GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Leslie Sturmer is rooted in the culture – or should we say “aquaculture” – of Cedar Key.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension agent works with shellfish harvesters and farmers in the small North Florida Gulf Coast town.
“I’ve been in aquaculture my whole life,” said Sturmer, “I’ve lived here for 22 years. I’m married to a clam farmer. I’d like to think I provide assistance to the industry.”
Last month, Sturmer was honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the U.S. Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society.
“To be honored by your peers is very rewarding,” she said. “I’d hate to think it’s because I’m getting old. To see Cedar Key continue to be a working waterfront community, to see this community be supported by aquaculture is more rewarding than the plaque. But the plaque is recognition that your peers see you’re doing worthwhile work.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — To help inform agricultural producers, policymakers and the public about its accomplishments, the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is contributing to a new website, http://landgrantimpacts.org, that showcases projects by research and Extension programs at UF/IFAS and other land-grant universities nationwide.
By participating, UF/IFAS will raise awareness of accomplishments by its research arm, the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, and its Extension unit, the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
“We’re very pleased to contribute to this effort and inform our stakeholders about the great successes UF/IFAS faculty are having in research and Extension, which are two of UF/IFAS’ primary missions, along with education,” Payne said. “I’m often asked about the impacts of our work, and the Land-Grant Impacts website provides an excellent venue for us to demonstrate those impacts.”
The website provides brief narratives about individual research and Extension projects, submitted by land-grant institutions around the country. Florida is home to two land-grant institutions, UF and Florida A&M University. The database is searchable by state or region, as well as the year the posting was submitted and the subject matter the posting involves. (more …)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – UF/IFAS Extension is working with federal partners to offer a workshop in Miami in April to help interested parties write and submit federal grant applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion programs.
UF/IFAS is part of a national effort to train people in attaining these grants.
Workshops are being conducted across the nation, but the Florida workshop will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., April 8 at the Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department, 3071 SW 38th Ave., Miami. Pre-registration is not required but is strongly encouraged to ensure materials are available for all participants. Please register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/amsta-technical-assistance-program-tickets-15668841928.
With $30 million authorized annually through fiscal year 2018 by the 2014 Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awards grants to develop new markets for farm and ranch operations serving local and regional markets. The Farmers Market Promotion Program supports farmers markets and other direct producer-to-consumer activities, while the Local Food Promotion Program supports enterprises that aggregate, store, distribute and process local and regional food.
Spranger, left, and Kumaran
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty members will help a national effort to solve “wicked” community issues.
“Wicked issues” are not evil – they just can’t be easily fixed, said Michael Spranger, a professor in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences and one of the UF/IFAS faculty members selected for the program. Wicked issues are incomplete, contradictory or continually changing and involve many people come from diverse sets of values and beliefs, Spranger said.
“These issues cannot be easily fixed with a technical solution, but may involve discussions with those impacted by the decision to find common ground,” he said.
Muthusami Kumaran, an assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences, will join Spranger in the training program.
Issues they tackle could include obesity and wellness, food safety and security, low-income housing, poverty, homelessness, public safety, economic development and environmental protection and all matters in between.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Three new cultivars each of blueberry and coleus have been approved for release by a University of Florida panel.
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Cultivar Release Committee approved Avanti “FL 06-203,’ Arcadia ‘FL 07-399’ and Endura ‘FL 06-377’ – all blueberry cultivars.
Jim Olmstead, UF/IFAS assistant professor of horticultural sciences and a blueberry breeder, said the cultivars performed best in the central and southern part of Florida’s blueberry region, which includes Desoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Orange, Pasco, Polk and Sarasota counties. Those areas currently produce more than 50 percent of the state’s blueberries.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Seventeen young scientists at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have earned grants from the Dean for Research office, thanks to their innovative proposals addressing critical agriculture and natural resources issues that impact farm production and consumer behavior.
UF/IFAS scientists will examine a wide range of topics, including ways to detect E.coli in meat to herbicide resistance to developing better-tasting tomato products and why students don’t eat their school-provided lunches.
“The future of UF/IFAS and UF is driven by the young faculty that join us to build their careers and impact our world through their research, teaching, and extension efforts,” said Jackie Burns, dean of research at UF/IFAS and director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. “This year the IFAS Dean for Research office, in partnership with the senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and the vice president for research, has once again implemented an Early Career Scientist Seed Funding program to facilitate development of new faculty research, jumpstart their research programs and provide a platform for their future success.”
Burns called this year’s selection “highly competitive,” with 26 early career scientists presenting excellent proposals. After a rigorous review by a panel of UF/IFAS scientists, Burns announced the awards.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A creator of organic fertilizers, an inventor of tasty seasonings and a wealth-management advisor are just three of 12 alumni of the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences honored Feb. 6 for their entrepreneurial efforts.
