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Yara research scholarship presentations highlight potentialThe potential for collaboration between Yara North America and University of Florida (UF) was emphasized in early June when Yara representatives visited the University to see presentations of scholarship-funded research.
On June 8, Yara’s Bill Easterwood, Director, Agronomic Services, and Gary Vogen, Vice President, Public Affairs, met with the first two recipients of the Yara North America Crop Innovation Scholarships which were introduced and presented at University of Florida this past school year.
- Silvia Marino, recently-graduated scholarship recipient, presented her research examining the effect of foliar nutrient applications on grapefruit quality at harvest and in storage retention.
- Master’s candidate scholarship recipient Bhagatveer Sangha presented his work on the evaluation of the effect of early season nitrogen rates on bare root strawberry transplants.
Goals and initiatives of the scholarship program with University of Florida were discussed with leaders Dr. Elaine Turner, Dean, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and Dr. Jack Rechcigl, Director, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC). Along with several of their staff, they provided insight into key research areas which are resulting in development of new crop varieties, crop alternatives and improvements for existing crops.
“With this knowledge,” said Gary Vogen, “Florida growers will have improved economics and be better able to compete on the global stage. This type of information is what Yara is proud to play a part in developing through university learning, and what we hope will be the continued result of our partnership with UF.”
Other UF projects in the works
- Working with Yara Farmer Engagement Manager Eric Waldo, UF researchers are seeking to develop a pomegranate variety suitable for Florida’s soils and environment.
- Robotics is being used to increase the efficiency of harvesting traditionally hand-picked crops while the development of crop varieties that match the requirements of this mechanical handling is also being studied.
- GCREC has one of the nation’s premier strawberry breeding programs and is working to develop plants that will best perform in Florida early-season growing conditions to create a niche market for Florida growers.
- Yara’s work continues with UF in other research centers toward advancing the use of Yara’s Water Sensor technology and citrus nutrition research to help combat greening.
Yara has begun a partnership that is creating benefits for the University and for Yara, but more importantly for Florida’s growers. Dr. Turner commented on the unique willingness of Yara to invest in the future by supporting active research, encouraging graduate students to seek knowledge through that research and the encouragement the company offers undergraduates to explore their curiosity and expand their knowledge interests.
Yara has created the opportunity to build access to students who are hungry to apply their knowledge and who bring a wealth of new energy and skills into the agriculture business. Many of these students are seeking challenging careers to which Yara can provide them access.
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Publication date: 6/14/2017
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