University of Florida

UF/IFAS professor receives USDA grant to help small food businesses

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

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences professor has been awarded part of a $4.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to continue her food safety outreach programs.

The grant, through the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), will be used for safety education, training and technical assistance projects for producers who are impacted by the new food safety guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Food Safety Modernization Act. The grants, made available through NIFA’s Food Safety Outreach Program, will assist owners and operators of small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, small fresh fruit and vegetable wholesalers, food hubs, farmers markets and others.

“Providing food safety training for small farm owners and food processors is critically important to the health of consumers,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “Outreach, training and technical support are essential to the successful implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act.”

Soohyoun Ahn, an assistant professor in food safety in the UF/IFAS food science and nutrition department, will receive $163,284 to continue her programs that help Floridians enter the food business. Ahn, who also has a UF/IFAS Extension appointment, is leading the food entrepreneurship extension program as the coordinator, and has delivered food safety education throughout the state to those who want to sell products at farmers markets, or who want to open their own food businesses in Florida.

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With Halloween candy, it’s a matter of moderation, UF/IFAS expert says

Topic(s): Uncategorized

A parent and two children sort through Halloween candy.

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A little candy goes a long way, especially during and after Halloween, says a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences nutrition expert.

As with any sugary food, consuming too much Halloween candy is not good for you, said Karla Shelnutt, a UF/IFAS associate professor in family, youth and community sciences and a statewide nutrition Extension specialist.

“It’s OK to eat some candy in moderation,” said Shelnutt. “I don’t think kids should be eating more than one to two pieces of candy a day.”

When the kids return home from trick-or-treating and they spread their sweets on a table, let them have a piece of candy, even two, she said. But then, parents should space out the rest of the candy over days or even a week or two. Candy also should not replace healthier snacks, such as fruit, Shelnutt said. It’s also important that parents explain to their children why they shouldn’t eat a bunch of candy at once, she said.

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UF/IFAS honey bee lab hosts beekeeper training Aug. 12-13

Topic(s): Extension, IFAS, Uncategorized

Painted honey bee hive boxes. Photo taken 08-13-15

DAVIE, Fla. — If you’ve always wanted to raise bees, here’s your chance. The University of Florida IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab will hold a beekeeper training workshop on Aug. 12 and 13 in Davie, Florida.

The South Florida and Caribbean Bee College will be held at UF/IFAS Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, 3205 College Ave., Davie, Florida, 33314. The two full days of courses will feature classes in pest control, honey extraction and queen care, among other topics.

“Bee College provides beekeepers with the proper tools and techniques they need to successfully keep honey bees in Florida,” said Mary Bammer, UF/IFAS Extension coordinator for the Honey Bee Research and UF/IFAS Extension Lab. “Beginner beekeepers will learn how to get started, those more experienced can pick up new practices, and participants who are just interested in bees in general will learn about the importance of bees to the environment and to everyday life.”

Cost to participate in the program ranges from $150 to $185 for both days. For more information, visit www.hbrel.eventbrite.com.


By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu

Source: Mary Bammer, 352-273-3969, bammerma@ufl.edu

Survey: Most Floridians concerned about food waste, safety

Topic(s): Uncategorized

A table of fresh fruit and produce at a farmer's market.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Often without much thought, Americans throw out more than one-third of all food grown in the United States each year. However, a majority of Floridians acknowledge food waste is a major concern.

­­­Sixty percent of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed that they are concerned about food waste in their household, according to a recent food waste survey of 500 Florida residents conducted by the Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida. The PIE Center is part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

It was also discovered through the survey that fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products most often go to waste. Oppositely, beverages, spices and seafood are the food items that go to waste least.

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Bill Castle, longtime UF/IFAS professor, inducted into Florida Citrus Hall of Fame

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Citrus, Cultivars, Economics, Extension, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, RECs, Uncategorized

Bill Castle

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Professor Emeritus William S. “Bill” Castle, who is internationally recognized as the leading authority on rootstocks and work that has shaped the entire Florida citrus industry, will be inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame on March 11.

“Dr. Castle inspired numerous students to become involved in the citrus industry, and many serve in leadership roles today,” said Jack Payne, senior vice president of agriculture at UF. “His impact on the citrus industry and the role he played were vital to the survival of that industry.”

Castle conducted research at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred for more than 30 years. His research has resulted in improved citrus scions and rootstocks, orchard designs and management of high density plantings, citrus propagation and pre-plant expert systems, windbreak design and establishment, along with pomegranate cultivars and plantings.

