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Land transfer to benefit UF students and research programs

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences students will benefit from a transfer of possession and control of land to the University Athletic Association for the construction of a new baseball stadium. UAA will acquire the use of 13.63 acres of land across UF/IFAS property located on Hull Road in exchange for payments over the next 5 years.

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will invest these funds in redeveloping the research and instructional facilities to benefit its students in horticultural sciences, plant pathology, environmental horticulture, and agronomy programs.

“This is a win-win for UF/IFAS, our students, faculty, and the university community, “said Jack M. Payne, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.  “Teaching and research activities will continue and students will continue to learn in facilities and agricultural sites appropriate to the level of a top 10 public university.”

Immediate activities for UF/IFAS include shifting the teaching and research program in horticultural sciences currently located on the Hull Road site to the east and south, providing upgrades to the layout and infrastructure from its current condition.  Student teaching and research farms for horticultural sciences will remain on the main UF campus along Hull Road and IFAS Research Drive, directly across from Fifield Hall.

A second major investment for UF/IFAS will be a complete renovation and upgrade to existing plant growth chambers near Fifield Hall. The growth chamber building will be for the benefit of the students and faculty in plant pathology, environmental horticulture, and agronomy.

The property currently hosts a horticultural grove consisting of citrus and stone fruit trees, many of which have succumbed to the various diseases facing Florida’s fruit trees. Healthy trees will be transplanted, new trees will be planted, and trees infected with citrus greening will be contained to prevent the spread of this disease plaguing the citrus industry.

Lack of funding for facilities is a national issue facing all public land-grant universities. A 2015 national study showed an $8.4 billion need in deferred maintenance in buildings and supporting facilities at schools of agriculture authorized to receive U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding.

CONTACT: Ruth Borger, 352-294-3329 office,  517-803-7631 cell,  rborger@ufl.edu

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The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences 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 works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

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