IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS Celebrates Arbor Day with an art contest in Seffner

Topic(s): Agriculture, Conservation, Environment, Extension, Forestry, IFAS

A pond at the UF/IFAS Santa Fe Beef Teaching Unit.  Photo taken 09-24-15.

GAINESVILLE, Fla.— Arbor Day is approaching and Seffner, Florida, residents are geared up to celebrate with an Arbor Day mail art contest presented by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Hillsborough County.

National Arbor Day, April 29, is a time for the global community to come together and celebrate the importance of trees by planting new ones and taking care of the trees already in existence. Trees play an essential part in the ecosystem because they provide clean air and water as well as slow climate change. They also prevent species loss and alleviate poverty and hunger.

This year’s Arbor Day theme for the mail art contest is titled “I appreciate trees because…” Contestants will submit their art, along with their name, age and number, to the Extension office for a chance to be one of three winners. The categories are divided by three age groups: child, youth and adult. Three winners will receive a tree planting kit worth $100, and their art work will be displayed in the lobby of the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County office.

The winners from each age group will be chosen before Arbor Day, and they must be present at Kerby’s Nursery on April 29 at 6 p.m. to receive their prizes.

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By: Brinkley Clark, 954-600-8257, brinkleycclark@ufl.edu

Source: Nicole Pinson, 813-744-5519, nicolepinson@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS Extension Broward County program prevents tree abuse through education

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A volunteer of the Duval County Tree Stewards trims a tree limb at a park near Jacksonville, Florida.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Have you ever had a tree trimmed back to bare bones because you thought you were getting your money’s worth? You may be guilty of tree abuse, says a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension agent.

For the last 16 years, the UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Tree Trimmer Program has been teaching tree trimmers and arborists in South Florida how to avoid tree abuse with best pruning practices. Broward County requires tree trimming businesses to be certified and licensed, and the Extension program provides the certification training. Since its start in 2001, the program has issued between 10,000 and 11,000 certifications.

UF/IFAS Extension Broward County agent Michael Orfanedes developed and now oversees the training program. Orfanedes said that when it comes to pruning trees, “Some customers think that the more that gets removed, the better the job.” However, certain pruning practices are considered tree abuse because they can make trees vulnerable to decay and instability. “When trees decline and fall apart, there can be liability and loss of property,” Orfanedes said.

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UF/IFAS scientist: Pinellas County a model for mosquito-borne disease surveillance

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pests

Mosquito surveillance 042016 - Jonanthan Day

Jonathan Day

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As we inch closer to summer and its inevitable rain, we also head toward mosquito egg-laying season. And as we do, Florida mosquito control officials may learn to emulate Pinellas County’s mosquito-borne disease surveillance program and its response to a West Nile virus outbreak in 2005, a University of Florida entomologist says.

“They have a top-notch mosquito surveillance program in Pinellas County,” said Professor Jonathan Day, a faculty member at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “That’s the model that we always go back to. They averted a much larger West Nile epidemic in 2005.”

Day will speak April 26 at the Southwest Regional Workshop on Arboviral Surveillance in Lehigh Acres, Florida. The workshop is organized by the Florida Mosquito Control Association and FMEL, and participants will analyze the 2011 and 2015 South Florida surveillance data regarding mosquito-borne viruses.

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Florida citrus growers: 80 percent of trees infected by greening

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Crops, Economics, Extension, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

Small lopsided fruit from greening-infected citrus tree.  Spring 2008 Impact Magazine image.  UF/IFAS File Photo.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s citrus growers say as much as 90 percent of their acreage and 80 percent of their trees are infected by the deadly greening disease, which is making a huge dent in the state’s $10.7 billion citrus industry, a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences survey shows.

The survey, conducted in March 2015, shows the first grower-based estimates of both the level of citrus greening in Florida and the impact of greening on citrus operations in Florida.

“Even though the industry acknowledges that greening has reached epidemic proportions across the state, estimates of the level of infection and its impact on citrus operations are scarce,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

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UF/IFAS will host entrepreneur workshop for future Florida business owners on May 13 and 27

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition
Soohyoun Ahn.  Assistant Professor.  Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Soohyoun Ahn. Assistant Professor. Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Gainesville, Fla.— Do you have a passion for cooking and want to invest your ideas in a restaurant? The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension offers helpful information at the “How to Start a Food Business in Florida” workshops on May 13 and 27.

Anyone who is interested in running his/her own food business in Florida can attend the one-day workshop at one of the two locations and dates. The May 13 workshop will be held at Straughn UF/IFAS Extension Professional Development Center in Gainesville; the May 27 event will be held at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee, Florida. Both workshops will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“How to Start a Food Business in Florida” workshop will provide participants with general information on food safety and quality, basic food science, business planning, and federal and state regulatory requirements for food businesses.

