UF clarifies new role of Immokalee center

09/20/2013 02:34:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences logoIn light of news earlier this week that research at the Southwest Florida Research Center, Immokalee, would be halted, University of Florida leaders sought to clarify misinformation surrounding it.

A Sept. 20 letter, signed by senior vice president Jack Payne, research dean John Hayes and Extension dean Nick Place, says the center is not closing. Instead, it will transition to a new role.

One option would be a demonstration site, similar to those at Live Oak and Hastings.

A university press release issued Sept. 18 said the Immokalee facility would cease operating as a research and education center on Sept. 1, 2014, to give scientists time to wrap up trials.

Six researchers based at the facility would be transferred, "as appropriate," according to the release.

Click here for an earlier article about the SWFREC announcement.

A human resources representative would help staff members with the transition.

Later this year, the university plans to put together an advisory committee of external stakeholders and university faculty and staff to develop a plan to address the needs of local and regional agriculture in southwest Florida, according to the letter.

The committee will be co-chaired by Charles Vavrina, district Extension director, and Scott Taylor, director of operations for the Hastings Partnership.

The group will be charged with submitting recommendations by early spring 2014.

"UF/IFAS remains steadfast in its commitment to serving agricultural producers in southwest Florida and providing research-based solutions to our most pressing problems," they wrote in the letter. "We believe that this new direction will result in better service to our community stakeholders."

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