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IFAS Matters: A Message from Jack Payne, IFAS SVP
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Dear Friends,

It was the firmest handshake I’ve ever received from a 104-year-old.
 
OK, it’s the only one. All the same, it had a powerful historical tug. From his wheelchair, Dr. Elver Hodges pulled me back to the founding of our Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona 75 years ago.
 
Hodges told me about starting work for UF as an agronomist on December 3, 1941, when he reported to Gainesville for orientation. Not even a week later was the day that would live in infamy.  
 
In mid-January 1942 Hodges began work at the Range Cattle REC. Several months after moving to Ona, he received a shocker postcard with the message: “Report for military duty.” A week later he received a second notice. It stated, “Dear Sir: If you have not already been inducted, kindly disregard our previous notice.”
 
Agricultural work was deemed vital to national defense. So, Hodges told me, his service was to grow grass and feed cattle in south central Florida. And he did for the next 39 years in Ona.
 
I received the centenarian’s handshake in a hallway at the Florida Ag Expo as I was on my way to a photo shoot with an Extension agent more than 70 years his junior. I felt like a link in a chain.
 
Hodges’s pioneering generation made the case for science as the engine of progress. And my job now is to make sure young Extension agents and other faculty have the support they need to continue revving that engine.
 
The surviving members of the Greatest Generation remind us of the sacrifices of our ancestors. The honor of meeting Hodges has inspired me to work that much harder to be a good ancestor myself.
 
-Jack
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To access the featured stories below, click the images on the left. 

Highlights

UF/IFAS researchers awarded grant to build up ecological ‘resilience’ in Big Bend

 
CALS student wins prestigious award from UF International Center at the 22nd annual Outstanding International Student Awards Ceremony

 
UF/IFAS gets $5 million to help families strengthen relationships

 
Tropical bed bug reappears after 60-year absence

 
Veteran UF/IFAS economist named interim director of UF/IFAS Tropical REC

 
UF/IFAS West Florida research center to donate fresh produce to needy families during Farm to City Week

 
UF/IFAS imaging system can detect citrus greening before symptoms show

 
UF/IFAS FAWN system helps growers save water, money

 
UF/IFAS CALS professors receive funding for innovative teaching projects
UF/IFAS help snowbirds navigate Florida gardening, landscaping
Longtime UF/IFAS administrator retires after outstanding career in research, outreach
 

 

Nature already dramatically impacted by climate change, study reveals
Ordway-Swisher Biological Station Jumpstart Awards
UF/IFAS study: Food safety knowledge – or lack thereof — passed from one generation to next

 
UF/IFAS researcher hopes to bolster pollinators, reduce water use, other inputs on golf courses

 
UF/IFAS professor receives USDA grant to help small food businesses

 

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