IFAS Internal Management Memoranda

IFAS; Research Mission

EFFECTIVE DATE: December 1, 1993


SUBJECT: IFAS; Research Mission

The research mission of IFAS is conducted through the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. The Experiment Station's research program is carried out in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research Service; the State of Florida; and grantors and donors providing extramural grants, contracts, and gifts. Individuals with Experiment Station research responsibilities are provided faculty appointments at the University of Florida and may have joint responsibilities with teaching and/or the Cooperative Extension Service.

  1. Scope of Research Mission

    The ultimate achievement of research is its contribution to the welfare of people. Within the IFAS research organization the scope of research can be interpreted to include those activities that are related to agriculture and aquaculture and include production, marketing, distribution, and utilization of agricultural and aquacultural products; the interrelationships among all people as suppliers of inputs and users of these products; the effects of agricultural and aquacultural industries on people through environmental interfaces; and the social welfare of people as consumers.

  2. Research Responsibilities

    1. The primary mission of IFAS is to help Florida realize its maximum potential for agricultural (including food, fiber, and environmental horticulture) development and to contribute to the solution of social, economic, environmental and cultural problems of concern to the people of Florida. The research function of IFAS contributes to the accomplishment of this mission through the search for new information by the application of biological, physical, economic, and social sciences to the problems facing Florida's agriculture, forestry, and natural resource based industries, including aquaculture.

    2. The consolidated Hatch Act (originally 1887) of 1955, Section 2, describes the functions or objectives as follows:

      "It is further the policy of the Congress to promote the efficient production, marketing, distribution, and utilization of products of the farm as essential to the health and welfare of our peoples and to promote a sound and prosperous agriculture and rural life as indispensable to the maintenance of maximum employment and national prosperity and security. It is also the intent of Congress to assure agriculture a position in research equal to that of industry, which will aid in maintaining an equitable balance between agriculture and other segments of our economy. It shall be the objective and duty of the state agricultural experiment stations through he expenditure of the appropriations hereinafter authorized to conduct original and other researches, investigations, and experiments bearing directly on and contributing to the establishment and maintenance of a permanent and effective agricultural industry of the United States, including researches basic to the problems of agriculture in its broadest aspects, and such investigations as have for their purpose the development and improvement of the rural home and rural life and the maximum contribution by agriculture to the welfare of the consumer, as may be deemed advisable, having due regard to the varying conditions and needs of the respective states."
  3. Research Goals

    1. The general goal of IFAS research is to provide factual information to the agricultural industry, rural people, the general public, and to appropriate decision-making groups. Factual information will place in reasonable perspective the benefits, costs, and other consequences of alternative courses of action in given problem areas. By providing pertinent information, IFAS research serves all facets of society--the migratory worker, the small farmer, rural residents, consumers, homeowners, as well as commercial agricultural interests and related industries.

    2. IFAS research is a truly state-wide University of Florida program. For decades its activities have been conducted not only on the University's Gainesville campus, but also at numerous branches strategically located in proximity to agricultural enterprises and rural populations. Research currently is conducted in 23 locations from Pensacola to Homestead.

    3. The position of IFAS as Florida's system for agricultural research was established when the University of Florida was designated Florida's Land Grant University and further designated to receive Federal funds through the Hatch Act of 1887. This designation has continually been reinforced, most recently by Congressional action to provide very substantial funds for rural development in the next decade and Florida Legislature has consistently provided funds for IFAS research programs.

    4. The specific research goals of IFAS include the following:

      1. To originate through breeding, introduction and selection programs, plants and animals that possess inherent biological efficiency and pest resistance greater than those now available in Florida.

      2. To provide information on improved techniques for protection of plants and animals from diseases, pests, and competitive organisms, including insects, mites, nematodes, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and weeks, while minimizing any detrimental effects on the environment.

      3. To provide information on relative efficiency of management practices in crop and animal production, including such practices as formulation of diets, pasture management, fertilization, irrigation, and rotation of crops.

      4. To devise new machines and determine facts about alternative systems by which labor can become more efficient in the production, harvesting and handling of agricultural commodities.

      5. To expand the technological basis for the practices selected in handling and processing Florida agricultural commodities.

      6. To provide information on the economic consequences of alternative production, marketing, and distribution systems for agricultural commodities.

      7. To provide information on methods of improving the quality, nutritional value, and safety of Florida foods.

      8. To provide information about the quantity and quality of Florida's natural resources,so that improvements in the use and management of natural resources may be made while also protecting them from exploitation and pollution.

      9. To analyze the conditions of rural life in Florida, so that resources made available for their improvement may be allocated in ways that most enhance income and employment opportunities for rural people.

      10. To make available to IFAS undergraduate and graduate resident instruction programs a continually improving faculty of specialists in agriculturally oriented disciplines and necessary physical facilities, so that Florida youth may obtain education of the highest quality for future careers as agriculturalists, technicians, teachers, and research scientists.

      11. To contribute to the body of basic knowledge of genetics, pathology, physiology, microbiology, nutrition, engineering, economics, rural sociology, and so forth, upon which all other research goals are dependent.