Precision irrigation scientist Sandra Guzmán was recently named a 2020 Outstanding Young Extension Worker by the Florida Section of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Guzmán is a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researcher with expertise in artificial intelligence for water management. She works at the UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC) in Fort Pierce, Florida.
The award recognizes young engineers for excellence and contributions in the development of Extension-related programs and leadership.
“Sandra Guzmán began her position as an assistant professor in late 2018. Her program is already robust,” said Ronald Cave, director of IRREC. “Sandra has a number of working relationships with local citrus growers, several graduate students, and has published journal articles that advance irrigation practices.”
The focus of Guzmán’s research and Extension program is to apply new findings directly to growers’ production operations in the Indian River district.
Cave said Guzmán’s work involves the most current smart technologies. Engineering science in crop fields and groves includes computer modeling programs to forecast irrigation needs. Data collection and analysis from field devices such as soil moisture sensors help growers conserve water and determine how much water crops require. The scientist’s vision is to provide growers with easy-to-use tools to manage irrigation and to increase automation.
During the last year, Guzmán published Extension documents and articles for grower magazines to highlight the value of water management for specialty crops. She organizes events for growers and Extension agents to teach new technologies in specialty crop irrigation, and has many ongoing collaborative field trials with growers in southeast Florida.
Source: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
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