Brenda Rogers has been named director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension south central district. This district encompasses 11 Florida counties in southwestern Florida, from Pasco County in the north down to Collier County in the south.
Rogers grew up in Manatee County, where her father was a third-generation dairy farmer and she was a member of her local 4-H club. This upbringing instilled a love of the land and the life it represents, she said, and gave her firsthand experience with the region’s people and the challenges they face.
“We are extremely pleased to have Brenda serving as our district Extension director for the south central district,” said Nick Place, dean and director of UF/IFAS Extension. “She has an outstanding background as a former Extension faculty member, county Extension director and former county department director, all highly aligned with this position. Moreover, she has a tremendous view of the many opportunities facing Extension and ideas on how we can best get there. We are very excited to have her as a key member of our statewide leadership team for UF/IFAS Extension.”
Rogers received her bachelor’s degree in home economics from Appalachian State University and her master’s degree in family and consumer sciences from Florida State University. She has received many awards and honors, including, most recently, the National County Government Month award, the Epsilon Sigma Phi Scholarship award and the Manatee County Agriculturalist of the Year award. Her long career in UF/IFAS Extension and local government have given her a passion for connecting with members of the community.
“There are three things throughout my career that I’ve always valued: Getting to meet new people, helping people, and learning something new each day,” Rogers said. “As district Extension director, I have the chance to reengage with agriculture, and use skills in management and administration I’ve developed over the years.”
Rogers is interested in further developing the partnership between UF/IFAS and Bok Tower Gardens. She will also continue to promote the development of emerging crops in the region, which includes many citrus growers.
Her biggest challenge has been managing the diverse program areas within UF/IFAS Extension, which include agriculture, natural resources, 4-H youth development, urban and commercial horticulture, family and consumer sciences, and others. Rogers’ goal is to bring these groups together. “We are focusing on projects as multidisciplinary teams working to solve community problems,” she said. “One of the strengths of Extension programming is to engage in grassroots efforts to build programming based on local needs.”
By: Samantha Grenrock, 352-294-3307, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Nick Place, 352-392-1761, email@example.com
Brenda Rogers, 941-713-0739, firstname.lastname@example.org
Top: UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones