A Tough Row to Hoe for IFAS
IFAS, the state's 300 million agricultural research powerhouse, faces both internal struggles over its role and the impact of state budget cuts.
• Traditional IFAS Roles and New Roles
| Agricultural commodities
research such as breeding crops that resist diseases and freezes
||Food safety||Human nutrition||Pest research to battle bugs from the fruit fly to the cockroach|
|Emerging Pathogens Institute devoted to researching new and re-emerging diseases that threaten human health, agriculture and tourism in Florida||Resource-efficient landscaping||Growth management and land use||Bio-energy|
• The World of IFAS
More than 5,000 students are enrolled in IFAS’ College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. [Photo: IFAS]
» Research: IFAS pulled in about $72 million in research, teaching and extension grants last year, both on campus and in its 13 research and education centers around the state. The largest contributor was the U.S. Department of Agriculture, followed by the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. The academic departments that landed the most grant funding were: Fisheries, $6.2 million; microbiology, $5.3 million; horticultural sciences, $4.8 million; agriculture and biological engineering, $4.3 million. IFAS researchers have brought to market nearly 300 new cultivars and inventions over the past five years, the majority of them plant germplasm.
» Extension: IFAS manages Florida Cooperative Extension Service offices in all 67 counties. Extension agents specialize in everything from traditional row crops to growth management and land-use. The service coordinates volunteers in programs such as the Master Gardener program. Extension volunteers work the annual equivalent of 672 full-time employees. IFAS youth programs such as 4-H focus on youth leadership development. Its Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program helps homeowners create and maintain efficient landscapes.