The recently passed state budget includes:
- An increase in UF/IFAS funding of $4 million for what we call “workload” – money we use to meet increasing demands for research and Extension activities that benefit the state’s farmers.
- $2.6 million to complete the renovations at the IFAS beef teaching unit to replace a condemned student dormitory, upgrade the animal facilities and to build a center to host Extension and education events.
There are two reasons I value your support so much. First, you’re the voice of agriculture, and if that voice is echoing that of UF/IFAS, it tells us we’re serving Florida farmers well.
Second, because you’re recognized as the voice of agriculture, you’re influential. Your calls and emails carry clout because they’re representative of a 144,000-member organization in a $148-billion-a-year industry.
Thanks go to the FFB state board of directors for including support for our funding request as one of its official legislative priorities. Thanks also to Adam Basford and his team in Tallahassee for the work they did helping IFAS make the case in the halls of the Capitol.
Thanks, too, to every Farm Bureau member who called or wrote to a legislator on our behalf.
You’ll be hearing from us in coming months about how you’ll benefit from the new resources the Legislature is providing to UF/IFAS. We’ll also continue to tell the story of Florida agriculture as we communicate about our scientific breakthroughs, our teaching, and our outreach.
Ultimately we aim to repay your support in Tallahassee with scientific support in your grove, forest, farm, ranch, or aquaculture operation.
Jack Payne is the University of Florida’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and leader of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.