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DeFrancesco Claims IR-4 Award

Joe DeFrancesco, an Oregon State University assistant professor in pest management and director of the IR-4 Field Research Center at North Willamette Research and Extension Center, has won one of two 2014 IR-4 SOAR awards.

The award, established in 2011, recognizes those who promote and support IR-4 through service, outreach, altruism and research.

Joe DeFrancesco

DeFrancesco is the first from Oregon to win the award.

“Joe is a consistent vocal supporter of IR-4 with growers, lawmakers and university administrators, highlighting the contributions that IR-4 makes to regional agriculture,” according to an IR-4 newsletter announcing the winners.

IR-4, based at Rutgers University in New Jersey, has been the major resource for supplying pest management tools for specialty crop growers since 1963. The program facilitates availability of pesticides -- including conventional, organic and biological products -- for specialty, or minor crops, through development of research data to support EPA tolerances and labeled uses.

The newsletter lists several services DeFrancesco has provided to IR-4, including serving as state liaison for Oregon, participating in the USDA Global Capacity Development Residue Data Generation Project in Africa, working with commodity groups in Oregon and the PNW to develop pest-management strategic plans, and keeping several Oregon commissions informed of pesticide-registration and pest-management issues that may affect crop production.

“Joe has conducted IR-4 research where he consistently produces stellar and timely data that is relevant to the needs of PNW growers,” the newsletter states.

DeFranceso, who has been conducting research for IR-4 since the early 1990s, launched the IR-4 Field Research Center/Specialty Crop Research and Registration Program at NWREC in the mid-1990s with retired OSU vegetable crops extension specialist Bob McReynolds.

“We saw that there was a real need for this kind of work in Oregon,” DeFrancesco said, “so we developed the Research and Registration Program at NWREC to help Oregon farmers with their pest management issues and needs.”

He and his team provide residue data for pesticide use in berries, vegetables, tree fruits, clover and grasses grown for seed and other crops out of NWREC in Aurora.

“If EPA needs the data from our region, IR-4 asks us to do those trials,” DeFrancesco said. “Most of the trials that we conduct have a direct benefit to Oregon growers. We also conduct efficacy and crop-safety trials for both food and ornamental crops.”

DeFrancesco, who started at OSU in 1986, said he was honored to receive the award.

“I think there are probably people more worthy than I who deserve the award,” he said, “but I’m honored and feel privileged that my colleagues thought enough of me to make the nomination and that IR-4 has chosen to give me the award.”

Meg McGrath, an assistant professor and plant pathologist in Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is the other 2014 award winner.


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