Courtesy Florida Fruit & Vegetable AssociationRick Kress, Southern Gardens Citrus. (left), was one of two who nominated Mike Irey for FFVA's Researcher of the Year honors.The Maitland-based Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association recognized Mike Irey, director of research for sugar cane and citrus for U.S. Sugar Corp. and Southern Gardens Citrus, Clewiston, at its annual meeting last week in Naples.
Irey received FFVA's Researcher of the Year Award for his work in helping the industry develop improved and better-adapted sugar cane varieties, according to a news release.
The award also recognized his work in the continuing battle against citrus greening.
Irey helped establish a PCR analytical lab for testing leaf samples for greening, also known as huanglongbin.
About 250,000 samples have been run through the lab at no charge to growers.
In their nomination, Ken McDuffie, senior vice president of U.S. Sugar, and Rick Kress, president of Southern Gardens Citrus, said, “Mike Irey plays a critical role for U.S. Sugar in not only research efforts, but also applying the results of that research.”