Once upon a time, a group of Polk County citrus growers raised money to buy land for a research station. Many moons later, the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is set to commemorate the 100th anniversary of its Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC).
In 1917, UF/IFAS established the CREC. Originally, only a few UF/IFAS scientists worked at the Lake Alfred site, then called the Citrus Experiment Station. Today, the research center employs 250 people and also is home to the scientific research staff of the Florida Department of Citrus. It is the largest facility in the world devoted to a single commodity, citrus.
Through the years, researchers at the CREC have developed such innovations as frozen concentrate orange juice. They also have demonstrated the use of micro-sprinkler irrigation for freeze protection, bred new citrus rootstocks and scions for the Florida industry and helped increase overall citrus production in the state by making significant advances in citrus fertilization, pest and disease management, according to Michael Rogers, CREC’s Director.
“The UF/IFAS CREC has a long, proud tradition of outstanding science and outreach, and the faculty there show every day why the quality of work performed for the next 100 years will be as good or better than the first century at the facility,” said Jack Payne, UF/IFAS Senior VP for Agriculture and Natural Resources.