2002 IDFTA Awards

At it's 45th ANNUAL CONFERENCE held FEBRUARY 16 to 20, 2002 in KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA, the IDFTA 2002 Outstanding Researcher, Extension, and Grower Awards were handed-out during the traditional Banquet. These deserving individuals were aptly recognized by IDFTA for their contributions to the local fruit industry and we congratulate them.

Jamie Kidston, IDFTA Director and local B.C. host, presents the Outstanding Researcher Award to Dr. Eugene Hogue

Dr. EUGENE J. HOGUE, Outstanding Researcher

Gene is a native of Manitoba, Canada. He obtained his BA (Latin philosophy), BSc, and MSc from the University of Manitoba, and his PhD in horticulture from Purdue University, Indiana.

He has been a research scientist with Agriculture Canada from 1966 to the present. The first eleven years were spent in Quebec and he has been at Summerland, B.C. since 1977.

During his time at Summerland Gene has done outstanding research in orchard floor vegetation management. This has been aided by the fact that he has always kept uppermost in his mind the perspective of the grower and the importance of research in the agricultural economy. As head of the Pomology section he was well respected for his fairness and generosity. His peers mention that as a colleague and mentor his overwhelming contribution has been in generating new ideas and fostering co-operative research. Gene is always ready to discuss any topic or issue be it science, politics, history or literature. He has a wide range of knowledge in horticulture and horticultural production that he willingly shares with others. During his career he has established several long-term collaborations with scientists at Summerland and is always enthusiastic about new projects and keen on including new members in the group. The energy that he brings to his work puts many a younger colleague to shame.

Latterly, Gene has been doing important work on weed control using non-chemical means -- namely mulches of various types. In fact the use of these mulches has beneficial effects on tree health as well as weed control. This work is most timely with the current emphasis on reduced use of pesticides.

Gene is not only an outstanding research scientist, he is also a grower-friendly one. He has always been available for field days and grower seminars, spreading his knowledge throughout the grower community here in B.C. and also further afield.

PETER F. WATERMAN, Outstanding Extension

Peter grew up on a cherry and apple orchard near Kelowna B.C.

He graduated from the University of B.C. in 1968 with a BSc in agriculture. In the summers he worked as a student assistant to one of the government horticulturalists.

After graduation he worked for six years for FMC in their Ag-Chemical division, primarily involved in field work developing residue and efficacy data for new pesticides.

From 1976 to 1997 he was extension horticulturalist for the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture in Penticton. Peter became involved in the new technologies which were required for the dwarf  plantings then coming into vogue. With his methodical mind he worked on and wrote publications covering Tree Row Volume spraying, home nursery techniques and fertigation. His work in these fields is still closely followed.

In 1989 Peter and his wife Claire purchased a small orchard in Summerland. They immediately started a nursery and began replanting  with dwarf trees. Thus began the beneficial feedback loop between extension agent theory and actual practice.

In 1997, following the cutback to government extension services, Peter took a position as fieldman with one of the Okanagan valley grower co-ops.

In 2000 he left the co-op, started a consulting service in horticulture, and concentrated on management of his now-expanded orchard acreage.

Peter Waterman appears to be delighted to receive the IDFTA Outstanding Extension Award

Two generations of Westens thank IDFTA for the Outstanding Grower(s) Award and for all the Association has done to make them better fruit growers over the years.

JAKE and JAKE Jr VAN WESTEN, Outstanding Growers

Jake immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in 1954 with the intent of owning and managing his own orchard.

Prior to coming, and in preparation for his career in Canada, he spent two years at a horticulture school in the Netherlands.

He started work in Naramata (adjacent to Penticton, B.C.) in Walter Workman's orchard. He then leased an orchard in Oliver, but after three successive  blossom-killing frosts he returned to Naramata as the Orchard Manager of the Workman orchard.

Jake bought his first orchard in 1973, a 9.5 acre mixed planting. Since then he has expanded his operation to its current size of 47 acres owned and 13 acres leased. This breaks down into 30 acres of cherries, 20 acres of apples and 10 acres of grapes.

In 1986 he was joined by his older son, Jake Jr., and more recently by his younger son Rob. With his wife Anne doing the books, it makes his operation a truly family-run business. Jake Jr. quickly became almost as knowledgable as his father, and they were soon referred to inseparably as "The Jakes." That is why they are each receiving an award -- jointly but separately.

Jake has been very active in the fruit industry, having served on the Naramata co-op Board of Directors and the IDFTA Board. He has won the BC Fruit Grower's Association Golden Apple award and Compact Apple award. He travels extensively to different fruit growing areas around the world and is always willing to try ideas and techniques from these areas.

The Jake's orchards are always on the 'orchard tour circuit.' whether it be the IDFTA tour or a local grower tour, and they are always on hand to lead the discussion and occupy the 'hot seat.'

Jake was once asked what he did for a living. He replied that he was "just" a farmer -- but was quick to add "but a happy farmer."


IDFTA President Jim Hughes (l.) says good-bye to retiring Director and former President Steve Blizzard.

Also recognized during the Banquet were outgoing IDFTA Directors Steve Blizzard of California and Fritz Wafler of New York. Their wit and wisdom will be sorely missed during IDFTA Board of Directors meetings, however, their leaving will also make way for fresh faces and new talent on the Board.

Retiring Director Fritz Wafler admires his plaque presented by IDFTA for service to the Association