In April 2009, the National Academies of Science, at the request of the Florida Department of Citrus, formed the National Research Committee on Strategic Planning for the Florida Citrus Industry: Addressing the Citrus Greening Disease (Huanglongbing). At the same time, the forward-looking citrus industry in Florida initiated the Citrus Research and Development Foundation. When the National Research Council’s report was published in March, 2010 it included a recommendation that one organization be identified and empowered to have oversight responsibility over HLB research and development efforts.
The Citrus Research and Development Foundation is a non-profit corporation organized under Florida State laws as a Direct Support Organization of the University of Florida.
The Mission of the Foundation is to “Advance disease and production research and product development activities to ensure the survival and competitiveness of Florida’s citrus growers through innovation”.
The organization is headed by a 13-member Board of Directors that includes individuals from industry, academia and government. The COO handles the day-to-day management of business affairs, and Project Managers oversee the research and commercial product delivery project portfolios.
After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from the University of Florida in 1986, David began work in citrus land development and grove production for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and then Dole Citrus Inc. For the last 25 years, he has been directing agricultural and land management efforts for Graves Brothers Company which is based in Vero Beach. David is active in the Citrus Production Managers Association, participates in RMC and CPDC Committees of CRDF, a member of USDA, APHIS HLB MAC as Florida Grower Representative. He is one of four Florida grower representatives of the Citrus Subcommittee who sets priorities for the SCRI Citrus Disease Research and Education Program. David and his company are dedicated to survive HLB, and manage groves in all three regions of the state (not just the Indian River). David has a command of the situation in the industry as evidenced by his presentation at the Bonita Springs Grower Panel, and is well aware of CRDF programs, goals and challenges.
Rob is well known in the industry and serves on the executive committee of the Florida Citrus Production Manager’s Assn. He has presented at the Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference’s Educational Session and really impressed the crowd with his drone videos. Rob is committed, sharp and is among the leaders who are testing and adopting tools to survive with HLB, including investing in new strategies with new plantings. He currently serves on the CRDF Industry Research Coordinating Committee as a grower representative, and is well respected by his peers. Rob would most directly represent the SW region of the state.
John Updike, of Babson Park, is a third generation citrus grower and the president of Alcoma Properties, Ltd. and Updike Enterprises, Inc. Updike has a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Washington and Lee University and an Education for Ministry from the School of Theology at the University of the South. Updike has served on the Polk County Farm Bureau Board, Polk County Board of Adjustment and Polk County Code Enforcement Board. He is a former member of the “No Name Group” and the Ridge Runners. He presently serves on the CRAFT Foundation’s Board of Directors, is the Secretary of the CRDF Board of Directors, and the Chairperson for the CRDF Commercial Product Delivery Committee. He is married to Penny McKay, has five children and 11 grandchildren.
Ron Mahan is vice president and chief financial officer of Tamiami Citrus LLC, a citrus production company with groves in Collier, Desoto, Hardee, and Highlands counties, owned by affiliates of Collier Enterprises. He joined Collier’s Agribusiness Group in 1988, serving in various roles for the company’s operations based in Immokalee. He was part of the team that created Consolidated Citrus LLC and served on its board of directors. Mahan played key roles in Collier’s acquisition and operation of Orange-Co, which was subsequently sold to Alico in 2014. Mahan is a member of the Processed Orange Advisory Board to the New Varieties Development & Management Corporation, Chairman of the Citrus Crop Estimates Advisory Committee to the USDA, a member of the Citrus Administrative Committee, and President and Board Member of Gulf Citrus Growers Association. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Florida and is an alumnus of the Harvard executive education program.
Dean for Research and Director of the FL Agriculture Experiment Station, UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Robert Gilbert is the UF/IFAS Dean for Research and Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of UF/IFAS. He became dean in January 2019 and is responsible for overseeing the research mission and administration. His office manages more than $9 million in internal resources and > $150 million in grants that are used to strengthen the capacity and innovation of UF/IFAS research.
