By Ruth Borger
LAKE ALFRED, FL — When the annual 2020 Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute was canceled due to the stay at home guidelines recommended by the state, growers were shut out of learning the latest research updates from University of Florida citrus scientists. In addition, they were denied access to earning valuable continuing education units needed to renew pesticide licenses.
UF/IFAS Extension agents regrouped and are now providing that information on-line to anyone with an Internet connection. Three presentations from the canceled April conference are now available on the citrus extension agent’s website, https://citrusagents.ifas.ufl.edu/.
There is no charge to view the presentations or to complete and earn the CEUs. The citrus Extension agents worked with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on the on-line system of testing so that the CEUs could be awarded.
“One CEU is available now with these presentations,” said Chris Oswalt, UF/IFAS Extension citrus agent for Hillsborough and Polk counties and organizer of the Florida Citrus Grower’s Institute. “Our goal is to add additional presentations in the upcoming months.”
“The coronavirus pandemic is shifting how UF/IFAS delivers all of its Extension programs. While the exchange may not be as personal as we would like, the information is still the same and very useful,” Oswalt said. “We continue to reach out to growers and respond to their needs.”
Additional instructions are available on the website. If growers have questions about the webinars or accessing the CEUs, they can email or call their local UF/IFAS Extension citrus agent. Their contact information may be found on their website at citrusagents.ifas.ufl.edu
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.