Clemson picks fruit specialist for top agriculture award
CLEMSON — A fruit specialist who linked growing strawberries and peaches to the digital age has earned Clemson University’s highest agricultural honor.
Guido Schnabel, professor of agricultural and environmental sciences, is the 2015 recipient of the Godley-Snell Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research.
The plant pathologist led a team creating smartphone apps for providing critical disease information for strawberry and peach producers. The apps help growers pick effective and safe fungicides, using audio, pictures and text about a particular disease and its management.
Awarded by the Clemson University Experiment Station, the honor recognizes outstanding contributions to science and public service supporting South Carolina citizens and economic development.
George Askew, university vice president for public service and agriculture, presented the award to Schnabel, the 28th recipient, at the year-end faculty meeting.
“The purpose of the Godley Snell Award is to recognize and reward a researcher whose work has a significant impact on agriculture and people’s lives and livelihoods,” said Askew.
Schnabel is recognized throughout the fruit industry in the state, the Southeast, nationally and internationally for his work on resistance to fungicides by fungus plant pathogens. He has focused on managing diseases of fruit crops, primarily peaches and strawberries.
South Carolina is the South’s premier peach producing state, harvesting more than $65 million in sales. Strawberries are a major U.S. fruit crop, generating more than $1 billion annually. In the Southeast, Florida is the top grower, providing virtually all the winter strawberries sold in the United States. Over all, California leads the nation in peach and strawberry production.
Schnabel and his program team have published 77 peer-reviewed papers, 18 book chapters, 23 test reports and 32 abstracts. They also have made 100 presentations. The research has resulted in one patent and one registered trademark.
Trademarked Profile, the fungicide resistance monitoring kit provides local-specific resistance information and is being used throughout the Southeast.
Schnabel also developed a smartphone application called “MyIPM” for integrated pest management on peaches and strawberries—including disease management, fungicide resistance management, and disease diagnosis.
“Growers will be able to pick effective and safe fungicides for conventional and organic production of strawberry,” said Schnabel. “The app will in a nutshell tell you with audio, pictures and text what you need to know about a particular disease and its management. I think it is an awesome supplement to our spray guide.”
Since joining the university in 2000, Schnabel has built a productive research program focused on integrated management of diseases of peach and strawberry, including brown rot, Armillaria root rot, peach scab, Alternaria fruit rot, gray mold, Anthracnose, and other summer diseases.
Praised by his colleagues as “a good team player,” Schnabel has collaborated with researchers in seeking grants. He and his colleagues have been awarded more than $22.2 million in competitive grants. In addition, he has received nearly $500,000 in gift funds from fruit growers and associations.
The Godley-Snell Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research is named in honor of the late W. Cecil Godley, former director of the South Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, and Absalom W. Snell, former associate director.
It is the largest annual agricultural research award given at the university and is allocated from earnings of a fund that was established in 1986 upon Godley’s retirement and increased in 1988 when Snell retired.
The purpose of the fund is to stimulate excellence in agricultural research by making a personal award to faculty members involved in research through the Clemson Experiment Station.