Dr. Gilbert holds a B.A. in biology from Carleton College, an M.S. in agronomy from the University of Florida, and a Ph.D. in soil science from Texas A&M University. After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship with The Rockefeller Foundation in Malawi, he joined the agronomy faculty at the UF/IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade, FL in 2000. He then became the Center Director until 2014 when he was appointed as the Agronomy Department Chair on UF’s main campus.
He is extremely supportive of international research collaborations and the depth and breadth they bring to faculty programs but realizes that these collaborations often have logistical challenges. He oversees the UF/IFAS International Support Team, an office conceived in September 2018 and housed within the research suite in McCarty Hall D.
His past research experience has focused on breeding sugarcane varieties and working with stakeholders to improve one of South Florida’s signature crops. He has co-authored 88 refereed journal publications, developed 33 sugarcane cultivars, and presented at 17 international meetings.
In service to the profession, he has functioned in numerous roles within the International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists and the Florida division of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists. He has been honored with a USDA/ARS Sustained Effort Technology Transfer Award, a UF/IFAS International Achievement Award, and several Denver T. Loupe Best Presentation Awards from the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists.
His administrative philosophy has always been to hire the best faculty and staff possible and then facilitate their success by providing straightforward annual metrics, devoting resources to promising initiatives, and supporting training and mentorship opportunities.
Ned Hancock is President and owner of Hancock Citrus, Inc., headquartered in Avon Park, with groves in Highlands and Hardee Counties. Hancock Citrus is a citrus caretaking company that manages its own groves as well as those of clients, making and implementing all production decisions related to the groves it manages. He has been in the citrus industry for 30 years and has served on the School Board of Highlands County, Highlands County Citrus Growers Association Board of Directors, and a wide range of community organizations, as well as serving as the Chairman of the Economic/Market Research committee. Ned holds a BA in Agriculture from the University of Florida. He is a fourth or fifth generation citrus grower and currently owns a grove on property the family has owned since 1870. He and his wife, Tammy, have three grown daughters: Marti, Alison, and Savannah.
Aaron Himrod is a third generation Florida Citrus Grower who is growing the Florida Citrus industry one plant at a time.
As a third generation Florida Citrus Grower in Hardee county and a member of the Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association, Himrod has a passion for growing the Florida Citrus industry. At Himrod Citrus Nursery, he grows multiple kinds of young citrus plants that will eventually make it into the groves and replace underperforming trees. Trees stay in Himrod’s nursery for about 18 months where he grafts two different kinds of citrus trees together to produce a more robust, healthy tree that will ultimately produce a better variety of Florida Orange Juice.
With people like Himrod working in the Florida Citrus industry, the future has never looked brighter.
Current Assistant Director for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry. Has both a B.S. degree in Integrated Pest Management and a M.S. degree in Entomology from Auburn University. Graduated with a Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Georgia in 2000. Worked as a research scientist focused on insect control for the peach industry for the University of Georgia in 2000. Joined the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services-Division of Plant Industry (FDACS-DPI) in 2002 as an entomologist responsible for the identification of scale insects and whiteflies. He served in this capacity for six years before he moved to the role as Chief of the Plant Pest Diagnostics Bureau. After serving in this role for seven years, Dr. Hodges was promoted to the role of Assistant Director in which has now served five years.
