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Florida Farm Bureau is first CALS partner in program to support students

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Farm Bureau is the first organization to participate in the CALS Partnership Program, pledging $20,000 in a gift that will go primarily to support student development activities at the University of Florida.

Funding student development activities is a continuing challenge, said Elaine Turner, dean of UF’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, or CALS. Some of the types of programs that will gain support from the farm bureau’s donation include the CALS Ambassadors, the CALS Leadership Institute and TailGATOR, an annual event held at the O’Connell Center that celebrates students’ connections with CALS and UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“State support isn’t what it used to be, but there’s still a need for us to make sure that our students get more than just their academic credential while they’re here,” Turner said. “This program will help ensure that we can continue offering the kinds of opportunities that connect students to other students, to industry and to alumni.”

Companies or industry organizations can make annual or one-time gifts that range from $1,000 to $20,000.

Kevin Morgan, executive assistant to Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick, said his organization’s board of directors wanted to formalize what was already being done in practice.

“The board wanted to continue its longtime tradition of supporting education,” he said. “We want young people who might end up in the agricultural arena to know about the farm bureau. So, to use a farming analogy, we’re planting the seeds for their success.”

The Gainesville-based Florida Farm Bureau is the state’s largest agriculture organization and its mission is helping agricultural growers and producers succeed.

Besides CALS Ambassadors and TailGATOR, programs and activities that will benefit from the donation include the Solutions Seminars, which are professional development events for students held throughout the academic year, and even the CALS Teaching Enhancement Symposium that benefits students through better instruction, Turner said.

CALS officials hope other agriculture-industry related companies and organizations will follow the Florida Farm Bureau’s lead.

“It’s not only about the future workforce, but there are positive societal ramifications for ensuring that our students are well-prepared for whatever sorts of careers they pursue,” Turner said.

For more information about the CALS Partnership Program, contact Charlotte Emerson, CALS director of student development and recruitment, at or 352-392-1963.


Writer: Mickie Anderson, 352-273-3566,

Source: Elaine Turner, 352-392-1963,