Milestones of Impact

Most people know that a 25th anniversary is called the silver anniversary; the 50th anniversary mark is most often referred to as the “golden anniversary.”

But the 100th anniversary?

Well, I Googled it and the best I could find was a 10K diamond. There were no suggestions for 100th anniversary flowers or colors or a common name. It could be because it is so rare. No one is married for 100 years — at least as of yet!

But it is reasonable that an organization could celebrate 100 years. It is still rare, though, and it is very special.

So when the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center celebrates its 100th year of serving Florida growers this month, we take notice.

UF/IFAS CREC Historical Marker

UF/IFAS CREC Historical Marker

In 1917, University of Florida leaders made a commitment that the citrus industry’s challenges would be UF’s challenges, too. Over the years, we used science to battle citrus canker, yellow spot, citrus melanose, spreading decline, tristeza virus, greasy spot, black spot and citrus greening.

We’ve benefited from Mother Nature’s blessings and learned to cope with the difficulties she can bring, including drought, floods and freezes.

UF/IFAS Extension agents played a significant role in sharing the science discovered at the center with commercial growers, nurseries and homeowner citrus enthusiasts. Most recently, Extension faculty have been instrumental in coordinating the all-important pest management programs to fight the invasive Asian citrus psyllid.

Today, UF/IFAS Extension specialists and agents stationed at the Lake Alfred center work with researchers to find ways to improve production and processing methods, assist in managing the fight against citrus greening and educate the public about growing citrus in Florida.

In 1917, University of Florida leaders made a commitment that the citrus industry’s challenges would be UF’s challenges, too.

Steve Futch has worked for UF/IFAS for over 30 years and specializes in citrus production and weed control. He works directly with growers, providing them the latest citrus production concepts in an effort to enhance their returns. Immediately after Hurricane Irma, Steve drove through multiple central Florida counties, documenting the damage to citrus groves. His camera phone photos were some of the first to be shared with agricultural leaders across the state and showed how devastating the storm was to the citrus industry.

Jamie Burrows is the coordinator of the citrus canker and greening program and is responsible for outreach programs that raise awareness about these diseases with growers and the general public. In that role, she creates publications, programs and numerous events that engage thousands of Florida residents.

Steve and Jamie are just two of many UF/IFAS Extension faculty who have helped to build the Citrus Research and Education Center to be the world’s largest academic research facility dedicated to a single commodity. We are proud of all their work, the work of those who came before them, and the work of our current Extension faculty and staff who are highly invested in CREC efforts.

If you are interested in attending the 100th anniversary celebration event, please register here.

Please RSVP on or before Friday, Nov. 24 — the day after Thanksgiving.

Follow me on Twitter @nplace01.

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