Associate Vice President for Operations, UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Jeanna Mastrodicasa is the Associate Vice President for Operations with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Her appointment follows more than a year as chairperson of the advisory board of the Center for Public Issues Education. Dr. Mastrodicasa earned an ABJ in public relations and a J.D. in law from the University of Georgia, an M.S. in college student personnel from the University of Tennessee, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Florida. She first joined UF in 1997 as an academic advisor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a position she held for two years before being named Assistant Dean of Students. She was Associate Director of the Honors Program at UF for seven years, where she directed the campus undergraduate research program University Scholars, advised student Fulbright grant applicants, and managed several duties including admissions, orientation, and advising efforts within the Honors Program. She served as Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs for nearly eight years before her appointment to IFAS. In addition to her work at the University of Florida, Dr. Mastrodicasa served the Gainesville community-at-large as a City Commissioner from 2006 to 2012, during which time she served as Mayor Pro-Tem from 2010-2011 and chaired the city’s Public Safety Committee for five years and the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency from 2009 to 2010; She also served on several committees for six years represented the city on the Alachua County Tourist Development Council. Dr. Mastrodicasa is the co-chair of the Assessment, Research, and Evaluation Knowledge Community with the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and frequently presents on issues related to millennial college students, their use of technology, and generations in the workforce. She co-authored the book “Connecting to the Net.Generation: What Higher Education Professionals Need to Know about Today’s Students” (NASPA 2007).
McKenna Brothers, Inc.
Lake Wales, Florida
Dr. Patricia (Pat) Ouimet has been the Chief Citrus Greening Officer of PepsiCo and Citrus R&D Director division Tropicana, Inc. since September, 2016. In this role, Dr. Ouimet is responsible for corporate efforts in both internal and external activities towards managing greening impact and facilitating the discovery of potential solutions to this devastating condition. Pat has spent her career in agriculture; much of that time was spent at the multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto. She started her career in pesticide discovery and had various roles including Biotechnology regulatory and quality lead, Soy pipeline lead, Genomic Strategy and Operations lead and IT Senior Director for Precision ag Agronomy intelligence systems, Regulatory and Commercial business units. She was a board member of the Science & Technology Council of South East Missouri University from 2010-2012 Pat is a 10 generation agriculturalist with 9 generations of farming in her family, which also includes one of the first farms in Canada which remains a heritage farm. In her spare time, Pat is dedicated to the development of next generation farmers and helping consumers understand food production supply chain.
Joshua A. Snively, Sr. (Josh) currently serves as President of Florida Chemical Company, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), and President of ADM’s Global Citrus platform. Florida Chemical Company is located in Winter Haven, FL and is a leading manufacturer and supplier of citrus oils to flavor, fragrance and industrial clients around the world. Prior to the sale of Florida Chemical to Archer Daniels Midland in March of 2019, Snively served as Executive Vice President of Operations for Flotek Industries, a publically traded oil and gas specialty chemical company, from 2017 to 2019. Prior to his role as head of operations, Mr. Snively served as Executive Vice President of Research and Innovation for Flotek Industries, Inc. beginning in November 2013 and as President of Florida Chemical Company, Inc. beginning in May 2013. Florida Chemical was acquired by Flotek in May 2013. Mr. Snively joined Florida Chemical in 1995 and was instrumental in transforming the company from its origin as a family run business to a multinational citrus-based specialty chemical company with manufacturing facilities in Winter Haven, FL and Houston, TX. In addition to his role in developing growth and execution strategies, Mr. Snively was responsible for Florida Chemical’s commodity supply chain strategy. Prior to his position as President, he was VP and General Manager, as well as VP of Procurement and Business Development. Before joining Florida Chemical, Mr. Snively was Vice President of Commercial Agriculture Finance at SunTrust Bank and was a commercial lender for Farm Credit. He graduated with a degree in Finance and Citrus Management from Florida Southern College in 1986. Mr. Snively currently serves on the board of CenterState Bank and is acting co-chairman of the Bank’s loan committee and is a member of the Bank’s compensation committee. He and his family have been involved in the Florida citrus industry for four generations. Mr. Snively and his wife, Heather, live in Winter Haven, FL and have three sons.
Lake Wales, FL
Rick Dantzler is a third-generation Floridian who grew up in Winter Haven. He attended Polk County public schools from kindergarten through the 12th grade, and the University of Florida for undergraduate and law school.
