LAKE ALFRED, Fla. — When the annual 2020 Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute was canceled due to the stay at home guidelines recommended by the state, growers were shut out of learning the latest research updates from University of Florida citrus scientists. In addition, they were denied access to earning valuable continuing education units needed to renew pesticide licenses.
UF/IFAS Extension agents regrouped and are now providing that information on-line to anyone with an Internet connection. Three presentations from the canceled April conference are now available on the citrus extension agent’s website, https://citrusagents.ifas.ufl.edu/.
Growers may learn about the economics of juice imports, fruit prices and production costs presented by Ariel Singerman, a food and resource economics assistant professor at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center. Two additional presentations on trunk injections and Asian citrus psyllid management through spraying and biological control, presented by assistant professor Ute Albrecht and professor Lukasz Stelinski respectively, may each be viewed to earn one Continuing Education Unit (CEU) for either a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) license or Certified Crop Advisors (CCA) license
There is no charge to view the presentations or to complete and earn the CEUs. The citrus Extension agents worked with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on the on-line system of testing so that the CEUs could be awarded.
“One CEU is available now with these presentations,” said Chris Oswalt, UF/IFAS Extension citrus agent for Hillsborough and Polk counties and organizer of the Florida Citrus Grower’s Institute. “Our goal is to add additional presentations in the upcoming months.”
“The coronavirus pandemic is shifting how UF/IFAS delivers all of its Extension programs. While the exchange may not be as personal as we would like, the information is still the same and very useful,” Oswalt said. “We continue to reach out to growers and respond to their needs.”
Additional instructions are available on the website. If growers have questions about the webinars or accessing the CEUs, they can email or call their local UF/IFAS Extension citrus agent. Their contact information may be found on their website at citrusagents.ifas.ufl.edu
–Brad Buck, UF/IFAS