From nearly 200 nominees, two UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty members were nationally selected and recognized for their contributions to the agriculture industry.
Alexa Lamm and Samuel F. Hutton, both 36 years old, were awarded Vance Publishing Corporation’s second annual 40 Under 40 Award, which recognizes people under the age of 40 who have contributed to America’s food system.
Lamm and Hutton, along with two other UF graduates, were honored.
Founded more than 75 years ago, Vance Publishing is a privately held media enterprise that serves the agricultural business through various marketing products and services such as magazines, newspapers and newsletters.
The company asked for nominations of the most innovative leaders in agriculture, and a six-judge panel with distinguished agricultural career backgrounds chose the winners, said Vance Publishing.
Lamm, a UF IFAS assistant professor of agricultural education and communication, was recently named associate director of the UF IFAS Center for Public Issues Education.
She said one of her primary research interest areas is public opinions of water quality and quantity and how they have impacted the agriculture and natural resource industry.
“I think one of the reasons I was most surprised and pleased with this award was it’s largely an industry award, not a faculty award,” Lamm said. “So it’s a little different from other awards and special in that way because it’s being recognized for my work actually impacting the industry itself.”
Since 2010, Hutton has worked as an assistant professor of horticultural sciences at UF’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center.
Hutton earned his doctorate from UF in horticulture sciences in 2008. His research focuses on advanced tomato resistance to bacterial spots and developing machine-harvestable tomatoes.
Hutton hopes the award will shed more light on the tomato-breeding industry in Florida, which is valued at close to $500 million each year.
“We’re the only public breeding program in the state and one of the few public tomato breeding programs in the nation,” he said.
The honorees will be featured in nine November and December print publications, and their profiles will be posted on 40Under40ag.com.
“With the awards granted, it will only give UF’s IFAS more credibility,” said UF agricultural education and communication senior Mary Hannah Miller, 21.
[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 9/30/2014]