At the Citrus Research and Development Foundation’s (CRDF) Aug. 27 board of directors meeting, Chief Operating Officer Rick Dantzler provided information about a resolution of differences between CRDF and the University of Florida (UF). Since its formation in 2009, CRDF has operated as a direct support organization of UF.
This spring, UF reportedly indicated that CRDF would have to spend all of its research money with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), and that CRDF would need UF approval for research projects. CRDF balked at those proposals, and for at least several weeks it looked as if CRDF and UF might sever their 10-year relationship. By June, however, there were strong indications that the two organizations had resolved the issues and that the relationship would continue.
“I’m very pleased” that the matter has been resolved, Dantzler said in an interview after the recent CRDF meeting. “I’m also very grateful to the university for working with us to resolve these concerns.”
Dantzler said that although UF/IFAS is an outstanding research organization, “there are occasionally good ideas that come from other people, and we needed the flexibility” to sometimes use non-UF researchers. “The university recognized that and they have withdrawn their objection” to using other research institutions, he said.
Dantzler also addressed the issue of university oversight of CRDF’s scientific research projects. “What the university said was, they never really intended to have veto authority over the science” but wanted to ensure the projects met accounting standards and other UF criteria. “We have no objection to that. So that’s been resolved,” he said.
According to Dantzler, these agreements have been documented into a memorandum of understanding. “So, hopefully from this point forward we won’t have this argument again,” he said.
“We receive a tremendous amount of benefits from being associated with the university,” Dantzler continued. “We have our office space provided, all kinds of technical support. We didn’t want the relationship to end. But we did need to be able to go wherever we must to find answers” to HLB and other major citrus production problems. “That was the deal we made with citrus growers in 2009, and the university recognized that, so I’m glad that all of this is behind us.”
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