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Bruce Reisch on new wine grape varieties

Bruce Reisch

Bruce Reisch

Growers and the market are all conditioned to accept certain popular varieties—Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet. [My grapes] may have qualities that could be similar to elite varieties, but these would be entirely new varieties.

— Grape breeder Bruce Reisch, professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, in Can Science Save Our Favorite Wines? in Wine Enthusiast [2016-12-08].

Read the whole article.

Edwin Burnell Oyer: An Inspiration to Everyone

Ed Oyer, chair of the Department of Vegetable Crops from 1966 to 1971

Ed Oyer, chair of the Department of Vegetable Crops from 1966 to 1971

By Linda McCandless, reposted from CALS International Programs News:

A man who leads a life well-lived and well-liked is often recognized in his passing by those whom he has touched. We were able to gather a few words and images of Edwin Burnell Oyer, international professor emeritus in vegetable crops, who died on November 15, 2016, at the age of 89. Many people in horticulture and International Programs at Cornell and in institutions globally will always remember the kindness, expertise, and wise counsel they received from Ed during his professional life.

Edwin Oyer joined the Department of Vegetable Crops at Cornell in 1955 after receiving his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University. He was awarded a NATO Fellowship in Science in 1961 to conduct vegetable research at Le Phytotron in Gif-sur-Yvette, France. From there, he served on the faculty of the Department of Horticulture at Purdue from 1963 to 1966 before returning to Cornell to chair the Department of Vegetable Crops from 1966 to 1971.

In 1972, Ed helped found the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center in Taiwan where he served as deputy director for research until 1974, when he returned to Cornell to direct the International Agriculture Program in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences.

In 1977, he joined the newly established International Agricultural Development Service where he served as the project leader for a World Bank financed project to establish the Agency for Agricultural Research and Development in the Republic of Indonesia. In 1982, he returned to Cornell once again to resume his position as director of the International Agricultural Program, where he served until his retirement in 1992.

Chris Wien, professor emeritus of horticulture, remembers Ed as, “A most kind, generous and outgoing man, who had sincere interest in fostering international agricultural development.”

“Ed was much appreciated for his energy, cheerful disposition, optimistic outlook, skillful human relations, and wise counsel,” said Elmer Ewing, professor emeritus of horticulture and veg crops.

Ronnie Coffman, the current director of International Programs, remembers Ed at many junctures in his career, starting from his first recollection dating back to 1971 when he arrived in Los Baños, Philippines to take up his new post as a rice breeder at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). “Ed was serving as the last Director of the University of the Philippines Cornell (UPCO) project,” said Ronnie. “The project had operated for 20 years and it had been agreed by all concerned that it was time for Cornell to move on and leave the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB) to its business. Winding things down was a delicate matter, so Cornell had sent Ed, one of its most diplomatic administrators, to do the job. He was more than up to the task. He and his wife Mary Ann immediately hosted a dinner to welcome my wife Charlotte and me to the community. It was clear that Ed was tremendously respected by his colleagues at UPLB and IRRI.”

Ronnie went on to say that Ed’s successful work at UPCO attracted the attention of Dr. Robert Chandler, the founding Director of IRRI, who, in early 1972, was just moving to the challenge of founding the Asia Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) in Taiwan. “Ed, who had been chair of the Vegetable Crops Department (later incorporated into Horticulture) at Cornell, agreed to help Chandler as his deputy director for research,” said Coffman. “It was another successful endeavor for both Ed and Dr. Chandler.”

By the time Ronnie returned to Cornell some 10 years later in 1981, he found Ed waiting for him as director of the Office of International Programs in CALS (IP-CALS). “I was hired as an International Professor of Plant Breeding, and always figured that Ed had some influence on the decision,” said Ronnie, who is the current director of IP-CALS. “It has been wonderful to have Ed’s help as a senior advisor over the past 15 years or so. Ed was eternally optimistic and, as such, will live on as an inspiration to everyone in IP-CALS as we face the future.”

Oyer in the field.

Oyer (standing, center) in the field.

More information:

CALS Celebrates the Tastier Side of Science

Michael Mazourek discusses his plant breeding work with the Honeynut squash during a event Nov. 19 at Stone Barns. Photo by Sirin Samman.

Michael Mazourek discusses his plant breeding work with the Honeynut squash during a event Nov. 19 at Stone Barns. Photo by Sirin Samman.

Via CALS News [2016-11-29]:

Nearly 200 Cornellians were treated to a taste of collaboration between the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and Blue Hill restaurant on Nov. 19.

The event, held at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York, showcased farm-to-table cuisine that incorporates ingredients bred by CALS plant breeding and genetics assistant professor Michael Mazourek.

Mazourek is a leading innovator in the movement to breed better tasting vegetables that encourage people to eat more nutritious food. Since 2009, he has been collaborating with Blue Hill chef Dan Barber to create an array of healthy, innovative, and delectable dishes that are served at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the much-lauded farm-to-table restaurant.

The event, which was a joint effort between CALS and the Northeast Corridor Alumni Affairs and Development office, allowed guests to literally enjoy the fruit—and vegetables—of Barber and Mazourek’s labor.

