UF/IFAS Partnership Remains Strong

UF/IFAS Partnership Remains Strong
Posted on 09/14/2022
UF/IFAS ClassMANATEE COUNTY, FL (September 14, 2022) – Manatee County is keeping its eyes on agriculture through ongoing support and partnerships with the University of Florida (UF) and its Agricultural Extension program.

With $1.5 million in funding in the new budget, the Manatee County Extension Service is—and will continue to be—an important educational initiative within county government, bringing the resources of UF to Manatee County to solve local problems, provide educational opportunities, promote economic enhancement and improve the quality of life for all.

“These are constructive and collaborative efforts,” said Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes. “We are grateful and gratified with this 100 year-plus relationship—and are pleased to continue it.“

From their home base, located on the Manatee County Fairgrounds in Palmetto at 1303 17th St. W., the members of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF IFAS) team deliver science-based information to help residents of Manatee County. With Agriculture and related services as the second biggest economic driver in the county (bringing in more than $2 billion a year), this is an important partnership.

“The University of Florida Extension Service and Manatee County Government have had a long and successful partnership—dating back to the 1920s,” said Brenda Rogers, SW District Director for UF IFAS Extension. “We look forward to continuing that partnership and service to the citizens of Manatee County through programs and services that meet their needs.”

Working with the county’s commercial marine fisheries and bivalve aquaculture industry, agents help maximize the millions of dollars’ worth of business along the coast. Others operate on the landside, with thousands of acres in livestock production, making Manatee one of Florida’s Top-15 counties for beef cattle and dairy production. And while tomatoes are still a top crop in the county, other harvests, from cucumbers to potatoes, account for thousands of acres of commercial vegetable production. But that’s not all. In addition to overseeing the 4-H organization—an informal, practical educational initiative for ages 5 to 18—other in-person programs, such as Gardening 101, the Water Stewards program, Preserve Tours led by Master Gardener Volunteers and even mushroom hikes, provide educational outreach year-round—engaging and empowering Manatee citizens to be good stewards of our environment.

For more information on the Manatee County UF/IFAS, including upcoming classes, call (941) 722-4524.