Dr. Michael T. Olexa
Distinguished Teaching Scholar and Professor and Center Director
Following military service, Michael Olexa received his MS and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Pathology. On completion of post-doctoral work in biological pest control of invasive plant species, he entered and completed law school and was admitted to The Florida Bar. After law school, he owned and operated a plant nursery for 10 years. Later, while on assignment from the University of Florida to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he also served as a policy advisor in the Office of the Secretary and as a National Program Leader for Agriculutral Law Education. He is currently a Professor of Agricultural Law at the University of Florida and teaches in both the colleges of agriculture and law. He also serves as Director of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Law and chaired the General Practice Solo and Small Firm Section of the Florida Bar. He is currently chair of the Agricultural Law Committee of the Florida Bar. His honors include the USDA's Distinguished Service and Superior Service Awards and the USDA's National Teaching Award. In 2005, he was named a University of Florida Distinguished Teaching Scholar.
Research focused on bell-weather issues of water quality and quantity, pesticide use and impact, invasive species and hazardous waste management.
Extension focuses on the development of law publications for dissemination through the Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS). The objective of these publications is in addressing agricultural and natural resource laws and regulations governing agricultural production, natural resource management and environmental protection. The publications are web-posted and provide useable information for Florida, national and international audiences. Two examples include publications addresssing Florida Citrus Greening and invasive species.
Teaching objectives in both the Colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the UF Levin College of Law are designed to prepare students with timely and appropriate information for addressing real world problems in implementing environmentally sound, socially acceptable and economically feasible agricultural practices in the production of food, fiber and fuel. At the undergraduate level, he is responsible for oversight of the Undergraduate Minor in Agricultural and Natural Resource Law and teaching the core courses within that minor. It is the nation's first such minor, and courses taught emphasize pragmatic information for use in personal and professional development and decision making. The minor has served as a catalyst for student career choices, with several alumnus of the minor or minor course going on to top leadership positions within Florida and federal government.
- J.D. Law Nova Southeastern University, 1980
- Ph.D. in Plant Pathology, University of Florida, 1976
- M.S. in Plant Pathology, University of Florida, 1973
- B.A. in Biology, West Virginia University, 1969
A sampling of additional publications in refereed journal articles such as law reviews and the Florida Bar Journal includes:
- Olexa, M.T., Caracciolo, J., Fernandez, V. and Owen, S. Hanging on for Deer Life: How Chronic Wasting Disease Might Impact Florida and How Florida is Trying to Prevent Its Spread Into the State. The Florida Bar Journal. V. 95 (6), pp. 44-47. (2021)
- Olexa, M.T., Grant, L., Walker, T & Adams, D. Limitations to Statewide Reach of Land Grant Universities - Florida as a Cautionary Tale. Drake Journal of Agriculutral Law V. 25 (3), pp. 323-368. (2020)
- Van Treese II J. and Olexa, M.T. Application of Florida Friendly Landscaping Statute to Homeowner Disputes Regarding Violation of Restrictive Covenants. The Florida Bar Journal V. 94(6), pp. 34-41. (2020)
- Van Treese II J., Koeser, A.K., Fitzpatrick, G.E., Olexa, M.T. and Allen, E.J. Frequency and Severity of Tree and Other Fixed Object Crashes in Florida, 2006-2013. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry Journal, 45:2, 65-74. (2019)
- Olexa, M.T. and Benn, J. Feeling the Squeeze: Citrus Greening Policy in the Western Hemisphere, Drake Journal of Agricultural Law 23(2), 175-200. (2018)
- Robbins, J.M., Olexa, M.T. and Grant, L. Flyover: The Potential Impact of Agroterrorism and Bioterrorism within Agricultural Aerial Application Operation. The Florida Bar Journal 91 (8): 16-24. 2017