IFAS News

University of Florida

Strauss joins UF/IFAS fight against citrus greening

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Citrus, Crops, Extension, IFAS, RECs, Research, Soil and Water Science

Sarah Strauss

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new researcher has joined the University of Florida’s fight against citrus greening, which has devastated the state’s industry. Sarah Strauss, a soil microbiologist most recently from Davis, California, has accepted a position at the UF/IFAS Southwest Research and Education Center in Immokalee, Florida.

Strauss, an assistant professor with an Extension appointment, focuses on characterizing and managing plant and soil microbial community interactions to improve citrus and vegetable crop health and productivity. “The battle against citrus greening has looked at the rootstock, but not necessarily the soil. I hope my research can offer insight into what is going on with the soil of affected trees and how to improve the plant health by improving the soil,” she said.

According to Jack Payne, UF’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, Strauss is the only soil microbiologist in Southwest Florida. “Dr. Strauss is a critical hire because she brings unique skills and talents to the search for a cure to citrus greening,” Payne said. “In addition, she is passionate about helping stakeholders in Florida succeed. It’s one of the main reasons that she came to UF/IFAS—to share her knowledge with those who need it most.”

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Entomologist joins UF/IFAS to help solve citrus greening

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Citrus, Crops, Entomology and Nematology, Extension, IFAS, New Technology, RECs, Research

Qureshi

FORT PIERCE, Fla. – An entomologist with 10 years of research focused on the state’s iconic citrus industry has joined the faculty of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Indian River Research and Education Center.

Named Entomologist of the Year in 2012 by the Florida Entomological Society, Jawwad A. Qureshi was selected for a new position as assistant professor of entomology at UF/IFAS IRREC, near Fort Pierce, Florida. The UF/IFAS Fort Pierce location is part of the university’s statewide service to agriculture, providing research, extension and education for producers.

“Dr. Qureshi is one of the world’s few entomologists who have expertise in integrated pest management focused specifically on citrus,” said UF/IFAS IRREC interim director Ronald D. Cave. “His work is much needed in the region known worldwide for the highest quality fresh citrus product.”

According to Cave, Qureshi’s expertise with insect pest management for the citrus industry is critically valuable to the state’s citrus industry at a time when huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, has had a negative impact on the crop statewide.

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UF/IFAS 4-H welcomes Miss America 2016 to 4-H University on July 25

Topic(s): 4-H, Announcements, Families and Consumers, IFAS

MISS AMERICA 2016

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell, will deliver the keynote address at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension 4-H University. The event will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Monday, July 25 at the UF Reitz Union Grand Ballroom.

4-H University, UF IFAS Extension Florida 4-H’s flagship leadership event, is a weeklong overnight workshop for young adults ages 14 to 18, said Travis Shepard, UF/IFAS Extension state 4-H events coordinator. Attendees will participate in educational workshops led by UF/IFAS faculty, explore career opportunities and lead community service activities, he said.

“Students will not only interact with youth from across the state, but will also have fun while developing critical life skills that will help them become productive and engaged citizens,” Shepard said.

Cantrell, a 4-H alumna from Warner Robins, Georgia, will speak about the importance of setting goals and following your dreams, and the impact 4-H has had on her life, Shepard said. “She’ll also grace us with a song or two, and tell us about her experiences thus far as Miss America.”

According to Shepard, students are excited to meet a 4-H alumna who has realized her dreams. “We are thrilled to have such an accomplished and relatable 4-H alum serve as the keynote speaker of our opening ceremony,” he said.

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By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu

Source: Travis Shepard, 352-294-2901, t.shepard@ufl.edu

Finding Dory: UF/IFAS researchers find first-ever method to farm Pacific Blue Tang

Topic(s): Announcements, Environment, Families and Consumers, IFAS, RECs, Research
Blue Tang breeding in captivity news release on Tuesday, July 19th, 2016. Photo by Tyler Jones.

Blue Tang breeding in captivity./Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Finally, it may be possible for regular folks to find their own Dory, as researchers with the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory have successfully raised the Pacific Blue Tang in captivity. This is the first time that researchers have been able to raise the blue fish that now stars in a Disney movie.

“Like many research successes, it took a team of two UF biologists, faculty, graduate students and other staff to make it happen,” said Craig Watson, director of the UF Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, which is part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “We worked with Rising Tide Conservation and the SeaWorld-Busch Gardens Conservation Fund to find a way to successfully breed Pacific Blue Tangs. It was a delicate, time-intensive endeavor, but one that has paid off.”

The project began approximately six years ago, when Watson was approached by Judy St. Leger from Rising Tide Conservation, Watson said. The program’s primary goal is to develop production technologies for key marine ornamental species, including Pacific Blue Tang, he said.

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Celebrate Florida agriculture and natural resources, cheer on the Florida Gators Oct. 15

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

Spectators and fans in the stands of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during a UF football game.  Photo taken 11-07-15

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Farmers, ranchers, landscapers – and everyone in between – are invited to celebrate Agriculture and Gardening Day at the University of Florida’s homecoming football game, Oct. 15, 2016.

UF Athletics and the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are hosting the event and offering discounted tickets to anyone connected to agriculture in the state, including their families and friends.

