Ann Blount UF/IFAS Forage Breeder

Ann Blount, UF/IFAS Forage Specialist talks to cattle producers about the Legend oat variety that her team developed with rust resistance and increased yield. Credit: Doug Mayo, UF/IFAS

On September 19th, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam announced that Dr. Ann Blount has been named the 2018 Woman of the Year in Agriculture. Dr. Blount has dedicated her career to researching and implementing innovative techniques to improve fall forage production in Florida’s southern coastal areas. The award, now in its 34th year, recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture.

I’m honored to recognize Dr. Blount as the 2018 Woman of the Year in Agriculture. Throughout her career, Dr. Blount’s extensive research and techniques have incorporated Florida’s unique natural resources to bolster our agriculture industry,” said Commissioner Adam H. Putnam.

Dr. Blount earned a Bachelor of Science in Crop Ecology from Texas A&M University. She continued her education at the University of Florida, where she earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics. Dr. Blount has since spearheaded research of breeding efforts on physiological aspects of fall forage, specifically: developing improved bahiagrass, evaluating new perennial peanut varieties, and enhancing small grains and ryegrasses.

Dr. Blount joined the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in 1988, and she currently serves as an extension specialist and professor of forage breeding and genetics for the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy. Dr. Blount uses a hand-on approach to train new and veteran agents to implement innovative foraging and help landowners test new livestock forages and wildlife blends to assess potential use on their properties.

Dr. Blount has made significant contributions to the agriculture industry, such as six plant patents and plant variety protections, as well as 76 cultivars and germplasm releases and forages. She has also written several educational publications, including: two book chapters, 198 refereed articles, 385 non-refereed articles, 22 national and international proceedings, 124 abstracts and 28 refereed Extension articles. Dr. Blount’s impressive forage breeding program and UF/IFAS Extension activities have improved the production and efficiency of thousands of acres of Florida’s forage varieties.

Ann Blount, UF/IFAS Forage Specialist developed a Pensacola cultivar called UF Riata that has les daylength sensitivity, so it has a longer growing season than other Bahia varieties. Photo credit: Marisol Amador, UF/IFAS

The Woman of the Year in Agriculture award is sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida State Fair Authority. The award will be presented to Dr. Blount during the 2019 Florida State Fair, in Tampa.

Editors Note:  Dr. Blount has invested the last 30 years of her life educating livestock producers, county extension agents, and researchers about forage varieties and and forage management. Use the following email link if you would like to send her congratulations on this tremendous honor:  Ann Blount, UF/IFAS Forage Specialist.