences honored some of its most ardent supporters at its annual Dinner of Distinction, held at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center on Friday.

This was the fourth year for the awards banquet that recognizes individuals and organizations that support and advance UF/IFAS in its research, teaching and Extension efforts.

(more …)

Crested floatingheart: The lovely looking lily-like plant that clogs canals

Topic(s): Aquaculture, Conservation, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, Invasive Species, RECs, Research

Crested floatingheart 092415 (use this one)

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — While the crested floatingheart can help beautify an aquarium or a water garden, it clogs canals and slows drainage, particularly during heavy rains.

“It’s really attractive. It looks like a water lily,” said Lyn Gettys, an aquatic plant specialist at the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center. Crested floatingheart is also easy to grow and flourishes with little effort.

Instead of freezing unwanted crested floatinghearts and bringing them to a local landfill, many homeowners toss them into canals, said Gettys, an assistant professor of agronomy with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

For about a year, Gettys has been compiling data to quantify the seriousness that crested floatingheart poses for canals. Crested floatinghearts reproduce mostly by way of ramets, an asexual form of multiplying. Gettys is trying to find out how many “babies” a single plant can make. She’s particularly interested in the effects of soil type and fertilizer on the plant’s ability to reproduce.

Preliminary data show soil has no impact. But if plants are well-fertilized, one floatingheart can produce more than 100 ramets per month. If only half of the new ramets sprout and make as many of their own babies as the original plant, that’s potentially 114,000 plants in six months, Gettys said.

(more …)

UF/IFAS research funding hits record high in FY 2015, confirming value of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, UF/IFAS research faculty efforts

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Economics, Environment, Families and Consumers, IFAS
Roman Mmanda Fortunatus conducting research in Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Roman Mmanda Fortunatus conducting research in Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Photo cutline at bottom. Click on photo for larger image.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Research funding for the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences hit an all-time high in Fiscal Year 2015, at almost $125.82 million, according to figures released this month by the UF Office of Research.

The UF/IFAS total, representing funds from grant awards, contracted research, donations and other sources, exceeds last year’s figure by 23 percent; UF/IFAS records indicate it also tops the previous record, set in FY 2012.

“This is one of the proudest moments of my career so far,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “You just don’t get stronger proof that UF/IFAS is delivering results for our many constituencies and stakeholders. These results are a tribute to the leadership of Dr. Jackie Burns, UF/IFAS dean for research, and the incredible talent of our UF/IFAS faculty.”

The new figures come from a campus wide annual report on research funding. It provides numerical data on funding received by major campus units, as well as information on sources and types of funding received; the data cover July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. (more …)

UF researchers try to reduce barotrauma deaths for deep-sea fish and sustain industry

Topic(s): Aquaculture, Economics, Environment, Extension, Research

BAROTRAUMA 092315 (2)

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Most recreational anglers who target deep-water reef fish in Florida recognize barotrauma symptoms, and University of Florida researchers think they can teach the other 30 percent to help save the fish.

By doing so, anglers would play a key role in sustaining the state’s valuable fisheries.

When anglers reel in their catch from deep waters, fish can suffer problems caused by gas pressure changes – or barotrauma. Often the gas-filled swim bladder of the fish has ruptured, releasing the gas into the fish’s body cavity.  Symptoms of barotrauma include the stomach protruding from the fish’s mouth, bulging eyes, a bloated belly and distended intestines. Fish with these symptoms find it hard to swim back down to their natural habitat, and many die as a result.

Mitigating this condition may be a key to maintaining Florida’s fisheries, said Chuck Adams, a marine economist with Florida Sea Grant. The importance of reducing this source of mortality for fish is further underscored by a recent UF/IFAS report that showed fishing and seafood products have a $565 million-a-year impact on Florida’s economy. That report can be found here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe969.

(more …)

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