Jan 27, 2017
Nursery helps advance Rutgers tree fruit research

Adams County Nursery (ACN) of Aspers, Pennsylvania, recently donated $25,000 to the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) tree fruit breeding program for the second year in a row in which employees have supported the fruit tree industry through Rutgers research. ACN president Phil Baugher and NJAES tree fruit breeder Joe Goffreda have established a mutually beneficial alliance to benefit the industry. Baugher has been pleased with the results and plans to continue this annual gift and hopefully increase the amount over time. This philanthropic contribution is making a positive impact on tree fruit breeding through Rutgers NJAES.

The ACN business model is based on giving back to the community and growing quality fruit trees. In speaking with Baugher, his passions for business and the environment are evident. As a family establishment, Baugher is confident that the next generation will carry on the values instilled in him by his father, including: production of quality fruit trees, dedication to the community, careful attention to detail, and philanthropy.

The tree fruit breeding program at the Rutgers NJAES began in 1907, and has since introduced several peach, nectarine, apple, and apricot varieties which have become standards in the fruit industry and were bred for their excellent eating quality, winter-hardiness, and disease resistance. Joseph Goffreda, associate professor of plant biology and pathology and director of the Rutgers Fruit and Ornamental Research Extension Center in Cream Ridge, New Jersey, has led the Rutgers tree fruit breeding program since 1989.

Goffreda has developed and patented more than a dozen peaches in addition to 14 varieties of apple, apricot, and nectarine; all of which are non-GMO. His cultivars have proven to be highly suitable for production in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. The commercial success of these peach varieties contributes to New Jersey being ranked among the leading U.S. states in peach production. Goffreda has been developing superior tree fruit varieties for the Northeast for nearly 30 years. His work has contributed significantly to the success of the region’s fruit tree industry, and is one of New Jersey agriculture’s best kept secrets.

Phillip D. Baugher, president of Adams County Nursery, Inc. in Aspers, PA, standing in front of nursery stock being stored for winter. Photo: Anna Molinski, Rutgers NJAES.

Looking to the future, it is important to consider the needs of growers, consumers, and the industry at large. In the Northeast, an increase in temperature could be critical for agricultural industries. Business-savvy leaders like Baugher have a holistic approach to conducting their operations. Supporting the research that will, in turn, support the business, is the kind of forward-looking decision making that will sustain agriculture in the Northeast. Thinking ahead can be as easy as taking a step back, seeing the big picture, and forming working relationships with your community, including fellow industry members and university researchers. This leads to constructive thinking about what precedes and follows, so that you can make informed decisions and take part in the entire food system.

Last year, ACN donated $25,000 to the NJAES to support Goffreda’s extensive tree fruit breeding program. The gift will help maintain and expand the program’s breeding research, with particular focus on the testing and evaluation of disease-resistant, novel and commercially appealing tree fruit varieties. Special attention will also be given to potential new releases that offer unique characteristics, including new flavor profiles, increased durability and ability to thrive in adverse conditions. This year, ACN is proud to commit an additional $25,000 in support of his valuable research for the tree fruit industry. ACN’s donations reflect a commitment to sustain the programs whose innovations, in turn, help to ensure the sustainability of the industry. On behalf of the NJAES, we thank them for their generosity and commitment.

Source: Rutgers University New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station


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