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IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS Extension program to control Tropical Soda Apple earns national award

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Biocontrols, Economics, Environment, Extension, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Invasive Species

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — St. Lucie County ranchers have saved an estimated $850,000 a year, thanks to University of Florida experts who taught them how to release a beetle to eat an invasive plant that normally elbows out valuable cattle forage.

“Using the Tropical Soda Apple beetle has resulted in significant cost savings for ranchers while at the same time protecting the environment by reducing the need to use herbicides,” said St. Lucie County Extension agent Ken Gioeli, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The program, which uses beetles to biologically control the Tropical Soda Apple (TSA) on St. Lucie County ranches, has won the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals National Innovative Program Award. That’s the fourth straight year UF’s St. Lucie County Extension Office has won a national award.

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5 faculty, staff win CALS teaching/advising awards

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

CALSFACULTY  - Mortensen 041315Amy AlexanderCALSFACULTY - Baldwin 041315CALSFACULTY - Lucky 041315CALSFACULTY - Monroe 041315

Left to right: Chris Mortensen, Amy Alexander, Rebecca Baldwin, Andrea Lucky and Martha Monroe.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Five University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences faculty and staff members have won the 2014-15 college teaching and advising awards for their contributions to advancing undergraduate and graduate student education.

The five will receive their awards at a banquet April 16, said CALS Dean Elaine Turner.

“These honored faculty and staff carry on a long tradition of excellence in teaching, advising and mentoring in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences,” Turner said. “One of our top priorities is to promote excellence in teaching, and this year’s honorees are passionate about what they do, bringing creativity and a personal touch to their work. I’m grateful for all they do every day on behalf of CALS students.”

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6 UF/IFAS faculty named as Research Foundation professors

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Biofuels, Citrus, Crops, Economics, Environment, Food Safety, Forestry, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Livestock, New Technology, RECs, Research

Robert Fletcher photographed for the 2011 FAES Awards.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler JonesRESEARCHFOUNDATION - Danyluk 041015Jim Jones (left), Bin Gao (seated), and Pratap Pullammanappallil.  Innovation Awards Portrait.  UF/IFAS File Photo.Zhenli He. Associate Professor, Soil and Water Science.Jose SantosRESEARCHFOUNDATION - Peter 041015
Pictured top (left to right) Robert Fletcher, Michelle Danyluk and Bin Gao; second row (left to right) Zhenli He, Jose Eduardo Santos and Gary Peter.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Six University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty members, who are trying to solve global issues like food safety and environmental sustainability, have been named as UF Research Foundation Professors for 2015-18.

The recognition goes to faculty who demonstrate a distinguished record of research and a strong research agenda that’s likely to continue to distinguish them in their fields.

“When I look at the breadth of research exemplified by these talented scientists, I am reminded of the complexity and breadth of the IFAS mission, and how fortunate we are to have people of such high caliber working in a university that places such a high value on research and invests so heavily in the research enterprise,” said Doug Archer, UF/IFAS associate dean of research.

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UF/IFAS termite pioneer selected for inventors hall of fame

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Entomology and Nematology, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

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Nan-Yao Su

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Nan-Yao Su, the University of Florida scientist who invented the Sentricon® system for termite colony elimination, has been selected for induction into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

Sentricon®, the first commercial baiting product for subterranean termites, has protected millions of structures, including the White House and the Statue of Liberty.

The Hall of Fame selection committee chose nominees whose inventions and achievements have “advanced the quality of life for Floridians, our state and our nation,” according to a letter to Su from hall of fame Program Manager William Nikolic.

Su said he feels honored to be mentioned alongside such great inventors as Thomas Edison and UF’s own Robert Cade, who invented Gatorade®.

“I am glad that I can contribute to the quality of life of many homeowners in Florida and worldwide,” Su said.

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UF/IFAS professor one of four to win prestigious advising/mentoring award

Topic(s): Announcements, Conservation, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

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Madan Oli

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Madan Oli, a professor in the University of Florida’s Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, has won the 2015 UF Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentoring Award. He is one of four doctoral advisors university-wide who received the award, which is given to faculty advisors who have an excellent track record of training outstanding doctoral students.

