New UF/IFAS Extension Agent for Highlands County

Ernie Neff extension

Lourdes Pérez Cordero

Lourdes Pérez Cordero is the new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension agent for Highlands County.

She did not grow up in the citrus industry, but you wouldn’t know that upon meeting her. Pérez, who recently started her new job, is eager and enthusiastic to engage with local citrus and vegetable growers and connect them to the resources available from UF/IFAS specialists.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Pérez Cordero is completing her master’s degree in entomology with UF and expects to graduate in spring 2022. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University.

Prior to taking the job in Highlands County, Pérez Cordero worked in UF/IFAS entomologist Lauren Diepenbrock’s lab at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. There, she worked on management strategies for the Asian citrus psyllid, especially in field settings. She has also served as a biological aid for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, working on whitefly management and gaining knowledge of the Florida predatory stink bug.

“I was drawn to this position because of its work with growers and the community,” said Pérez Cordero. “When I first learned about Extension and its role in local agriculture, I thought what a great job that would be and now I have the opportunity to do that every day.”

The new Extension agent has started to meet with growers and is setting up her outreach and informational activities. She will work collaboratively with the other regional citrus and natural resources Extension agents in providing needed educational information to area growers. She encourages growers to contact her at the UF/IFAS Extension Highlands County offices in Sebring and via email.

Source: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

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