There’s Plenty to See, Do, Learn: UF Open House on Dec. 4 Invites Community to Engage with Science

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is committed to discovering science-based solutions that make tangible positive impacts on the lives of people worldwide.

On December 4, the South Florida community has an opportunity to engage in innovative, high tech research at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC) Open House, located at 18905 Southwest 280th Street in the heart of Homestead. The center is a hub of research and development that helps the South Florida region be one of the world’s leading agricultural and natural resources regions.

Participants can learn about research being conducted to address some of the challenges arising from increased pests and diseases, red tide, sea-level rise, saltwater intrusion, and climate change.

Dr. Ashley Smyth, an assistant professor of biogeochemistry, is investigating the effects of climate variability and sea-level rise in South Florida coastal habitats.

New agricultural products such as industrial hemp, vanilla and finger limes will be featured as well as the cutting edge methods being employed by UF/IFAS plant breeders and geneticists to develop new, improved varieties of crop that are resistant to invasive pests, can adjust to changing climate conditions and may also be tastier and more healthy for consumers.

Attendees who register for the free event will get to engage with scientists and students while getting a close up look at the wide scope of current research taking place including work with papayas, lychees, avocados, pumpkins, ornamental plants, entomology, water quality in agricultural and natural ecosystems, estuarine and coastal ecosystems restoration, pest management, and much more.

The daylong event, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature demonstrations, lab and field tours, and presentations about ornamental crops, vegetable crops, subtropical and tropical fruit crops, and natural resource conservation. The free event will include lunch sponsored by Outback Steakhouse to participants who register by December 2. To register, go to the following Eventbrite link, or visit
Jack Payne, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at UF/IFAS will address participants during the 11 a.m. opening ceremony.

The University of Florida Tropical Research and Education Center is in the heart of the tropical and subtropical fruit and vegetable industries, and the ornamental plant industry. For 90 years it has served as an agricultural research unit of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Since 1929, UF/IFAS TREC scientists, students, and staff have collaborated with farmers and focused research and extension outreach on tropical and subtropical fruit crops, traditional and tropical vegetables, tropical ornamental crops, agronomic crops and natural resources in the warm subtropics.

Dr. Geoffrey Meru, assistant professor of vegetable breeding, genetics and genomics is trying to breed and grow dual-purpose pumpkins in the Sunshine State.

Today, UF/IFAS TREC’s 17 professors, along with more than 130 support scientists, staff and students representing 12 academic disciplines and lead agricultural research and investigate environmental issues that protect the sustainability of Dade, Broward and Monroe counties and its neighboring counties. UF/IFAS TREC’s Plant Diagnostic Clinic has the unique designation of being the only tropical diagnostic clinic in the continental United States. The others are in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Due to the region’s humid subtropical climate, TREC is the only state university research and education center in the continental U.S. focusing on a large number of tropical and subtropical crops also situated at the gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean Region.


By: Lourdes Rodriguez, 954-577-6363 office, 954-242-8439 mobile,

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) 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 brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries and all Florida residents. | @UF_IFAS



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Posted: November 20, 2019

Category: Agriculture, Events, Fruits & Vegetables, Invasive Species, Pests & Disease, UF/IFAS Research
Tags: Ashley Smyth, Avocado, Climate Change, Ecosystems Restoration, Fruit Crops, Geoffrey Meru, Hemp Research, Industrial Hemp, Open House, Ornamental Plants, Papaya, Pest Management, Red Tide, Research, Sea Level Rise, Soil And Water Sciences, Tropical Research And Education Center, UF/IFAS Tropical Research And Education Center, Vanilla At TREC, Vegetable Crops, Water Quality

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