University of Florida to halt research at Immokalee center

09/18/2013 02:51:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

UF Institute of Food and Agricultural SciencesThe University of Florida plans to shift the focus of its Immokalee center from research and education to more of a demonstration orientation, similar to "partnership" programs at Live Oak and Hastings.

The move is intended to help eliminate duplication among several of the state's research and education centers, according to a news release.

Immokalee will cease operating as a research and education center on Sept. 1, 2014, which will give researchers time to wrap up project they have at the facility, according to the release.

Six researchers currently based at Immokalee will be transferred elsewhere, "as appropriate," according to the release.

The Florida Partnership for Water, Agriculture, and Community Sustainability at Hastings, for example, is a a collaborative effort among the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and numerous other public and private entities. It was developed as a demonstration unit at the 65-acre site of a former research and education center in Hastings.

As part of the transition at the Southwest Florida REC, IFAS officials will appoint an advisory committee this fall that will include members from agriculture and the community. It will be co-chaired by Charles Vivrina, an IFAS district Extension director, and Scott Taylor, director of operations at the Hastings partnership site.

The committee will be asked to draft recommendations about the future of the Immokalee site.

John Arthington, a UF professor and director of the Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona, will supervise the center during the transition.

The 320-acre Immokalee center houses researchers who specialize in citrus and vegetable horticulture, among other topics. It was established as a UF support facility in 1958 and became a research and education center in 1986.

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