Smith crowned Cherry King
As the 2011 Cherry King, Tim Smith wears the 67-year-old crown during the January 13 Northwest Cherry Institute meeting.
The reach of Washington State University extension educator Tim Smith goes beyond his service areas of north central Washington counties, touching Pacific Northwest cherry growers all the way down to Oregon. Smith was crowned the 2011 Cherry King during the Northwest Cherry Institute meeting on January 13 held in Yakima, Washington.
Last year’s recipient John Carter of The Dalles, Oregon, in presenting the crown to Smith, said, “Personally, on my farm, I’ve gained from much of the work that Tim has done, including ground breaking research to control Western cherry fruit fly. For all of his research, Tim became known as the king of cherry fruit fly and the father of GF 120, a natural fruit fly bait that made control of fruit fly possible for organic growers.”
Smith grew up in Heppner, Oregon and worked in various agricultural jobs during the summers. He received his biology degree from Eastern Oregon University and was inducted in the university’s athletic hall of fame for his cross-country running prowess. Smith earned his master’s degree, magna cum laude, in plant pathology from WSU.
He has worked as a WSU extension agent/educator for 37 years, starting in 1975 as extension agent for Grant and Adams Counties. He earned widespread recognition for his work on replant disease, soil fumigation, cherry fruit fly control, fireblight, and developing educational programs in English and Spanish. His work on fireblight was instrumental in development of a fireblight risk prediction model known as CougarBlight. Just last year, Smith made changes to the model to provide hourly calculations of risk values.
Smith thanked the cherry industry for the honor and his team of WSU associates who have helped in his research. He also shared his admiration for growers who work hard and face of daily risk to succeed. “I’ve never met a grower that I didn’t like,” he said.
In recent years, Smith has received a bevy of awards, including Apple Citizen of 2010 given by Wenatchee’s Apple Blossom Festival and WSU’s Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Outreach and Engagement. In 2002, he received the Silver Pear award from the Washington State Horticultural Association.
For 67 years the Cherry Institute has honored a grower or industry member for service and contributions to the Northwest cherry industry. The Institute meeting is sponsored by the Northwest Cherry Growers, the marketing and promotion arm affiliated with the Washington State Fruit Commission.