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Seminar video: Dry farming viticultural practices in Spain

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar,  Dry farming viticultural practices in Spain with Adam Karl, 2015 Dreer Award Recipient and PhD candidate, Graduate Field of Horticulture, it’s available online.

Learn more about the Frederick Dreer Award, which funds overseas travel by students to study horticulture topics.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

CALS research key to New York farming growth

Professor Thomas Bjorkman explains findings from the Eastern Broccoli Project, a research effort he is leading to establish a broccoli industry in the eastern United States, to horticulture graduate students Hannah Swegarden and Juana Muñoz Ucros. (Photo: Matt Hayes)

Professor Thomas Bjorkman explains findings from the Eastern Broccoli Project, a research effort he is leading to establish a broccoli industry in the eastern United States, to horticulture graduate students Hannah Swegarden and Juana Muñoz Ucros. (Photo: Matt Hayes)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-01-21]:

The ground may be covered in snow, but New York farmers already have their minds on growth.

Agricultural producers from across the state are meeting in Syracuse Jan. 19-21 as part of the 2016 Empire State Producers Expo. The three-day showcase brings together Cornell scientists and Cornell Cooperative Extension specialists to share the latest in research and technical advances, from crop management and food safety compliance to the best practices to aid the industry’s newest farmers to those working the land for generations.

New York agriculture is at a point of ascendency, said Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). She said the potential growth for farmers and producers of all sizes is aided by research conducted on the Cornell campuses in Ithaca and Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York.

“This is an opportune moment for local agribusiness. We are on the cusp of a new era with potential for sustained agricultural growth in New York,” she said during her keynote speech Jan. 19. “We have the land, water, specialty and dairy agriculture, educated producers, and research and development support in Geneva and in Ithaca to grow specialty food production and processing here in our state.”

Read the whole article.

Contribute to the Robin Bellinder Graduate Student Fund

Robin Bellinder

Robin Bellinder

From Steve Reiners, Horticulture Section chair:

On November 13, 2015, we received the sad news that our friend and colleague, Robin Bellinder, professor of Horticulture at Cornell University for 31 years and an international expert in weed control in vegetable crops, died unexpectedly. She was 70 years old. Robin died of a pulmonary embolism after a brief hospitalization and stay in a physical rehabilitation clinic for an unrelated spinal injury.

At Cornell, Robin’s research program focused on weed management for vegetable crops. One of few women in her field at that time, she became a national and international leader. She published research results widely in peer reviewed publications, as well as publications that advised growers about her work’s practical applications. She served as president of the Northeastern Weed Science Society and, in 2005, was named the recipient of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences award for outstanding accomplishments in applied research. She will be remembered as a weed scientist who ardently and tirelessly supported New York vegetable growers. Robin had a deep concern for people, whether farmers in South Asia, for whom she championed the introduction of more efficient weed control practices, or hungry families in New York’s southern tier. She initiated Cornell’s efforts to provide fresh fruits and vegetables from the Homer C. Thompson Research Farm to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. She realized that rather than composting the farm’s edible produce, they could feed hungry area families. Since 2004, as a result of her initiative, Cornell has donated almost 2 million pounds of produce.

Robin will be remembered as an intense, thoughtful, loyal, generous, creative and loving person who tenaciously advocated for the things she believed were important.  Mentoring students and seeing them become leaders around the world provided Robin with great satisfaction.  At the urging of her colleagues, Cornell is proud to announce the establishment of the Robin Bellinder Graduate Student Fund. The fund will be established “to provide financial support for graduate students working on vegetables crops, with a preference given to projects with a weed science emphasis. The fund will be distributed at the discretion of the chair of the horticulture section, and may be used to supplement travel or research expenses for the successful candidates”.

Those interested in supporting the fund should make checks payable to “Cornell University” with “Bellinder Fund, Horticulture” in the memo line. We will be happy to share any notes or messages with Robin’s family. Checks can be sent to:

Chair, Horticulture Section
Cornell University
134 Plant Science Building
Ithaca, NY 14853 USA

Thank you for your support of the Robin Bellinder Graduate Student Fund.

Robin Bellinder (right) with volunteers gleaning potatoes for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier at the Homer C. Thompson Research Farm in 2012.

Robin Bellinder (right) with volunteers gleaning potatoes for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier at the Homer C. Thompson Research Farm in 2012.

Cornell Takes on Climate Change

From TWC Capital District News:

Climate change has become a huge topic of discussion lately, especially following an international agreement on how to combat the problem. But here in New York, Cornell University is taking a different approach. They’ve created the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture to help train and educate farmers on how to adapt to a changing climate and reduce their impact on the environment. Cornell’s Matt Ryan and Neil Mattson joined us to talk about the initiative.

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View video

Grad student uses diverse experience to assist growers

Ming Yi Chou

Chou examining grapes in the vineyard. Photo: Ksenia Verdiyan

Appellation Cornell [November 2015]:

A passion for wine may stem from unlikely places.

