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Winter 2015

UF/IFAS Miami-Dade County Extension, 18710 SW 288th Street, Homestead, FL 33030-2309 http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu 305-248-3311

Letter from the Director


By Teresa Olczyk, County Extension Director

Letter from the Director


Welcome New FNP Manager


Dear Friends of Extension,

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Florida Extension Plant Diagnostic Clinic


I hope you find the 2015 Extension Connextion

Maintain Healthy Eating Habits During Holidays


this platform to provide information about a wide

winter edition informative and interesting. We use

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variety of educational programs and topics of

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interest to South Florida residents and families, as well as agricultural and horticultural professionals.

At this time of the year, it is natural to reflect on

the past year and to think about new challenges in the year ahead. As the Miami-Dade County

Extension Director, I am very proud of the hard work and dedication of our staff members who delivered new research from the University of

Florida to our community and touched the lives of thousands of Extension clients. It is important to

add that we as Extension professionals could not do everything we do without the great support

from our volunteers including Master Gardeners, 4-H Program volunteers, teachers, farmers

helping with field trials, and other supporters of Extension who are passionate about and help to educate thousands of clients. I am proud to say that in 2014 our volunteers provided 15,972 hours of service valued at $368,474. 2015 volunteer data is still being collected.

Looking back on 2015, it is obvious that this year was especially challenging for Miami-Dade

agricultural and horticultural industries. One of the world's most destructive exotic pests the

Oriental fruit fly, was discovered in Miami-Dade County’s Redland agricultural area. This fly can


attack over 430 different fruits, vegetables and even ornamental plants, many of the grown in Miami-

Dade County. An eradication program was launched by USDA and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and a large area of

agricultural production was placed under quarantine creating many problems and a loss of agricultural production. Over 1,000 people participated in

several workshops conducted at the Extension office in Homestead in collaboration with USDA, FDACS,

and UF/IFAS scientists. Avocado growers continue to face challenges due to the deadly laurel wilt fungal

disease, spread by Ambrosia beetles, and vegetable

growers recently lost an estimated 50-100% of their crops due to serious flooding after unseasonably

heavy rainfalls in early December. Our Commercial

Agricultural and Horticultural Extension agents are

heavily involved in helping affected growers through providing educational programs and helping estimate crop losses.

I would like to mention a few changes and additions to the Extension staff which occurred in 2015. We

welcomed the new Florida Yards and Neighborhoods

(FYN) Extension Agent, Morgan Hopkins, who moved

from Oklahoma to lead our FYN and water

conservation programming. Additionally, the Family

and Nutrition Program (FNP) is expanding to provide (Continued on page 2)

health and nutrition education to low income

of the Consumer Services Department. More<