100 Years of Citrus Research a Reason to Celebrate

100 Years of Citrus Research a Reason to Celebrate

Crowd at the opening of Citrus Research and Education Center's 100th anniversary event

About 600 people attended the Citrus Research and Education Center’s 100th celebration in Lake Alfred. After a morning program, attendees took part in an open house, which included tours in groves, labs, and greenhouses.
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS

Who doesn’t love a birthday party, especially one marking 100 years? I joined about about 600 folks last week to celebrate the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center’s (CREC) centennial celebration. The day was an opportunity to reflect on all the good work scientists have done on behalf of citrus growers in Florida and around the globe over the past 100 years at its location in Lake Alfred.

While there is a lot of history to celebrate at CREC, there’s plenty of work going on now and in the future as scientists there seek solutions to the citrus industry’s most pressing problems including HLB. After an informative morning program and a fantastic lunch prepared by Florida Citrus Mutual and their own Master Chef Rusty Wiygul, the Center opened its doors and let attendees explore the grounds, groves, and labs there.

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The following is a little bit of what was seen and heard at CREC 100.

Michael Rogers speaks at CREC 100

Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers says, “The future looks exciting for citrus as continue to make new breakthroughs that will deliver greening-resistant plants in the not-too-distant future. These new varieties offer real hope to the Florida citrus industry.”
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS

“We are at a moment in citrus history where we face an existential threat [HLB] to the industry. And, that’s why it’s also important to look at this day of centennial celebration as the beginning of a second century of progress.” — Jack Payne, Senior VP of UF/IFAS

“If the 500 years of Florida citrus history tell us anything, it’s that while natural disasters, diseases, economic downturns, and other calamities may put citrus on the ropes for a time, citrus and citrus people always prevail.” — Kent Fuchs, President of the University of Florida

Evan Johnson show his lab work during CREC 100 celebration

During the open house, UF/IFAS Professor Evan Johnson (right) discussed the importance of root health with growers in his CREC lab. Johnson is continuing the work of retired UF/IFAS Professor Jim Graham (left).
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS

Asian citrus psyllids glued to a wire for research

CREC 100 open house attendees got to see how Asian citrus psyllids are glued on to tiny wires and connected to a device called a flight mill, which measures how far the insect can fly. Research shows the pest can routinely move 25 yards to 50 yards and can travel more than 1 mile. What is the go-to glue for psyllids? Elmer’s does the job just fine.
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS

CREC 100 citrus grove bus tour stop

A bus tour of nearby groves allowed a close-up look at new variety and rootstock trials conducted by CREC scientists and Tropicana.
Photo by Frank Giles