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Jacqueline Burns to direct UF/IFAS’ Southwest Florida Research and Education Center

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jacqueline Burns, director of the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center, now has another hat to wear – she’s been named to lead UF’s Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee.

Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, appointed Burns in early July. She will officially take the post Aug. 1.

“Dr. Burns has been doing an outstanding job at the Citrus REC, and I know she’ll bring the same passion and work ethic to Immokalee,” Payne said. “I want to thank her and express my full confidence that she will carry out her new responsibilities with distinction.”

Burns succeeds John Dunckelman, interim director of the Immokalee center since 2010. Dunckelman was hired in 2004 as associate director and will remain with the center as farm manager.

“I deeply appreciate John’s leadership, his dedication to the center and his commitment to its continued success,” Payne said.

Burns said her priority for Southwest Florida REC is to strengthen its programs and connect with its stakeholders.

The Southwest Florida REC includes a sizable citrus research program that addresses citrus greening and the insect responsible for its spread, the Asian citrus psyllid. Center personnel also research citrus black spot, citrus canker and citrus leaf miner as well as mechanical harvesting, irrigation and other production issues.

The Immokalee area supports a great deal of vegetable farming, so research topics at the center include tomato production, notably the diseases late blight and tomato yellow leaf curl virus; vegetable production, including nutrient management and water quality protection; and fighting fungal diseases on vine crops including watermelon and squash.

“This is a very, very good opportunity, not only for me but for IFAS and the statewide citrus program,” Burns said. “It affords me an opportunity to get involved more broadly with what IFAS is doing in agriculture overall.”

Burns has worked at the Citrus REC since 1987 and took over the director’s duties in early 2009. Located in Lake Alfred, the Citrus REC has 33 faculty members and 225 staff members, making the center one of the world’s largest public research facilities dedicated to a single commodity.

Southwest Florida REC serves growers and residents in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. It includes 320 acres and about 80 faculty, staff and students, working in nine disciplines.

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Contacts

Writer: Tom Nordlie, 352-273-3567, tnordlie@ufl.edu

Contact: Jacqueline Burns, 863-956-5897, jkbu@ufl.edu

Photo cutline: Jacqueline Burns, current director of the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center, will now lead a second UF facility, the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center. Burns was appointed in early July and will officially take the post Sept. 15. Located in Immokalee, the Southwest Florida REC focuses on production issues involving citrus, vegetables and sugarcane. Photo by Steven Rogers