Crops such as hemp, cava and cratom are studied in the medicinal plant course

Emerging industries need skilled manpower to operate. Sometimes employers begin to expand before they can hire qualified staff.

This was the case with many employers in the pharmaceutical industry, which included crops such as hemp, cava, and cranberry. The faculty of two Florida University Colleges have worked together to meet that need in a new course.

The course, developed by UF / IFAS College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and UF Pharmacy College, offers a wealth of skills to produce new and fresh crops. Laboratories teach students the skills of reproduction, germination, extraction and analysis, and everything in between.

“Employers in emerging industries are struggling to find workers to help herbal products and pharmaceuticals,” said Brian Pearson, an assistant professor at UF / IFAS, who co-authored and taught the course. “There is a huge gap in the potential staff in this skill set, and it is affecting the producers. This course will teach students from the existing set of skills available.

The course was developed in collaboration with UF / IFAS College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and UF Pharmacy College.

Guided by industry demand and student demand, Pearson and UF College of Medicine Chris McKardy collaborated to establish and teach the course. The partnership provides expertise in both herbal products and the pharmaceutical industry.

“UF is in a unique position to offer such a course because UF Health and UF / IFAS are all under the same umbrella, which is a great strength,” McCurdy said. “Being able to provide horticultural and agricultural training is a possibility in any agricultural program, but to increase our understanding of medicinal properties, it is a unique opportunity for compounds that take on biological activity in animals and / or people.

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