May 7, 2008 – GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Peter Stoffella has been named director of the Indian River Research and Education Center, an appointment that became effective May 5. Stoffella, a horticulture professor with the University of Floridaâ€™s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, had served as the centerâ€™s interim director for 11 months. He served as an associate director for the center since 2002. â€œComing from within the system, my learning curve is a little bit easier than someone coming from outside,â€ he said.
Despite Floridaâ€™s budget crunch in higher education, Stoffella said he remains an optimist.
â€œAgriculture will continue to be a major state industry,â€ he said.
The Indian River REC in Fort Pierce is one of 13 IFAS research and education centers. It is known for cutting-edge research and its education program, which draws students from five counties.
The center also helps producers through numerous research and education programs, covering topics such as citrus disease control, environmental horticulture, invasive pest and plant control, soil amendments, micro-irrigation, post-harvest handling and packing and aquaculture.
Stoffellaâ€™s research focuses on water quality associated with vegetable and citrus production systems. His biggest contributions to horticulture have been with improved management of commercial vegetable and citrus crops.
Stoffella has been at the Indian River REC since 1980. He earned his bachelorâ€™s degree in horticulture in 1976 from Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture, his masterâ€™s in horticulture in 1977 from Kansas State University, and his doctorate in vegetable crops in 1980 from Cornell University.
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