Crop Science Department head named

The director of a University of Florida research and education center has been named head of the North Carolina State University Department of Crop Science.

Dr. Jeff Mullahey, the new Crop Science Department head, has been a faculty member in the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences for the last 22 years. Since 2000, he has directed the West Florida Research and Education Center in Milton, Fla. near Pensacola. He will assume his new duties at N.C. State June 1.

The research and education center that Mullahey directs is one of 13 centers located across Florida.

“Tenured university faculty located at these centers develop educational programs addressing key issues,” Mullahey wrote in an email. “My center faculty work on food production, restoration of natural areas, turfgrass management, forest ecology and weed science. We offer a bachelor of science degree from UF with two majors (natural resource conservation and plant science).”

Florida’s research and education centers are similar to N.C. State’s two off-campus research and extension centers, in Mills River and Plymouth, in that the centers in both states pursue a research and extension mission. The Florida centers differ in providing academic programs that lead to bachelor’s degrees.

While the vast majority of Mullahey’s career has been spent in Florida, his academic and professional roots are in North Carolina. Mullahey’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from N.C. State, the bachelor’s in animal science in 1979 and the master’s in agronomy in 1986. He received his Ph.D. in range science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1989.

Mullahey’s professional roots also are in North Carolina. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he was an extension agent with what was then the North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service in Anson County from 1980 until 1983.

Mullahey joined the University of Florida faculty in 1989 as an assistant professor and range scientist stationed at the university’s Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee, Fla. He spent most of his career at the southwest center. He served as acting center director from 1995 until 1997 and was named associate center director in 1999. He left the southwest center in 2000 to direct the west center.

Mullahey’s research focuses on tropical soda apple, an invasive weed that is a problem in Florida pastures.

Written by: Dave Caldwell, 919-513-3127 or

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