Michael Rogers addresses the plight of Florida citrus growers, upcoming educational events and recruitment of new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) personnel. Rogers is director of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) in Lake Alfred.
Rogers says reports of progressively lower citrus yields, coupled with rising costs of grove inputs, have “really made it tougher for the average grower to break even. I think that’s weighing on everybody’s mind.” But he adds that the industry has “a resilient group of growers who continue to move forward.” Rogers reiterates a statement he’s been making for some time — that UF/IFAS is focusing on giving growers information they can use now “as they try to improve their management programs but stay cost effective.”
Three UF/IFAS events that Rogers discusses are:
- A Feb. 8 workshop on citrus irrigation and nutrient management at the CREC
- A Feb. 22 fruit display day at the CREC
- The Feb. 22–24 Flavor Summit, which will be held virtually
Rogers reports that UF/IFAS is currently recruiting for two positions that will be of interest to citrus growers. A horticulturist is being sought for the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce to work on production practices, especially for grapefruit. A new director is being sought for the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee, where much citrus research takes place. Rogers says that growers will have opportunities to sit in on seminars and learn more about the candidates for both of those positions. Growers will also have the opportunity to offer feedback about the candidates “as we make decisions on who we’re going to bring in for the future of citrus research here at IFAS,” he says.
Hear the complete interview with Rogers in the January episode of the All In For Citrus podcast, a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media.
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