Agronomy Forage Extension Chairs 66th Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference in Puerto Rico
Agronomy Forage Extension chairs 66th Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference in Puerto Rico.
Thirteen USA southern states represented at the 66th Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference (SPFCIC) in Puerto Rico
The 66th SPFCIC was held June 6-9 in the beautiful and vibrant common wealth of Puerto Rico. The conference was a total success packed with exciting talks and tours across the island. Participants came from thirteen southern states in the US, Caribbean islands and Central America. Participants learned about the island forage industry from Puerto Rico leading scientists. Attendees observed first-hand pasture management from local ranchers, and got immersed in the rich Borinquen history and culture.
University of Florida Extension Forage Specialist and program chair, Dr. Yoana Newman, welcomed participants and opened the conference program. Puerto Rico prominent forage scientists Dr. Antonio Soto Mayor, Dr. Elide Valencia, and Dr. Guillermo Ortiz provided an overview of the Puerto Rico forage industry that included the island Agro ecological zones and forages, an overview of PR dairy industry, and of tropical legumes utilized in the region. Dairy and hay operations were toured in the northern as well as the southern shores of the island. The tours ended with a visit to Martex Farms, a family owned business specialized in tropical fruits and plants, located in the Santa Isabel and Juana Diaz valleys in the south coast of Puerto Rico.
Speakers in the forage ecology/physiology, forage extension, forage breeding, and forage utilization workgroups included Dr. Adesogan, Dr. Dan Undersander, Dr. Hugo Cuevas, and Dr. Rein van der Hoek. Proceedings of the conference are posted and can be downloaded from the SPFCIC website.
“What stood out were the content of the talks, and the exceptional farm operations and tours in the common wealth—“…“the receptivity and hospitality of the Puerto Ricans were really outstanding—and will be remembered for a long time–University of Puerto Rico scientist and extension agents did an incredible job” indicated participant Dennis Mudge, Orange county extension agent from University of Florida.
The SPFCIC is one of the oldest forage conferences instituted. The first conference was held in 1940 in Tifton, GA; since then it has rotated throughout the south east for over 70 years. The conference provides opportunity to network, tour local forage producing areas, and share experiences to advance the management and improvement of southern forage crops.
Extension Forage Especialist
University of Florida