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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Growers in Florida’s $300 million-a-year strawberry industry now have proof that the latest UF/IFAS-bred variety lasts longer on the shelf and tastes sweeter than two UF/IFAS cultivars, making it more attractive to faraway markets.
“These two attributes together make for a clear step up in eating quality for the consumer,” said Vance Whitaker, an associate professor of horticultural sciences and strawberry breeder at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Florida.
In a newly published study, scientists studied traits for Sweet Sensation® ‘Florida127,’ which was released commercially in the 2014-2015 growing season. Researchers compared them to those of ‘Florida Radiance’ and ‘Strawberry Festival,’ two other UF/IFAS-bred varieties.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — On Sunday, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will hold the first in a series of educational panel discussions known as Community Chats, this one focused on the possible consequences of climate change for North Florida residents with allergies or asthma.
The event takes place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2 on the UF main campus in Gainesville. Registration for in-person attendance has closed, but the event will be live-streamed on the Community Chats website, http://communitychats.wordpress.com.
Expert panelists from several UF units will discuss the possible effects of climate change on air and water quality, as well as steps that communities can take against climate change. Audience members are welcome to submit questions to the panelists before or during the event, using the Community Chats website, Twitter account or Facebook page, using the hashtag #CCNCFL.
Community Chats is funded by UF/IFAS and is produced in partnership with the Florida Museum of Natural History and the UF College of Journalism and Communications. The next event is scheduled for late October.
Source: Katie Stofer, 352-273-3690, email@example.com
AUGUSTINE, Fla. — On Oct. 1, about 1,000 people are expected to attend the ninth annual Datil Pepper Cook Off to celebrate the iconic pepper. The Datil Pepper Cook off, as part of the Datil Pepper Fall Festival, is hosted by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension St. Johns County in St. Augustine, Florida.
Attendees will sample an array of datil-themed fare prepared by local restaurants, and experience cook-offs and tasting contests. Those making the journey to this foodie hot-spot should keep in mind that the datil adds more than just a “kick” to a dish, said Joanne Cooper, family and consumer science agent with UF/IFAS Extension St. Johns County and cook off festival organizer.
“The datil is as hot or hotter than the habanero pepper,” Cooper said. “During our hot sauce competition, which usually has about 50 entries, there is a lot of milk and bread on hand for the judges.”
Gainesville, Fla.— Do you have a passion for cooking and want to invest your ideas in a home-based food business? The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension offers helpful information at the “Understanding Florida Cottage Food Law” workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., on Oct. 10.
Anyone who is interested in running his/her own cottage food operation in Florida can attend the one-day workshop at the Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center, 2142 Shealy Drive, Gainesville, Fla., 32611.
The “Understanding Florida Cottage Food Law” workshop will provide participants with general information on food safety and quality, product development, and regulatory requirements for Florida cottage food operation.
The registration fee for the course is $75 (If registered by Sep 30th, the fee will be $60). Registration includes course materials, lunch, coffee breaks and certificate of completion. Register at http://uf-cottage-food.eventbrite.com
For more information, contact Dr. Soo Ahn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-294-3909.
By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, email@example.com
Source: Soo Ahn, 352-294-3909, firstname.lastname@example.org
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers are reaching out to citizen scientists to find nests of the black and yellow mud dauber wasp (Sceliphron caementarium) – also known as the “dirt dauber” — in northeastern Georgia.
“Mud dauber wasps are harmless to humans, but they hunt spiders,” said Lisa Anne Taylor, an assistant research scientist in the UF/IFAS entomology and nematology department. The wasps capture, paralyze and pack spider prey into a mud nest for their offspring to eat. The wasps build their nests under the eaves of homes, barns and bridges, where they are sheltered from the elements.
Scientists hope to use these wasps to help them track the spread of the newly introduced Joro spider in the area.
“The Joro spider is a large, colorful spider from Asia that was discovered in the United States in 2014 by scientists at the University of Georgia,” Taylor said. So far, the spiders have only been recorded in three counties in northeastern Georgia, but researchers suspect they occur even more widely. To help track the spread of this species, Taylor’s group has teamed up with UGA scientists Rick Hoebeke and Robert Matthews.
