University of Florida

Ag and Gardening Day set for UF Homecoming on Nov. 7

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, CALS, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Lawn & Garden, Research

University of Florida Stadium. UF/IFAS photo: Marisol Amador

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — This year, anyone involved in gardening or agriculture and gardening-related industries and education can “come home” to Gainesville as the University of Florida introduces Agriculture and Gardening Day for Homecoming weekend.

UF Athletics and UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are hosting the event that revolves around the game between the Gators and the Vanderbilt Commodores, which kicks off at noon, Nov. 7.

“Florida’s agricultural, gardening and related food industries add $140 billion to our economy and employ nearly 300,000 people,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “The industry is second only to tourism in Florida, and this is a great way to honor and recognize those who work so hard to put food on our tables and plants and flowers in our yards. We welcome back to Gainesville those who make agriculture and gardening part of their daily lives, and we look forward to their camaraderie.”

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UF/IFAS professor attracts non-agriculture majors to class; gives student 40,000th plant

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, CALS, IFAS, Landscaping, Lawn & Garden

40,000the plant 102915 (1) - use this

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Professor David Clark knows how to entice a broad range of students to his horticultural class: He gives away a plant that he bred. Recently, he donated his 40,000th plant to an undergraduate psychology student.

For the ceremony, Clark, a professor in the Department of Environmental Horticulture, brought Anna Ball, a third generation owner of Ball Horticultural Company, as a special guest lecturer on Oct. 22. Ball, based in West Chicago, Illinois, is one of three companies that licenses Clark’s UF coleus varieties. Ball has sold more UF coleuses than any other company, Clark said.

Ball gave a UF/IFAS coleus plant – in this case a ‘Wasabi,’ bred by Clark and licensed by Ball — to undergraduate student Kendall Stacey, a freshman psychology major. Stacey works with Clark’s new UF/IFAS Plant Innovation Center undergraduate science writing team. Clark is the director of the center.

Stacey is gaining plenty of knowledge about plants from Clark’s class, even as he inspires her.

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UF/IFAS researcher discovers new species of fungi

Topic(s): Environment, Forestry, IFAS, Research

Cladophialophora floridana

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The next time you take a stroll through the woods here in Gainesville, you might want to look down – you could be walking on an undiscovered species of fungus.

University of Florida post-doctoral researcher Keisuke Obase did just that recently, finding the newly named Cladophialophora floridana, in honor of the state, at Split Rock Conservation Area and C. tortuosa at Bivens Arm Nature Park.  The discoveries have been accepted for publication in the journal Mycoscience. (more …)

Scientist, city planners collaborate to address Tampa sea rise

Topic(s): Agriculture, Aquaculture, Economics, Environment, IFAS, Weather

Urban forestry in Tampa Bay, Florida.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — While most Floridians are focused on hurricanes and the flooding they cause, few realize that Tampa Bay sea levels are rising each year. The rise in sea levels will impact everything from homes to bridges to businesses for the next century, scientists say.

Despite the warning, city planners have been stymied in their efforts to create strategies to combat sea level rise because of varying projections from different agencies. Thus, scientists with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences formed a committee to offer a unified projection of sea level rise. Now, the committee has released a report detailing projections through the year 2100.

The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council has accepted the recommendations for distribution to local governments.

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UF receives $1.2 million NIFA grant to spread the word on new national food safety standards

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Economics, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida will help lead the charge in educating stakeholders on the sweeping changes being made to national food safety regulations with a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

The grant will help establish the Southern Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Center to Enhance Produce Safety at UF, lead by the team of Michelle Danyluk, Renee Goodrich Schneider, and Keith Schneider in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department; Amy Harder in the Agricultural Education and Communication Department; and Danielle Treadwell in the Horticultural Sciences Department.

NIFA recently announced more than $2 million in grants to establish two regional centers supporting comprehensive food safety training and education, pursuant to the rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) being released this fall. These centers will play a leading role in coordinating and implementing FSMA-related training, education, and outreach programs for small and medium-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, small processors, and/or small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers.

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UF researcher: Rarest bat in the world lives in South Florida

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, RECs, Research

Holly Ober

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Halloween comes around once a year, but for Holly Ober, a researcher with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science, an interest in a bat found nowhere else in the world but South Florida is a year-round opportunity to study the unique mammal.

The Florida Bonneted bat, one of the rarest species in the world, nestles in tree cavities, palms, and buildings in only a few counties in the state. The largest bat in Florida, its ears point forward over its eyes, and its fur ranges in color from brown to gray, said Ober, associate professor in the Department Wildlife Ecology Conservation, who works out of the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy.

“The Florida Bonneted bat was listed as federally endangered in 2013 and since then interest has grown considerably,” Ober said. “We don’t even know the exact geographic distribution or what type of habitat the bat occurs in. We do know this bat can only be found in south Florida.”

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Ron O’Connor named National Friend of Extension

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


Ron O’Connor was named “National Friend of Extension” this month at the 2015 National Epsilon Sigma Phi Conference in Coeur d Alene, Idaho.

see caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Ron O’Connor takes a hands-on approach to helping at University of Florida/IFAS Extension events, mentoring up and coming agriculture students, taking photographs and even securing grants for many projects.

This month at the 2015 National Epsilon Sigma Phi Conference in Coeur d Alene, Idaho, the agricultural fraternal organization’s Alpha Delta chapter honored his efforts, naming O’Connor a “National Friend of Extension.” (more …)

Hundreds of students will learn what it takes to work in agriculture

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS
A UF/IFAS Extension worker teaches Marion County 4th grade students the ins and outs of irrigation. UF/IFAS

see caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — More than 600 fourth-grade students are ready to learn about science, technology, engineering and math through the eyes of Marion County’s farming community this week during the University of Florida Marion County Extension’s second annual STEM program.

“Agriculture is more than a farmer in overalls,” said Norma Samuel, an Extension agent heading up the program, which runs Thursday and Friday.  “They will be able to see what kinds of careers are available in agriculture.” (more …)

Extension offices introduce tourism app for Escambia, Santa Rosa counties

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, RECs

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Want to know the best places to pick your own fruit, go white-water rafting or hiking in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties? There’s an app for that: Naturally EscaRosa.

Naturally EscaRosa, a campaign to promote agritourism and ecotourism in Escambia and Santa Rosa, offers an app and website to help visitors traverse the counties’ many offerings. The app works on i-Phones and android phones, tablets and notebooks, said Libbie Johnson, agriculture agent at Escambia County Extension.

“The app fills a void for promotion of tourism in our region,” Johnson said. “A lot of military families and visitors are not familiar with all that Escambia and Santa Rosa counties have to offer. The app closes that gap.”

The app and website, www.naturallyescarosa.com, share information about hiking trails, farms, lakes and rivers. With the app, visitors can discover locations in either counties or can search by six categories: agriculture, trails, paddling, wildlife, water sports and fishing.

“If you pull up a location, the app provides a map and directions,” Johnson said. “Each location has its own page and contact information.” said Steve Hayes, president of Visit Pensacola.

To find out more about your local UF/IFAS Extension offices, visit http://santarosa.ifas.ufl.edu/ and http://escambia.ifas.ufl.edu.


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


Source: Libbie Johnson, 850-475-5230, libbiej@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


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