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Cornell horticulturists travel to Las Vegas for annual conference

-Magdalen Lindeberg

Alan Taylor and lab members seated in fron tof a window in Las Vegas
Yi Qiu, Masoume Amirkhani, and Alan Taylor

The 2019 General Conference of the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) was held July 21 – 25 in Las Vegas Nevada with many SIPS faculty, research staff, and students participating. As it does every year, the SIPS Horticulture Section hosted a reception for alumni and meeting participants with more than 30 people attending.

two metn talking in front of a poster
Thomas Bjorkman confers with a conference attendee

Highlights of the meeting included the naming of SIPS/AgriTech faculty member Susan Brown as an ASHS Fellow. Cornell faculty leadership is evident in diverse ASHS initiatives with Chris Watkins serving as Chair of the Extension Advisory Council, Marvin Pritts chairing the American Pomological Society, and Thomas Björkman chairing the National Issues Committee. Björkman additionally coordinated a session on “Advocating for Horticultural Research and Extension When You Are Far from Washington”. Horticulture graduate student Haley Rylander received an Outstanding Educational Materials Award for her leaflet on use of tarps to suppress weeds and reduce tillage.

Research highlights included a keynote talk by Larry Smart on the topic “From Grey Area to Gold Rush: Establishing a Comprehensive Hemp Research Program”. Hemp was also addressed by Alan Taylor in is talk on biological seed treatments for hemp with members of his program presenting on other seed related research.

Chris Watkins with members of his lab
Chris Watkins with Yosef Al Shoffe and Watkin’s lab alum Jinwook Lee

Apples were a major topic at the conference and Cornell was represented by Greg Peck, Chris Watkins, Terrance Robinson, and members of their research programs. Watkins and lab members presented on postharvest treatment of Honeycrisp and other apples. Peck and his research group addressed weed management in organic orchards and the state of cider apple germplasm, and Robinson presented on ethylene production by apple flowers.

Other Cornell faculty attending included Courtney Weber who presented research on black raspberry production in high tunnels, and day-neutral strawberries in low tunnels. Thomas Björkman’s group addressed various aspects of broccoli production in the northeast. Researchers in the Mattson and Miller programs were also in attendance, presenting on controlled environment production of strawberry and spinach, and maximizing postharvest quality of cut lilies, respectively.

Horticulture alum Tamara Wynne with Marvin Pritts
Horticulture alum Tamara Wynne with Marvin Pritts

Marvin Pritts commented that the diversity of attendees and presenters at ASHS continues to grow and that he looks forward to more Cornell undergraduates attending in future years.  Cornell attendees were thankful to return home before the arrival of grasshopper swarms in Las Vegas shortly after the conference.

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