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ARS Scientists Win Top Honors Today in Annual USDA Ceremony

By Marcia Wood
June 4, 2001

Agricultural Research Service scientists who are developing better ways to manage ecosystems of the American Southwest, providing new techniques to detect and measure the amounts of healthful ingredients--called phytonutrients--in familiar foods, or are safening the nation's supply of meats and poultry will be among those feted today at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 55th annual Honor Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman will present the awards at 12:30 p.m. in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. The ARS honorees, and the categories in which they won their awards, are:

Read: more about the SALSA team.

Read: more about Andrew Sharpley's research.

For "Maintaining and Enhancing the Nation's Natural Resources and Environment:"

  • Hydrologic engineer David C. Goodrich and 20 other ARS members of the Semi-Arid Land-Surface-Atmosphere (SALSA) Team, Southwest Watershed Research Center, Tucson, Ariz. Goodrich, his ARS colleagues and some 45 employees from collaborating agencies are providing land managers and others with new, objective information about the hydrology of the prized San Pedro River ecosystem of Arizona and Mexico, where suburbanites, farmers, ranchers and wildlife must share increasingly scarce water.
  • Soil scientist Michael D. Jawson, National Program Staff, Beltsville, Md., and former ARS research associate Marlen D. Eve, now at Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colo. This award for members of a Climate Change Negotiations Analytic Support Team acknowledges Eve and Jawson's role in gauging the contribution that farm and rangeland soils make in storing carbon and thus reducing emission--into the atmosphere--of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas thought to contribute to global warming.
  • Soil scientist Andrew N. Sharpley, Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, University Park, Pa. Sharpley's pioneering investigations of phosphorus and nitrogen in runoff water from farms and feedlots provide growers, educators and regulatory agencies in the United States and abroad with practical, economical and environmentally sound ways to keep water clean and farmlands productive.

For "Operating an Efficient, Effective and Discrimination-Free Organization: "

  • Botanist Elizabeth L. Ley and colleagues on the Big Bugs Exhibit Committee, U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, D.C. The festive, informative exhibit of 14 oversize bug sculptures leased for display on the grounds of the Arboretum, along with attractive brochures, signs and other educational materials that Ms. Ley's staff developed for the show's 5-month run, gave more than a quarter-million visitors of all ages a fun, easy way to learn about the vital role that insects play in the production of flower, fiber and food crops.

Photo: Soybeans
Read: more about Gary R. Beecher's research.

Photo: Animal physiologist Mohammad Koohmaraie observes technician Julie Dyer as she steam vacuums a section of a beef carcass.
Read: more about Mohammad Koohmaraie's research.

For "Promoting Health by Providing Access to Safe, Affordable and Nutritious Food: "

  • Chemist Gary R. Beecher, Food Composition Laboratory, Beltsville, Md. Methods that Beecher and colleagues developed for determining amounts of phytonutrients such as carotenoids, isoflavones and polyphenols in fruits and vegetables--and their unique, user-friendly databases documenting these levels in various foods--have helped medical researchers and others evaluate the role of these compounds in preventing cancer, osteoporosis and other major diseases.
  • Animal physiologist Mohammad Koohmaraie, U.S. Roman L. Hruska Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Neb. Koohmaraie's team not only developed the first rapid tests for detecting pathogens on beef, pork and poultry carcasses, but also provided techniques to greatly reduce or eliminate E. coli O157:H7 in red meat.

For "Heroism and Emergency Response: "

  • Area Director S. Karl Narang, South Atlantic Area, Athens, Ga., and veterinarian David E. Swayne, Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, Athens, Ga. Narang, Swayne, and other members of a West Nile Virus team are being honored for developing a strategy for surveillance, diagnosis, and prevention of this avian disease, which can be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.

For "Expanding Economic and Trade Opportunities for United States Agricultural Producers: "

  • Research horticulturist Stephen S. Miller, Appalachian Fruit Research Station, Kearneysville, W.V. This award honors Miller and others who provide timely, accurate information to apple growers throughout the U.S. about the likely success of establishing new apple cultivars, in their region, to meet consumer demand for a greater variety of tasty apples.

ARS is the USDA's chief scientific research agency.

Contact: Marcia Wood, ARS Information Staff, 800 Buchanan St., Albany, CA 94710; telephone (510) 559-6070, fax (510) 559-5882,

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