UF recognized each of them for leading one of the 100 fastest-growing, most innovative and emerging companies at the inaugural Gator100 Awards at UF’s Reitz Union Grand Ballroom in a celebration organized by the Warrington College of Business Administration’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Ernst & Young calculated each company’s compound annual growth rate over the past three years to generate the ranking.
The honorees, their entrepreneurial efforts and their CALS degrees are listed in alphabetical order, by last name:
- Nate and Sarah Bazinet; founders of Sunshine Plumbing and Gas; Micanopy, Florida. In 2003, Nate earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and cell science, and Sarah earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in wildlife ecology and animal sciences. They founded Sunshine Plumbing and Gas in 2009. Prior to launching Sunshine Plumbing and Gas, Nate worked part-time in the plumbing industry while also working at the UF Cytogenic Lab, and Sarah was working as a veterinary technician and contemplating a career as a veterinarian. Together, they have grown the company to more than 30 employees and a service area reaching across central Florida from multiple regional offices.
- Chad Buckmaster; CEO of Processing Point; Carlsbad, California. Buckmaster earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 2002. Processing Point is a leading provider of innovative solutions for small businesses nationwide. Products range from cutting-edge, cloud-based timekeeping software to the latest in mobile payment processing and point-of-sale solutions. San Diego Business Journal named Buckmaster a 2014 finalist for its “Most Admired CEO” award.
- William “Bill” Hamm Jr.; founder and CEO of Independent Financial Partners; Tampa, Florida. Hamm earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 1979. He founded William E. Hamm and Associates, Inc. in 1995 and formed IFP in 2000. IFP consists of a national network of more than 500 advisors in 38 states, providing comprehensive wealth management services with $35 billion in assets under advisement.
- Robert “Mike” Lester Jr.; founder and CEO of Talon Wealth Management; The Villages, Florida. Lester earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 1996. He founded Epic Financial Group in 1998 and has grown it to a multimillion dollar financial service company. He then partnered with ING Financial Partners to provide independent investment services and in 2012, he rebranded his branch offices as Talon Wealth Management to continue providing independent investment advice and services.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have been awarded more than $13.4 million for four studies to help fight citrus greening, the devastating disease that threatens Florida’s $10 billion citrus industry.
The projects are funded through the Specialty Crop Initiative Citrus Disease Research and Education (CDRE) program, which is made available through the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill.
The following UF/IFAS research projects were funded:
- $4.6 million to develop an environmentally safe, systematic bacteriacide that can be applied with conventional spray or drench technology to reduce or eliminate pathogens in citrus trees. The goal is to recover fruit production in greening-affected orchards.
- $3.4 million to support ways to provide steam-generated treatments as an immediate, short-term solution to sustain productivity in HLB-affected trees, while reducing adverse effects on crop yield and fruit quality.
- $3.3 million to try to develop an HLB-resistant citrus cultivar.
- $2.9 million target the use of field trials in Florida to develop and effective microbial treatment for citrus plants affected by HLB.
- UF/IFAS is also partnering with the University of California-Davis on a $4.6-million grant that focuses on using new approaches to manage the Asian citrus psyllid, will assess the economic benefits of these approaches and will develop new outreach information.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – An agricultural economist who spent more than 30 years at Penn State has joined UF/IFAS as chairman of the Department of Food and Resource Economics.
Spiro Stefanou started Jan. 2 after being appointed by Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.
“Dr. Stefanou brings national and global expertise in agricultural and resource economics to UF/IFAS,” Payne said. “He can help propel the department to new heights as we help solve myriad world food issues, including hunger.”
Stefanou took over for Professor Rod Clouser, who served as interim chair after Professor Ray Huffaker returned to teaching and research at UF/IFAS.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For Marianna farmer and rancher Ken Barton, the combination of business and family is more than just a balancing act – it is his livelihood.
Barton is 10 years away from retirement, and concerned about how he will hand over the reins of the family business he established in 1979 to his son and son-in-law.
“I think one of the things that kind of sticks out in my mind – what will I need to do to make sure that when I’m ready to retire – or simply have a smaller share and smaller responsibility – how do I leave that to my children without a huge tax burden on them or me?” Barton asked recently. He owns 260 acres and leases another 1,500 to grow row crops and raise cattle. “That’s my concern ─ that we can transfer that farm and those assets to the next generation without hidden things – things that we’re not aware of that could cause us the most problems.”
Many Florida farming and ranching families face that same question, and that’s where the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Extension program, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Department of Financial Services, are stepping up with a new take on the 6-year-old Florida Saves program. It’s called Agriculture Saves ─ or AgSave$ ─ and it is designed to help farmers and ranchers make that transition from one generation to the next. (more …)