UF/IFAS conference highlights innovation economy for agriculture

January 18, 2017

Innovation is not new to agriculture. Traditionally, producers have created innovative ways to improve quality, cut costs and prosper by embracing technology, but innovation goes beyond computerized technology.

The innovation economy model acknowledges the interdependence of the economic system to sense changes, manage uncertainties, and seize opportunities. The projected increase in the world’s population and increase in demand for food, combined with managing scarce resources and other challenges facing agriculture, prompts the agricultural industry to respond. Can Florida’s agricultural industry manage uncertainty in an ever-changing economy in order to harvest the competitive advantages of innovation?

“Creating an innovation economy fuels the engine of economic growth," says Spiro Stefanou, UF/IFAS food and resource economics department chair.  "This involves empowering and incentivizing firms to translate great ideas into concepts that can create sustainable and evolving advantages, and it also involved working with quality institutions that can serve as the important channels to realize growth in the long run.”

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) food and resource economics department will host the 2nd Annual Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference on February 9 at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research Education Center in Balm, Florida.

Keynote speaker, Jerry Parrish, chief economist and director of research at the Florida Chamber Foundation, will present research demonstrating the benefits of Florida’s innovation economy for the agricultural industry.  In his role with the Florida Chamber Foundation, Parrish conducts in-depth analyses of economic trends and Florida’s industry clusters.  At the UF/IFAS conference, Parrish will provide a preview of some of the research used in the Florida 2030 report, the Florida Chamber Foundation’s strategic plan, to be published in early 2018. Conference participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussion with conference speakers and other industry leaders, researchers, and policymakers in attendance.

Several UF/IFAS researchers and industry experts will present on a range of topics for discussion including agricultural labor, water quality, management, food and nutrition policy, and agricultural production policy and trade. Conference participants can expect to examine critical policy issues facing Florida’s agribusiness leaders and explore valuable economic insight helpful for making informed business and policy decisions.

For additional conference details and registration information visit the UF/IFAS Food and Resource Economics Department web page at fred.ifas.ufl.edu/FLAgPolicyOutlookConference.

By: Melissa McGinnis, 352-294-7637, melissamcginnis@ufl.edu

Sources: Spiro Stefanou, 352-294-7625, sstefanou@ufl.edu

Alan Hodges, 352-294-7674, awhodges@ufl.edu