SHARE-ig in the Development of Florida Agriculture
It is a great pl sure to attend the 79th Annual Meeting of the Florida
State Horticultural S city. In the three and half years that I have been in the
I.F.AtSteUia p remely impressed by the very high quality of these
re are many national societies that do not measure up
to the broad scope and high standards which mark these annual sessions of
this State Society.
Three years ago I had the privilege of addressing this society on the
general topic of "Challenges and Opportunities in Florida Agriculture. "
At that time I pointed to the fantastic growth enjoyed by Florida Agriculture,
particularly over the past two decade. This has been a rate of growth, at least
during part of this period, exceeded by no other state in the nation. As note-
worthy as this progress has been, I am even more impressed today by the
opportunities for further growth and development of our State's agriculture.
These potentials, in essentially every segment of our agriculture, have been
set forth in the rather comprehensive analyses which were a part of Operation
Actually there have been several recent developments which make the
outlook for agriculture even more favorable than we could have hoped for when
we met with you three years ago.
The very critical world food problem has come into sharp focus in this
period, adding some completely new dimensions to agriculture throughout the
world--including ours here in Florida. Indeed never in my lifetime has the
overall outlook for agriculture--particularly from the demand standpoint--
appeared to be more favorable.
The big question is--what are we as a state going to do to take full
advantage of this more favorable climate for agricultural development ?
One of the basic objectives in Operation DARE has been that of exam-
ining the role of our programs at the University in an attempt to see how we
could more effectively contribute to the further advancement of our State's
In this connection I would point out that we have two distinct functions.
The first is one which you normally associate with a University--that of
Remarks by E. T. York, Jr., Provost, Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences, University of Florida, at the Florida State Horticultural Society
Meeting, Miami Beach, Florida, October 26, 1966.
training and education. Certainly today highly specialized and complex agri-
culture demands an ever increasing supply of well trained personnel.
I am happy to report that we are making substantial progress in this
area. Our agricultural enrollment at the University this fall is the largest
in history--some 18 percent above the level of last fall--and between 55 and
60 percent above the level three years ago.
During the past three years our enrollment in agriculture has been
increasing at a rate 2 2- times as fast as the enrollment for the university
as a whole. This is a very significant reversal of a rather marked decline in
agricultural enrollment which occurred throughout the nation in the late 1950's
and early 1960's. Despite the rapid increase in enrollment however, we are
still falling far short of meeting the demands for trained manpower by an
ever. growing, dynamic agricultural industry.
The second major role of the University's agricultural programs in-
volves a research and development function for the total agriculture of the State.
This is basically the concern of the Agricultural Experiment Stations and the
Agricultural Extension Service. Incidentally,. these two functions account for
approximately 90 percent of the budget of the Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences at the University.
There have been many individuals, organizations and groups which have
contributed to the present state of development of Florida Agriculture. How-
ever, I don't know of any state where the agricultural development has been
more dependent upon agricultural research and education than is the case in
Florida. We have many problems which are essentially unique to our State--
serious problems of soil fertility and minor element deficiencies, along with
severe insect and disease problems with crops and livestock--these and many
Dr. Beckenbach, Director of the Agricultural Experiment Stations put
these research contributions into perspective when he pointed out that without
such efforts--"the hills of Central Florida would still be in scrub oak--not in
citrus; the flatlands would be in pine and palmetto--not improved pastures;
and the Everglades would be in sawgrass--not vegetables and pastures. "
As we look to the future, I would say that agricultural research and
educational programs at the University are going to be just as important if
not more so to the further growth and development of Florida's Agriculture as
they have been in the past. In emphasizing the favorable outlook for agriculture,
I don't mean to imply that we are not faced with problems--severe problems.
Most of the easy problems have already been solved--and today I would say
that we are confronted with some of the most difficult problems Florida
Agriculture has ever faced. As in the past, however, these are problems
which lend themselves to a solution through research and education. Conse-
quently, we at the University have never been faced with a greater challenge
than we have today.
In attempting to meet these challenges, we have been examining our
total program and what will be needed to enable us to carry out our responsi-
bilities most effectively in serving Florida agriculture.
At the present time we are almost completely supported by public
funds--federal,state, and in the case of Extension, county as well. We are
hoping and expecting to secure increased appropriations of public funds to
take care of a portion of our needs. And I might add that the Florida Agri-
cultaal Council is doing a tremendously effective job in assisting in these
efforts-particularly at the state level.
