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ARS Hall of Fame Adds Three Scientists

By Kathryn Barry Stelljes
September 13, 2000

BELTSVILLE, Md., Sept. 13--Nutritious dairy foods, irrigation scheduling techniques and prevention and treatment of intestinal diseases have earned their developers a place in the Agricultural Research Service Science Hall of Fame. ARS is the chief research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Chemist Virginia H. Holsinger, agricultural engineer Marvin E. Jensen and veterinary pathologist Harley W. Moon will be presented with plaques citing their diverse achievements. An induction dinner ceremony is scheduled tonight at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.

“The extraordinary contributions of these scientists improve the welfare of people, especially children; the health of animals; and the quality of the environment,” said ARS Administrator Floyd Horn. “These individuals are deserving additions to the Hall of Fame.”

Since 1986, the ARS Hall of Fame program has recognized agency researchers for outstanding career achievements in agricultural science. Those inducted are nominated by their peers for making major contributions to agricultural research. The scientists must be retired or eligible to retire to receive the honor.

“Holsinger’s efforts have helped feed needy children and families around the world," said Horn. With colleagues, she developed a powdered whey-soy drink mix with enhanced nutritional quality and storage stability necessary to serve as a milk replacer in international food donation programs.

The Department of Defense solicited her expertise in milk and dairy products to help develop low-lactose, milk-based beverages for military field rations. Her work also led to the development of reduced-fat mozzarella cheese--now available nationwide and used in the USDA National School Lunch Program.

Holsinger worked for ARS for 41 years and served as head of the Dairy Products Research Unit at the ARS Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa., from 1985 until her retirement in October 1999.

"Jensen developed techniques that allow field-specific irrigation,” said Horn. “This has helped farmers worldwide save water and energy, improve yields and reduce leaching of agricultural chemicals into groundwater.”

Jensen joined ARS in 1955 and served as the national program leader for water management research from 1978 until his retirement in 1987. He has received more than a dozen other prestigious honors, including a Distinguished Service Award in 1994 from Colorado State University, the State-of-the-Art Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1992, election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1988 and the Person of the Year Award from The Irrigation Association in 1983.

Moon was the first scientist to describe a major pattern of E. coli lesions in the intestinal tract of animals. He described the mechanism by which these bacteria attach to the intestinal wall and produce disease. “Dr. Moon’s scientific contributions,” Horn said, “have played an important role in animal health and food safety.”

Moon joined USDA in 1968 as a research veterinarian at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa. He was the center’s director from 1988 until 1995. In the year before his retirement in 1996, Moon served as director of ARS’ Plum Island Animal Disease Center in Greenport, N.Y.

Moon has received USDA awards for superior service and outstanding research leadership. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1991.

Permanent copies of the plaques presented to the scientists will be on display at ARS’ National Visitor Center in Beltsville, Md.