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Southwest Florida Research & Education Center

Southwest Florida Research & Education Center

Gene McAvoy

Associate Director for Stakeholder Relations

UF / IFAS SWFREC

  • 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

Gene McAvoy, Associate Director for Stakeholder Relations
UF / IFAS SWFREC

Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC)
2685 SR 29 North Immokalee, FL 34142
(239) 658-3414
gmcavoy@ufl.edu

  • Education
    • MS, Horticulture, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1983. Highest Honors.
    • BS, Agronomy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1974. Highest Honors.
  • Professional Experience
    • August 2019 - Present
      Associate Director for Stakeholder Relations, University of Florida IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center
    • November 2005 - July 2019
      County Extension Director, Regional Vegetable/ Horticulture Extension Agent IV, University of Florida/Hendry County Extension
    • October 1997 - July 2005
      Regional Vegetable/ Horticulture Extension Agent III, University of Florida/Hendry County Extension
    • August 1996 - September 1997
      Environmental Specialist, Florida Department of Health
    • July 1996 - June 1997
      Director, Fisherman's Bounty Inc.
    • April 1994 - March 1996
      Marketing / Farmer Organization Specialist, Commercial Agriculture Production and Marketing Project, Swaziland.,Chemonics International
    • December 1993 - January 1994
      Marketing / Farmer Organization Specialist, Commercial Agriculture Production and Marketing Project, Swaziland., Chemonics International
    • February 1990 - April 1994
      Environmental Specialist, Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services
    • June 1989 - October 1989
      General Manager, St. Catherine Vegetable Producers Association Ltd., Jamaica
    • June 1983 - May 1989
      Project Director, Bushy Park Small Farmer Production and Marketing Project, Jamaica., CARE International, Partnership for Productivity International.
    • September 1979 - June 1983
      Instructor, Department of Horticulture, Rutgers University
    • June 1977 - May 1979
      Agronomist, Niger Cereals Project, Niger, U.S. Agency for International Development
    • June 1974 – June 1976
      Peace Corps Volunteer, Village Gardening Project Niger, West Africa
  • Awards and Honors
    • Rutgers University Dennis Fenton Distinguished Alumni Award 2018
    • University of Florida International Center International Educator of the Year 2017
    • University of Florida Internationalizing Extension Award 2016
    • Syngenta Resistance Fighter Leadership Award 2015
    • Excellence in Crop Advising Award 2009. Florida Farm Bureau
    • Distinguished Service Award. 2008. National Association of County Agricultural Agents.
    • Achievement Award. 2005. National Association of County Agricultural Agents.
    • Dallas Townsend Extension Professional Enhancement Award. 2005. University of Florida.
    • Seymour Goldweber Extension Professional Enhancement Award. 2008. University of Florida.
    • Farm Credit Young Professional Award. 2002
  • Publications
  • Other Professional Activities
    • American Society for Horticultural Science, 1997 - present
    • American Society of Agronomy, 1997 - present
    • Caribbean Food Crops Society, 2017 - present
    • Epsilon Sigma Phi, 2005 - present
    • Florida Association of County Agricultural Agents, 1997 - present
      • President, 2003 - 2004
      • Past-President, 2004 - 2005
      • Vice President, 2002- 2003
      • Secretary, 2001-2002
      • Southern Regional Director, 2000 - 2001
    • National Association of County Agricultural Agents, 1997 - present
      • Past-President, 2020 -2021
      • President, 2019 -2020
      • President-Elect, 2018 - 2019
      • Vice President, 2017 - 2018
      • Southern Region Director, 2012 - 2014
    • Florida State Horticultural Society.
      • Chairman of the Board, 2019 - 2020
      • President, 2018 - 2019
      • President Elect, 2016 - 2017
      • Vice President, Vegetable Section, 2007 - 2008.
    • International American Society for Horticultural Science, 2006 - present
    • Joint Council of Extension Professionals
      • Board Member, 2019
      • President Elect, 2020
      • President 2021-2022