To be realistic, however, with the tremendous demands being placed
upon County, State and Federal government for increased funding of programs
of all types, I don't think it is realistic to hope that these critically important
agricultural, education, research and development programs can expect to
receive the level of support of public funds needed to enable us to meet the
demands and help solve the problems facing the agriculture of the state.
Consequently, we are turning to the private sector--to individuals,
businesses and industries--to the direct beneficiaries of these programs--for
help--as many other states are having to do. In doing this we would still hope
and expect to receive a major portion of our support--perhaps at least 95
percent--from Federal, State and local government.
However, the additional support which we would hope to secure from
the private sector could have a tremendous impact upon our total program and
what we are able to accomplish. The flexibility with which we could use such
funds would be of particular value.
We are calling this effort the SHARE program. SHARE is an acronym
standing for Special Help for Agricultural Research and Education. The name,
in fact, describes rather specifically what the program is all about. Further-
more the word SHARE has a very special and symbolic meaning in that through
this effort, Florida Agriculture will have an opportunity to Share very directly
in the support needed for its future growth and development.
Through this program, individuals, organizations, businesses and
industries can make tax deductible contributions to support the overall pro-
gram of the Institute or some particular activity.
Let me cite some specific examples of need. We have to make up
our legislative budget request more than one and a half years before the
beginning of a biennium and three and a half years before its end. Frequently
we have problems develop after we have submitted our request which demand
immediate attention. We frequently don't have the funds or the flexibility to
deal with these problems until there have been very costly delays. Special
funds such as those that could be made available through the SHARE Program
could take care of this need--to tide us over until State funds could be made
In the past two to three years we have fallen seriously behind in our
competitive salary situation. As a result we have lost some of our most out- -
standing staff members to other states which could pay higher salaries.
SHARE funds could enable us to keep our top personnel and to recruit and
hold others like them. I would hope for example that we could establish some
"distinguished professorship positions" through which we could attract some
of the most outstanding agricultural scientists and educators in the nation to
provide leadership in many key areas such as the Horticultural sciences.
SHARE funds could also be used for scholarships, fellowships and loans
to enable us to attract the most outstanding young men and women in the state
into agricultural professions and to provide them with the training necessary
to enable them to best serve the future needs of our industry.
Incidentally as one example of what can be done in this area--the
Agricultural Council last Spring agreed to provide leadership in an effort
to raise some $8, 000 which when combined with Federal funds available for
this purpose would make possible the establishment of a $100,000 loan fund
for students in agriculture--a fund incidentally to be set up in the memory of
Mr. Frank Holland, who was a great champion of Florida agriculture and, I
might add, a great leader in this society. I am happy to say that this fund
raising effort has been a great success. So very shortly we will have a
$100, 000 loan fund which will be of tremendous value to our young people
studying agriculture in the years ahead.
There are of course many, many other extremely valuable programs
and activities which SHARE funds could make possible. I think we already have
a very good agricultural research and education program in Florida. A basic
goal through SHARE is to have a truly superior program--one which is unexcelled
anywhere else in the country. I think Florida deserves this type of program. I
want to say that we are committed to an all out effort to try to make this possible.
I might add that there are a number of reasons for considering a pro-
gram of this nature--in addition to the ones I have given. Many times in the
last twoto three years as I have talked to members of the legislature and others
(including the Governor) about our program and its needs, time and again I have
been asked--what is the agricultural industry itself doing to support these
efforts directly. Of course, there are good answers to such a question. I
think however, that an active and successful SHARE program as we have de-
scribed would provide one of the most effective answers--and should in fact
make it even easier to secure needed appropriated public funds as well.
I want to say that this is not going to be a "hard-sell"--high pressure
program. We are merely going to provide the opportunities for those
individuals interested in Florida agriculture to contribute to--to share in--
its further development through bequest, gifts, and contributions of any type.
Actually our tax laws present some very attractive inducements in this area.
At any rate the SHARE program will provide an opportunity for those who have
been and will continue to be the beneficiaries of these programs to contribute
very directly to their support--so that these research and educational programs
in turn can do a more effective job of serving the agricultural industries of
this State--including, of course, the individual or industry making the gift.
And I would add something that I said to the Florida Agricultural Council
at its meeting yesterday. When we talk about financial support for these pro-
grams--public or private, we are not talking about help for the University
of Florida--we are talking about help for Florida agriculture. Our primary
mission at the University is to serve the agriculture of this great State. The
primary goal of SHARE is to enable us to do this job even more effectively in
We think the SHARE program can add a new dimension to our total agri-
cultural effort and enable all of us to more effectively deal with the problems
and more completely realize the great potentials which lie ahead in Florida