In 1982, at the age of 26, he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives where he served for eight years. In 1990, he was elected to the Florida Senate where he served until resigning in 1998 to run for the office of Governor of Florida. Later that year he became the nominee for Lieutenant Governor.
After leaving elected office, Dantzler worked as a lawyer and mediator. In early 2013, he accepted an appointment from President Obama to serve as the State Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency within the USDA. At the end of President Obama’s administration, Dantzler went back to practicing law before becoming the COO of CRDF in August of 2018.
Program Assistant, CRDF
Office Manager, CRDF
Having moved from Western PA to central Florida in 2005, Audrey’s motto “In Florida, every day is a vacation” has never changed. After 25 years of office management experience in heavy construction in PA, followed by the same the first few years in Florida, she is pleased to have worked initially with the FDOC staff contracting CRDF-funded research in the first year during which time CRDF was being formed and set up as a DSO under the University of Florida. “I remain most appreciate of the opportunities afforded to me during the last eleven years with CRDF, working with the Board and Committees, Growers and CRDF Staff.” In her leisure time, Audrey enjoys time with family and friends, golfing, sewing, and her grandsons’ and Pittsburgh sports.
Project Manager, Horticultural Practices
Originally from California, Jim studied plant ecology at California State Univ., Fullerton, CA, where he earned and a B.A. in 1970 and an M.A. in 1973 in Biology and Plant Ecology. He received a Ph.D. in Biology and Physiological Plant Ecology of desert plant species in 1977 from New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM. He then moved to Florida as an Assistant Professor of citrus horticulture research at the University of Florida IFAS, Citrus Research and Education Center. Jim retired as an awarded Full Professor in 2013. His research interests included integration of citrus stress physiology especially interactions with HLB disease, focusing on tree growth, yield and fruit quality. During his career, Jim received many research grants and published over 200 journal articles. In 2014, he was awarded an ISHS Lifetime Achievement Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Research and Education in Fruit Crop Physiology” presented by The Environmental Physiology of Fruit Crops Working Group of the ISHS. Since 2013, he has been a Professor Emeritus with the Florida Citrus Research and Development Foundation as an HLB (Greening) Research Program Manager.
Professor Emeritus Citrus Stress Physiology, University of Florida, CREC, Lake Alfred, FL
Retired in 2013 after 35 years of research at UF/IFAS, CREC on Citrus Horticulture.
2013 to present: HLB Research Program Manager, CRDF, Lake Alfred, FL
Education: Ph.D. 1977, Biology. Physiological plant ecology of desert species. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM.
M.A. 1973 and B.A. 1970, Biology and Plant Ecology, California State Univ., Fullerton, CA.
2014 ISHS Lifetime Achievement Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Research and Education in Fruit Crop Physiology” presented by The Environmental Physiology of Fruit Crops Working Group of the ISHS. March 2014.
2008-2011. University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship awarded from the UF Vice President of Research for “Distinguished Research Performance, Publications, Service & Commitment”.
Research interests: Integration of citrus stress physiology especially interactions with HLB disease.
Tree growth, yield and fruit quality. Effects of light, temperature, mechanical harvesting, drought, salinity, pests and nutrient stress on water, carbon and nutrient budgets of citrus trees.
