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IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS names new associate vice president

Topic(s): Announcements, IFAS

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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 …)

Range Cattle Research and Education Center dedicates new education building

Topic(s): Announcements, Extension, IFAS, Livestock, RECs

Ona education building opening 112014 (4)

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Cattlemen, Extension agents and other stakeholders soon can attend educational events at a new University of Florida facility dedicated to teaching how to manage the state’s grazing lands.

Officials dedicated and opened the Grazinglands Education Building Nov. 20 at UF’s Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona. At the same time, they recognized major donors and highlighted their “Campaign for Ona.”

About 6 million acres in Florida are used for grazing, said Range Cattle REC Director John Arthington.

The Grazinglands Education Building was made possible by more than $380,000 in private donations, state and federal money, Arthington said. The initial gift, a $150,000 grant awarded by the Mosaic Company Foundation, started the building’s construction. Most of the remaining funds came from the Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation, said Arthington, an Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty member.

(more …)

University of Florida receives part of $7 million grant to empower women farmers in Africa

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Extension, IFAS
An Ethiopian woman brings cow dung to market, which is sold as a fuel for fire. By Kathleen Colverson.

See photo caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – When Kathleen Colverson works in places like Mozambique, Tanzania and Ethiopia, she watches as women farmers rise before dawn to gather firewood and water to make breakfast for their families.

They send the older children off to school, strap their babies to their backs, and leave the 5-year-olds to watch the toddlers while the women head into the field to raise greens, corn and beans, said Colverson, associate director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ international programs – also known as IFAS Global.

At harvest time, they pick the crop, dry it and then process it – all by hand.  If they are fortunate, they belong to a women’s co-op, which helps them sell their crops and any crafts they make at home by firelight after cooking dinner.

“I have tremendous admiration for women farmers because they are such strong, capable people,” said Colverson, whose work is part of UF/IFAS’ mission to help farmers throughout Florida, the U.S. and the world learn about the latest crops and growing techniques.

The United States Agency for International Development recently awarded UF/IFAS part of a $7 million grant to help extension provide better reach to African women farmers, which will contribute to higher household incomes and improved nutrition.  USAID administers this and other programs, providing economic and humanitarian aid in more than 80 countries worldwide. (more …)

UF/IFAS organic strawberry research featured in e-book

Topic(s): Announcements, Crops, Cultivars, Economics

Organic strawberry e-book Javier L. - Jan28,2014 - Citra - Focus grup assessment - Open field (45)-X2

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A new e-book from the University of Arkansas System features University of Florida scientists’ quest to establish a Florida organic strawberry industry.

A chapter titled “Organic open-field and high tunnel strawberry cropping systems for long-term viability of the southeastern industry” examines the participation of five Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty in the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative sponsored by the Walmart Foundation.

(more …)

Lauded science communicator Alison Van Eenennaam to give fall York lecture

Topic(s): Announcements, Uncategorized

Alison Van Eenennaam

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – For scientists to better communicate with the public, they’ll have to use more than their brains: they’ll need their hearts and souls as well, says Alison Van Eenennaam, who will present the fall 2014 York lecture.

Van Eenennaam, a Cooperative Extension specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology at the University of California, Davis, will give a talk called “GMO Technology: What do the facts say?” Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. at Emerson Alumni Hall. The talk is free and open to the public.

(more …)

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