UACES Facebook Division of Agriculture faculty, Bumpers College students recognized at ASHS meeting
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Division of Agriculture faculty, Bumpers College students recognized at ASHS meeting

Feb. 23, 2024

By Robby Edwards
Director of Communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Fast facts:

  • Faculty and students went to the ASHS Southern Region meeting
  • Faculty won Blue Ribbon Publication award
  • Undergrad students also won awards

(350 words)

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Horticulture and food science faculty with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture were awarded for their research and extension work at the American Society for Horticultural Science Southern Region meeting in Atlanta this month.

Three people holding up awards certificates
RECOGNITION — Assistant professor and extension specialist Aaron Cato, left, student Megan Jo Daily, center, and associate professor and extension specialist Amanda McWhirt all came away with awards during the 2024 American Society for Horticultural Science Southern Region meeting in Atlanta. (U of A System Division of Ag photo)

Horticulture extension specialists Amanda McWhirt and Aaron Cato, instructor Taunya Ernst and research scientist Renee Threlfall co-authored “What is Wrong with My Blackberry? Identifying Fresh-Market Blackberry Disorders,” which won a Blue Ribbon Publication award.

McWhirt, Cato and Ernst are members of the horticulture department and Threlfall works in the food science department. They conduct research and outreach through the Division of Agriculture’s Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service.

Cato and Matt Bertucci, horticulture assistant professor, chaired and moderated sessions at the conference, while McWhirt led the Southern Fruit Workers meeting.

Horticulture students in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences also found success at the meeting.

Megan Jo Daily won the student undergraduate poster contest and was second in the J.B. Edmond Undergraduate Paper Contest. Daily’s paper was “Impact of Bine Training Number on Yield and Plant Growth of Six Hop Cultivars in Arkansas.” Her poster was “Cultivar and Bine Training Number Impacts on Harvest Attributes of Arkansas-Grown Hops.”

Ann Bell, an honors student, was elected to the secretary position with the ASHS Southern Region Affiliated Collegiate Branch for 2024-25.

In the team competition, the group of Bell, Katelyn Bishop, Jillian Dibiase and Morgan Humphrey placed second in the Fruit Crops Judging contest and third in the Trees, Shrubs and Ornamentals Plant Identification competition.

Students also toured and networked with other students at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Students were accompanied by teaching associate professor Garry McDonald and University Professor Curt Rom.

The horticulture department offers concentrations in areas of sustainable horticulture, landscape and ornamentals, production and turfgrass science.

ASHS represents a broad cross-section of the horticultural community — scientists, educators, students, landscape and turf managers, government, extension agents and industry professionals. Members focus on practices and problems in horticulture: breeding, propagation, production and management, harvesting, handling and storage, processing, marketing and use of horticultural plants and products.

To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices.

 Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture. For more information about Bumpers College, visit our website, and follow us on Twitter at @BumpersCollege and Instagram at BumpersCollege.

About the University of Arkansas

As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas' economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the few U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research and Economic Development News. 

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Media Contact: Robby Edwards,