Tatiana Borisova and Edward “Gilly” Evans
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty in the food and resource economics department have each been selected for UF/IFAS Extension Professional and Enhancement awards. These awards highlight exceptional UF/IFAS Extension programming, and earn faculty additional funding and program support.
Tatiana Borisova, associate professor and Extension specialist, has been selected for the Wells Fargo Extension Professional Award and Program Enhancement Grant, which recognizes a proposed educational program that responds to a public policy issue.
Borisova, who specializes in water economics and policy, is interested in educating Floridians about water resource management.
“In recent years, changes to water resource laws and regulations have rapidly accelerated in Florida and the U.S.,” said Borisova. “Meanwhile, public knowledge of water laws and regulations is limited. Public participation is vital for development and implementation of water resource management programs.”
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — About 1.56 million people worked full- or part-time in agriculture, natural resources and food industries in 2014, an increase of about 40,000 workers from 2013, and nearly 29 percent from 2001, according to a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences economic report.
Direct employment in the agriculture and natural resources sectors accounted for 13.8 percent of all jobs statewide. Employment in these sectors grew from 1.24 million jobs in 2001 to a peak of 1.34 million in 2008 before the recession, then recovered to 1.56 million in 2014, the latest year for which information is available.
“I would characterize that as modest growth in the industry, although the growth rate was higher before and after the recession (before 2007 and after 2010), and ag-food fared much better during the recession than many other leading industries such as construction and tourism,” said Alan Hodges, Extension scientist with the UF/IFAS food and resource economics department. “Growth in economic activity of agriculture, natural resources and related food industries continues to contribute to the stability of the state’s economy.”
BELLE GLADE, Fla. — Want to teach your students the good, the bad and the ugly about plants while incorporating three different sciences? Researchers at the UF/IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center will lead the second annual workshop, “Don’t Get Caught with Your Plants Down,” from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
The free workshop will be held at UF/IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center, 3200 East Canal Street, Belle Glade, Florida. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and in-service points for professional development will be awarded by school districts through Master Inservice Plans (MIP).
This year’s program, developed by the UF/IFAS department of plant pathology, uses resources available from the American Phytopathological Society, said Richard Raid, a professor of plant pathology and workshop organizer. Middle and high school teachers will take back vital information to students on the importance of plants in daily life, he said.
Florida is home to the most invasive species in the country, and many travel in to the state via plants, Raid explained.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Through a curriculum appropriately titled, “Bed Bugs and Book Bags,” students worldwide are learning how to identify bed bugs, where they hide out and much more. The program teaches how to prevent the insects, and a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences study shows the hands-on learning experience works.
The project started in 2012 in Duval County Public Schools and teaches the public how to know if the insect is indeed a bed bug and then how to deal with it. As measured by students’ increased knowledge of bed bugs, the curriculum succeeds in the United State, Canada, Israel and Saudi Arabia, the study shows.
Public knowledge of bed bugs is critical because the insects are coming back.
“Within the past few years, bed bug infestations have dramatically increased and have created major concern for society and for pest management professionals,” said Roberto Pereira, a UF/IFAS associate research scientist in entomology and a lead author on the new study. “They are thought to be the most difficult and expensive insect pests to control in the United States. By being aware of signs of infestation in our daily activities, we all can play our part to prevent spreading these pests.”
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Santa Fe College have teamed up to manage the Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory, an off-shore facility in the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge.
“This collaboration across our campus and between UF and Santa Fe College will increase our capacity for research, Extension and teaching on the Nature Coast,” said Micheal Allen, director of the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station, a research unit located in Cedar Key, Florida. “Our combined efforts will enhance UF’s impact on the local community and its natural resources.”
Seahorse Key is home to a laboratory, marine specimen collection and a pre-Civil War era lighthouse, which has a bunkhouse with 26 beds for overnight stays. The island is also a field site for snake and bird research, Allen said.