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University of Florida

UF/IFAS names Wilson interim chair of environmental horticulture

Topic(s): Announcements, Departments, IFAS

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Sandra Wilson

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – After 15 years as an environmental horticulture faculty member at the UF/IFAS research center in Fort Pierce, Sandra Wilson was honored when asked to take over the department at the university’s main campus in Gainesville.

But there were a lot of logistics involved. For one thing, she needed to relocate her husband, a UF/IFAS soil and water science professor, who also worked at the Indian River Research and Education Center. Not to mention their 7-year-old daughter, two dogs and three cats.

Still, the Wilsons have made the transition, and Sandra is the interim chair of the UF/IFAS Department of Environmental Horticulture. Wilson was appointed to the post by Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.

“Dr. Wilson was a natural choice to lead our Environmental Horticulture Department,” Payne said. “Combine her outstanding teaching and research record, the leadership she has shown and the fact that the faculty support her, and we knew right away Dr. Wilson would lead the department to unparalleled heights.”

(more …)

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension leader tapped for UF/IFAS Extension associate dean post

Topic(s): Announcements, Extension, IFAS

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Saqib Mukhtar

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service leader with extensive experience in environmental management and animal feeding operations has been named associate dean and agriculture program leader for UF/IFAS Extension.

Saqib Mukhtar, professor, associate department head and Extension program leader for Texas A&M’s Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, will join the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in April. He has several current commitments before he wraps up his transition from Texas A&M to UF/IFAS.

UF/IFAS Extension Dean Nick Place announced Mukhtar’s appointment Dec. 23, following a national search to replace the retiring Joan Dusky.

(more …)

UF/IFAS Extension and Bok Tower Gardens are partnering to teach a new generation about plants, gardening and the environment

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

Bok Tower

LAKE WALES, Fla. — Among the music of carillon bells, beneath a lush oak canopy, a new partnership is emerging between the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension and historic Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL.

The partnership between the state’s preeminent land-grant university and this historic garden will provide onsite demonstration gardens, education programs and conservation research, as well as outreach programs to help people better see, appreciate, and connect with plants. A new school and community gardens program has already begun operations to teach food gardening to students and residents. (more …)

UF/IFAS names new associate vice president

Topic(s): Announcements, IFAS


Jeanna Mastrodicasa

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A 17-year University of Florida administrator and chairwoman of a key Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences committee has been named associate vice president of operations for UF/IFAS.

Jeanna Mastrodicasa worked for seven years as UF assistant vice president for student affairs before being appointed to the post by Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. She also serves as chair of the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education Advisory Board.

The PIE Center provides trusted communications research on current and emerging issues within agriculture and natural resources. Through the research, the center can more clearly determine how people form and act on opinions about these issues and provide recommendations for making strong messages.

Mastrodicasa will assume her new role Feb. 1.

“One of my goals is to learn as much as I can about what we do in IFAS,” she said. “It’s a statewide organization. I’m interested in listening. I want to know, ‘what can I do to help?’ I think it will be fun and exciting. It all comes back to relationships. That’s what makes IFAS and UF more successful.”

(more …)

A banner year for UF/IFAS in 2014

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Uncategorized
The University of Florida's historic College of Agriculture building.

See caption below.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida hired a new, land-grant-oriented president, brought on board preeminent faculty, celebrated Extension’s centennial, opened new facilities and made strides in fighting citrus greening.

Those actions top a brief list of accomplishments for UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in 2014. Here are 10 achievements by UF/IFAS faculty, staff Extension agents and students: (more …)

CALS Student Excellence Fund to honor longtime UF/IFAS employee

Topic(s): Announcements, CALS

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Emelie Mattews

GAINESVILLE, Fla. ─ Graduating transfer students in the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences can soon receive a special award named for a 35-year CALS employee.

The new CALS Student Excellence Fund will be renamed to honor college Admissions Coordinator Emelie Matthews, a longtime Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and CALS employee, when she retires next year.

In her position, Matthews works primarily with transfer students. She has been working for UF for 35 years. For 12 of those, Matthews also has served as an adviser for Sigma Alpha, a professional agricultural sorority.

“I’ve always tried to look at what’s best for the students and guide them, so that they can go out and be successful individuals,” Matthews said.
(more …)

New marketing help for smaller growers

Topic(s): Announcements, Economics, IFAS

Gainesville, Fla. – Small- and mid-sized growers often cite marketing as one of their greatest challenges. Yet, there never seems to be enough time or money to promote your products directly to those who may want to purchase them. Florida MarketMaker and Florida Food Connect are two resources managed by UF/IFAS that aim to help alleviate the burden of marketing for Florida’s growers. While Florida MarketMaker unites growers with potential markets throughout the state, Florida Food Connect is a tool that links schools with the local producers who can meet their needs.

Florida MarketMaker provides a free and simple, yet powerful, web-based search tool to connect with others across the food production and distribution chain. It is the largest and most in-depth food-related database of its kind, featuring a diverse community of more than 81,000 Florida businesses:  farmers/ranchers, fisheries, seafood dealers, farmers markets, food hubs, food pantries, processors/packers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, wineries, restaurants and other types of buyers.

Essentially, MarketMaker gives growers the power to create their own searchable websites, opening the door for a flood of buyers to discover them.

(more …)

New UF/IFAS preeminent researcher’s paper earns international journal award

Topic(s): Announcements, IFAS

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Arie Havelaar speaks at UF.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – An international journal has chosen a paper by a University of Florida professor hired as part of UF’s Preeminence Plan as one of its best papers of 2014.

The paper, titled, “Impact of Acquired Immunity and Dose-Dependent Probability of Illness on Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment,” was published in Risk Analysis and co-authored by Arie Havelaar and Arno Swart.

It presents a study that urges the public health community to carefully take acquired immunity into account to improve estimates of the potential impacts of infectious diseases and to help prevent and manage them.

(more …)

UF/IFAS hires preeminent faculty to research food systems, food safety, epidemiology and more

Topic(s): Announcements, IFAS

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Arie Havelaar

Jim Anderson (2)

James Anderson

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Karen Garrett

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – It doesn’t take long to figure out that James Anderson is not prone to easy platitudes.

The new University of Florida faculty member sees the large, systemic picture with its endless combinations of factors, each with the ability to make a food system succeed or collapse.

He sees the world as a complex and dynamic web of international trade, markets, regulatory institutions, diverse cultures and values, technology, environmental and biophysical interactions.

As the former leader of the global program on fisheries and aquaculture at the World Bank with expertise in food and resource economics, he sees connections everywhere: “When you eat farmed tilapia in Miami it impacts peoples’ lives and habitat in China; when the U.S. uses corn to produce ethanol to run our cars, the price of tacos in Mexico goes up; and when fisheries are depleted in Somalia and their food distribution systems fails, we end up with pirates in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.”

That kind of shades-of-gray thinking made Anderson the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ choice to lead its new food systems research hub.

Additional faculty members hired for the effort are Arie Havelaar, a globally-known expert in the spread of microbial food-borne illness; and Kansas State University professor Karen Garrett, an expert in epidemiology and modeling technology impact on agricultural systems.

(more …)

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