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Texas A&M AgriLife Extension leader tapped for UF/IFAS Extension associate dean post

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Saqib Mukhtar

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service leader with extensive experience in environmental management and animal feeding operations has been named associate dean and agriculture program leader for UF/IFAS Extension.

Saqib Mukhtar, professor, associate department head and Extension program leader for Texas A&M’s Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, will join the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in April. He has several current commitments before he wraps up his transition from Texas A&M to UF/IFAS.

UF/IFAS Extension Dean Nick Place announced Mukhtar’s appointment Dec. 23, following a national search to replace the retiring Joan Dusky.

“Everyone who works with Saqib is highly complementary of his vision, progressiveness, professionalism, knowledge, character and respect that people have for him,” Place said in making the announcement. “We look forward to having him as part of our UF/IFAS Extension team and leading our broad and diverse agricultural Extension program.”

Mukhtar said the associate dean position offers the opportunity to provide vision and leadership to address critical issues and shape solutions for Florida’s diverse food, agriculture and horticulture systems in a state with sensitive ecosystems and limited natural resources.

He said he’s thrilled to serve UF/IFAS Extension and the people of Florida in his new position.

“During my first year, I would like to get to know the people, learn more about the programs and resources and internal and external partnerships,” Mukhtar said.

In the long term, he said he wants to help implement the UF/IFAS Extension 10-year Roadmap of initiatives through targeted and cross-cutting agriculture and horticulture programs.

As outlined in his letter to the UF/IFAS search committee, Mukhtar said his professional journey in the U.S. started 24 years ago as a civil engineer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Fort Dodge, Iowa. There, he helped producers and landowners design and implement engineering practices to reduce erosion, conserve water and prevent natural resource degradation from point and non-point pollution sources.

Later, he worked as an Extension educator at Iowa State University and then joined Texas A&M in 1998 as an Extension specialist and assistant professor to deliver statewide education programs and conduct research in animal manure and wastewater management to protect natural resources.

Mukhtar worked his way up to Extension program leader and associate department head. He supervises biological and agricultural engineering Extension faculty on campus and in outlying Extension and research centers.

Texas, a state with a diverse climate, topography, farming and animal production systems, industries and increasing population and urbanization, has challenges and opportunities similar to those in Florida, Mukhtar said. Sensitive ecosystems, impaired watersheds, dwindling groundwater resources and a burgeoning population are prime examples of where Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s programs can help, he said.

Mukhtar’s degrees are in agricultural engineering. He earned his bachelor’s from the University of Agriculture; Faisalabad, Pakistan. His master’s and doctorates are from Iowa State University.

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Writer: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

Sources: Saqib Mukhtar, mukhtar@tamu.edu

Nick Place, 352-392-1761, nplace@ufl.edu