Apr 6, 2022
2022 SOAR Award winners announced by IR-4 Project

The IR-4 Project announced April 6 the winners of the 2022 SOAR Award. The SOAR Award, presented by the IR-4 Project, honors external partners who exemplify the areas of Service, Outreach, Altruism and Research while supporting specialty crop growers and the mission of the IR-4 Project.

This year’s winners have made significant impacts to their individual research areas and the specialty crop industry as a whole.

The mission of the IR-4 Project is to facilitate regulatory approval of sustainable pest management technologies for specialty crops and specialty uses to promote public well-being. By working directly with local crop growers across the country, IR-4 conducts research and develops data necessary for the registration of pest management tools, ensuring that they are safe for use.

Stanley Culpepper – Professor and Extension Weed Scientist, University of Georgia

Stanley Culpepper with the University of Georgia was selected as a recipient of the SOAR Award for his commitment to the future of agriculture in the state of Georgia and throughout the country.

  • Service: Culpepper goes beyond his research and extension duties to engage in policy actions on the state and national level that have led to the approval of needed pest management tools for specialty crop growers;
  • Outreach: Culpepper has shown consistent dedication to educating the agricultural community about the work of the IR-4 Project;
  • Altruism: Culpepper grew up on a farm and has a deep understanding of the challenges specialty crop growers and family farms face. He uses this unique perspective to fuel his passion for the future of agriculture; and
  • Research: Culpepper’s countless research trials and data reports, along with his willingness to conduct trials for IR-4, have generated necessary data for numerous label expansions.
Man wearing a read shirt holding an award that says "IR-4 Project SOAR Award. Stanley Culpepper"
Stanley Culpepper, University of Georgia.


Ann George – Director Emeritus, Hop Growers of America

Ann George with Hop Growers of America was selected as a recipient of the SOAR Award for her service to the domestic hop industry and her commitment to meeting the needs of specialty crop growers.

  • Service: George is a founding member of the IR-4 Commodity Liaison Committee (CLC) and is known for her stellar work ethic and overall knowledge of the specialty crop industry;
  • Outreach: In addition to her work on the CLC, George has also served on the board of the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Regulation since its inception in 1995;
  • Altruism: George is a respected source of information among her peers and is always willing to lend a hand and answer questions, volunteer her time and serve as a mentor; and
  • Research: George manages the U.S. Hops Industry Plant Protection Committee and works with growers, commodity groups, brewers, and more to identify funds for needed research.
Woman with short hair and glasses standing in front of a fireplace and holding an award that says "IR-4 Project SOAR Award presented to Ann George"
Ann George, Hop Growers of America.


Joseph Neal – Professor of Weed Science and Extension Specialist, North Carolina (NC) State University

Joseph Neal with NC State University was selected as a recipient of the SOAR Award for his commitment to solving pest management problems for ornamental and landscape growers.

  • Service: Neal has been an active participant in IR-4’s environmental horticulture and biopesticide programs for more than 25 years, working closely with various stakeholders and government entities to advance the needs of specialty crop growers;
  • Outreach: Neal consistently educates commodity groups and clientele about the mission of the IR-4 Project;
  • Altruism: Neal is committed to the welfare of others, both professionally and personally, through measures such as mentoring extension agents and specialists; and
  • Research: Neal has worked on several research projects of regional and national importance that contributed data to most herbicides currently labeled for use on nursery and landscape plantings.
Two men standing in an office holding an award between them.
Joseph Neal, left; receives the 2022 IR-4 SOAR Award from Jerry Baron, right.


Edward Peachey – Associate Professor, Oregon State University

Ed Peachey with Oregon State University was selected as a recipient of the SOAR Award for his service to specialty crop growers in the state of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

  • Service: Peachey actively voices the needs of Oregon farmers through his role as the state liaison for IR-4;
  • Outreach: Peachey has built a reputation among growers as a reliable and knowledgeable source to identifying pest management problems and investigating solutions;
  • Altruism: Peachey is dedicated to solving pest management problems and has taken on any tasks necessary to make a significant number of product registrations a reality; and
  • Research: Peachey has an extensive research record, including undertaking approximately 80 weed science and entomology IR-4 studies that have directly contributed to new or expanded labels.
Man standing outside in front of large plants, wearing a blue button-up, short sleeve shirt and holding an award that says "IR-4 Project SOAR Award Ronald Edward Peachey"
Edward Peachey, retired, Oregon State University


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