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From left, Dr. Mike Willett, Tim Smith, Paul Tvergyak and Brooke Peterson at the 2014 Hort Show in Kennewick, Washington on December 2, 2014. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

From left, Dr. Mike Willett, Tim Smith, Paul Tvergyak and Brooke Peterson at the 2014 Hort Show in Kennewick, Washington on December 2, 2014. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Washington State University extension specialist Tim Smith has received the inaugural Washington Tree Fruit Distinguished Service Award for his significant contributions to the industry during his 40 years with Extension.

Three former WSU extension agents who worked alongside Smith—Dr. Mike Willett, Paul Tvergyak, and Brooke Peterson—presented the award during the last annual meeting of the Washington State Horticultural Association held in Kennewick this week. The association now merges into the Washington Tree Fruit Association.

Peterson said the new award is designed to recognize a person whose exceptional contributions will have a lasting impact on the industry.  Smith, who is based in Wenatchee, developed the CougarBlight fire blight model, which is used worldwide. He is also an authority on apple replant disease, cherry fruit fly, and weed control.

Smith said he appreciated being recognized for doing what he loved to do every day. “I got more back than I gave,” he said.

Smith received the Hort Association’s Silver Pear award in 2002. He was named Apple Citizen of the Year by the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival in 2010 and was crowned Cherry King by the Cherry Institute in 2011. Four years ago, he received the seldom-awarded Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Outreach and Engagement from WSU.

(See “Tim Smith, the grower’s ally” April 1, 2014, Good Fruit Grower)

Also honored during the annual meeting were:

Craig and Mike O’Brien, Good Fruit Growers of the Year

Jerry Haak, Silver Apple Award

• Ray Schmitten, Silver Pear Award (Look for a feature in the January 1 issue of Good Fruit Grower.)