From Leah Cynara Cook, Plant Sciences Undergraduate Program Coordinator:

On Monday, May 18, the School of Integrative Plant Science held its annual luncheon to honor graduating seniors in Plant Sciences and recipients of two awards given out through the  Horticulture Section to outstanding Plant Sciences students.

Students were joined by Director of Undergraduate Studies Mike Scanlon, Horticulture Section Chair Marvin Pritts, and  Plant Sciences Undergraduate Program Coordinator Leah Cook.

Congratulations graduating plant science majors

Above from the left: Mike Scanlon, Liana Acevedo-Siaca, Princess Swan, Katharine Constas, Jeremy Pardo, Marvin Pritts, Leah Cook. Not pictured: Michael Gandler.

 

Jeremy Pardo, Marvin Pritts, Katharin Constas.

Above: Horticulture Section chair Marvin Pritts congratulates Jeremy Pardo (left), who received the 2015 H.R. Schenkel Sr. Memorial Fund Award, which recognizes superior academic achievement by a sophomore or junior enrolled at Cornell University who specializes in horticulture, and Katharine Constas (right), who received the 2015 Kenneth Post Award, which is given annually by the Kenneth Post Foundation to an outstanding senior in horticulture and plant sciences. The award emphasizes academic achievement, but also considers character, leadership, participation in university activities, and promise of continued success in horticulture.

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Jim Bittner, Chair of the Board of Directors of NYFVI and owner of Bittner-Singer Orchards.

Jim Bittner, Chair of the Board of Directors of NYFVI and owner of Bittner-Singer Orchards.

The New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI) announced that it is funding 21 projects at a total of $1,539,324 in 2015.  Grant recipients seek to build and share practical knowledge that directly improves the economic viability of New York’s farmers.  “Our increased funding from New York State allowed us to support more projects, and a wider range of projects.” said Jim Bittner, Chair of the Board of Directors of NYFVI and owner of Bittner-Singer Orchards.

In order to ensure grants address on-the-ground priorities, all proposals were evaluated by NYFVI’s extensive farmer review network. The Institute’s volunteer board or directors, comprised of ten farmers from across the state, made the final funding decisions.

Many of the projects are of horticultural interest, including:

  • Cornell Onion Thrips Management Program (COTMP) Saves Money and Reduces Insecticide Resistance
  • Managing an Emerging Threat: Ambrosia Beetle Black Stem Borer Control in Apple Nurseries
  • Sustainable Management of Root Weevil Populations for Improved Profitability on Eastern NY Berry Farms
  • Low Tunnel Strawberries: A Cost-Effective Approach to Extending the Growing Season for NY Berries.
  • Increasing the Efficacy and Economic Viability of Trap and Kill Systems for Invasive Pests
  • Assessing the Impact of Pesticides on Honey Bee Health
  • Using Cover Crops to Improve Soil Heath and Vine Productivity in Concord Vineyards
  • Equipping Apple Growers to Quantify the Role of Native Bees in Pollination
  • Integrating Spatial Maps to use Variable Rate Technology in Mechanized Concord Vineyards
  • Engaging Growers for NY Production of Chinese Medicinal Herbs
  • Marketing Plans to Help NYC Greenmarket Farmers Build Sales
  • Greenhouse Assistance Directory

View project summaries.
Full news release.

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From Marvin Pritts, Horticulture Section chair:

Eighteen intrepid hikers headed off to Thatcher’s Pinnacles in the Danby State Forest on Sunday to see an incredible view and many wildflowers and uncommon trees. Along the trail we observed American chestnut and chestnut oak, along with pink lady’s slipper in full bloom, Trillium grandiflorum, Canada mayflower, Gnaphalium obtusifolium, starflower, Polygala, geranium, Uvularia, and many more.

weekend wildflower walkers

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USDA news release [2015-05-11]

Nearly 60,000 High-Skilled Agriculture Job Openings Expected Annually in U.S., Yet Only 35,000 Graduates Available to Fill Them

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new report showing tremendous demand for recent college graduates with a degree in agricultural programs with an estimated 57,900 high-skilled job openings annually in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment fields in the United States. According to an employment outlook report released today by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University, there is an average of 35,400 new U.S. graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher in agriculture related fields, 22,500 short of the jobs available annually.

“There is incredible opportunity for highly-skilled jobs in agriculture,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Those receiving degrees in agricultural fields can expect to have ample career opportunities. Not only will those who study agriculture be likely to get well-paying jobs upon graduation, they will also have the satisfaction of working in a field that addresses some of the world’s most pressing challenges. These jobs will only become more important as we continue to develop solutions to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.”

