University of Florida

UF/IFAS research represented at Tallahassee Science Festival Sept. 10

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

Who:    Representatives from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will host educational booths at the Fifth Annual Tallahassee Science Festival.

  • Environmental management in agriculture and natural resources department
  • Microbiology and cell science department
  • Wildlife ecology and conservation department
  • UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center
  • UF/IFAS Extension Leon County 4-H youth development

What:    Children and their families are invited to learn about UF/IFAS scientific research and outreach in a fun, interactive setting. More than 125 exhibits and presentations will be featured.

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Injecting citrus tree trunks with bactericide may help stem greening

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, IFAS, New Technology, RECs, Research

Dr. Nian Wang, professor at the Citrus Research and Education Center.  Photo taken 03/08/16.

Please see caption below.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A chemical treatment known as a bactericide could help preserve citrus trees from the potentially deadly and costly greening disease, a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences study shows.

Citrus is estimated as a $10.9 billion-a-year industry in Florida and the finding could be key to helping the state’s citrus growers and its economy. Citrus greening has cost Florida $3.6 billion in economic damage since it was first discovered in 2005, according to previous UF/IFAS studies. It is projected that more than 80 percent of citrus trees have been infected by greening.

Nian Wang, a UF/IFAS associate professor of microbiology and cell science, led the latest study, which found that when a bactericide – in this case, oxytetracycline — is injected into the trunk of greening-infected citrus trees, it helps keep the trees alive by thwarting greening, also known as Huanglongbing, or HLB.

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4-H youth to compete in state grilling championship at the University of Florida

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

Steaks being grilled. Barbecue, grilling, meat, meat science, steak, beef, cooking, food, nutrition. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

Please see caption after story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When Kara Croft, 16, noticed that all the other contestants at her district 4-H Tailgating Contest were using lighter fluid to start their grills, she got nervous. The lighter fluid produced big flames, while the paper charcoal-starter she used created a much smaller flame. But she stuck to her plan, reminding herself that paper starters, unlike lighter fluid, don’t impact the taste of grilled meat.

Croft, who is a Suwannee County 4-H member, ended up cooking the winning steak, which the judges said was both tender and flavorful. Her win qualified her for the State Championship 4-H Tailgating Contest, where she and 29 other youth will demonstrate mastery of cooking safety and grilling techniques.

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will host the contest on September 10 at the Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center on the UF campus. The Straughn Center is located at 2142 Shealy Drive, Gainesville, FL 32611. Check-in begins at 8 a.m., and grilling starts at 9 a.m. Contestants have 2 ½ hours to prepare and submit their meat for judging.

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New UF/IFAS method detects low-dose impacts of man-made chemicals in water

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

A wading bird perched upon a tree on the banks of the Indian River Lagoon.

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers have found a better way to assess the potential impacts of low dose mixtures of man-made chemicals — like pharmaceuticals and personal care products — on water bodies and their ecosystems.

Such products – known to scientists as PPCPs – are widely released into the world’s freshwaters and oceans, where they mix at low concentrations over long time periods and seep into diverse environmental pathways such as surface water, groundwater, drinking water or soil.

“The end effect could be degradation of aquatic life,” said Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, a UF/IFAS professor of agricultural and biological engineering and a lead author of a new UF/IFAS-led study. “Some pharmaceuticals that individually are typically not toxic at even high doses, can damage aquatic life at very low doses when present in complex mixtures often found in natural waters after wastewater finds its way there.”

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Hops research among UF/IFAS winners at national horticultural science awards

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Environment, Extension, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, RECs, Research

Hops photo1 - Brian Pearson 021916

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Hops research by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers is gaining national scientific recognition in addition to media attention.

Three UF/IFAS scientists are not only trying to see if hops will grow in Florida’s hot, humid climate, but they also want to know whether they can quench the thirst of the fast-growing micro-brewing industry.

Brian Pearson, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of environmental horticulture, is one of three members of the hops research team. Pearson’s research to date won him third place in the Early Career Award for scientists at the American Society of Horticultural Sciences (ASHS) in early August. The Early Career Competition is for new faculty and professionals to share their discoveries to a peer audience.

“This is just the beginning of our alternative and specialty crop research,” said Pearson, a faculty member at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, Florida. “Working with hops, fennel, safflower and skullcap, we hope to bring an array of viable, high-value alternative crops to Florida growers.”

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UF/IFAS offers tips for surviving the tropical storm

Topic(s): Disaster Preparedness, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Safety, Weather

Rivers and lakes overflowing after a severe storm or hurricane hits. (UF/Ifas photo: Marisol Amador)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With a tropical storm bringing hurricane-like winds to central Florida, residents are looking to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension service for tips on how to make it through.

In Florida alone, 16 disasters including hurricanes, tropical storms, tornados, flooding, severe storms and straight line winds were declared between 2004 and 2013, says Angela Lindsey, the UF/IFAS Extension representative for the Extension Disaster Education Network. Many UF/IFAS Extension agents are members of their counties Emergency Operation Centers, and are ready to help residents across the state.

