UF/IFAS dedicates new plant propagation lab, greenhouse in Apopka

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Roseville Farms owner David Raab grew up in the nursery industry. Over the years, he said, he’s seen the business evolve from plants in the ground to a highly technical field driven by advancements in a lab.

So, donating a 17,000-square-foot greenhouse and outfitting a plant propagation laboratory at UF’s Mid-Florida Research and Education Center seemed like a sound business investment.

“We can’t afford to have a staff of Ph.D.’s on our payroll,” Raab said. “We’re so fortunate in this area to have this kind of facility that’s bursting with brain power.”

Raab and his wife, Kim, along with officials from UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the nursery industry were on hand for the Sept. 29 dedication of the greenhouse and facilities at the Apopka center.

Jack Payne, UF’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, told Raab and others gathered for the ceremony that they should “expect great things” from IFAS researchers because of the donation.

Roseville Farms, based in Apopka, is the largest producer of Clematis varieties in North America.

The donation has allowed REC officials to update facilities that were more than 40 years old.

The laboratory space and equipment will be used to find new ways to culture and develop new varieties of foliage plants, along with other research, center director Wayne Mackay said. The space is especially valuable to researchers seeking grants, he said.

Contacts:

Writer: Mickie Anderson, 352-273-3566, mickiea@ufl.edu

Source: Wayne Mackay, 407-884-2034, ext. 101, wmackay@ufl.edu

Photo Cutline: Apopka-based Roseville Farms owner David Raab, left, and Jack Payne, UF’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, unveil a sign marking a new, 17,000-square-foot greenhouse at IFAS’ Mid-Florida Research and Education Center. Raab also donated equipment to update a plant propagation laboratory at the REC. (IFAS photo by Tyler Jones)