Recent Publications: (of over 200 lifetime)
2014 Syvertsen, J.P., Garcia-Sanchez, F. 2014 Multiple abiotic stresses occurring with salinity stress in citrus. Environ. Exp. Bot.103: 128-137. PDF
2013 Cimò, Giuseppe, Pedro Gonzalez Blanco, Wije Bandaranayake, Ed Etxeberria, Riccardo Lo Bianco and James Syvertsen. Carbohydrate and Nutritional Responses to Stem Girdling and Drought Stress with Respect to Understanding HLB Symptoms in Citrus. HortScience 48: 920-928. PDF
2013 Caballero, F., F. García-Sánchez, V. Gimeno, J. P. Syvertsen, V. Martínez and F. Rubio. High affinity
Potassium uptake inseedlings of two citrus rootstocks Carrizo citrange (Citrus sinensis [L.] Osb. × Poncirus
trifoliata [L.] Raf.) and Cleopatra mandarin (Citrus reshni Hort. ex Tanaka) Aust. J. Crop Sci. 7(5):538-542. PDF
2012 Gonzalez, P., James P. Syvertsen and Ed Etxeberria. 2012. Sodium distribution in salt-stressed citrus rootstock seedlings. HortScience 47: 1504-1511. PDF
2012 Gimeno V., J.P. Syvertsen, I. Simón, M. Nieves, L. Díaz-López, V. Martínez, F. Garcia-Sanchez. 2012. Physiological and morphological responses to flooding with fresh or saline water in Jatropha Curcas. Environmental and Experimental Botany 78: 47-55. PDF
2012 Gimeno V, J.P. Syvertsen, I. Simon, V. Martinez, Jose M. Camara-Zapata, Manuel Nieves, F. Garcia-Sanchez.
Interstock of Valencia orange affects the flooding tolerance in Verna lemon trees. HortScience 47:403-409. PDF
2012 Zambrosi, F.C. B., D. Mattos Jr., R.M. Boaretto, J.A. Quaggio, T. Muraoka and J.P. Syvertsen. Contribution of
phosphorus (32P) absorption and remobilization for Citrus growth. Plant & Soil 355:353–362. PDF
2012 Grosser, J.W., Ahmad A. Omar, Julie A. Gmitter and J. P. Syvertsen. Salinity Tolerance of ‘Valencia’ Orange Trees on Allotetraploid Rootstocks. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 125:50–55. (Refereed Proceedings) PDF
2011 Zambrosi, F. D. DeMattos Jr. and J.P. Syvertsen. 2011. Plant growth, leaf photosynthesis, and nutrient-use efficiency of citrus rootstocks decrease with phosphite supply. J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci. 174: 487-495. PDF
2011 Melgar, J.C, and J.P. Syvertsen. Oleocellosis Injury of Fruitlets Caused by Late-Season Mechanical Harvesting of Valencia’ Orange Trees After Different Irrigation Treatments Does Not Affect Internal Fruit Quality. HortSci 4 6(3):1-3. PDF
2010 Melgar, J.C, J. Dunlop, L.G. Albrigo and J.P. Syvertsen. 2010. Winter drought stress can delay flowering and avoid immature fruit loss during late season mechanical harvesting of ‘Valencia’ oranges. HortScience 45: 271-276. PDF
2010 Syvertsen, J.P., J.C. Melgar and F. García-Sánchez. Salinity Tolerance and Leaf Water Use Efficiency in Citrus.
JASHS 135: 33-39. PDF
2010 Gimeno, V., J.P. Syvertsen, F. Rubio, V. Martínez and F. García-Sánchez. Growth and mineral nutrition are affected by substrate type and salt stress in seedlings of two contrasting Citrus rootstocks. J. Pl Nutr. 33: 1435–1447. PDF
2010 Melgar, J.C., A.W. Schumann and J.P. Syvertsen. Fertigation frequency affects growth and water and nitrogen use efficiencies of Swingle citrumelo citrus rootstock seedlings. HortScience 45:1255–1259. PDF
2010 Melgar, J.C., J. Dunlop and J.P. Syvertsen. Growth and Physiological Responses of the Citrus Rootstock Swingle Citrumelo Seedlings to Partial Rootzone Drying and Regulated Deficit Irrigation. J of Agr Sci 148: 593-602. PDF
Recent Non-Refereed Publications
2017 Syvertsen, J.P., B. Page, M. Keeley, B. Booker, D. Sutherland and H. Yonce. Soil Microbial Product Interactions with HLB in Valencia/Swingle Trees over Three Seasons at Three Contrasting Sites in Florida. Proc Fla. State Hort. Soc. 130: 2017.
