Ferrell to serve as agronomy department interim chair

Jay Ferrell will return to a leadership role at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) agronomy department, this time as interim chair, effective March 1.

Ferrell served as the department’s associate chair from 2014 to 2017 before departing to become the director of the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (CAIP). Two years later, he became the director of the Pesticide Information Office (PIO) as well.

Jay Ferrell
Jay Ferrell. Credit: UF/IFAS photography

“His present statewide scope of duties as CAIP and PIO director translate well to a leadership position overseeing a faculty distributed throughout Gainesville and among six research and education centers across the state,” said Robert Gilbert, UF/IFAS interim senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

Ferrell first came to the agronomy department in 2004 as an assistant professor.

Among his goals as interim chair are to secure more workspace for young faculty. He said he wants to be as transparent as possible with funding, offering a budget model so his colleagues understand why decisions are made.

“The agronomy department is full of amazing faculty,” Ferrell said. “I am honored to have been asked to lead as interim chair.”

Gilbert commended the work Ferrell has accomplished since he became the director of the CAIP and the PIO. He particularly praised Ferrell’s “Working in the Weeds” podcast, a CAIP production, stating the endeavor demonstrates Ferrell’s success as an “able communicator.” Podcast episodes feature scientists clarifying issues concerning invasive plants while simultaneously highlighting the center’s research.

“I look forward to supporting Jay in his new role and know he will provide solid leadership for our agronomy team and collaboration across UF/IFAS,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert thanked Ferrell’s predecessor, Gopal Kakani, for his work. Kakani, who has served as agronomy department chair since 2022, will continue with UF/IFAS as a faculty member.


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.

ifas.ufl.edu | @UF_IFAS


Megan Winslow
Posted: February 27, 2024

Category: Agriculture, Pests & Disease, UF/IFAS
Tags: Center For Aquatic And Invasive Plants, Gopal Kalkani, IFAS, Jason Ferrell, Jay Ferrell, Megan Winslow, Pesticide Information Office, Robert Gilbert, UF, UF/IFAS, University Of Florida, Working In The Weed

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