Lindsey, an assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences, says it’s not too late to prepare for the worst. She offers the following tips:

  • Stock at least one gallon of water per person per day for three days.
  • Buy nonperishable and packaged foods that require little or no cooking. If the power goes out, food in the refrigerator may spoil.
  • Buy flashlights and extra batteries.
  • Make sure you have a first-aid kit handy.
  • Have all emergency numbers available in case utilities go out.
  • Get a battery-operated radio so that you can keep abreast of updates.
  • Fill up your car with gas before the lines get too long.

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When a picture is not worth 1,000 words

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Research

Katie Stofer 090116 - pictures news release

Katie Stofer led the study.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — What happens when a picture is not worth 1,000 words?

That’s the question Katie Stofer, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher, explored in a newly published study, as she talked to scientists and lay people about images presented by scientists.

Artwork and graphics can help augment the written words in articles and verbal presentations, particularly if the audience is scientists. But lay people are not likely to understand those graphics, according to the study by Stofer, a UF/IFAS research assistant professor in agricultural education and communication.

Stofer conducted the study to find out the differences in what “experts” and “novices” gleaned when they viewed visuals produced by scientists. She showed graphic elements to 12 scientists and 17 lay people. Participants were shown versions of global satellite data visuals about sea surface temperatures and chlorophyll.

The upshot of the small experiment? For the most part, the experts could interpret the graphics; the novices gleaned very little information from them. While the novices did not understand the graphics very easily when they were not changed from the original ones used by scientists, they understood much more of the content after graphics were translated to use more familiar colors and labels, Stofer said.

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UF/IFAS Extension, Bok Tower Gardens team up for grand opening on Sept. 10

Topic(s): Announcements, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition


LAKE WALES, Fla. – After months of construction, the successful conclusion of the “Preserve the Legacy, Steward the Future” capital campaign, and the active implementation  of a  new relationship, Bok Tower Gardens and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ fruitful partnership comes into full bloom with the opening of several highly anticipated garden areas.

The grand opening celebration, on Saturday, Sept. 10, will feature the Pollinator Garden, Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden, Wild Garden, Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden. The Gardens will open at 8 a.m. and general admission will be free for this historic event.

“It has been a long journey since construction began in October 2014 and we are so excited to share these new Gardens with our visitors,” said Bok Tower Gardens president David Price. “This grand opening celebration salutes the work of our board, donors, members and staff who recognized this vision would lead to big improvements without changing the spirit of the Gardens.”

The celebration will begin at 10 a.m. with a special ribbon cutting dedication and remarks from Gardens’ president David Price, board of directors chair Cindy Alexander, board of directors vice chair Tomas Bok and Nick Place, dean and director of UF/IFAS Extension.

“This partnership between UF/IFAS Extension and Bok Tower Gardens not only helps us affect positive change in the community, but also make the world better,” Place said. “UF/IFAS Extension is dedicated to helping people connect with agriculture and natural resources, on which our survival and quality of life depends. We are thrilled to collaborate with Bok Tower Gardens to offer visitors new experiences and programming that do just that.”

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UF/IFAS Extension team wins national award for water sustainability program

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, IFAS

Blue dye measure Hochmuth

Please see caption below story.

LIVE OAK, Fla. — The National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) has recognized Mace Bauer, agriculture agent with University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Columbia County, for excellence in sustainability education aimed at young, beginning or small-scale producers.

Bauer and a team of UF/IFAS Extension faculty received this national award, sponsored by Farm Credit, for the annual Drip Irrigation School, a program that helps farmers adopt water-saving technologies.

“Drip irrigation allows farmers to micromanage the amount of water and fertilizer they use on their crops,” said Bauer. Unlike overhead sprayers, which broadcast water over an entire field, drip irrigation targets the plant’s root zone, the part of the soil where the plant can absorb water and nutrients, Bauer said.

This precise approach lets farmers use less resources without sacrificing the quality of their crops. Drip irrigation also helps prevent fungal diseases, reducing the need for chemical treatments, Bauer said.

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UF/IFAS to hold sustainable agriculture network kickoff event

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, IFAS

A box of potatoes, tomatoes, and squash farmed in Hastings, Florida as part of an IFAS-sponsored Food Hub.  Photo taken on 06/03/15.

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will be hosting an upcoming sustainable agriculture networking and outreach event on Monday, September 19 from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Frog Song Organics (4317 NE U.S, Highway 301, Hawthorne, FL 32640) and Hawthorne Community Market (7040 U.S. Highway 301, Hawthorne, FL 32640).

To help  promote sustainable  agriculture  in  north central  Florida, UF/IFAS researchers and Extension  agents  have  been exploring  both the needs  of producers in  our region  and possible resources to help meet  those needs. This event, funded in part by a Southern SARE grant, will help them put their ideas into action by bringing north central Florida Extension agents and producers together to network with each other, discuss their needs and share their ideas to promote sustainable agriculture. The event is additionally sponsored by the UF/IFAS Field and Fork program and the UF/IFAS Small Farms team.

Please join us for an evening of on-farm learning, great food, and important discussion about the future of farming in north central Florida and how we can create a vibrant and useful network that will help us both address our challenges and  share opportunities.

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