IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS Extension program collects mosquito repellent for the homeless

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

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BROOKSVILLE, Fla. — Experts agree that one effective way to protect yourself against mosquitoes —and the diseases they can transmit — is to wear mosquito repellent. But for homeless people, getting access to this kind of protection can be difficult.

In response, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Hernando County launched Operation Skeeter Stop. Through this program, organizers collected 313 donated containers of mosquito repellent and distributed them to the Hernando County homeless community through the Homeless Ministry of Brooksville and the Bread of Life Ministry.

Operation Skeeter Stop is a collaboration among several UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County programs, including Florida Sea Grant, Florida Friendly Landscaping, 4-H Youth Development and Florida Master Gardeners, along with Hernando County Mosquito Control and the Florida Department of Health, said Brittany Scharf, UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County Florida Sea Grant agent.

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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 researcher to lead $1 million study to increase global wheat production

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Extension, IFAS, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher will lead a nearly $1 million project to increase worldwide wheat yield potential to help feed an anticipated 9.5 billion people globally by the year 2050.

To do this, Md Ali Babar, a UF/IFAS agronomy assistant professor and his team of researchers, hope to increase the harvest index from 45 to 60 percent, which translates to much more wheat. The harvest index quantifies a crop’s yield versus the amount of biomass – shoots and roots – that it produces.

“This will increase wheat yield and improve food security for a growing population,” Babar said.

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4-H Tech Wizards gives Hastings youth science education, confidence

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

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Each week, 28 middle schoolers from Hastings, Florida, gather at the W.E. Harris Community Center, where they practice programming robots to light up and move around or learn the physics behind the bow and arrow. These 4-H Tech Wizards are not just getting a leg up in STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—but also developing life skills they might otherwise miss out on.

“Most of these youth have grown up under difficult circumstances,” said Julia Kelly, 4-H agent with University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension St. Johns County. “Some were born drug addicted or come from homes that receive public assistance, while others are cared for by a single parent or have one parent who is incarcerated.”

UF/IFAS Extension St. Johns County is one of six Florida counties—including Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Duval, Osceola and Broward—that has a 4-H Tech Wizards program.

“Youth arrive with a with a variety of science backgrounds and skill levels, so our goal is to supplement what they are learning in class and spark an interest in science they may not have known they had,” said Kelly.

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Learn more about Florida’s water resources with new UF/IFAS website

Topic(s): Environment, Extension, Lawn & Garden, New Technology, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Are you concerned about how your water tastes? Do you want to know how much you use, or whether we’ll have enough water for the next generation? A new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences website links users with UF/IFAS programs on how to preserve and, perhaps improve the quantity and quality of water in Florida.

Click on http://water.ifas.ufl.edu/ and find educational resources provided by UF/IFAS, said Kati Migliaccio, a UF/IFAS professor of agricultural and biological engineering, who’s among the people who created the site.

“I think our greatest achievement is providing a website for Florida resident to quickly access answers to their questions or solve their problems concerning water,” Migliaccio 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 honors Marjorie Reitz Turnbull with Distinguished Service Award

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Graduation, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Marjorie Reitz Turnbull was presented with the Stephen C. O’Connell Distinguished Service Award by the University of Florida at the 10 a.m. fall graduation ceremony on Dec. 17. The award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon UF alumni, recognizing exceptional public service to the state of Florida or the nation at large.

Turnbull was nominated for the award by the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) and UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). Turnbull earned her undergraduate degree in political science from CLAS, and continues to honor her father J. Wayne Reitz’s legacy at UF. She has endowed a fund for the J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence Award given to an outstanding senior in CALS to honor her father’s service as provost of agriculture (1949-1955) and fifth president of UF (1955-1967). Her late husband Augustus B. Turnbull III was a former provost of Florida State University.

“Ms. Reitz Turnbull has continuously served the University of Florida by maintaining a relationship with students and alumni, and returning to Gainesville to support the University’s various projects such as the renovation and expansion of the J. Wayne Reitz Union,” said retired UF Vice President for Student Affairs David Kratzer in his letter of support for Turnbull’s nomination.

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UF honors Louis E. “Red” Larson with Distinguished Achievement Award

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Graduation, IFAS, Livestock

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Louis E. “Red” Larson was presented with the Distinguished Achievement Award by the University of Florida at the 10 a.m. fall graduation ceremony on Dec. 17.

The award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon a UF supporter. The award recognizes exceptional achievements of the individual in his or her chosen profession, demonstrated leadership, and other exemplary accomplishments that merit special recognition by the university. Larson was nominated for the award by the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS).

Larson’s first job as a Miami Daily News paperboy in the 1930s enabled him to purchase his first cow. He worked on weekends and during summers to hand-milk cows for a local dairyman. In 1947 he began his own dairy farm and now Larson Dairy, Inc. is one of the largest dairy operations in the Southeast, producing more than 200 million pounds of milk annually.

“Through [Larson’s] hard work, entrepreneurial spirit, business ability and willingness to embrace modern science and cutting edge management practices, he built Larson Farms from the ground up by leading people and building a team of employees that believed in Larson and his vision for modern dairy operation,” said the Executive Vice President of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association Jim Handley in his letter of support for Larson’s nomination.

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UF/IFAS study: Women earn nearly half the doctorates in ag sciences, but gaining limited stature

Topic(s): Agriculture, IFAS, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Despite earning 44 percent of the doctorates in agricultural sciences, women hold just 23 percent of the tenure-track faculty positions at U.S. land-grant institutions, according to a new study led by a research team at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Although the 23 percent is nearly double the 12 percent reported in 2005, females hold very few administrative positions in agricultural academia, the study shows. They also hold fewer significant roles on the editorial boards of scholarly journals in their field, serve on relatively few agricultural industry boards and hold fewer significant positions in global peer groups.

“While progress has been made by both land-grant institutions and other agricultural science employers in moving women into leadership positions, we are still far from parity,” said Diane Rowland, a UF/IFAS agronomy professor who participated on the research team conducting the study. “Efforts should be made to understand the gap between Ph.D.-level training and the rate of progression to the faculty level and above.”

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UF CALS honors outstanding supporters, celebrates award-winning student leaders at graduation

Topic(s): Announcements, CALS, Graduation, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida honored distinguished College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) supporters and outstanding students at the 10 a.m. fall graduation ceremony on Dec. 17. Two of three Outstanding Four-Year Scholars were CALS students, and two of three Outstanding Student Leaders were CALS students.

Outstanding Four-Year Scholars – Jeanelle Brisbane and Kelly Schwanebeck

Outstanding Student Leaders – Brooke Cicero and J. Clay Hurdle

Outstanding Four-Year Scholars were chosen by a UF selection committee that considered grade point average, curriculum, academic awards, research projects or honors thesis. The students began at UF as freshmen and have minimal work conducted at other institutions. Outstanding Student Leader awards were given by the UF Alumni Association and chosen by a selection committee that considers the quality and scope of leadership activities, university-wide leadership, experience, special awards and recommendations of faculty, staff and students.

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