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IFAS Matters - Dr. Payne's Newsletter

Welcome to IFAS

Hello! I’m Jack Payne, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the University of Florida. Let me introduce you to the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, where we work to create and share scientific knowledge.

IFAS’s accomplishments are many. Our scientists are involved in everything from taking leadership roles to coordinate UF research and response efforts related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to making great strides against the citrus greening disease that threatens the state’s best-known crop.

IFAS research has resulted in hundreds of new plant cultivars and inventions. Our folic acid research helped bring about significant drops in neural tube birth defects around the globe, such as spina bifida; we’ve patented biofuel-production technology and our automated weather network helps reduce irrigation by an average 41.6 billion gallons each year.

From our scientists working at the very tip of cutting-edge research and sharing what they learn with peers around the globe to a county extension agent working one-on-one with a backyard gardener, IFAS is one of the largest agricultural research centers of its kind, and we’re committed to using scientific knowledge to solve problems.

Those problems are as plentiful as they are unique: Our state has more than 280 different commodities, each with its own challenges. The subtropical weather makes agricultural production especially tough. Our climate draws millions of visitors each year from around the globe, boosting our economy — but so much travel in and out of shipping ports and airports brings challenges, too.

To meet those challenges, IFAS has an extension office in every one of the state’s 67 counties, 13 Research and Education Centers, and our College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has laboratories and classrooms all over the UF campus.  

As Florida's flagship land-grant institution, UF has a unique responsibility to improve the state's agricultural productivity through research, extension and education. With every $1 spent on agricultural research producing a $10 return, we believe it’s money well spent.

Our priorities include creating energy independence, helping agricultural and natural resource industries become more diverse and efficient; protecting and conserving water supplies; developing new high-value agricultural crops and defending the state from emerging pests and diseases.

One thing is for sure, we’re here to make Florida better. You can expect great things from IFAS.

-- Jack