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UF/IFAS Extension agents working together to better serve citrus growers


LAKE ALFRED, FL — Florida’s citrus growers have long benefited from productive relationships with UF/IFAS Extension commercial citrus agents who work in central and Southwest Florida.

And it’s about to get better.

UF/IFAS Extension commercial citrus agents operating in Hillsborough, Polk, Highlands, DeSoto, Hardee, and Manatee counties are launching a new newsletter. They hope to use the platform to streamline important communications with growers, share critical information in a timely way, and enhance already strong working relationships.

“Our goal is always to improve service to commercial growers, “said Chris Oswalt, commercial citrus Extension agent serving growers’ needs in Hillsborough and Polk Counties. “We will be delivering more relevant and timely citrus information without sending multiple emails containing the same or similar information.”

Calling themselves Central Florida Citrus Extension, the group includes long-time Extension agent Chris Oswalt, Highlands County County Extension Director Laurie Hurner and the newest agent, Ajia Paolillo. Together they bring more than 60 years of citrus growing experience to the region.

“We are still serving our local citrus growers; nothing changes on that front,” Hurner said.

The team hopes to improve communication about programs that happen in neighboring counties that growers may be interested in.

“Growers will travel across county lines for good programming,” Paolillo explained. “Now, we can actively promote those educational sessions that are happening in a neighboring county to a larger audience.”

The newsletter rolled out its first  issue  May 29 and will be published monthly except in July/August, typically lighter months for commercial citrus operations.  If you already receive a newsletter from one of these agents, you automatically will receive the new newsletter.  If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please email your UF/IFAS Extension citrus agent. You may find the agent for your  location at .


By: Ruth Borger, 517-803-7631,

MEDIA CONTACT: Brad Buck, 813-757-2224 (office); 352-875-2641 (cell);

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.