“This award means a lot to me because it is the highest recognition for an advisor at the University of Florida, and that gives me the confidence that what I’m doing is meaningful,” said Oli, a faculty member in the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “I feel good because I spend a lot of time working with students, and it’s very rewarding that that is being recognized.”

The award is given every year to about five advisors, who are selected on a competitive basis to promote doctoral studies and to recognize strong doctoral advising programs. UF’s graduate school evaluates faculty based on how well the doctoral students have performed in terms of their publications, job placements and impact on science and society. Nominations for the award come from current graduate students, graduate alumni, faculty members, graduate coordinators, department chairs, school directors, college deans and higher-level administrators. Each winner receives a $3,000 cash award, plus $1,000 to support their graduate students.

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Alachua County Extension agent named Statewide Master Gardener Coordinator

Topic(s): Announcements, Extension, Florida Friendly, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Lawn & Garden

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Wendy Wilber

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Wendy Wilber believes Florida’s immensely popular Florida Master Gardener Program can be the best in the country.

The veteran UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County environmental horticulture agent and master gardener coordinator has been named as the statewide master gardener coordinator for the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Wilber, who has worked as a county master gardener coordinator for 15 years, said in her cover letter for the position that her experience working with volunteers made her an ideal candidate. She coordinates about 140 volunteers.

Michael Dukes, a professor in the UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and director of the UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology, announced Wilber’s appointment. The center promotes the protection and preservation of Florida’s natural resources and quality of life through responsible landscape management.

Wilber starts her new position April 10.

“This position is important to the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology as well as to IFAS,” Dukes said. “With 4,000 volunteers, it’s a great way to disseminate scientific-based information. We are excited about bringing Wendy on board to lead this program.”

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UF/IFAS beef cattle specialist receives national Extension award

Topic(s): Extension, Honors and Appointments, Livestock

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences beef cattle specialist has received the Southern Section Extension Award given by the American Society of Animal Science.

Matt Hersom, an associate professor in animal sciences and an Extension beef cattle faculty member won the award Feb. 2 in Atlanta, Georgia. The award was given in collaboration with the award sponsor, Boehringer Ingelheim, Vetmedica Division.

To be eligible for the award, scientists must be southern region Extension specialists and make an outstanding and noteworthy contribution in animal science in beef cattle, swine, sheep, horses, goats, 4-H livestock or meats. The nomination was based on Hersom’s Extension accomplishments.

“I think what this award represents to me is acknowledgement from my peers of the quality of the Extension programs we’re doing here in the state of Florida,” Hersom said. “I think the great thing about Extension is that I won the award, but I don’t do my Extension programs by myself. I’ve had some great mentors, some great people and great specialists here in the department and county faculty throughout the state of Florida that have helped me along the way.”

Hersom has been a part of the American Society of Animal Science since he earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Iowa State University in 1995. He also earned a master’s degree in animal nutrition from Iowa State, with a focus on beef cattle grazing systems, and a doctorate in animal nutrition from Oklahoma State University. There, he focused on the effect of grazing systems on feedlot performance.

From day-to-day, Hersom fields calls from county faculty and producers and researches the effects of feeding strategies on beef cattle production. His UF/IFAS appointment is 60 percent Extension and 40percent research, but how much time he spends in each area depends on the week and the day, Hersom said.

“My favorite part about being an Extension specialist is being able to get out and interact with our clientele,” Hersom said. “My wife tells me ‘I can always tell when you come back from an Extension program because you’re in a good mood.’ I get a lot of job satisfaction out of delivering information and interacting with county faculty and clientele. I get the pleasure of working with different people form UF/IFAS employees to the farmer who has 10 cows to the manager of a 10,000-cow operation.”

Hersom also leads the Florida Beef Cattle Short Course program, the longest-running beef cattle short course program in the country and works with the Beef Quality Assurance program, an educational program for producers, teaching best management practices for animal production to make products safe, wholesome and nutritious. He has been working as an Extension specialist with UF/IFAS since January 2004.

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Cutline: Matt Hersom, an associate professor in animal sciences and an Extension beef cattle faculty member, has won the Southern Section Extension Award given by the American Society of Animal Science.

Credit: UF/IFAS file photo.

