The Baggett-Frazier Vegetable Breeder Professorship

Tex FrazierIn 1996, leadership provided by the Vegetable Commission and Oregon Food Processors established the Baggett-Frazier Vegetable Breeder Professorship to memorialize Professor William "Tex" Frazier, who died in December 1995, and to honor Professor Jim Baggett, who retired the same year. The professorship was created to recruit and support a renowned vegetable breeder who will continue the groundbreaking tradition begun by professors Frazier and Baggett.

For fifty years, William "Tex" Frazier served the needs of Oregon's agricultural community. An OSU professor from 1949 to 1973, Tex Frazier was a respected teacher and scientist who touched many lives. With the aid of Jim Baggett—at first a graduate student and later a faculty peer in OSU's Department of Horticulture—he revolutionized Oregon's bean crop by breeding beans that grew on bushes rather than poles. These bush beans could be harvested inexpensively with machines instead of by hand, a necessity with the pole variety. 90 percent of green beans grown in Oregon are a result of Frazier's and Baggett's research.

Jim BaggettProfessor Jim Baggett had an equally distinguished, 30-year career as a vegetable breeder at OSU. Along with numerous varieties of green beans, he developed new types of squash, peas, lettuce, and broccoli. Home gardeners all over Oregon are familiar with his tomato varieties, which include Oregon Spring, Oregon Star, and Siletz, a seedless tomato.

 

 

 

 

James R. Myers

Professor James R. Myers is the first holder of the Baggett-Frazier Vegetable Breeder Professorship. Dr. Myers, an authority on vegetable breeding, joined OSU's Department of Horticulture in 1996 after conducting research for nine years at the University of Idaho, Kimberly Research and Extension Center. His primary research responsibility is to evaluate and develop improved vegetable varieties, and he currently oversees breeding programs for green beans, snap peas, broccoli, winter squash, and tomatoes. Since 1988, he has developed and released numerous dry bean varieties, most of which have been well-accepted and useful to growers in the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Myers completed his undergraduate degree at Kansas State University and received an M.S. and Ph.D. in plant breeding and plant genetics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He then spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow and research specialist at the University of Kentucky.

A member of the National Pea Improvement Association, the Bean Improvement Cooperative's Board of Directors, the American Society for Horticultural Science, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he has co-authored numerous publications, including a chapter on snap bean breeding soon to be published in Bean Improvement for the 21st Century. He is also currently co-chair of the East African Bean/Cowpea Collaborative Research Support Program, a USAID funded program to improve dry beans in Tanzania and Malawi.

Recently, Dr. Myers received the Bean Improvement Cooperative's Achievement Award, an award given to young scientists who have made major contributions to bean research.

Like his predecessors, Professors Tex Frazier and Jim Baggett, Dr. Myers will continue to address the concerns of Oregon vegetable growers, processors, and agricultural industry representatives in his breeding programs. Future projects include developing green bean varieties resistant to white and gray mold; improving the vigor of stringless, edible, podded peas; and breeding broccoli hybrids with high-quality heads suitable for mechanical harvesting.

 

 

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