During the March All In For Citrus podcast, Michael Rogers, director of the Citrus Research and Education Center, gave props to graduate students in the citrus program at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). There are 65 students currently enrolled in the program carrying out their studies across the state.
“Graduate students play a huge role in our research,” Rogers said. “If you look at every major research project you’ve heard about, many of them have a graduate student involved. They are really involved in moving research forward.”
Beyond getting their degrees and moving into their future roles in academia or industry, the students are benefiting growers now. “These students are very hands-on,” Rogers said. “You will find sometimes they will make an observation or discovery that might help solve a problem but also could lead to new avenues of research we have not yet thought of. They bring a lot of curiosity and creativity that opens new doors. There is a lot that we gain from these students from current research programs that benefits growers.”
In the podcast episode, Rogers also welcomed John Chater, who joined UF/IFAS as an assistant professor of horticultural sciences in January. “Dr. Chater will be taking new varieties to the next level and testing them in the field,” Rogers said. “He will be trialing them in larger replicated trials.”
Chater’s work should give growers a better picture of how these new varieties and rootstocks will perform in the grove. Rogers added a key part of Chater’s job will be to engage with growers to ensure they have confidence in these new selections, know where they fit best and how to manage them to optimize performance.
Listen to the full podcast episode here.
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