UF/IFAS Pioneer Plant Lab

On April 6, 2017, UF/IFAS announced the establishment of the UF/IFAS Pioneer Plant Lab Endowment during a lunch-and-learn listening session in Tampa, Florida.

This endowment will support research on emerging Florida crops, such as olives, hops, peaches, blackberries and basil—that is, crops not traditionally grown in Florida. The goal is to invest in these areas as a way to bolster Florida’s economy against losses to the citrus industry, largely caused by the bacterial disease citrus greening.

Citrus greening-infected trees produce small, green, lopsided, bitter tasting fruit that are unsellable. While the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) continues to develop innovative solutions to slow the spread of citrus greening, growers are concerned that a cure won’t be found soon enough.

The listening session focused on “olives and oranges,” featuring speakers Mike Rogers, Director of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center; Michael O’Hara Garcia, President of the Florida Olive Council; Bill Lambert, Economic Development Director of the Hardee County Economic Development Council; and Cliff Little, President of Agromillora California.

Mr. Garcia explained, “it is imperative we address the research needed to develop new crops and new markets for our Florida farmers.”

Dr. Mike Rogers, Director of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, speaks about citrus greening (also known as HLB).

Endowments at the University of Florida are invested to provide perpetual funding to support an area of the donor’s interest. The Pioneer Plant Lab Endowment was established by the Florida Olive Council and the Hardee County Economic Development Council.

You can contribute to the UF/IFAS Pioneer Plant Lab Endowment here. For more information, please contact Annie Muscato, UF/IFAS Associate Director of Development, at (352) 392-5424 or afmuscato@ufl.edu.