Whether they’ve faced problems with pests, pathogens, soils, water or natural disasters, growers have turned to scientists at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) for answers for the past 100 years.
Scientists at the Citrus REC have worked with growers to help them produce the best fruit and juices available, UF/IFAS experts say.
UF/IFAS officials, other dignitaries and growers will gather at the Citrus REC on Nov. 29 to commemorate a mutually beneficial partnership, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.
“The celebration sets the stage for future cooperation against big challenges,” Payne said. “We embrace our grower community. Without their hard work, Florida’s signature agricultural sector might wilt. But with their patience and fortitude, the Sunshine State’s citrus industry continues to fight the good fight.”
“With the aid of UF/IFAS scientists, we hope to buttress our relationship with growers by beating back diseases such as citrus greening,” Payne said.
Growers have faced numerous setbacks in the past century, not the least of which is the deadly citrus greening disease. Now, they face the prospect of producing fruit and juice in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
True to their nature, growers will show resilience, Payne said.
While growers show their strength and perseverance, scientists at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center continue to help growers flourish. While researchers work on citrus solutions in the lab or field, their leader ponders back to the facility’s humble beginnings.
“As I reflect on this 100th anniversary of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, I wonder if the first faculty and staff members who worked here could have envisioned this day,” said Michael Rogers, director of the Citrus REC.
While scientists may use new, innovative ways to battle citrus diseases, the relationships between growers and UF/IFAS Extension faculty are just as important now as they were 100 years ago, Rogers said.
UF/IFAS officials, growers and others will gather at the center in Lake Alfred from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 29 to celebrate the facility’s 100th anniversary. To register for the commemorative ceremony and afternoon field trips, click on https://crec100years.eventbrite.com or call 863-956-8632.
by Brad Buck, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences