An agronomic and horticultural production and marketing specialist with over fifty years’ experience in temperate and tropical environments, served as the Regional Specialized Vegetable/Horticulture Agent based in Hendry County for 23 years providing leadership to the UF/IFAS vegetable program in the five-county Southwest Florida area working primarily with the commercial vegetable industry which covers some 75,000 acres around Immokalee, one of the largest vegetable production areas in Florida.
Perform research and extension outreach in a number of areas including pest and disease management, vegetable variety trials, WPS compliance, worker safety training, fertility and irrigation management and Best Management Practices and regulatory areas of concern to the industry.
Fourteen years’ experience living and working with small scale vegetable producers in developing countries in Africa and the Caribbean. Fluent French and Jamaican Patois, working knowledge of Spanish, Hausa, and SiSwati.
Widely published in trade journals and University of Florida bulletins. Have published the widely acclaimed biweekly South Florida Vegetable Pest and Disease Hotline since 1997.
Have earned regional and national recognition in the field and currently serve on the Florida Farm Bureau Vegetable Advisory Committee and as President of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.
Actively involved in educating the general public, policy makers, and visitors about the importance of the agricultural industry for the county and state economy and the role of UF/IFAS research and extension plays in preserving and improving of the agricultural industry in Southwest Florida.
Interacts closely with Southwest Florida County Vegetable Advisory Committee, Southwest Florida Citrus Advisory Committee, the Hendry County Cattleman’s Association, the Gulf Citrus Association, the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Florida Farm Bureau local, state, and national officials, agricultural industry personnel, University of Florida IFAS extension specialists and other researchers, as well as USDA NRCS and USDA ARS to enhance the image and promote the mission of UF/IFAS SWFREC.
Gene McAvoy, Associate Director for Stakeholder Relations UF / IFAS SWFREC