The report projects almost half of the job opportunities will be in management and business. Another 27 percent will be in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas. Jobs in food and biomaterials production will make up 15 percent, and 12 percent of the openings will be in education, communication, and governmental services. The report also shows that women make up more than half of the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment higher education graduates in the United States.

Read the whole release.

Students in Principles of Vegetable Production class (HORT 3500) learn the ins and outs of more than a dozen tillage, planting and cultivation implements at the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y.

Students in Principles of Vegetable Production class (HORT 3500) learn the ins and outs of more than a dozen tillage, planting and cultivation implements at the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y.

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bioenergy-coverx400Images from Larry Smart‘s shrub willow bioenergy crop research program are featured on the June issue of the Journal BioEnergy Research.

Smart and grad student Eric Fabio are among the co-authors of the article Untapped Potential: Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainable Bioenergy Production from Marginal Lands in the Northeast USA in the issue.

Find out more about Smart’s research program at his Willowpedia website.

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Impatiens downy mildew disease is still around and may devastate plantings of this bedding plant, long a favorite for shady locations.

Impatiens downy mildew disease is still around and may devastate plantings of this bedding plant, long a favorite for shady locations.

From Margery Daughtrey, Senior Extension Associate, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University. She is based at the Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center, Riverhead, N.Y. Click on images for larger view.

Everyone is asking about impatiens: Is it safe to plant them again?

Beginning in 2008, a new disease, impatiens downy mildew, started showing up in the landscape in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. By 2012, it was wreaking widespread havoc all season long for gardeners in New York and many other states.

With a few exceptions, the disease only plagues the impatiens commonly used as a bedding plant in shady locations (Impatiens walleriana) and a close relative, balsam impatiens (Impatiens balsamina). But the disease can also infect native jewelweed (Impatiens capensis).

The disease is most devastating on the bedding impatiens. They stop flowering, drop all their leaves, and keel over. Balsams just show spots on their leaves with the characteristic white “downy” spore structures coating the undersides of the leaves.Infected impatiens show characteristic white “downy” spore structure coating on the undersides of the leaves.

Infected impatiens show characteristic white “downy” spore structure coating on the undersides of the leaves.

 

The dramatic outbreaks of this disease have not been as widespread in recent years. But that is because greenhouse growers and landscapers and have shied away from producing a plant that they knew wasn’t going to perform reliably. Fewer plants grown means fewer instances of the disease.

But impatiens downy mildew hasn’t gone away. In 2014, my helpful network of impatiens-watchers reported the disease in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and the Hudson Valley in June, in balsam impatiens flower beds in Lockport, N.Y., and Buffalo in July, on bedding impatiens in central New York and on Long Island in August, and in Rochester in September. The disease also turned up in 20 other states last year.

balsam-impatiensx400

Balsam impatiens are also susceptible to the disease, but aren’t affected as dramatically. There are many other shade-loving annual and perennial alternatives to impatiens.

So, no. The disease is not gone. But we are using less of its host plant so we don’t hear as much about it.

Here’s the problem: Impatiens downy mildew can persist in frost-free parts of the country, and also the mildew can form special spores called oospores that we expect may help it to survive New York winters and re-infect plants the following season. Cornell researchers are focusing on the oospores to learn more about the overwinter survival of the downy mildew, and on breeding new hybrid impatiens that are less susceptible to the disease.

Ultimately, the solution to this problem will be found by breeding downy-mildew-resistant impatiens. In the meantime, gardeners can grow New Guinea impatiens and the new hybrid Bounce™ impatiens with full confidence, knowing that they will resist the downy mildew and flower colorfully all season.

And it’s perfectly OK for gardeners to add in a few bedding impatiens in shady areas, along with begonias, coleus, torenia and other great bedding plants that flourish under similar shady conditions. (Nora Catlin, Floriculture Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, created a great factsheet on Alternatives to Garden Impatiens.)

The luckiest of the impatiens will escape downy mildew. We just need to realize that they are still susceptible to the disease, and that the disease is still a possibility, subject to the variation in weather from year to year.

For more information on impatiens downy mildew, visit the CCE Suffolk County floriculture website.

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Climate Change‬ and agriculture experts presented a forum in Albany on Tuesday to bring their research to lawmakers and staff in order to help inform potential policy. Pictured are (L-R): Professor Mike Hoffmann, director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station; Allison Chatrchyan, director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Change in Agriculture; David Wolfe, Horticulture professor and co-author of New York’s ClimAID report. New York State Sen. Tom O’Mara; Toby Ault, assistant professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; and Julie Suarez, associate dean of government and community relations for CALS.

