“There is no program anywhere in the country better than IFAS (University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) in conducting both applied and basic research.” That declaration is made by Scott Angle, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, in the latest episode of the All in for Citrus podcast.
Angle became director of the agency in October 2018, and Florida was one of the states he visited first. “My job is to listen to stakeholders in each of the states” and use information learned “to deploy resources that are appropriated by Congress” to solve problems in agriculture, he says. “Florida having such a large agricultural economy, so many people involved in this industry, I wanted to come here first,” he says.
Agricultural production, distribution and sales are huge contributors to Florida’s economy, Angle says, adding that more agriculture students are needed. “Agriculture is not able to fill all of the good jobs in this amazing industry,” he says.
Angle notes that agriculture continually faces new problems. “There’s always a new pest. There’s always a new disease. There’s always a new consumer demand for another product,” he says. Significant problems he mentions for Florida agriculture include hurricanes, citrus greening disease and urbanization taking land needed for farming.
Also in the the current episode of the All in for Citrus podcast are UF/IFAS’ Michael Rogers, director of the Citrus Research and Education Center, and UF/IFAS researcher Arnold Schumann. Rogers discusses recent negative mainstream media reports about the bactericides used in Florida citrus. Schumann talks about citrus under protective screen.
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