IFAS News

University of Florida

Motivational speaker Chris Koch to visit UF students, Gainesville community

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Canadian farmer and motivational speaker Chris Koch, who was born without arms and legs, will speak to students and the public at the University of Florida on March 13 and 14.

After attending the 2016 Ag Media Summit where Koch spoke, several members of the University of Florida Agricultural Communicators and Leaders of Tomorrow (ACLT) club knew he was someone the larger UF and Gainesville community needed to hear.

Despite the challenges Koch faces, he chooses to take life in stride and make the best of every situation. He spreads the message “If I can” to the public. Koch uses his message to inspire others to overcome their own obstacles, and has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Koch will speak at the UF J. Wayne Reitz Union grand ballroom at 6 p.m. on March 13 and again at 9 a.m. on March 14 at the Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center. The events are free and open to all. Participants are encouraged to bring two non-perishable food items for the Alan and Cathy Hitchcock Field and Fork Food Pantry on campus.

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UF CALS alumnus named vice president of national Society of American Foresters

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, CALS, Forestry, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. –  After a summer job working along the Oregon border in California for the U.S. Forest Service, Dave Lewis knew a career in forestry was his calling. With nearly 40 years of forestry experience, Lewis has continued to find the industry to be a rewarding profession.

Lewis will channel his passion for forest management into his new role as vice president of the national Society of American Foresters (SAF).

“Dave has a strong moral and professional character with outstanding leadership skills,” said SAF 2015 president Bob Alverts. “It was a well-informed choice to elect him. He has ideas to move this organization forward and grow it into one that is inclusive, benefits members and will continue to achieve objectives by having the resources with which to do so.”

Previously, Lewis served on the 2012-2014 SAF board of directors representing Florida, Georgia and Alabama. After his first year as SAF vice president, Lewis will serve for another two years on the board of directors as president and immediate past-president. Lewis said he is most looking forward to meeting and working with foresters from all over the country.

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UF students present solutions to global issues at One World 2017 competition

Topic(s): CALS, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. –  By the year 2050, more than nine billion people will populate Earth. The University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Challenge 2050 project aims to contribute solutions to the challenges associated with this population rise, such as issues related to food security. As part of Challenge 2050, six UF students presented their ideas to address such concerns during the third annual One World competition held Feb. 16.

“There’s never been a more exciting time to be a CALS student,” said Jack Payne, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, who spoke at the event. “Feeding the world is more complex than ever. Solutions aren’t all going to come from our National Academy members and faculty who are decades into their careers. Great ideas come from students with fresh perspectives.”

Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010 consumed the thoughts of 15-year-old Drew Carlton, now a senior CALS student participating in Challenge 2050. After mission trips and nutrition research as a CALS microbiology and cell science student, Carlton began thinking of a potential solution to eradicate cholera through cleaner water practices in Haiti. At One World 2017, Carlton presented his idea of developing mountaintop microfiber nets connected to pipes as a water purification system.

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UF CALS honors 11 alumni recognized as Gator100 recipients

Topic(s): CALS, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. –  Nine companies owned or led by University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) alumni were named to UF’s 2017 Gator100. Of these companies, three were ranked in the top 25. All but two of the nine companies have been named to the Gator100 previously.

Sponsored by the UF Alumni Association, in partnership with the UF Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, the Gator100 identifies and celebrates the 100 fastest-growing, Gator-owned or Gator-led businesses in the world each year since 2015. Ernst & Young calculated each company’s compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past three years to generate the ranking.

“The Gator100 is a campus-wide initiative that recognizes the entrepreneurial spirit entrenched in the university,” said Timothy Walsh, the executive director of the UF Alumni Association and assistant vice president of Alumni Affairs. “UF alumni have created and guided some of the most innovative and profitable businesses in the nation and world. The Gator100 celebrates the very best of our Gator entrepreneurs.”

The following companies owned or led by CALS alumni were recognized as Gator100 honorees:

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UF CALS student selected as finalist in U.S. Presidential Management Fellows Program

Topic(s): CALS, Environment, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. –  A University of Florida student is eligible for fast-track appointment to government occupations as a finalist of the U.S. Presidential Management Fellows Program. The program is reserved for individuals across the nation with advanced degrees who have gone through a rigorous selection process to become finalists.

As a finalist, Natalie Nelson, an agricultural and biological engineering Ph.D. candidate, will have access to a jobs portal for the full 2017 year where she can apply to positions that interest her. Less than 7 percent of the applicants to the program received this honor.

“A lot of [the fellowship program] is higher level work with high impact,” said Nelson. “It’s very much an applied science. Most of the job portal has career offerings in law, health care administration, foreign diplomacy and similar positions. Science positions are a minority, but I plan to apply to all the jobs related to water. Regardless of if I get a job through this fellowship, I’m most interested in having meaningful impact through my work.”

The Presidential Management Fellows Program is administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and has existed for more than 30 years for the purpose of developing potential leaders in the U.S. government. The 2017 finalists represent 59 disciplines, 141 academic institutions and 41 veterans, according to the program website.

