Like much of the rest of the world, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has closed its research and Extension facilities to visitors because of COVID-19. The closures are intended to protect the public and UF/IFAS employees from the coronavirus. Additionally, all UF/IFAS-sponsored events have been cancelled through the end of April.
But UF/IFAS employees are still working at their facilities or from home, providing the services growers need, Michael Rogers reports. Rogers is director of the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. In that capacity, he oversees many UF/IFAS citrus-related activities throughout Florida.
Rogers says UF/IFAS is doing things differently during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide services to the citrus industry. Among other things, it’s trying to make much necessary information available to growers online. “Agriculture is one of the essential sectors that has to function for our economy and our nation despite COVID-19,” he says. “We are going to be looking at alternative ways to get that information out.”
One way growers can stay informed is by signing up for the monthly UF/IFAS Citrus Team Newsletter.
In the newsletter posted March 27, Rogers’ “From the Director” message states that essential employees at facilities are “maintaining our valuable plant, insect, cell cultures and other important resources that have been developed over many decades of work.” Rogers adds that “we continue to deliver information and provide the services folks have come to expect from IFAS as best we can. We’re working to place more information online, so the flow of information doesn’t stop.”
Hear more from Rogers in the March episode of the All In For Citrus podcast, a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media. Listen to the full podcast here.
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