An interview with Dr. Mike Merida

Dr. Mike Merida
by Nicole Casuso | DPM Newsletter Summer 2014

Q. Can you share with us your academic background?
A. I earned my bachelors of science degree through the Horticulture Department at the University of Florida in 2001. In 2002, I enrolled in the DPM program and graduated in May 2006.

Q. Please describe your current occupation.
A. I currently work as the Foliage Production Manager for Costa Farms where I manage over 800 acres of production. Primary responsibilities include managing growing practices, pest & disease management, field scouts, the potting department, live goods receiving, standards and process improvements, budgets and perpetual inventory.

Q. What prompted you to pursue a career in industry?
A. During my last internship prior to completion of my DPM degree, I worked for a large field nursery that produced different species of palms for landscape installations. This is when I felt that private industry would be the appropriate sector to apply the strong curriculum the DPM program provided.

Q. Why did you choose the DPM program?
A. I chose to pursue a degree in the Doctor of Plant Medicine program because of the strong base it would provide me upon graduation. It allowed me to grow within the company at a faster rate, applying all aspects from disease and insect diagnosis to crop nutrition and every other discipline in between.

Q. On a personal and professional level, how has your DPM degree influenced you?
A. The DPM degree has not only opened many opportunities within the company but has also allowed me to grow within the industry. As a result of the extensive knowledge gain I received, I have been able to build strong relationships with companies dealing in various fertilizers, pesticides, soil products, herbicides, and biological agents. Earning a DPM degree is one of my proudest moments and continues to benefit me as a professional in plant world. Dr. Agrios had a great vision, and we as alumni, current students, and faculty are pioneers of his vision. I certainly have not looked back nor do I regret the decision I made years ago to pursue a DPM degree.