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This is a 12-month tenure-accruing position that will be 40% research (Florida Agricultural Experiment Station) and 60% Extension (Florida Cooperative Extension Service), available at the Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC), Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida (UF). This assignment may change in accordance with the needs of the unit.
Tenure will accrue in the Horticultural Sciences Department. The vegetable industry in south Florida is in transition from conventional cultural practices to more sustainable practices; and from large acreages of traditional vegetable crops to emerging high value ethnic crops that meet the increasing demands of consumers of Asian-, Caribbean-, and Latin-American origins.
Demographics of the producer community is shifting from older to younger farmers, expanding to new ethnic groups (e.g., Asian- and Hispanic- Americans) and to interest in alternative and more diverse cropping systems. The research and extension program must be developed to meet the needs of the subtropical and tropical vegetable horticulture industry in south Florida in cooperation with other faculty in the Horticultural Sciences Department and UF/IFAS Extension located at the main campus in Gainesville and at other locations throughout the state. Duties will include providing innovative leadership and expertise in the development of interdisciplinary research and extension projects in collaboration with other faculty in areas such as breeding and genetics, entomology and nematology, plant pathology, soil and water sciences, agricultural engineering, hydrology, food and resource economics, and precision agriculture. The extension and research programs shall support commercial (including commercial urban and protected) vegetable production in the region while investigating innovative production systems that lead to increased diversification of alternative and emerging crops and adoption of precision crop production practices, which will assure sustainability, climate resilience, and profitability for vegetable crop farms. The development of vegetable crop production systems that assist growers to compete in the local, regional, national, and global economy and reduce adverseimpacts of agricultural activities in the south Florida environment is an imperative. Research outcomes will be integrated into a strong extension program to support county and state extension faculty, vegetable farmers, and allied industry representatives statewide.
Major goals for this position include the development of an extension program that reaches underserved minority groups (e.g., African-, Asian-, Hispanic- American producers, novice/new growers) and development of effective field production strategies for enhancing yield and quality of vegetables in a manner consistent with good stewardship of the land and natural resources. Approaches could relate to study of cultural practices to promote sustainable conventional, regenerative, and organic production and optimization of current and innovative production practices. Interaction with the South Florida Water Management District, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, USDA/Agricultural Research Service, USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other local, state, and federal agencies is important to this position.
The faculty member will be expected to participate actively in graduate education by chairing and serving on graduate committees, supervising thesis and dissertation research, and publishing the results with their graduate students. The faculty member is expected to actively seek robust and diverse external grant funding to support their program. The faculty member will engage in Extension activities in their program area, including demonstration of alternative crops and innovative and sustainable vegetable production systems. Other Extension activities will include providing training, resource materials, and technical assistance to Extension Agents, collaborating with them on Extension and technical publications and grants, and conducting workshops/trainings for the vegetable industry and other stakeholders in partnership with Extension faculty.
All IFAS faculty members are expected to be supportive of the land-grant mission and engaged in all three mission areas: Research, Teaching and Extension, regardless of the formal assignment specified in the position description.
The Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead is a branch of UF/IFAS. TREC is a 160-acre center with office, laboratory, greenhouse, teaching, and field plot facilities. Currently, there are 17 faculty members located at the center. TREC is located in Miami-Dade County about 30 miles south of metropolitan Miami. The demographics of the region is very diverse. The area has a marine-warm-subtropical climate and is demographically diverse.
This position is available May 31, 2023, and will be filled as soon thereafter as an acceptable applicant is available. Compensation is commensurate with the education, experience, and qualifications of the selected applicant.