Read the whole article.

Geneva saves Cornell Orchards’ cider season

Cider coming off the press at Cornell Orchards. ()Photo: Jason Koski/Cornell Marketing)

Cider coming off the press at Cornell Orchards. ()Photo: Jason Koski/Cornell Marketing)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-12-06]:

Unfavorable apple growing conditions in Ithaca this season nearly crushed a seasonal favorite: Cornell Orchards’ cider. But with the help of Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva, New York, the popular beverage pressed right on campus is once again available to the Cornell community.

For a time this fall, the production of Cornell cider seemed in jeopardy. Erratic temperatures and a late spring frost followed by a persistent summer drought spelled trouble for the Ithaca campus apple trees used to make the cider.

While Ithaca’s apples suffered, the orchards 50 miles north in Geneva benefited from slightly more favorable conditions.

Read the whole article.


‘Planting Futures’ community art project Dec. 8

From the Qualities of Life working group at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies & Dept of Anthropology:

We invite you to take a few minutes to participate in a community art project.

Come plant a bulb and a dream!

There is power in making beauty and power in making beauty together.

We welcome you to write down what you would like to cultivate–the quality of life you want to protect and nurture–in your own life, on our campus, in the world and plant it under one of the 1,600 bulbs waiting for you.

Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 10:00am to 12:30pm
Wee Stinky Glen outside the upper entrance of the Cornell Store

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” – Indian Proverb

planting futures flyer

Seminar video: The search for sour rot in Tasmanian vineyards

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar and Dreer Award Presentation, The search for sour rot in Tasmanian vineyards  with Megan Hall, PhD candidate, Graduate Field of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University, it  is available online.

More information about the Dreer Award.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Deportation plan will make U.S. food and wine more expensive

Vanden Heuvel

Vanden Heuvel

President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to deport up to three million undocumented immigrants will make U.S-produced food and wine more expensive and less available.

That’s the warning from Justine Vanden Heuvel, associate  professor in the Horticulture Section at Cornell University, and Mary Jo Dudley, director of the Cornell Farmworker Program, in an article in The Conversation, an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community.

“What he doesn’t seem to realize is how integral undocumented workers are to America’s food supply. Our scholarship at Cornell combined with research in other areas of agriculture reveal the significant impact his plans would have on the foods we eat and beverages we consume each and every day,” they write.

“Since these immigrants do much of the heavy lifting in American agriculture, preserving the current workforce and ensuring a continuing supply of laborers is a top priority for producers – and should be for consumers who value the foods and beverages we currently enjoy on our dinner tables,” they add.

The authors cite a report commissioned by the American Farm Bureau Federation predicting  decreases of 15 to 31 percent in vegetable production and 30 to 61 percent in fruit production if undocumented workers are deported and the border is closed. The study also predicts food price increases of 5 to 6 percent and decreased availability of fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products.

Read the whole article.

Cheese tasting Friday at Cornell Orchards

Celebrate the wonderful pairing of apples with Lively Run Goat Dairy goat and cow cheeses at this free event, December 2 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Cornell Orchards.


New book helps researchers find innovative solutions to complex challenges

From USDA-SARE Program news release:

Laurie Drinkwater

Author Laurie Drinkwater, professor, Horticulture Section

As farmers and ranchers strive to maintain profitability, they face a multitude of pressures such as protecting water and air resources, conserving biodiversity and limiting soil erosion. Too often, however, single-faceted agricultural research fails to account for the complex links between critical environmental, social and economic factors.

The result? Piecemeal solutions to complex and interrelated problems. Now, SARE’s groundbreaking Systems Research for Agriculture, by Laurie Drinkwater, professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, provides the theories and tools that researchers and producers need to design and implement interdisciplinary systems research projects that advance sustainable agroecosystems.

book coverFrom USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program news release:Systems Research for Agriculture is based on groundbreaking SARE-funded research trials that mimic an entire production system rather than substituting and comparing individual practices. Modifying research trials to fit local best farming practices allows systems-level changes in economic, social and environmental conditions to emerge and be better studied. While the model requires close collaboration between researchers and producers, it provides producers with practical insight into the on-farm adoption of new techniques.

Systems Research for Agriculture addresses the theoretical basis for agricultural systems research and provides a roadmap for building effective interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder teams. This handbook is essential reading for researchers and producers working together to plan, conduct and analyze the complexities of multifaceted systems research experiments.

Systems Research for Agriculture is available as a free download at Print copies can be ordered for $20 plus shipping and handling. Discounts are available for orders of 10 items or more.

Art of Horticulture final projects

If you’d like to catch a glimpse of students’ final projects in Marcia Eames-Sheavly’s Art of Horticulture class, you can sneak a peek online.

You can also see previous classes’ work (as well as other class projects and videos) by visiting the Art of Horticulture’s gallery page.

Clockwise: Floral equine (watercolor pencil), Nature room (detail), Insects from plant parts, Concrete leaf cast placesettings, table. Click image for larger view.

Clockwise: Floral equine (watercolor pencil), Nature room (detail), Insects from plant parts, Concrete leaf cast place settings and table. Click image for larger view.

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