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A person's hand holding a plant plug in a greenhouse.

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. — The Alabama Cooperative Extension System commercial horticulture team received national recognition at the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Award Winning Projects

American Society for Horticultural Science logoHorticultural professionals from across the country recognized the exemplary efforts of Alabama Extension professionals, both in the field and through their research findings.

“The Alabama Extension commercial horticulture team is a farmer-focused and impacts-driven team of 31 individuals — all from multiple disciplines — working together,” said Ayanava Majumdar, the commercial horticulture team leader. “I am very thankful to the federal and state funding agencies that directly support this team. The enthusiastic support from producers and other industry friends inspires us to keep moving in a positive direction.”

Projects that were recognized include the following:

Alabama IPM/Sustainable AG Newsletter

This newsletter won the ASHS Outstanding Newsletter Award. The project team includes Ann Chambliss, Harli Willis, Makayla Gothard and Susie Kim Faith. The commercial specialty crop industry is worth $161 million with $103 million in value added agriculture. To communicate crop production and IPM updates with diverse stakeholders, the Alabama IPM/Sustainable AG Newsletter has been published by the horticulture team continuously since 2010 and also integrated with the Farming Basics app.

Farming Basics App

The Farming Basics app won the ASHS Outstanding App Award. The project team includes Eric Schavey, Jessie Rowan, Neil Kelly and Ann Chambliss. Extension released an updated version of the Farming Basics app in June 2022. This app is a free download for iOS and Android users. It provides quick references for the most common fruits and vegetables produced in Alabama.

Commercial Horticulture: Making a Difference in the Food System (2021 Impacts)

This Alabama Extension publication won the ASHS Outstanding Leaflet Award. The team includes Ayanava Majumdar, Ann Chambliss, Harli Willis, Edgar Vinson, Elina Coneva, Jeremy Pickens, Camila Rodrigues, Andre da Silva, Ed Sikora and John Nabors. This impact leaflet summarizes outputs, impacts and grower testimonials in a visually attractive layout, which includes infographics. This leaflet is available online at www.aces.edu.

Farming Basics Podcast

The Farming Basics podcast won the ASHS Outstanding Podcast Award. The team includes Olivia Fuller, Jacob Kelley, Katelyn Kesheimer and Ann Chambliss. Podcasts have become a popular source of agricultural information. The Alabama Extension horticulture team jumped on the opportunity by launching the Farming Basics podcast in July 2022. Episodes feature mentor farmers, research and Extension personnel who share crop updates and event announcements in an engaging manner.

Vegetable Specialist Wins Early Career Award

Andre da Silva, an Alabama Extension vegetable specialist and assistant professor in the Auburn University College of Agriculture’s Department of Horticulture, received the 2023 Professional Early Career Award from the ASHS. This award recognizes the individual’s outstanding contributions to horticultural science through their professional activities within seven years of completing their terminal degree.

“Receiving this award is very important to my career since it recognizes my dedication, expertise and contributions to the horticulture world, particularly to the vegetable industry,” Silva said. “The award recognizes my efforts in the triplet of a land-grant university, where I run my program aligning teaching, research and Extension, while focusing this program on advancing best management practices in vegetable production.”

More Information

Learn more about these award-winning projects and others by visiting www.aces.edu.