Mar 5, 2015
IFTA hands out annual awards

The International Fruit Tree Association (IFTA) recently convened in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for its 58th Annual Conference and Tours. During the conference, IFTA recognized industry leaders in four different categories.

Extension Award. The Outstanding Extension Worker award went to William Craig, a tree fruit horticulturist who recently retired from his work with Nova Scotia fruit growers through the province’s Extension system, called Perennia Food and Agriculture.

Craig worked for AgraPoint before Perennia was created in 2012 as a new agency of the Canadian government.

Researcher Award. The Outstanding Researcher Award went to Charles Embree, who has served in a number of agricultural capacities throughout his more than 40 years in Nova Scotia. Charlie began as an Extension specialist in the tree fruit sector before moving to administration as director of horticulture and biology services for the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, and also as a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Embree has been extensively involved in international agricultural efforts relating to tree fruit. For this he has received a medal of recognition from the International Society of Horticultural Science for co-organizing the first symposium on organic apples and pears. His other international involvement includes filling the role of reference co-coordinator for North Central Regional Research, as well as a member of the CGC United States Germplasm Committee and the North East Plant Growth Regulator working group.

Grower Awards. John Eisses Farms of Centreville, Nova Scotia, was recognized as a Grower of the Year. Eisses is one of the largest Honeycrisp growers in Canada and is reputed to get the highest apple yields in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.

Spurr Brothers Farm in Kingston also received a Grower of the Year award. The orchard is part of a large operation that includes 800 acres, mostly of apples but also 6 acres of pears growing in a high-density, biaxis, V-trellis system.

Industry Service Award. Larry Lutz of Scotian Gold and owner of Lutz Family Farm was given the Outstanding Industry Service award. Since 1988, Lutz has been the grower technical adviser for Scotian Gold Cooperative, which packs most of the Nova Scotia apple crop for its grower/members. Lutz is also a grower with 70 acres of high-density apples and peaches. He has provided volunteer leadership to IFTA and the entire industry for many years, including serving on the board of directors, organizing educational tours and educating many growers on the advantages of high-density orchards. He is a past president of IFTA.

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