2015 Syvertsen, J.P., T. Minter, Henry Yonce, and W. Bandaranayake. A Single Application of 2,4-D Can Decrease Preharvest Fruit Drop in HLB-Affected ‘Valencia’ Orange Trees. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 128: 2015
2012 Syvertsen, J.P. and Wije Bandaranayake. 2012. Salinity Tolerance of ‘Hamlin’ Orange Trees on the Hybrid Rootstocks US897 and x639 Is Greater than of Trees on Cleopatra Mandarin. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 125:56–60. PDF
2008 Ebel, R.C. K. Morgan, P.Newman, J. K. Burns, and J. Syvertsen. Effects of Short-Term Drought Stress of ‘Hamlin’
and ‘Valencia’ Trees and CMNP Application on Fruit Detachment Force, Fruit Drop, and Fruit Quality. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 121: 65-68.
2008 Schumann, A.W., J.P. Syvertsen, and J.H. Graham. Microbial Soil Amendments do Little to Improve Citrus Tree Performance in Florida Soils. Proc. FSHS 121: 134-139.
As the soil microbiologist at the University of Florida, Citrus Research and Education Center (UF-CREC) with 35 years of experience in citrus production in the Americas, James Graham, Ph.D. researched and extended findings to citrus growers for the most important diseases and pests, including HLB, Citrus Blight, Canker, Phytophthora, Diaprepes root weevil, Asian psyllid, Citrus leafminer. He gained experience with exotic diseases including Leprosis and Citrus Variegated Chlorosis (CVC) most threatening US citrus. Dr. Graham’s research focused on interactions of pathogens and pest epidemics and their management with sustainable horticultural practices including balanced inputs of irrigation and fertilization, judicious use of pesticides and biological control agents. In collaborations with local, national, and international citrus research institutions he conducted research on root health and interactions of pathogens and pests that attack and debilitate roots and decrease tolerance to soil, water, and nutrient stress. Dr. Graham also gained long-term experience with management fruit and foliar diseases that cause economically important fruit losses, tree debilitation which used to exclude fruit from exports markets due to pathogen and pest quarantines.
Stephen H. Futch, PhD is an Extension Agent Emeritus with the University of Florida. He has a BS in agriculture and PhD in Horticultural Sciences both from the University of Florida and an MBA from the University of South Florida. He owned and managed citrus groves in Pasco County, Florida prior to joining UF Extension Service in 1985. He was an Extension Agent for 34 years of which the last 28 years were as the Multi-County Citrus Agent located at the UF Citrus Research & Education Center in Lake Alfred. During his extension career, he authored or co-authored more than 500 articles or research findings. Those articles appeared in trade magazines, professional proceedings, and numerous University of Florida publications. In addition to his citrus extension programs, activities were also directed toward weed control studies, pesticide license classes, agricultural safety programs, Worker Protection Standards trainings, and urban citrus production. He has observed citrus in many regions around the world (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Spain, South Africa, Trinidad, and Uruguay).
University of Georgia, 1971, PhD in Plant Pathology
University of Georgia, 1966, BS in Chemistry
1992-2019 University of Florida, Citrus Research and Education Center and Department of Plant Pathology. J. R. and Addie S. Graves Endowed Chair in Citrus Biotechnology
1991-1992 University of California Presidential Chair in Plant
Dept. of Plant Pathology
Riverside, CA 92521
1984-1991 University of California Professor
Dept. of Plant Pathology
Riverside, CA 92521
1978-1984 University of California Associate Professor
Dept. of Plant Pathology
Riverside, CA 92521
1972-1978 University of California Assistant Professor
Dept. of Plant Pathology
Riverside, CA 92521
Research program primarily focused on being prepared for a next catastrophic disease of citrus, stem pitting caused by Citrus tristeza virus. After entry of HLB into Florida, developed CTV into an expression vector to be used explore potential control measures in the lab and as a tool to deliver anti-HLB genes in citrus groves.
Field Trial Coordinator, CRDF