Skip to main content

Wolfe advises House sub-committee on climate stress and mitigation strategies

David Wolfe testifying to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research

David Wolfe testifying to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research

Reposted from the SIPS blog, Discovery that Connects [2019-06-14]. See also Cornell Chronicle article.

SIPS faculty member David Wolfetestified Wednesday to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research in a public hearing entitled, “Increasing Resiliency, Mitigating Risk: Examining the Research and Extension Needs of Producers”. Wolfe led the expert testimony by outlining challenges presented by recent extreme weather events and ways in which farmers are responding. He went on to list areas of need such as improved regional climate data, digital agriculture infrastructure, and greater access to capital.

The entire witness panel strongly emphasized the importance of public sector research to develop regionally adapted cultivars and address pest and pathogen challenges exacerbated by climate variability. Cooperative extension and collaborative research with USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) were also hailed. Followup questions from representatives covered topics as diverse as the benefits of gene editing, efficacy of cover crops to mitigate both flooding and drought, international competition in the realm of biotechnology, to concerns about the proposed move of USDA headquarters.

Other experts testifying at the hearing included Robert W. Godfrey, Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at University of the Virgin Islands, Brise Tencer, Executive Director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation in Santa Cruz, CA, Sam Godwin of Godwin Family Orchard in Tonasket, WA, and Fred Gmitter of the Citrus Research and Education Center at the University of Florida.

Wolfe’s program in the SIPS Horticulture Section focuses on the accounting and management of carbon, nitrogen, and greenhouse gases in agroecosystems. He is also a project coordinator of the recently released New York Soil Health Roadmap.

Empire apple breeder Roger Way dies at 100

Cornell ChronicleCALS News [2019-06-12]:

Roger Way

Roger Way

Roger Way, Ph.D. ’53, professor emeritus of pomology and world-renowned apple breeder, died June 2 in State College, Pennsylvania. He was 100 years old.

Way gained worldwide recognition for apple varieties he developed. His apple-related fame landed him on a “Jeopardy!” question, under the category “By the Way,” which read: “Roger Way tasted 200 of these a day, helping him develop the Empire and Jonagold types.”

“Dr. Roger Way contributed to the New York apple industry, but also nationally and internationally,” said apple breeder Susan Brown, the Herman M. Cohn Professor of Agriculture and Life Science at Cornell AgriTech. “His Jonagold apple, named in 1968, is seventh in European apple production by variety and Empire is ninth in U.S. production.”

Read the whole article.

Towering ‘Double Allium’ sculpture installed at Cornell Botanic Gardens

Cornell Chronicle, CALS News [2019-06-12]:

double allium ribbon cutting

Anne Simon Moffat ’69, right, and husband Keith Moffat, center, along with Christopher Dunn, executive director of Cornell Botanic Gardens, cut the ribbon on Double Allium, a steel-and-glass sculpture by blacksmith-artist Jenny Pickford, June 8 during Reunion 2019. Photo by Sonja Skelly.


A towering new sculpture welcomes visitors to the Cornell Botanic Gardens: “Double Allium,” crafted of metal and glass, stands 12 feet tall and sits along the walkway to the Nevin Welcome Center.

The work features graceful leaves crafted of metal and closed blooms in purple glass.

Jenny Pickford, a contemporary artist blacksmith based in the United Kingdom, created the sculpture to illustrate the co-existence and co-dependence of strength and fragility in the natural world. Its whimsical qualities are inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” and aim to invoke childlike awe and wonder toward nature.

Anne Simon Moffat ’69 and husband Keith Moffat, a professor at the University of Chicago, commissioned the sculpture, which was dedicated June 8 during Reunion weekend. Anne Moffat was celebrating her 50th reunion.

The Moffats are experienced glass collectors and share a love of gardening.

“Keith and I wanted to combine our passion for glass, horticulture and Cornell University by bringing an iconic sculpture to Cornell Botanic Gardens,” said Anne Moffat, a certified master gardener. “We hope that it will give visitors joy and deepen their understanding of our relationship with the natural world.”

Pickford designs her sculptures for outdoor installation, where they draw attention to the natural beauty around them. Cornell Botanic Gardens’ sculpture is her first permanent installation in the U.S. and her first sculpture in the double allium form.

“Art highlights what is there and makes people notice its presence,” Pickford said, noting the glass features of her works “allow natural sunlight to pour into the glass.”

To create these structures, Pickford uses blacksmithing skills in her forge to transform industrial steel into a malleable form, bringing the piece to life. She uses special tools she has made herself, along with a fly press and 1930s-era power hammer. She obtains the glass pieces through partnerships with distinguished glass blowers.

Pickford’s sculptures are featured all over the world, including in China, Australia and across the United Kingdom. One her most notable works is the “Bluebell” sculpture at the Royal Derby Hospital in Derby, England, where it is in place to connect cancer patients with the hope and beauty of nature.

“Double Allium” is installed on the lawn near the Bioswale Garden at Cornell Botanic Gardens and along the walkway to the Nevin Welcome Center. The gardens are free of charge and open dawn to dusk daily.

By Alice Soewito, marketing and communications intern at Cornell Botanic Gardens.

Hort alums named to GPN ‘Forty Under 40’

Cheni Filios

Cheni Filios

Two alumni from the Graduate Field of Horticulture were named to Greenhouse Produce New’s 2019 Forty under 40.

Cheni Filios (M.S. ’14) is now Global Product Manager for Vegetables at PanAmerican Seed Co.  Since joining the team there, she has helped to double the company’s product portfolio and sales.  While at Cornell, she also received the Frederick Dreer Award, which she used to study post-havest horticulture in New Zealand and Europe.

Ockert Greyvenstein

Ockert Greyvenstein

Ockert Greyvenstein (M.S. ’09) is now a plant breeder, also at PanAmerican Seed Co.  There, he’s helped get the male-sterile patent approved for the company’s vinca breeding program and has been instrumental in the program’s trialing, evaluation, test production and ultimate product selection. He has also been active mentoring college interns in the company’s breeding program to create an exciting, meaningful and educational experiences.

Both were advised by Bill Miller, director of Cornell’s Flower Bulb Research Program.

Skip to toolbar