IFAS News

University of Florida

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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Longtime Duda executive named UF/IFAS Champion for 2016

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

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Hugh English, a key figure in the citrus industry known for his many contributions to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, has been honored as the 2016 UF/IFAS Champion.

English was recognized Dec. 1 at the Gulf Citrus Growers Association luncheon in Fort Myers, Florida. The UF/IFAS Champion Award honors those who strengthen the organization’s ability to excel in teaching, research and Extension, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.

“Hugh is a giant of the citrus industry and a great friend to UF/IFAS,” Payne said.

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UF/IFAS’s Folta named Pro Farmer Ag Person of the Year

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Renowned University of Florida genomics and photobiology researcher Kevin Folta has been named 2016 Pro Farmer Ag Person of the Year. Folta is professor and chair of the horticulture sciences department at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“Dr. Folta has been a leader in the fight against the anti-GMO movement for years,” said Chip Flory, Pro Farmer editorial director. “He was a natural choice for his leadership and many years of education on biotechnology, and for being committed to sharing that knowledge with the general public.”

Folta publishes a website and podcast titled “Talking Biotech” (www.talkingbiotechpodcast.com). Its purpose is to “help connect the public to current science and technology and let scientists tell the stories of how science can help our farmers, industrialized world consumers, the environment and the developing world,” Folta said. “The hope is this resource can explain how new tools can improve food security, reduce poverty and improve agricultural and medical practices.”

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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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UF/IFAS hires Baker as new Director of School of Forest Resources and Conservation

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has hired esteemed educator and researcher Terrell “Red” Baker as the new director of the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation. He begins his new position on April 1.

Baker is currently the chair of the forestry department at the University of Kentucky and the James Graham Brown Endowed Professor of Forestry. He replaces Tim White, who has retired.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Baker, who has a rich background in Extension, research and teaching,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “Dr. Baker brings a wealth of knowledge that can only help UF’s program in forestry, fisheries and geomatics become even stronger.”

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Accepting Academic Challenges to Reach Graduation

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

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. –  College was never a thought in Leigh Ann Skurupey’s mind as a high school student. Now, she’ll be graduating this week with a doctorate in animal sciences.

The University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) graduate student began her higher education journey in an effort to change people’s minds about her abilities. Skurupey has dyslexia, a learning disability that makes learning to read and interpret words, letters or symbols difficult. School has always been harder for her as she works daily to overcome her reading challenges.

Skurupey joined 458 UF/CALS students who graduated at 4 p.m. on Dec. 16, and 10 a.m. on Saturday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

As a high school student, Skurupey overheard her mother telling her younger brother he needed to work on improving his grades. Skurupey’s brother asked why their mother didn’t scold her for lower grades, to which their mother replied, “she’s just not quite smart enough.”

“Once I heard her say that, it was my only reason why I went to school – to prove her wrong,” Skurupey said.

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UF/IFAS environmental horticulture faculty and CALS students win awards at international conference

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

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) students and UF/IFAS faculty recently took home several awards at the 41st International Plant Propagators’ Society (IPPS) southern region conference. IPPS is a global network of plant production professionals involved in horticulture research and education.

“It’s important for our students to attend and participate in professional conferences, such as IPPS, because they learn from top experts in the horticulture fields,” said Sandra Wilson, UF/IFAS environmental horticulture professor. “Our students engage in important experiential learning opportunities such as conversing with professors and other experts who have written these students’ college textbooks.”

The following students, faculty and staff received awards at the conference:

Sidney B. Meadows Award of Merit

  • Mack Thetford, environmental horticulture associate professor at UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center.

 

The award recognizes an outstanding individual for his or her contributions to the nursery industry and plant propagation in the Southern region of North America; it is the highest honor bestowed upon a member.

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UF/IFAS CALS faculty awarded national USDA Excellence in Teaching awards

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

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – With exceptional track records for providing unique experiential learning opportunities to students, two University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) faculty have earned teaching honors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The UF/IFAS faculty members received Excellence in Teaching awards.

Eric McLamore, a UF/IFAS associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, earned one of two national awards in the New Teacher category. Nicole Stedman, a UF/IFAS professor of agricultural education and communication, received one of six regional awards across the nation. McLamore and Stedman received $2,000 each to put toward strengthening the instructional programs of their choice within CALS.

“CALS is proud of the work Dr. McLamore and Dr. Stedman have done to prepare students to address our world’s critical challenges related to agriculture, food systems, human wellbeing, natural resources and sustainable communities,” said CALS Dean Elaine Turner. “They provide a wonderful example of the kind of teaching excellence UF/IFAS educators promote around our state and across the nation.”

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CALS student wins prestigious award from UF International Center at the 22nd annual Outstanding International Student Awards Ceremony

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Erangi Heenkenda, a College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) master’s student, received the University of Florida International Center’s Scarborough-Maud Fraser Award at the 22nd annual awards ceremony held on Nov. 15. The center recognizes international students with exemplary academic records and a wide range of achievements each year.

The Scarborough-Maud Fraser award is sponsored by the Scarborough Insurance Company in honor of Maud Fraser, who provided outstanding service to international students at UF for 13 years before retirement. These international awards are part of UF’s priority to expand international perspectives in the classroom, as well as in research and service.

“International students comprise a significant percentage (about 36 percent) of CALS’ graduate student population,” said CALS Associate Dean Allen Wysocki. “These awards provide one small way CALS recognizes the contributions of our international graduate students. We are immensely proud of them and their achievements.”

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Veteran UF/IFAS economist named interim director of UF/IFAS Tropical REC

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Extension, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

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Edward “Gilly” Evans

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Edward “Gilly” Evans, a longtime agricultural economist at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Tropical Research and Education Center, has been named interim director of the center as the unit is hiring seven new faculty members.

The new scientists include an agro-ecologist (a combination of agronomist and ecologist) who will study, among other things, how production systems can remain profitable while conserving natural resources and protecting the environment. Other TREC hires include one of two hydrologists, two crop breeders, and a plant stress physiologist. A biogeochemist and a hydrologist will be hired in the near future.

Evans credits recently retired TREC director Chris Waddill for laying the groundwork for the seven new faculty positions. Once the new faculty are on-board, Evans will be supervising 100 full-time center employees, which will include 17 faculty members.

“It’s an exciting time for us because this will mark the beginning of a new chapter in TREC’s history that will bring us to a new level of excellence,” said Evans, a professor in the UF/IFAS food and resource economics department. “More and more, growers are looking to us to help with the many challenges they face, including increased foreign competition, a barrage of pests and diseases and climate change sea-level rises that threaten the quality and quantity of water resources in Florida. My emphasis over the coming year will be on completing the new hires and getting our scientists the help and tools they need to be more effective in doing their jobs.”

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