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AFE On the Road

The AFE team has been busy the past few weeks! From North Carolina, to California, our staff has been busy from coast to coast attending floral industry events, networking, and planning for the future! Staying connected with the industry allows us to see first-hand the impact of our programs and research, and allows us to hear directly from industry members about the challenges they’re facing so we can adapt our programs to help.  Read on to learn more about all of the AFE staff adventures so far in 2024! AFE Board Meeting and NC State Tour Twice a year, the AFE Board meets in person to engage in strategic discussions and review past, present, and upcoming initiatives, charting the course…

Altering Petunia Development Rate to Improve Cutting Yield and Crop Production Efficiency

Researchers at Michigan State University, funded by AFE, are exploring how to breed new varieties and improve petunia crop to make production more efficient. This project is working to understand the genetic materials of different petunia varieties, and evaluate their development and performance to maximize efficiency. Read more below, and explore our other currently funded projects here. The rate at which plants produce new nodes is a fundamental trait with numerous implications for ornamental crop production. The benefits of understanding the genetic regulation of development rate and being able to manipulate development rate in the breeding of new cultivars include: 1) Reduction in crop production time:  Crop production time for annual bedding plants is a function of the rate of development,…

The Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation Joins with the American Floral Endowment 

Amplifying Floriculture Research Advancements The American Floral Endowment (AFE) and the Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation are pleased to announce a new partnership and joining of forces promoting a shared vision of cultivating and funding innovation, advancements, and growth through floriculture research. Through this partnership, the American Floral Endowment will provide a new home for the Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation, transitioning the Foundation to a new fund within AFE. The new Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation Research Fund will continue the Foundation's current mission of providing a source of funding for research and education in floriculture while maintaining its robust history. The Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation Research Fund complements AFE's research efforts and amplifies floriculture growth through combining efforts, ultimately resulting in more significant achievements and…

Unveiling AFE’s New Website: Tailored for You

We are excited to unveil our newly redesigned website, featuring seamless navigation, enhanced program accessibility, and a modern, vibrant aesthetic! The new website reflects our unwavering commitment to providing easy-to-use, accessible resources and programs supporting research, internships, scholarships, and education for the floral industry. As the Endowment’s initiatives have grown over time, adapting to the industry's ever-changing needs, the website housing all of the resources has been reshaped as well. Industry members can find resources and programs specific to their business segment, including tailored-specific news, research findings, opportunities, and more. With a focus on accessibility, the redesigned platform ensures that visitors can easily access valuable resources and navigate the website effortlessly."We are thrilled to introduce the new website, which embodies our dedication to serving all segments of…

Discount Available: 2024 Greenhouse Training Online

Each course is completely online and includes pre-recorded videos, an interactive discussion board, and quizzes. The course material is available any time of the day, and new modules are activated each week during the course for the four weeks of each course, for a total of 8 learning modules. Experienced university instructors are available to help, and graduates receive a personalized certificate of completion. Courses are designed for individuals already working in the horticulture industry. Exclusively for AFE supporters, we are pleased to provide a 20% discount. Just use code: AFE2024 when you register. The University of Florida Greenhouse Training Online 2024 program starts June 3rd! Online course schedule for 2024: Greenhouse 101 teaches the underlying horticultural science of plant growth to…

Spring Hiring Campaign Kicks Off to Tackle Labor Challenges

The AFE Career Center provides valuable online career tools, resources, and industry guides tailored to both individuals seeking opportunities in the floral industry and employers looking to expand their staff. The Center provides the most up-to-date job listings, real-time job alerts, networking opportunities, and free tools to help both candidates and employers during the job search. Since its launch in 2020 by AFE, engagement has more than doubled in both job views and active applications.  Calling All Job-Seekers! Explore an array of resources including resume tips, reviews, and a centralized job openings hub at afecareercenter.com. Be entered to win 1 of 3 $50 Amazon gift cards by uploading your resume by April 23rd! Uploading your resume means employers can reach out to you directly with inquiries…

Developing a Screening Pipeline for the Identification of Phosphorus-Solubilizing Bacteria

By Juan Quijia Pillajo, Sachin Naik, and Michelle Jones Phosphorus (P) is an essential nutrient with low availability for plant uptake. High media pH levels can cause the formation of insoluble compounds with calcium (Ca). Phosphorus solubilizing bacteria (PSB) can enhance P availability for plant uptake by producing organic acids to acidify the rhizosphere. The identification of PSBs requires both in-vitro and in-planta evaluations. In-vitro protocols allow for the screening of extensive bacterial collections, but the number of bacterial isolates that can be tested in the greenhouse is limited by the amount of space and time required to evaluate the plant responses to PSB inoculation. Digital phenotyping is an emerging tool for high throughput and precise evaluation of plant performance…

Botrytis Control in Greenhouses

Botrytis can cause devastating losses during production, shipping, and in retail. An Integrated Pest IPM approach is necessary to manage Botrytis successfully and it is critical for growers to have alternative control methods to use in rotation with fungicides to prevent resistance. Microbial biopesticides are an IPM tool for controlling disease while mitigating fungicide resistance risk. Adoption of biopesticides in production is growing but their variable performance under commercial conditions is still a challenge. Advances in biopesticide research reveal that they work best when used in combination with other strategies. Several natural compounds have been found to enhance biopesticide efficacy with significant implications for IPM. In our previous AFE-funded research, we found that chitosan reduced symptoms caused by Botrytis on petunia…

Newly Released! Grow Pro 2024 Lineup

Free monthly webinars featuring ground-breaking research! The American Floral Endowment (AFE) has released the first six months for the 2024 monthly Grow Pro Webinar Series. In these free webinars, nationally recognized researchers, hosts, and speakers offer ‘how-to’ advice based on AFE-funded and other research projects to help the industry navigate through ever-changing growing challenges. “These educational training sessions are directly impactful to industry businesses, and the information shared can be implemented immediately. We have taken input directly from the industry to shape the 2024 sessions ensuring that these continue to be valuable resources covering emerging challenges and new advancements,” noted Laura Barth, AFE’s Research Coordinator. Here’s some direct industry feedback collected through anonymous surveys at the end of each session showing the impact…

Controlling Whitefly on Poinsettia

Unfortunately, poinsettia and sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) go together like cats and fleas; if you have one, you’ll have the other. By this time (June) you should already be considering your whitefly management strategy. Here, we make a case for biocontrol as both a viable and economical way to control whitefly based on leading research supported by the American Floral Endowment (AFE) and many years of grower experience in Canada. The Problem with Pesticides Management of Bemisia whiteflies with pesticides can be difficult, if not impossible, in some years. This is because whiteflies that originate on cuttings (and those that fly in from field crops, as in the Southern US) have likely been exposed to multiple applications of several groups of…