Bob Harveson, Extension Plant Pathologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center, has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award for the American Phytopathological Society’s (APS) North Central Division.
The award recognizes outstanding effort or contribution in teaching, control of a significant plant disease, or service to the science of plant pathology in an effort that goes beyond the recipient’s job or responsibility. Harveson was recognized at the APS meeting in Cleveland earlier in August.
Harveson has been the Extension Plant Pathologist at the Panhandle Center since 1999. He received a Ph.D. in plant pathology in 1999 from the University of Florida; a master’s degree in plant pathology from Texas A&M University; a bachelor’s degree in plant/soil science from Tarleton State University; and a bachelor’s degree in history from Trinity University.
He was nominated by Loren Geisler, professor and head of the UNL Department of Plant Pathology, and Tamra A. Jackson-Ziems, professor of plant pathology at UNL. In their nomination, they wrote that Harveson “… has generously given of his time with decades of effort that support the science of plant pathology. He has clearly established himself as a regional, national, and international authority on diseases of specialty crops grown in the North Central Region of the U.S. Bob has also become one of the greatest champions of plant pathology in the world.”
In the Panhandle, Harveson works locally with producers and industry members to identify, prevent, and manage diseases of specialty crops such as sugar beet, dry edible beans, sunflowers, and other pulse crops. He frequently contributes articles to news media in the Panhandle.
In Harveson’s lab at the Panhandle Center, he and his staff have conducted more than 25 projects with diseases of nine crop species in 2019. His lab also provides disease diagnostic services for more than 300 samples per year submitted by clientele.
Harveson’s writings – including books, chapters, journal articles, technical articles, extension publications, and articles for news media – were cited as his most remarkable contribution. In the last five years, he has generated 291 publications, including 20 refereed journal articles, one book, 23 book chapters, 11 technical peer-reviewed articles, 220 extension and service activity publications, and 16 professional meeting abstracts. He is the lead editor on three disease compendia (for sugar beet diseases and pests, sunflower diseases and pests, and the upcoming pea diseases and pests). He also was the author of the popular book “The Bacterium of Many Colors,” published in 2015 by APS Press.
Harveson’s nomination also cited his contributions to the history of the plant pathology. He recently completed two sequential three-year terms as a senior editor for APS Press and has renewed another three-year term as the feature editor for the APS website and Plant Health Instructor journal. He also produces a monthly column on plant pathology history for the APS newsletter, Phytopathology News, designed and written in the form of Paul Harvey’s “Rest of the Story,” and contributes a monthly historical series of articles highlighting significant scientific contributions by UNL agricultural personnel. He has also recently started writing a new series focusing on the impacts of plant diseases on society and world history.
The nomination also cited Harveson’s contributions to his profession as an example and mentor to younger faculty members; his close work with counterparts in other states; and hosting of students and faculty from UNL and other institutions.