With the final approval from the governor’s pen, the newest Florida state budget is set to take effect July 1. It is a date that also marks the beginning or continuation of several University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) projects.
In addition to a $3.6 million increase to the UF/IFAS base operating budget, notable funded projects include:
- $8.8 million toward research on nutrient application rates for citrus, corn, green beans, tomatoes and potatoes. With more crops to be added in future years, this effort will equip Florida farmers with science-tested best rates for optimal productivity and sustainability.
- $1.1 million toward the geomatics program within the School of Forest, Fisheries and Geomatics Sciences. This funding will bolster undergraduate tracks in geospatial analysis, surveying and mapping, and more.
- $2 million toward an ecosystem services project that will develop an artificial intelligence (AI) tool to identify, validate and quantify ecosystem services delivered by agricultural and natural systems in Florida.
“We recognize the trust these investments signify in UF/IFAS teaching, research and Extension, which are themselves investments in Florida’s people and our collective future,” said Scott Angle, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and the leader of UF/IFAS. “We are grateful for the opportunity to give back in such an impactful way, through improving processes that help us grow food, preserve our natural resources and train the next generation of Florida’s land stewards.”