PROFESSOR, FORAGE BREEDING AND GENETICS, UF/IFAS, QUINCY
Named the state’s 2018 Woman of the Year in Agriculture, Blount for 30 years has researched and implemented techniques to improve fall forage production in Florida’s coastal areas. Widely published, she holds six plant patents.
Blount earned a bachelor’s degree in crop ecology at Texas A&M University, then a master’s degree and Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics from the University of Florida. Joining the IFAS faculty in 1988, she has produced breakthroughs in improving bahia grass, which has helped ranchers move closer to a year-round growing season, and has worked on new perennial peanut varieties and on enhancing small grains and rye grasses.
An advocate for women in STEM fields, Blount told the Central Florida Ag News publication that there is no glass ceiling in agriculture any longer for women. “For any woman who is going into an industry that is still predominantly male, you have to be competent,” she says. “You can’t just be a woman in the agriculture field; you have to be competent.”
Agriculture will remain vital in Florida, she told the publication, because “we have to find ways to effectively feed our people.”