United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Horticultural Research Laboratory, located at 2001 South Rock Road in Fort Pierce, Florida, is a part of the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, South Atlantic Area. The laboratory has been in existence since 1892. Laboratory personnel, consisting of approximately 100 employees with 20 of those serving as Research Scientists, have been in their current state-of-the-art facility since 2000. Three separate research units comprise the Laboratory: Horticulture and Breeding; Subtropical Plant Pathology; and Subtropical Insects. The Lab operates two research farms, in Ft. Pierce and Leesburg, Florida, collectively totaling 800 acres. The U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory has national responsibility to conduct high priority research related to the following objectives:
- Develop new control methods for insect pests of citrus and other subtropical fruits, vegetables and ornamentals;
- Conduct basic physiological, biochemical, and pathological research on post harvest problems of horticultural crops;
- Develop new citrus scion and rootstock varieties that have enhanced tolerance to environmental stress, resistance to diseases and pests, improved fruit quality and yield;
Conduct research on bacterial, fungal, and viral diseases plus nematodes of subtropical horticultural crops to improve production;
- Develop alternatives and solutions to environmental stresses that cause losses in horticultural crop growth, survival, and production;
Develop production alternatives to the use of methyl bromide fumigation for pest control in horticultural crops; and
Conduct research to understand and reduce any negative impact of horticultural crop production on water quality.
The laboratory has an excellent working relationship with local, regional and national agricultural industries and research and education institutions, including the St. Lucie County School District, the University of Florida, Indian River Community College, Florida Atlantic University, the Smithsonian Marine Station and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. Many of the laboratory’s professional staff hold adjunct appointments with these institutions and actively interact with the student population at the high school, college undergraduate and graduate levels.For more information about The United States Horticultural Research Laboratory, visit our website at www.ars.usda.gov.
St. Lucie County Schools
St. Lucie County Schools, as part of Florida’s Treasure Coast, are on the rise. St. Lucie County’s budding transformation of identity as Florida’s Treasure/Research Coast casts the spotlight on public education as the cornerstone of the foundation for this emergence. We have accepted the challenge to meet the escalating expectations and demands of that prospect. Keen dedication and tremendous commitment of the entire St. Lucie County Public Schools’ family reflects clear recognition of the magnitude of responsibility to the future of this community. The St. Lucie County School Board has pledged, in partnership with the direction of devoted school board members, parents, and community partners, a laser-like focus to work harder and smarter for every child, every day.
As a partner in the Treasure Coast Research Education Park, our vision includes providing students as young as kindergarten-age through adults enrolled in graduate study with a variety of educational opportunities within the park as a part of our K-20 educational mission. These opportunities will expand upon the current programs in the agricultural and marine sciences offered in our high schools in Fort Pierce.
St. Lucie County is truly a community of collaboration that understands the importance of having a top-quality educational system as a strategic component in the blueprint for success. For more information about the St. Lucie County Public School system, visit our website at www.stlucie.k12.fl.us.
St. Lucie County
St. Lucie County is a mirror of the past and a window to the future, where visitors can still see first-hand the area’s connection to citrus farms and cattle ranches as well as its ties to the Ais Indians and World War II, while simultaneously looking toward the future.
Formed from Mosquito County, St. Lucie County was incorporated on July 1, 1905. More than 100 years later, St. Lucie County is approximately 600 square miles with a diverse population that includes two cities and one village: Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie and St. Lucie Village. With a population in 2006 of over 228,800, it is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. And it’s no wonder, with its miles of unspoiled beaches, charming neighborhoods, endless recreational activities, progressive businesses and friendly people, St. Lucie County is truly the crown jewel of the Treasure Coast!
Surrounded on one side by cattle ranches and citrus groves and, on the other side by 21 miles of pristine beaches, St. Lucie County became known as the Treasure Coast as a result of the abundance of gold and silver buried offshore after a 1715 hurricane sent 11 Spanish ships to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
The real treasure in St. Lucie County can be found in its native habitats and environmental education centers, which offer scenic pontoon boat tours, guided kayaking trips and hiking excursions taking guests on a behind-the-scenes look at the Indian River Lagoon, the St. Lucie River and native Florida landscapes. St. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources Department has more than 10,000 acres of “real Florida” that are open to the public for hiking, biking and wildlife observation.
Local business leaders and elected officials are working to not only preserve St. Lucie County’s rich cultural and historical past, but also to plan and prepare for its future. The area’s economic growth and development prospects are enhanced by the multitude of research and educational opportunities available in this county through:
- Indian River Community College
- The University of Florida’s Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences
- Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University
- Barry University
Nestled between Miami and Orlando, St. Lucie County is easily accessible from both Interstate 95 and the Florida Turnpike, making it an ideal location to work, live and play. For more information about this jewel on the Treasure Coast, visit our website at www.stlucieco.gov.
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
The University of Florida (UF), founded in 1853 as a land grant university, is the nation’s fourth largest institution of higher education, enrolling about 50,000 students annually. UF, ranked 13th in U.S. News and World Report’s “2006 Top Public Universities”, is home to 16 colleges and more than 150 research institutions.
In addition to the University’s main campus in Gainesville, degree programs and courses are offered at its 13 Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Research and Education Centers situated throughout the state. IFAS specializes in agricultural research, extension and education.
The University’s Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC), located in Fort Pierce, Florida, began in 1947 with only one scientist and a small laboratory. Today, through its more than 20 scientists and researchers, IRREC is known domestically and internationally for its cutting-edge research and high-quality educational programs.
At IRREC, students who hold an Associate in Arts degree may pursue a Bachelor’s degree in either Agribusiness Management or Environmental Management. Master’s degree programs include Agricultural Education and Communication, Entomology, Environmental Horticulture, and Environmental Science. Additionally, the Center offers a non-degree professional certificate in Agribusiness Management, Agricultural Education and Communication, and Entomology.
IRREC provides regional leadership to agriculturalists through its research and extension programs, including biological, chemical and cultural pest management; entomology; virology; plant pathology for citrus, ornamental and vegetable crops; and control of invasive plants. Specific research areas include: water and nutrient management for citrus and flatwoods soils; epidemiology and control of citrus leaf and fruit diseases; evaluation of citrus and vegetable cultivars in Florida; utilization of soil amendments; and the micro-irrigation of horticultural crops in humid regions. The Center also takes a leadership role in citrus, vegetable and water management on Florida’s east coast as well as in the economic production of agricultural products, the post-harvest handling and packing of agricultural products and the biological control of invasive plants and aquaculture.
For more information about the University of Florida and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in Gainesville, visit our website at www.ufl.edu. To learn more about IRREC in Fort Pierce, contact the Coordinator of Academic Support Services at 772-468-3922, extension 126 or visit the website at www.irrec.ifas.ufl.edu.