GAINESVILLE, Fla. – As Best Management Practices Coordinator for the state, Kelly Morgan has spent years helping growers find optimum ways to irrigate and fertilize their crops to maximize results. Now, he will get the chance to coordinate even more groundbreaking research.
The University of Florida has named Morgan the new director of the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee, Florida. The center is one of 13 research stations across the state, which are part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
“Dr. Morgan is a natural fit for this position because of his extensive research background and knowledge of industry practices and partners,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources. “He will make an outstanding leader as he has already set an example of using research and Extension to help Florida’s ranchers and farmers thrive.”
Morgan said he is eager to begin his new duties as director of UF/IFAS Southwest Florida REC, which is home to 13 faculty members. “We have a wide range of expertise at the center, from plant physiology to soil microbiology to precision agriculture and horticulture,” he said. “This is an exciting place to work because we are able to conduct research that provides solutions to growers’ problems. I look forward to continuing to work with faculty to support industry.”
Currently, Morgan, a professor of soil and water sciences, is a liaison between UF/IFAS and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Water Management as the best management practices coordinator. FDACS implements policies in water management for Florida growers, and Morgan works with UF/IFAS Extension agents to provide information on best practices. Extension agents then share the information with growers in their counties.
In his new position, Morgan said he will work with citrus and vegetable growers on fertilizer management and irrigation management. “We will be looking at the consequences of those activities on the environment,” he said.
In addition, Morgan will help coordinate the center’s research on citrus greening, a devastating disease that has impacted the industry. “Growers are looking at UF/IFAS researchers for answers on ways to manage citrus greening,” Morgan said. “This will keep us busy, and there are so many other research projects underway. These are exciting times.”
Morgan begins his new position on Aug. 1.
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.