September 2023 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter
By J. Scott Angle
It was music to my ears to hear District 17 State Director Mark Sodders talk about how UF/IFAS keeps him in business. It was comedy to hear District 5 State Director Rod Land say of Lafayette County: “That’s where you go when you die… if you’re good!”
And it was poetry to hear President Jeb Smith talk about the strong bonds between UF/IFAS and the Florida Farm Bureau.
I’m proud to serve the university as interim provost, but as I told the gathering at the Extension Professional Associations of Florida annual Farm Bureau appreciation dinner last month, I’m eager to get back to leading UF/IFAS full time.
It’s not like I needed a reminder of why, but the dinner at the Alachua County Extension Office in Newberry reconnected me with friends new and old and drove home the sense of community and kinship I feel with Farm Bureau folks.
From Jeb’s bear hug to talking fertilizer with Mark to meeting a number of the Farm Bureau’s communiGators—the corps of recent UF grads who help Rachael Smith tell the Florida ag story, I felt at home.
I was enthused by District 19 State Director Mark Wilson’s interest in artificial intelligence in agriculture. Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Danielle Daum prompted an important discussion about broadening our thinking about qualifications as we recruit professionals for Extension positions.
It’s going to be tougher to escape the administration building unnoticed if I do an overnight in Orlando rather than just an after-hours local visit like the one in Newberry. Still, I hope to see you all at the annual meeting at the Caribe Royale.
It’ll be worth the trip just to see you honor the Extension Professional of the Year. But I know it will also include the mix of music, comedy and poetry I’ve come to expect from visits with FFBF, that sense of kinship and community.
I work for you. Thanks for making it feel like a family business.
Scott Angle is the University of Florida’s Interim Provost. Since 2020 he has served as UF’s Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources and leader of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).