By Rachel LaVigna, 352-294-3302, rlavigna@ifas.ufl.edu

Source: Matt Hersom, 352-392-2390, hersom@ufl.edu

 

 

UF/IFAS awards 17 young faculty with research seed money

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Seventeen young scientists at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have earned grants from the Dean for Research office, thanks to their innovative proposals addressing critical agriculture and natural resources issues that impact farm production and consumer behavior.

UF/IFAS scientists will examine a wide range of topics, including ways to detect E.coli in meat to herbicide resistance to developing better-tasting tomato products and why students don’t eat their school-provided lunches.

“The future of UF/IFAS and UF is driven by the young faculty that join us to build their careers and impact our world through their research, teaching, and extension efforts,” said Jackie Burns, dean of research at UF/IFAS and director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. “This year the IFAS Dean for Research office, in partnership with the senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and the vice president for research, has once again implemented an Early Career Scientist Seed Funding program to facilitate development of new faculty research, jumpstart their research programs and provide a platform for their future success.”

Burns called this year’s selection “highly competitive,” with 26 early career scientists presenting excellent proposals. After a rigorous review by a panel of UF/IFAS scientists, Burns announced the awards.

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12 CALS alumni recognized for entrepreneurship

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

CALS breakfast reception for the Gator 100 alumni.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A creator of organic fertilizers, an inventor of tasty seasonings and a wealth-management advisor are just three of 12 alumni of the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences honored Feb. 6 for their entrepreneurial efforts.

UF recognized each of them for leading one of the 100 fastest-growing, most innovative and emerging companies at the inaugural Gator100 Awards at UF’s Reitz Union Grand Ballroom in a celebration organized by the Warrington College of Business Administration’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Ernst & Young calculated each company’s compound annual growth rate over the past three years to generate the ranking.

The honorees, their entrepreneurial efforts and their CALS degrees are listed in alphabetical order, by last name:

 

  • Nate and Sarah Bazinet; founders of Sunshine Plumbing and Gas; Micanopy, Florida. In 2003, Nate earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and cell science, and Sarah earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in wildlife ecology and animal sciences. They founded Sunshine Plumbing and Gas in 2009. Prior to launching Sunshine Plumbing and Gas, Nate worked part-time in the plumbing industry while also working at the UF Cytogenic Lab, and Sarah was working as a veterinary technician and contemplating a career as a veterinarian. Together, they have grown the company to more than 30 employees and a service area reaching across central Florida from multiple regional offices.
  • Chad Buckmaster; CEO of Processing Point; Carlsbad, California. Buckmaster earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 2002. Processing Point is a leading provider of innovative solutions for small businesses nationwide. Products range from cutting-edge, cloud-based timekeeping software to the latest in mobile payment processing and point-of-sale solutions. San Diego Business Journal named Buckmaster a 2014 finalist for its “Most Admired CEO” award.
  • William “Bill” Hamm Jr.; founder and CEO of Independent Financial Partners; Tampa, Florida. Hamm earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 1979. He founded William E. Hamm and Associates, Inc. in 1995 and formed IFP in 2000. IFP consists of a national network of more than 500 advisors in 38 states, providing comprehensive wealth management services with $35 billion in assets under advisement.
  • Robert “Mike” Lester Jr.; founder and CEO of Talon Wealth Management; The Villages, Florida. Lester earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 1996. He founded Epic Financial Group in 1998 and has grown it to a multimillion dollar financial service company. He then partnered with ING Financial Partners to provide independent investment services and in 2012, he rebranded his branch offices as Talon Wealth Management to continue providing independent investment advice and services.

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Penn State agricultural economist to lead UF/IFAS food and resource economics

Topic(s): Announcements, Economics, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

Spiro Stafanou

Spiro Stefanou

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – An agricultural economist who spent more than 30 years at Penn State has joined UF/IFAS as chairman of the Department of Food and Resource Economics.

Spiro Stefanou started Jan. 2 after being appointed by Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.

“Dr. Stefanou brings national and global expertise in agricultural and resource economics to UF/IFAS,” Payne said. “He can help propel the department to new heights as we help solve myriad world food issues, including hunger.”

Stefanou took over for Professor Rod Clouser, who served as interim chair after Professor Ray Huffaker returned to teaching and research at UF/IFAS.

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