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UF/CALS student named prestigious 2017 “Cultivator” at national Farm Foundation® conference

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, CALS, Crops, Cultivars, Departments, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) student who studies improvements to production and quality of grapes has been named UF’s second Cultivator at the 2017 Farm Foundation Round Table.

Crystal Conner, a plant science major, was one of six college students across the nation recognized as rising leaders in agriculture. The students shared their research during the conference hosted the week of Jan. 4 in Irvine, California.

“It was such an honor to first be selected by CALS Dean Elaine Turner, and then to secondly be chosen by the Farm Foundation Round Table to present my research,” Conner said. “I began this project because I wanted to learn more about tissue culture and its future possibilities. I never imagined that others would gravitate toward the possibilities of its impact at such a fast rate.”

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UF honors Marjorie Reitz Turnbull with Distinguished Service Award

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Graduation, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Marjorie Reitz Turnbull was presented with the Stephen C. O’Connell Distinguished Service Award by the University of Florida at the 10 a.m. fall graduation ceremony on Dec. 17. The award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon UF alumni, recognizing exceptional public service to the state of Florida or the nation at large.

Turnbull was nominated for the award by the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) and UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). Turnbull earned her undergraduate degree in political science from CLAS, and continues to honor her father J. Wayne Reitz’s legacy at UF. She has endowed a fund for the J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence Award given to an outstanding senior in CALS to honor her father’s service as provost of agriculture (1949-1955) and fifth president of UF (1955-1967). Her late husband Augustus B. Turnbull III was a former provost of Florida State University.

“Ms. Reitz Turnbull has continuously served the University of Florida by maintaining a relationship with students and alumni, and returning to Gainesville to support the University’s various projects such as the renovation and expansion of the J. Wayne Reitz Union,” said retired UF Vice President for Student Affairs David Kratzer in his letter of support for Turnbull’s nomination.

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UF honors Louis E. “Red” Larson with Distinguished Achievement Award

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Graduation, IFAS, Livestock

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Louis E. “Red” Larson was presented with the Distinguished Achievement Award by the University of Florida at the 10 a.m. fall graduation ceremony on Dec. 17.

The award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon a UF supporter. The award recognizes exceptional achievements of the individual in his or her chosen profession, demonstrated leadership, and other exemplary accomplishments that merit special recognition by the university. Larson was nominated for the award by the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS).

Larson’s first job as a Miami Daily News paperboy in the 1930s enabled him to purchase his first cow. He worked on weekends and during summers to hand-milk cows for a local dairyman. In 1947 he began his own dairy farm and now Larson Dairy, Inc. is one of the largest dairy operations in the Southeast, producing more than 200 million pounds of milk annually.

“Through [Larson’s] hard work, entrepreneurial spirit, business ability and willingness to embrace modern science and cutting edge management practices, he built Larson Farms from the ground up by leading people and building a team of employees that believed in Larson and his vision for modern dairy operation,” said the Executive Vice President of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association Jim Handley in his letter of support for Larson’s nomination.

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UF CALS honors outstanding supporters, celebrates award-winning student leaders at graduation

Topic(s): Announcements, CALS, Graduation, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida honored distinguished College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) supporters and outstanding students at the 10 a.m. fall graduation ceremony on Dec. 17. Two of three Outstanding Four-Year Scholars were CALS students, and two of three Outstanding Student Leaders were CALS students.

Outstanding Four-Year Scholars – Jeanelle Brisbane and Kelly Schwanebeck

Outstanding Student Leaders – Brooke Cicero and J. Clay Hurdle

Outstanding Four-Year Scholars were chosen by a UF selection committee that considered grade point average, curriculum, academic awards, research projects or honors thesis. The students began at UF as freshmen and have minimal work conducted at other institutions. Outstanding Student Leader awards were given by the UF Alumni Association and chosen by a selection committee that considers the quality and scope of leadership activities, university-wide leadership, experience, special awards and recommendations of faculty, staff and students.

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UF/IFAS SHARE Council honors HM.CLAUSE CEO for volunteer service

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

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Matthew Johnston, chief executive officer for international vegetable seed company HM.CLAUSE, has been named 2016 Volunteer of the Year by the UF/IFAS SHARE Council, a volunteer leadership board that works to secure sources of private support for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Johnston was honored Dec. 12 at a dinner event held in downtown Gainesville at the Old Gainesville Depot Building at Depot Park.

“Matthew is a valued partner in UF/IFAS’ mission to improve the lives of all Floridians through science,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources. “He has shown a strong commitment to our institution, its people and its future, and this award celebrates that friendship.”

During his acceptance, Johnston stated, “Florida is in a unique position to advance agriculture both in the state and around the world. I am grateful for the partnership with UF/IFAS and look forward to a bright future filled with opportunities.” Johnston was instrumental in securing financial support from HM.CLAUSE and parent company, Limagrain, for the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ Challenge 2050 Project. The project aims to find ways to meet the agricultural and natural resource needs of 9.6 billion people, the projected global population of 2050.

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