Sandra Guzmán, a precision irrigation scientist with expertise in artificial intelligence for water management, was recently named a 2020 Outstanding Young Extension Worker by the Florida Section of American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
Guzmán is one of twelve scientists who conduct research at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Indian River Research and Education Center (UF/IFAS-IRREC) in Fort Pierce, Florida. The Indian River district is celebrated as the world’s premier grapefruit production region, where Guzmán works directly with citrus growers and stakeholders.
The award recognizes young engineers whose excellence and contributions in the development of extension-related programs and leadership character through their work to represent the agricultural engineering profession.
“Sandra Guzmán began her position as an assistant professor in late 2018. Her program is already robust,” said Ronald D. Cave, director of IRREC. “Sandra has a number of working relationships with local citrus growers, several graduate students, and has published journal articles that advance irrigation practices.”
The focus of Guzmán’s research and extension program is to apply precision irrigation technologies for the management of water resources in specialty crops, data analysis from field devices, and translation of technology to implementation in the Indian River district. Her published work appears in industry magazines and UF/IFAS’s Electronic Document Information System, or EDIS. Guzmán’s most recent story, Water Resources Management, Agricultural Systems, and Environmental Modeling and Assessment, appeared in Citrus Industry magazine. She published How Changes in Citrus Irrigation Scheduling Method Affect Water Use. on EDIS, where growers may access the document.
Cave said Guzmán’s work involves the most current smart technologies. Engineering science in crop fields and groves includes computer modeling programs to forecast irrigation needs. Data collection and analysis from field devices such as soil moisture sensors help growers determine how much water their crops require so that they may conserve water.
Guzmán’s vision is to provide growers with easy to use tools to manage irrigation and to increase automation.
During the last year, Guzmán published extension documents and articles for grower magazines to highlight the value of water management for specialty crops. She organizes extension events for growers and extension agents to teach new technologies in irrigation for specialty crop growers. Guzmán currently has many ongoing collaborative field trials with growers in southeast Florida.