Michael Rogers provided updates on the Citrus Nutrition Box program initiated last fall and on the search for a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) vice president. He also announced the hiring of a new citrus Extension agent. Rogers is director of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC).
NUTRITION BOX PROGRAM
Rogers said 75 growers have been actively participating in the Citrus Nutrition Box program by submitting samples that UF/IFAS experts are using to provide customized fertilizer recommendations. Participating growers represent 18 counties.
“We’ve got really good representation across the state of Florida … I’d say that the response has been good,” Rogers said. “The long-term goal … is we’re trying to increase the health of citrus trees and also the yield … We’re seeing trends across the state, region by region.”
For instance, some areas are having more issues with pH or certain nutrients than are commonly found in other areas. Rogers said this knowledge could lead to better guidance being provided for specific citrus-growing regions.
About 40 growers who picked up nutrition boxes haven’t yet started submitting samples. “If you have a box and haven’t started, please do so,” Rogers urged.
VICE PRESIDENT SEARCH
Turning to the search for a new UF/IFAS vice president, Rogers announced that four candidates will be interviewed in March. Each candidate will be interviewed over three days, with the third day’s interview for each held at the CREC in Lake Alfred.
The interviews at the CREC will provide a chance for agriculturists around the state to meet the candidates and ask them questions. The candidate interviews at the CREC will be held March 10, 12, 17 and 31. Rogers said the names of each candidate will be made public a week before each is interviewed.
NEW CITRUS AGENT
Rogers also announced that Ajia Paolillo has been hired as the new citrus Extension agent for DeSoto, Hardee and Manatee counties. She began work Jan. 31 and succeeded Steve Futch, who retired in 2019.
This interview with Rogers is featured in February’s All In For Citrus podcast, a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media. Listen to the full podcast here.
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