Climate Change‬ and agriculture experts presented a forum in Albany on Tuesday to bring their research to lawmakers and staff in order to help inform potential policy. Pictured are (L-R): Professor Mike Hoffmann, director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station; Allison Chatrchyan, director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Change in Agriculture; David Wolfe, Horticulture professor and co-author of New York’s ClimAID report. New York State Sen. Tom O’Mara; Toby Ault, assistant professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; and Julie Suarez, associate dean of government and community relations for CALS.

Via CALS Notes [2015-05-13]:

Floods, droughts, pests and pathogens were among the weighty topics considered at the New York State Capitol on Tuesday.

In the middle of a busy legislative session day, Sen. Tom O’Mara and Assembly member Steve Englebright, chairs of the Senate and Assembly environmental conservation committees, hosted a Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences educational forum designed to provide insight into how extreme weather variations are impacting New York’s farm community. O’Mara and Englebright opened the forum, which also saw attendance by Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee, Assembly members Barbara Lifton and Cliff Crouch – along with a packed house of legislative and executive staff, and agricultural and environmental stakeholders. …

Horticulture Professor David Wolfe, a contributing author to the 2011 New York State ClimAID report, told the audience how increased “growing degree days,” changes in plant hardiness zones and fluctuations in extreme rainfall events are hitting New York’s farmers. With ecosystems changing as direct result of changing weather patterns and more extreme weather events, farmers will face greater challenges in dealing with invasive species, increased overwintering pests, early warming and unseasonable frost events, intensified rainfall and difficulty in predicting what types of crops to plant.  Wolfe emphasized the need to focus resources towards Cornell’s New York State Integrated Pest Management program, noting the prevalence of new and different pests will bring more challenges to farmers that should be met with by environmentally sensitive strategies for control.

Read the whole article

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Cornell Chronicle [2015-05-13]:

Eames-Sheavly

Eames-Sheavly

As a student, Marcia Eames-Sheavly ’83 enjoyed spending time in a Department of Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture studio above Mann Library, creating botanical paintings with watercolors. Now, as a senior lecturer and senior extension associate in the Horticulture Section, she is sharing her passion.

A prolific artist, with a personal show of her work that opened May 4 at the Cornell Plantations Nevin Welcome Center, Eames-Sheavly teaches the Art of Horticulture and Advanced Botanical Illustration on campus, and three online courses in botanical illustration through Cornell Cooperative Extension.

She believes that teaching these courses is “carrying on a tradition” of art in horticulture, she said.

In any age, but especially in the modern era of technological distractions, “any form of drawing connects you to your world,” she said. “People in my classes often say they are starting to observe their world again, or even, see for the first time.”

Read the whole article/view slideshow.

Venna Wang's capstone display

Biological Science major Venna Wang ’15 took took Eames-Sheavly’s advanced botanical illustration class in 2014 and fell in love with the natural world. View the capstone project she completed for the Minor in Horticulture with a focus in Botanical Art in the display case just west of the first-floor foyer in Plant Science Building.

 

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From the managers at Dilmun Hill, Cornell’s student-run farm:

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, a business system that allows farmers and eaters to build a local food system based on trust, shared goals, and common values.

Our CSA members receive a share of the harvest. We provide organic produce, grown right on campus, and together with our members we share a commitment to the land, local economies, and environmental and agricultural education.

Our Summer CSA runs for 10 weeks, from June 21-August 30th.

For more information, or to sign up, please visit our blog or contact the farm managers at dilmunmanagers@gmail.com.

famshare poster

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brown-smart-twc-news
View video

Researchers Provide Information Farmers Need to Improve Production, Quality of Crops
[Time-Warner Cable News 2015-05-11]

GENEVA, N.Y. — Out on a field at the New York State Agriculture Experiment Station, professor Larry Smart is growing shrub willow. Every two or three years, the stems are harvested and turned into wood chips. Those chips heat two buildings at the center. …

“Our mission is to apply cutting edge science to improve agriculture in New York State, in the Northeast, across the U.S. and even across the world if we can,” said Smart.

Susan Brown is also featured. She says:

“Our vegetable growers will say when people enjoy a carrot or cabbage; they don’t realize the research that goes into it. You know that bumper sticker that says if you have food, thank a farmer? Thank a researcher as well,” said Brown.

Read the whole article/view video.

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