Your Land Grant Partner: J. Scott Angle

February 2024 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

dr angleBy J. Scott Angle
[email protected]

When I arrived in Florida three and a half years ago to lead UF/IFAS, my message to Farm Bureau members was, “I work for you.”

I still do, but no longer as UF’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. They’ve made me provost, the academic leader of the entire university. This is my last FloridAgriculture column.

That doesn’t mean I’ll stop working for you. As I told Florida Farm Bureau members gathered in Tallahassee last month for a day of legislative visits, there are experts in many UF colleges, not just the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, who can help Florida agriculture and rural Florida.

As provost I’ll be in a position to encourage the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering to bring more its expertise, Extension-style, to rural counties. Our medical care doesn’t have to be accessed only in large urban hospitals. I’d like to see it reach more of rural Florida, more farming communities.

And I’ve laid the groundwork for a successful transition at UF/IFAS. Dr. Rob Gilbert will continue as interim senior vice president and head of UF/IFAS. When I appointed him interim senior vice president, I was hoping to get my old job back in six months. Rob’s ready to run UF/IFAS without me now.

You’ll find him personable, committed to delivering relevant science, interested in stakeholder input, extremely well organized, and eager to meet as many of you as he can.

Rob and I are aligned on many priorities. Namely, we’re focused on your future. I told the members gathered in Tallahassee that artificial intelligence is going to change the way they farm and UF/IFAS is going to help them make the most of this new generation of technology. It will help drive a future of lower inputs and higher yields.

Part of the future was in the room. Scores of blue-jacketed FFA youth attended the breakfast. They are learning early what didn’t occur to me until my college days, that there are so many exciting careers and opportunities in agriculture and natural resources.

IFAS is special, but so is all of UF. I told the Tallahassee gathering that President Sasse is out to change all of American higher education for the better. We’re on a similar mission at UF/IFAS, to help make Florida agriculture the model for the entire nation and for the world.

I was honored to have President Jeb Smith say from the podium that he considered me a blessing to Florida agriculture. But I feel I have received more than I have given.

You’ve welcomed me to your communities as I visited every Florida county. You’ve provided opportunity to students for which I’ve worked to find beyond-the classroom experiences. And you’ve hosted research on your farms.

It’s been my pleasure to serve you directly for three and a half years. No matter where I am on campus, I’ll never stop working for you.

J. Scott Angle is the University of Florida’s Provost. From July 2020 to January 2024 he was UF’s Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources and leader of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).