Three Scientists Inducted into ARS Science Hall of
September 16, 2009
WASHINGTON, September 16,
2009Three Agricultural Research
Service (ARS) scientists have been inducted into the agency's
Science Hall of Fame for
research accomplishments that include improving rice varieties, increasing crop
productivity in arid climates, and enhancing human and bovine health by
focusing on safeguards to dairy cattle and milk.
Geneticist J. Neil Rutger, soil scientist B.A. Stewart and dairy scientist
Max J. Paape will be honored in a ceremony tonight at the
U.S. National Arboretum.
"These researchers' results have had long-term, lasting value to
science and society, and contribute important national priorities of responding
to climate change, food safety and health, and global food security," said
B. Knipling. "They serve as exemplars of excellence in scientific
research because of their creativity and dedication, the range of their
scientific contributions and their service to both the agricultural community
and the public."
ARS has been honoring former and senior agency researchers with the Hall of
Fame program since 1986. Nominees are retired or eligible to retire. They are
selected by their peers for outstanding career-long achievements in
agricultural science and technology.
Neil Rutger was an ARS researcher for 18 years in California before he
became director of the
National Rice Research Center in Stuttgart, Ark., in 1993. Over the years,
he developed semi-dwarf varieties of rice that increased crop yields by up to
20 percent. His first semi-dwarf rice cultivar, Calrose 76, was integral to the
development of dozens of dwarf varieties now used to breed rice around the
world. By some estimates, Calrose 76 and successors developed in California
added an estimated $1 billion to California's economy.
Rutger also was instrumental in developing jasmine rice cultivars for United
States growers, and his search for genes among rice's weedy relatives to resist
stem rot disease was the first such attempt in the United States. Subsequent
research has identified several genes among weedy relatives that resist other
In a career spanning almost 50 years, B.A. Stewart contributed to areas as
diverse as animal waste management, soil and water conservation, crop
production and environmental quality. As director of the agency's
and Production Research Laboratory in Bushland, Texas, he focused much of
his work on managing scarce water and soil resources in harsh arid and
Stewart conducted the first experiments on use of anhydrous ammonia as a
fertilizer, and his work on nitrate accumulation in fields and feedlots opened
the door to research examining the environmental impacts of various
agricultural practices. As a member and chairman of various soil and water
quality management panels and task forces, he was instrumental in developing
national environmental guidelines still used today.
Max Paape, a researcher with the
Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., is an
internationally recognized authority on bovine mastitis, the most costly
disease to the U.S. cattle industry. In studies with researchers at
Oklahoma State University, he
found that subclinical mastitis is common in beef cattle, but that giving
antibiotics at weaning reduces its prevalence. The findings are credited with
saving the beef industry $1 billion annually. He also developed several
treatments for mastitis, including alternatives to antibiotics that changed the
way many drug company scientists view the effectiveness of non-antibiotic
Early in his career, Paape developed procedures for using milk somatic cell
counts (MSCC) as an index of udder health, and he was a pioneer in using MSCC
to assess milk quality. He also led research into how long dairy and meat
products should be withheld from the market after cattle are treated with
antibiotics. The Food and Drug Administration
used the results in establishing relevant food safety standards.
ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency in the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.