I know that Florida Farm Bureau has a number of legislative priorities, so I want to thank you for making funding for the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences one of them.
I’m glad not just because it helps us make the case for increased funding. Farm Bureau support is important because it indicates an understanding of how the University of Florida/IFAS serves the state’s $148-billion-a-year agriculture and natural resources industry. In other words, how we serve you.
With Farm Bureau support, we hope to add $3.5 million worth of experts on agriculture and natural resources issues. We call it workload, and it’s based on a formula that accounts for patents and licenses, field consultations, research and educational materials, group learning events and more.
We also hope to secure the $2.6 million needed to transform the beef teaching unit into a facility where we can host cattlemen and cattlewomen to better share what we know about animal science.
UF/IFAS fights pests and disease, figures out ways to reduce water, nutrients and other expensive inputs, creates new varieties of fruits and vegetables and provides information on consumer perceptions. UF/IFAS science is knowledge that can be put to work on your farm.
We help make Farm Bureau itself stronger through our leadership training programs and our enthusiastic participation in your events throughout the year. Our Extension agents often work closely with county Farm Bureau leaders on local issues.
Farm Bureau support for our legislative budget request is evidence that one of our most important stakeholders understands the payoff from agricultural research and Extension.
So even when we don’t get all the funding we need, your backing tells us we’re relevant and responsive.
Thank you for supporting us so that we can support you. With success in Tallahassee this year, we hope to be able to do even more for you and your Farm Bureau colleagues.
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.