Special to the Harvester

– By Jack Payne –

jackpayne@ufl.edu

– @JackPayneIFAS –

UF/IFAS plant pathologist Gul Shad Ali leads a Pest Management University field identification exercise. Pest management is among the priority areas for new state funding for IFAS.

It was a terrific year in the Legislature for the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association deserves some of the credit.

The state budget includes an increase in UF/IFAS funding of $4 million for what we call “workload” – money we use to meet increasing demands for research and Extension activities that benefit the state’s farmers, foresters and fisheries.

There are two reasons I value your support so much. First, you’re a leading voice of Florida’s food producers, and if that voice is echoing that of UF/IFAS, it tells us we’re serving stakeholders well.

Second, your calls and emails carry clout with policymakers because they’re representative of Florida’s $148 billion-a-year agriculture and natural resources industry.

Thanks go to FFVA President Mike Stuart and each FFVA member who supported our funding request.

We’ll be figuring out which critical needs to address first with the workload money.

You’ll be hearing from us in coming months about how agriculture will benefit from the new resources the Legislature is providing to UF/IFAS in 2016. We aim to have the new resources support as many of you as possible throughout Florida and in many areas of science.

We’ll also continue to tell the story of Florida agriculture and natural resources as we communicate about our scientific breakthroughs, our teaching and our outreach.

Ultimately, we aim to repay your support in Tallahassee with scientific support for your operations.

Jack Payne is the University of Florida’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and leader of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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