FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Citrus and vegetables have grown side-by-side in Florida for centuries. But did you know local researchers serve produce growers with leading-edge research?
The 2023 Florida Citrus Show, to be held April 13, will take place at the University of Florida/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center (UF/IFAS-IRREC) and the adjacent United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Horticultural Research Laboratory, said Ronald D. Cave, Director of the UF/IFAS-IRREC.
The UF/IFAS facility, located at 2199 South Rock Road in Fort Pierce, Florida, neighbors the USDA facility at 2001 South Rock Road. Cave said AgNet Media, a media organization dedicated to serving growers’ needs for current news about agricultural production best practices, presents the show.
“We invite growers and the public so that we can share our researchers’ meaningful work with them. Food production benefits all of us with a strong economy and wholesome, nutritious food,” said Cave. “We thank AgNet Media and their work to gain sponsors so that the show may be offered at no cost to our local growers.”
New to the 77th annual show are sessions for vegetable producers, and an outdoor tailgate-style, tented trade show in the parking lots between the two buildings. Scientific, educational presentations will be delivered in meeting rooms at the UF/IFAS and USDA facilities, said Cave.
Attendees will enjoy a cookout luncheon under the shade of oak trees during which USDA researcher Dr. Scott Adkins will present a canine trained to detect disease in crops, said Cave.
Leading UF/IFAS educational presentations is Sandra Guzmán, who leads research in the SMART Irrigation and Hydrology Laboratory.
“Vegetable production will be new to this year’s show—and we invite all local vegetable growers to attend,” said Guzmán.
Other topics UF/IFAS professors will present include research in the “Millennium Block,” an active experimental grove in which more than 5,500 trees are under study to determine which new rootstocks will tolerate citrus greening. Other topics will include plant nutrition and methods to manage citrus greening, said Guzmán.
Guzman said that while citrus remains Florida’s signature crop, vegetable production is equally important as Florida is the nation’s winter produce production region. The UF/IFAS and USDA researchers work directly with local vegetable producers.
“The USDA, ARS in Fort Pierce staff has always contributed citrus talks at the Florida Citrus Show, but this year we are excited to serve as co-hosts and to have both our citrus and vegetable research included,” said Erin Rosskopf, interim director of the USDA-ARS Horticultural Research Laboratory. “We think it is going to be a great event, and we are happy to be an integral part of it.”
Florida ranks number one in the country in tomatoes, bell peppers, snap beans, watermelon, and cucumbers. “Florida Citrus Show talks will be of interest to producers of all of these commodities,” said Rosskopf.
Rosskopf said USDA researchers will cover broad issues that apply to the abovementioned vegetables. Sessions will take place in the USDA conference room, accessible from the facility entrance.
“We remain committed to the annual show and our local producers,” said Cave. “Florida is an important state for agriculture, and though our crops and production landscapes change continually, agriculture is one of the state’s most valuable contributors to our economy,” said Cave.
The 1-day show schedule:
Date: April 13, 2023
Breakfast and networking: 8 to 9 AM
Trade show: 8 AM to 2 PM
General session: 9 to 11 AM
Tailgate luncheon: 11 AM to 2 PM
Educational sessions: 2 to 4 PM
To register for the show, please access this link.
–Brad Buck, UF/IFAS