Ming-Yi Chou is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Field of Horticulture.  At Cornell, his work examines floor management impacts on grape composition and wine sensory properties through physiological and microbial pathways.  Yet, Chou’s path to Cornell has been far from easy, spanning several continents, and combining years of unique experience in the wine industry.

Chou grew up in the bustling metropolis of Taipei, Taiwan, known for progressive economic development and high tech industry.

“As a child I was curious about things I did not see very often in the city such as a fruit crop field,” Chou said.

Read the whole article.

Seminar video: Soil health in strawberry fields

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Soil health in strawberry fields , with Maria Gannett, M.S. candidate, Graduate Field of Horticulture, it’s available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

$1 million USDA-DOE grant fuels shrub willow rust-resistance research

Fred Gauker, Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate Field of Plant Breeding, performs DNA extractions while project PI Larry Smart looks on.

Fred Gouker, Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate Field of Plant Breeding, performs DNA extractions while project PI Larry Smart looks on.

A Cornell research project applying cutting-edge genetic and genomic approaches to rust resistance in shrub willows has received a $1 million grant from the Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy program, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Energy (DOE).

The project, “Genomics-Assisted Breeding for Leaf Rust (Melampsora) Resistance in Shrub Willow (Salix) Bioenergy Crops,” is one of five funded by the program in 2015. The awards were announced on National Bioenergy Day October 21.

Shrub willow (Salix spp.) is emerging as a superior bioenergy crop. But advanced regional breeding programs began only in the last 20 years. Increased yield is the primary breeding goal, but a major trait needed to produce consistently higher yields is stable disease resistance, say plant breeder Larry Smart and plant pathologist Christine Smart, the Cornell investigators heading up the project.

More information:

Dreer Award offers opportunities to pursue interests abroad

Plant breeding graduate James Keach, one of three 2015 Dreer Award winners, will study impatiens Thailand.

Plant breeding graduate student James Keach, one of three 2015 Dreer Award winners, is studying impatiens Thailand.

From Nina Bassuk:

The Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science offers a wonderful opportunity once a year, the Frederick Dreer Award, that allows one or more students to spend 4 months to up to a year abroad pursuing his or her interests related to horticulture.

See the application and instructions that spells out the procedure for applying. Basically it is quite simple. Submit a written proposal to the Dreer Committee by the deadline (March 1, 2016 in this cycle), which is followed by an informal interview, generally in a week or two. The faculty receives the recommendation of the Dreer Committee and votes on the nominee.

The only obligation of the Dreer award winner is to write to the Dreer Committee monthly while overseas, and upon return to the United States, give a presentation about their time abroad to students and faculty.

Please look into this opportunity seriously. It can be taken as a summer and a semester’s leave or a year’s leave of absence during school or upon graduation. If you would like to talk over a potential idea for the Dreer with a member of the Committee (and we encourage you to do so), please contact Nina Bassuk (Horticulture) Josh Cerra (Landscape Architecture) or Marvin Pritts. (Horticulture).

From creepy to dangerous, some plants a perfect Halloween fit

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Kyle Martin, PhD Candidate, Plant Biology Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, collects data from one of Cornell’s titan arums (aka ‘corpse flowers’), part of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory collection.

Chicago Tribune [2015-10-13]:

Even plants can get into the spirit of Halloween.

Kyle Martin sees it all the time. He’s a doctoral candidate in plant biology at Cornell University whose specialty is brood-site deception. That’s when a plant masks itself, sending misleading signals to fool a pollinator.

In other words, when you can’t say it with flowers, say it with stench.

“The flowers I study usually smell like rotting substrates, like fruit or carrion, to attract insects,” he says.

It’s a horticultural twist on trick or treat.

Read the whole article., which profiles plants that are scary looking (titan arum), dangerous (giant hogweed), creepy (bat flower), or just plain Ewwwwy (bleeding tooth fungus). Karl Niklas, Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Botany in the Plant Biology Section, also explains the life history of some of these scary plants.

Ithaca Applefest sales aid Cornell SOHO members

Reposted from CALS Notes:

Members of the Cornell University Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SOHO) are selling 18 different varieties of apples this weekend during the Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival. The festival marks the biggest fundraiser of the year for SOHO, with sales helping to defray costs and fund activities throughout the school year.

More than just a fundraiser, the event helps the club get involved in the community.

“It’s a great way for us to reach out to folks in Ithaca,” said Miles S. Sax, a graduate student who has helped staff the booth for the last few years. “You start to have people come back who tried this weird, unnamed variety that they’ve never had before, and they come back and want to try it again,” he said.

Sax was joined by fellow graduate students Zach Stansell and Laura Dougherty on Friday afternoon. Be sure to stop by their booth on the east end of The Commons during the festival, which runs until 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Zach Stansell and Laura Dougherty

Zach Stansell and Laura Dougherty preparing samples.

 Miles S. Sax

Miles S. Sax bagging apples.

More images on CALS Facebook.

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