“Florida’s agricultural, natural resources and related food industries add $140 billion to our economy and employ nearly 300,000 people,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “The industry is second only to tourism in Florida, and this is a great way to honor and recognize those who work so hard to put food on our tables and plants and flowers in our yards.”

The Gators are playing the University of Missouri Tigers, and tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, with limited seating available in the upper south end zone for $35 and the upper north end zone for $20.

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Rogers named director of UF/IFAS Extension south central district

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Extension, IFAS

Rogers photo

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Brenda Rogers has been named director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension south central district. This district encompasses 11 Florida counties in southwestern Florida, from Pasco County in the north down to Collier County in the south.

Rogers grew up in Manatee County, where her father was a third-generation dairy farmer and she was a member of her local 4-H club. This upbringing instilled a love of the land and the life it represents, she said, and gave her firsthand experience with the region’s people and the challenges they face.

“We are extremely pleased to have Brenda serving as our district Extension director for the south central district,” said Nick Place, dean and director of UF/IFAS Extension. “She has an outstanding background as a former Extension faculty member, county Extension director and former county department director, all highly aligned with this position. Moreover, she has a tremendous view of the many opportunities facing Extension and ideas on how we can best get there. We are very excited to have her as a key member of our statewide leadership team for UF/IFAS Extension.”

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Michael Dukes receives John Deere Gold Medal award

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Research, Soil and Water Science

Michael Dukes

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Michael Dukes, director of the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, has been honored with the 2016 John Deere Gold Medal award. Dukes is nationally recognized as an expert in irrigation and water conservation.

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers gives the award to recognize distinguished achievement in the application of science and art to the soil.

“It is a great honor to be selected by my peers for this prestigious award,” Dukes said. “I look forward to continuing my work in helping create sustainable landscape practices that will impact not only Florida, but the world.”

As a professor and UF/IFAS Extension irrigation specialist, Dukes conducts research on water conservation and efficient irrigation with a focus on landscape irrigation. His research is used to inform irrigation professionals, decision makers and other stakeholders on how to implement changes and manage landscape irrigation systems to maximize efficiency while maintaining aesthetically pleasing landscapes. His work is invaluable, said Wendy Graham, director of the UF Water Institute.

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UF/IFAS researchers to study how to reduce carbon dioxide in ranch soil

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Conservation, Environment, Green Living, IFAS, Livestock, Research, Soil and Water Science

A herd of beef cattle on a Florida ranch, trees, cows, grass. UF/IFAS Photo: Thomas Wright.

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers hope to reduce possible pollutants emanating from soils in Florida cattle ranches by using a $710,000 federal grant to study soil microbes.

In the new study, UF/IFAS researchers will use lab and field studies to investigate how pasture management and factors such as temperature and rainfall affect soil microbes. They’ll also look for genetic markers to get a glimpse into microbial identity. Genetic markers are genes or short sequences of DNA scientists use to find other genes on a genetic map.

“The goal is to put together a model that can predict the release of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide from soils under a climate that is expected to be warmer and experience more extreme dry and wet periods across the Southeast,” said Stefan Gerber, a UF/IFAS assistant professor in soil and water sciences and one of the investigators on the new study.

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UF CALS student one of 12 National Teach Ag Ambassadors

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, CALS, Honors and Appointments

National Teach AG ambassador 061316

Tyler D’Angelo

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences student will spend the next school year as one of 12 National Teach Ag Ambassadors, spreading the word about the importance of agricultural education and learning more about how to teach the subject.

Tyler D’Angelo will be a senior in agricultural education and communication in the fall and hopes to pursue his master’s degree in the same department after he graduates. After that, he hopes to teach agriculture.

“It is truly an honor to represent the profession that I love,” D’Angelo said. “I hope that through my ambassadorship that I will be able to bring more of a presence to the Teach Ag campaign to Florida. I also hope to encourage those interested in teaching agriculture to pursue a degree in agricultural education.”

Agricultural education and communication is an academic department within the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and Brian Myers, a professor in the department, nominated D’Angelo to be an ambassador.

“Tyler will be an outstanding Teach Ag Ambassador,” Myers said. “He has a passion and excitement for agricultural education that is evident the moment you meet him. He has a tremendous skill set that will allow him to tell the story about being an agricultural educator in meaningful and impactful ways. He will be a great representative of the agriculture teaching profession and of the University of Florida.”

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UF CALS student named as prestigious ‘Cultivator’ for national conference

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, CALS, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

Cultvator 062116

Will Dezern

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences student who researches how to improve peanuts has been named as UF’s first Cultivator for the 2016 Farm Foundation® Round Table.

Will Dezern, who recently earned a bachelor’s degree in plant science from UF CALS, participated the week of June 6 at the discussion forum in Louisville, Kentucky, where he presented a poster on his research. He is one of six students selected nationwide to attend the forum. Student participants are known as “Cultivators.”

“I am very excited about this opportunity to hear from agricultural leaders from around the country,” Dezern said during the conference. “Sometimes it is easy to be very focused on just one area of work, so I look forward to gaining a better understanding of the state of the industry as a whole. I’m very honored to have been chosen to attend the Round Table event, and I hope to come back with new ideas and perspectives.”

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