TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University’s College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS) hosted an impactful research forum on March 31.
More than 200 participants representing the agriculture research community, farming industry, government agencies, and the private sector attended the event. The forum took place in commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the Second Morrill Act, which established FAMU as an 1890 land-grant university.
With the theme “A New Season for Agriculture Research,” the forum also presented an opportunity to showcase college-wide research, extension services, and outreach activities in support of the College’s mission of teaching, research, and outreach.
Special guests attending the forum included Adam Putnam, Florida commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Ph.D., administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Division of Research Service.
National leaders in attendance observed students and faculty presentations on research taking place at the College through oral and poster presentations. Their projects include:
• Strategies to monitor insecticide resistance in the Asian citrus psyllid, one of the most devastating insect pests of citrus in Florida
• How to reduce the use of chemical insecticides by using companion and refuge plants to enhance control of insect pests in vegetables
• The effects of natural organic matter on arsenic removal from drinking water
• An exploration of the first-ever gene cloning to help improve metabolic engineering in muscadine grapes
• The antimicrobial effect of cinnamon to extend shelf life in raw chicken breasts
University President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D., addressed forum participants with words of inspiration and encouraged the College to continue the work that is aiding communities around the globe.
“FAMU and other land-grant institutions are still thriving and adding to the education of African Americans and other low-wealth students as a result of the implementation of the Second Morrill Act,” she said. “It is important that land-grant institutions continue to be recognized and that the funding that has been established continue to provide open access for our students across the nation.
Commissioner Putnam also delivered a stirring address to participants.
“A future need to feed 10 billion people worldwide means land-grant institutions are more important than ever,” he said. “The only way we will get there is through good science and technology, and a second green revolution that will allow us to bridge the gap.”
He added that advances in agriculture could and will move forward thanks to the work of land-grant institutions such as FAMU and the University of Florida.
“Our land-grant institutions are not only helping us on the farmer’s side, but also on the outreach side, so people know how to make healthier choices and how to stretch that household budget. We can’t do it without the extension services making it possible,” Putnam said.
Administrator Jacobs-Young also discussed the advancement of agricultural research and its undeniable impact on the world.
“These missions are still relevant 125 years later in the work that Florida A&M University and other 1890 institutions continue to do,” she said. “Today, the scope of our work in research and agriculture is much larger, the technology and means of communication are more advanced, and the issues we face are more complex. But, the core values passed down by George Washington Carver remain the bedrock of everything we do as an agriculture research service.”