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UW-River Falls Professor receives Dykstra Award for faculty excellence

October 18, 2012

Brian R. Smith, professor of horticulture and state commercial fruit specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Extension was recently honored with the Paul B. and Robert A. Dykstra Faculty Excellence Award. Smith was presented with the award at the opening of the fall semester at UWRF.

The Dykstra Award supports the research, creative or scholarly activity of one tenured or tenure-track faculty member annually. UWRF faculty members nominate their peers for the award. In their nomination materials, Smith’s colleagues commented: “connecting the science of genetics and plant growth and development to the applied interests of students are Smith’s strengths,” and “Brian inspired and mentored me in my passion for plant breeding.”

Smith came to UWRF in 1988 and has held a joint teaching/extension appointment since that time. Smith was the driving force behind the development of part of the campus farm into a 26-acre fruit research facility where he conducts his cultivar development, varietal evaluation and cultural studies to support the commercial fruit producers in the state and region. He provides producers with data and information on varietal yield, hardiness and pest resistance allowing them to make better production decisions. Smith’s work focuses on strawberries, Aronia, raspberries and stone fruits, such as plums and apricots.  In 2010 Black Ice ™, a high quality, red-fleshed winter hardy plum for the upper Midwest, was released for sale to the public.

Smith authors and receives numerous grants in support of his fruit breeding and cultural studies. Funding sources include state and national fruit grower associations, UW-System, USDA and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Smith is listed as a “co-inventor” on seven raspberry and blackberry cultivar patents and “sole inventor” on the plum patent. He was the recipient of the first-ever Wisconsin Idea Fellow award from UW-System in 2004 and the first WiSys Innovation Scholar Award in 2006.
Smith has a B.S. from South Dakota State University and a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He can be reached at 715-425-3851.