Anyone interested in Florida natural resources and agriculture should be pleased that Dr. Kent Fuchs has been selected to be the future president of the University of Florida. After living on a farm in Oklahoma and then in Alaska, Fuchs’ family came to Miami where he attended high school. Most recently, he was provost at Cornell University. Cornell is unique as the lone Ivy League school with a School of Integrative Plant Science and a horticulture department. They are also known to be an esteemed land grant university.
One of Fuchs’ first endeavors when he is in office is to travel around Florida meeting with stakeholders, alumni, donors, growers and leaders at University Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). It seems he not only wants to help his new University, but also to be of public service to all of Florida. With the land-grant objective of UF, Fuchs could potentially help their medical center and engineering departments in promoting public health and technical relief in the community.
Florida has natural resource and agricultural industries worth almost $1.5 billion per year. However, funding from the state for these industries has either been stagnant or in decline for several years. This situation is creating opportunities for UF/IFAS to step up and help. With Fuchs’ help, they can take on some major problems including climate change, water issues, and citrus greening. With the land-grant objective, UF also hopes to increase the number of degree programs online at a discount, and they will be seeking out more minorities and hiring those with bilingual skills.