The registration fee for the course is $125; early bird registration by April 30 is $100. Registration includes course materials, lunch, coffee breaks and certificate of completion. Register by May 6 for the Gainesville workshop at http://tinyurl.com/FoodBusinessGNV, and by May 20 for the Immokalee workshop at http://tinyurl.com/FoodBusinessImmokalee. Classes will be limited to the first 45 registrants for each site.

For more information, contact Dr. Soo Ahn at sahn82@ufl.edu or 352-294-3909.

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By: Brinkley Clark, 954-600-8257, brinkleycclark@ufl.edu

Source: Soo Ahn, 352-294-3909, sahn82@ufl.edu

Veteran biologist named director of UF/IFAS entomology lab

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

Jorge Rey 040516

Jorge Rey

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Just as the Zika virus is causing concern worldwide, a University of Florida insect specialist with 36 years of experience at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory has been named the lab’s new director.

Professor Jorge Rey started at FMEL, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, in 1979, the year the Vero Beach, Florida, lab came under UF’s umbrella. He moved up the faculty ranks from research scientist to professor in 1994 and was named interim director last year. Now, he’s the lab director, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

“With his many years of top-quality research and his time as interim director of the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, Dr. Rey has earned the respect of the lab’s faculty members. Thus, he’s an ideal fit as director,” Payne said. “Dr. Rey is well-positioned to lead the FMEL scientists to new heights in research and Extension as we continue to look for solutions to mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika.”

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UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County agent awarded $2.67 million contract to train inmates

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

Lloyd Singleton. Photo taken on 9-2-15

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — More Florida inmates will have an opportunity to leave prison with real job skills and likely reduce their chances of being reincarcerated, thanks to a contract between the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Lloyd Singleton, an extension agent with UF/ IFAS Extension Sumter County, was recently awarded a $2.67 million contract to expand a vocational training program. Singleton leads a program to teach horticulture and culinary arts at the Federal Correctional Center in Coleman, Florida.

The five-year contract will help organizers expand a current program that offers horticulture training, Singleton said. He has headed the program for five years, which offered horticulture training to approximately 80 inmates a year. Now, the new contract will include culinary arts and will allow organizers to train more inmates.

“In the past five years, we have trained 415 inmates, 195 of whom have been released. Only seven of those released have been re-incarcerated,” Singleton said. “The recidivism rate of four percent is substantially lower than the national average, which shows that giving inmates training before they leave prison helps them to become productive citizens.”

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Rural residents seek farmers markets, UF/IFAS study shows

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, Research

 

 

 

 

Buying and selling at an outdoor farmers' market

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — People who buy their produce from farmers markets love the freshness and nutritional value of the product. Not only that, rural residents seek out such markets more than urban residents, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher says.

The latter finding surprised the researchers, led by Alan Hodges, an Extension scientist in the UF/IFAS food and resource economics department.

“We interpret this effect as due to greater awareness of farming and farm-fresh foods in rural areas,” Hodges said. “The finding also suggests that rural households may be seeking out farmers’ markets as a travel destination rather than as part of a multi-stop shopping trip, as would often be the case with urban consumers. In addition, there is greater competition among food retailers in urban areas, simply due to the larger number of venues available.”

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Local, organic top consumers’ desired qualities in $280 million fruit-producing plant market

Topic(s): Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, Lawn & Garden, RECs, Research

Grape vine with grapes

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — If you’re a consumer in the market for a fruit-producing plant, you’re more likely to buy one if it’s locally grown or organic, an important finding for those making their living in the approximately $280 million-a-year niche U.S. market, new University of Florida research shows.

Limited availability of organically produced edible plants has created markets for these types of plants, according to a new Extension document, http://bit.ly/21KQ6zb, co-authored by Assistant Professor Hayk Khachatryan and Post-doctoral Researcher Alicia Rihn, both researchers at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

As part of a larger study, Khachatryan and Rihn tested 95 Floridians to investigate the effects of plant type, price, production method and origin on consumer preferences for fruit-producing plants. They asked participants to look at images of fruit-producing plants with different attributes and rate them on a scale, with 1 being very unlikely and 7 being very likely to purchase.

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UF/IFAS researcher: Signs can help conserve natural resources in urban neighborhoods

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, Green Living

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Please see caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher wants to help you engage your neighbors to conserve urban biodiversity.

Mark Hostetler, a UF/IFAS professor of wildlife ecology and conservation, sees educational signs in neighborhoods as a way to nudge people to change their landscape practices, among other activities.

“Such signs can help homeowners understand ways to manage their homes, yards and neighborhoods in a more sustainable way,” Hostetler said.

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