Florida’s citrus growers have long benefited from productive relationships with University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension commercial citrus agents. And it’s about to get better.
Citrus agents operating in Hillsborough, Polk, Highlands, DeSoto, Hardee and Manatee counties are launching a new newsletter. They hope to use the platform to streamline important communications with growers, share critical information in a timely way and enhance already strong working relationships.
“Our goal is always to improve service to commercial growers,” said Chris Oswalt, citrus Extension agent serving growers in Hillsborough and Polk counties. “We will be delivering more relevant and timely citrus information without sending multiple emails containing the same or similar information.”
Calling themselves Central Florida Citrus Extension, the group includes long-time Extension agent Chris Oswalt, Highlands County Extension Director Laurie Hurner and the newest agent, Ajia Paolillo. Together they bring more than 60 years of citrus-growing experience to the region.
“We are still serving our local citrus growers; nothing changes on that front,” Hurner said.
The team hopes to improve communication about programs that happen in neighboring counties that growers may be interested in.
“Growers will travel across county lines for good programming,” Paolillo explained. “Now, we can actively promote those educational sessions that are happening in a neighboring county to a larger audience.”
The newsletter rolled out its first issue on May 29 and will be published monthly, except in July and August, which are typically lighter months for commercial citrus operations. If you already receive a newsletter from one of these agents, you automatically will receive the new newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter, email your UF/IFAS Extension citrus agent. Find the agent for your location at https://citrusagents.ifas.ufl.edu/locate/index.shtml.