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UF creates trees with enhanced resistance to greening

Topic(s): Uncategorized
Application of an environment-friendly pesticide alternative developed from guava trees onto citrus trees in order to fight against citrus greening. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

LAKE ALFRED, Fla. — After a decade of battling the highly destructive citrus greening bacterium, researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have developed genetically modified citrus trees that show enhanced resistance to greening, and have the potential to resist canker and black spot, as well.  However, the commercial availability of those trees is still several years away.

Jude Grosser,  a professor of plant cell genetics at UF/IFAS’ Citrus Research and Education Center, and Manjul Dutt, a research assistant scientist at the CREC, used a gene isolated from the Arabidopsis plant, a member of the mustard family, to create the new trees.  Their experiment resulted in trees that exhibited enhanced resistance to greening, reduced disease severity and even several trees that remained disease-free after 36 months of planting in a field with a high number of diseased trees. The journal PLOS ONE recently published a paper on their study.

“Citrus crop improvement using conventional breeding methods is difficult and time consuming due to the long juvenile phase in citrus, which can vary from four to twelve years, “Grosser said. “Improvement of citrus through genetic engineering remains the fastest method for improvement of existing citrus cultivars and has been a key component in the University of Florida’s genetic improvement strategy.”

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UF to host Stop Hunger Now event on Nov. 19 to feed needy families

Topic(s): Uncategorized

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — According to recent studies, more than three million people in Florida fight hunger every day. The University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has joined the battle to eliminate food insecurity in the state.

UF CALS has teamed up with Collegiate Farm Bureau and Gator Wesley to package meals for needy families at the event, Stop Hunger Now, on Nov. 19. This is the third year that the organizations have collaborated to package meals.

“We want to plant a ‘service’ seed in our students and teach them that giving back can be simple, fun, impactful and meaningful,” said Charlotte Emerson, UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences CALS director of student development and recruitment. Event participants are asked to bring three nonperishable items, which will be donated to the UF Field and Fork Food Pantry.

Stop Hunger Now is a national program founded in 1998, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The program has provided more than 180 million meals in 65 countries. This year, Stop Hunger Now participants will package 45 million meals, and ship more than $9 million in donated aid, mainly vitamins and medical supplies.



By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu


Source: Charlotte Emerson, 352-392-1963, cemer@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS experts to share knowledge at 38th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo

Topic(s): Uncategorized
2010 Sunbelt Agriculture Expo in Moultrie, Georgia.

Sunbelt Agriculture Expo in Moultrie, Georgia.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Learn how protein production can more efficiently feed the world and how to prepare healthier family meals from University of Florida experts at the 38th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo – the largest agricultural expo in the southeast.

The Sunbelt Ag Expo, Oct. 20 to 22 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 has 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.”

UF/IFAS’s three branches, Extension, research and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) will host interactive booths.

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.


For more information, visit www.sunbeltexpo.com.



By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu


UF/IFAS West Florida REC to host Fall Harvest Dinner on Nov. 13

Topic(s): Uncategorized

WHO:   UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center will host the annual Fall Harvest Dinner on Nov. 13. Tickets are $50 per person and are tax deductible. Proceeds from the event will be used to convert an existing equipment building at the UF/IFAS West Florida REC in Jay into a conference facility for faculty, staff and students.

WHAT: The Fall Harvest Dinner is held each year to raise funds for the UF/IFAS West Florida REC. The mission of the center is to create and extend knowledge in agriculture and natural resources through teaching, research and Extension to improve the quality of life.

WHERE: The Fall Harvest Dinner will be held at the UF/IFAS West Florida REC, 4253 Experiment Road, Hwy 182, Jay, Fla., 32565.

WHEN: The dinner is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 13.

INFO: Tickets include dinner and show by comedian Lee McBride. Lee is a family friendly comedian and story teller. For more information or to buy tickets, call Robin Vickers at 850-983-7134.


By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu

Source: Robin Vickers, 850-983-7134, rvickers@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS to host renowned scientist for York-Malone Lecture on Nov. 2

Topic(s): Uncategorized

Naomi Oreske

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Are vaccines safe? Is climate change real? As the keynote speaker for the 2015 York-Malone Distinguished Lecture, Naomi Oreskes, a renowned researcher who investigated decades of documents proving misrepresentation of truth to the American public, will explain why we should trust science in a world that is skeptical.

The lecture, “Should We Trust Science: Perspectives from the History and Philosophy of Science,” will be held at 3 p.m., Nov. 2 at the University of Florida Auditorium, 333 Newell Drive. The event is free and open to the public. A book signing with the author will take place at 2 p.m. in the University Auditorium lobby.

“Dr. Oreskes is a distinguished scholar and a courageous defender of science,” said UF President Kent Fuchs. “We are pleased to host her on our campus.”

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