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IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS helping those in need eat healthy for the New Year

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, Vegetables

Fresh vegetables at the farmers market.

SARASOTA, Fla. — Karen Maxey, 69, grew up on a farm eating fresh fruits and vegetables and maintained that healthy diet throughout her life.  But in 2007, the economy took a toll on her personal and professional life; she lost her real estate business and her home, and then her marriage collapsed.  She went back to school and graduated with a business degree at age 65, only to find her job search was in vain.

And so, though no fault of her own, she wound up a recipient of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – known as SNAP – which supplies her with $64 a month for food.

“So many seniors are really suffering,” said Maxey, who was thrilled when she found out that at some Florida farmer’s markets, her benefits could be doubled, up to $20, to enable her eat healthy, Florida-grown foods under a program called Fresh Access Bucks.  Some markets even double that per shopper, per market day, allowing SNAP recipients to purchase $40 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally. (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 …)

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 …)

Endangered green sea turtle, ‘IFAS,’ recovering from surgery

Topic(s): Conservation, Extension, Uncategorized

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – An endangered green sea turtle rescued last month in the lower Florida Keys was recovering today after surgery performed Friday to remove potentially life-threatening tumors from its eyes.

Shelly Krueger, a Florida Sea Grant agent who works with the University of Florida IFAS Extension in Monroe County, was leading a group of Florida Master Naturalist students on a snorkeling trip at the Mote Marine Lab Center for Tropical Research’s coral nursery, in the lower Florida Keys when they discovered the turtle.

(more …)

Three UF/IFAS Extension agents earn national recognition

Topic(s): Announcements, Extension, Families and Consumers, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

Mary Keith award1Betsy extension award

Extension awards Adrian Hunsberger1

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Three veteran University of Florida Extension agents have earned national recognition for outstanding leadership, diversity and international service.

Epsilon Sigma Phi, a national honorary fraternity that encourages professional development for the nation’s Extension agents, recognized Mary Keith, Mary E. “Betsy” Crisp and Adrian Hunsberger at its annual conference in Indianapolis in October.

Keith, Crisp and Hunsberger have worked for UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, collectively, for about 50 years.

(more …)

UF/IFAS teen anti-substance abuse program proves successful

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

Kate Fogarty.  Family, Youth and Community Sciences. Muthusami Kumaran.  Family, Youth, and Community Sciences.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida program aimed at helping young people avoid alcohol and illegal drugs works well, new research shows.

Health Rocks!, an Extension curriculum facilitated by the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Florida 4-H Youth Development Program, teaches middle school students life skills.

UF/IFAS Extension agents, faculty and the National 4-H Council teach Health Rocks! Many times, the professionals train schoolteachers and volunteers, who teach middle school students the curriculum.

The study’s results show the Florida curriculum helps to increase young people’s knowledge and to change their attitudes about drug use and may help them avoid illegal substances, said Kate Fogarty, an associate professor in UF/IFAS’ family, youth and community sciences and a study co-author.

(more …)

Learn from UF/IFAS Extension experts at 37th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo

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

Sun Belt Ag Expo Russ Mizzell

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Find out when to plant crops, how to can foods safely and how to use paper to pot plants from University of Florida experts at the 37th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo – the largest agricultural expo in the southeast.

The Sunbelt Ag Expo, Oct. 14-16 in Moultrie, Georgia, draws more than 100,000 people each year.

“The Sunbelt Expo gives people from all walks of life a chance to learn about everything Extension offers from our experts,” said Nick Place, dean of Extension for UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The expo features the latest agricultural research, a live farm harvest and insights into various agricultural businesses, according to its website.

UF/IFAS will have a permanent building, popular with visitors because of engaging displays and giveaways such as peanuts from the Florida Peanut Growers Association, Florida Orange Juice provided by Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company and many other “Gator Giveaways.”

This year, the Extension Service celebrates the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which created the national service, through which agents deliver unbiased research data to the public. Florida’s program remains as viable as ever, helping its many stakeholders. That includes guiding growers to maximize production through the most efficient use of their resources.

UF/IFAS’s three branches, Extension, research and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) will host six interactive booths with the theme “Solutions for the Next 100 Years.”

Experts will interact with the public on several topics:

  • “Canning parties” were some of the first Extension programs to help people better understand how to safely preserve foods. Expo visitors can learn more about this tradition as Family and Consumer Science Extension agents share from the past and present to provide the latest innovations for home food preservation.
  • 4-H is one of UF/IFAS’ oldest recognized Extension programs. See how youth are leading and learning to meet the challenges of the next century. Visitors will learn about a 4-H recycling project and can take home a start to their family garden.
  • Farming tools and methods are constantly improving. Visitors can see some of UF/IFAS’ favorites from the past and contrast them with flying drones and infrared scanners for today and the future. These new tools aid farmers in early identification of disease, pest and nutritional problems.
  • Natural Resource and Sea Grant Extension agents are bringing Florida’s beaches and bays to Georgia. Touch tanks and displays with animals will highlight this exhibit focused on beach and boating safety and stewardship.
  • Horticulture displays will give visitors insight into establishing a Florida Friendly yard by using appropriate plants and cultural methods. Butterfly gardening plants will be featured. Visitors will also learn how to distinguish beneficial insects from problem pests.
  • Visit with CALS Ambassadors and learn about life as a student at the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Ambassadors will give information about major programs, admission, enrollment and hand out plenty of Gator goodies.

The expo is on 1,680 acres, 4 miles southeast of U.S. 319 (Veteran’s Parkway) on Georgia Highway 133 near Moultrie. Expo hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. Admission price is $10 per person per day, or $20 for a three-day pass. Children 10 and under get in free, if they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For more information, go to www.sunbeltexpo.com.

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Writer: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

Source: Nick Place, 352-392-1761, nplace@ufl.edu

Cutline: Russ Mizell, a UF/IFAS entomology professor, who conducts research and does Extension work from the North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy, is seen at a recent Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga. UF/IFAS Extension experts will again be at this year’s expo, Oct. 14-16.

Credit: UF/IFAS photo by Tyler L. Jones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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