2011 Distinguished Service Award

Bill Grabemeyer

William Grabemeyer was raised on the family farm near Dowagiac Michigan that in 2010 celebrated its 150 th Anniversary. Herman, Fred,Floyd, and now Bill, Don and Dave, had made their living on Dixon Street. Grabemeyer Lake was named after Herman and has seen the farm grow from the original 140 acres to 2,500. They raise corn, soybeans, green beans, apples and grapes for National Grape Co-op. They also rent some of their land to their neighbor who grows a variety of vegetables and sweet corn.

Bill was a director for many years with Michigan’s Grape Society and still works with their winter and summer vitacultural educational programs. He is also on the Michigan Farm Bureau Commodity’s Committee. Bill served on the Michigan State Horticultural Society Board of Directors and was President in 2001 which was the year the Veg Council and the Horticultural Society joined to become the GL EXPO. He continues to serve as Chairman of the MSHS Scholarship Committee.

Bill is in the ninth year on the Cass County Youth Fair Board and in 2012 will chaperone his 6 th straight (every 4 yrs) Dowagiac High School band trip to Florida. He also served as a church camp counselor for many years, led senior high youth groups, taught Sunday School, and does pulpit supply at local churches in the off season. He was once recognized as Church Educator of the year by the Michigan Conference of his denomination. Bill was also the Prayer Breakfast speaker at the first GL EXPO.

All these things aside, the achievement Bill is most proud of involve his family. He met Diane through 4-H when they were in Junior High and they were married December 2, 1972. Together they have raised two beautiful daughter, Sarah and Heidi. Sarah and her husband, Chris, and their daughters, Madelyn, Gwen and Adah live in Ottawa, Kansas. Heidi and her husband, Joel, and their three month old “you been farmin’ long?” son, Andrew live near Dowagiac.

The Michigan State Horticultural Society is pleased to present the Distinguished Service Award to Bill Grabemeyer for his many years of service to the Fruit Industry.

Eric Hanson

Dr. Eric Hanson grew up in Connecticut and studied biology at Nasson College in Maine. After a year of planting, pruning, weeding and digging trees at a wholesale nursery (for near minimum wage), he started a MS program at the University of Maine to study production techniques in lowbush blueberries. This led him to Oregon State University to work on a PhD program involving plum nutrition. As he was finishing his degree, a terrific job opened for an Assistant Professor in Horticulture at Michigan State University which he started in 1984.

The job responsibilities have changed throughout the years, but the primary charge has been in Extension. Dr. Hanson’s extension work has been primarily with blueberries and other berry crops, with some efforts in tree fruits. His research interests cross many topics and crops, including fertilizer use, weed management, high tunnel berry production, growth regulator use, variety evaluation, and recently challenges for organic production of blueberries and raspberries. He has enjoyed the opportunity to teach undergraduate courses in recent years, including Plant Mineral Nutrition, Tree Fruit Culture and Berry Crop Production.

He particularly values the opportunity to work with the exceptional team of Extension colleagues in fruit, and the many fruit industry leaders he has met while working with the Hort. Society.

Eric met his wife Katie in 1983 in a Weed Management class at Oregon State University. Together they have raised three daughters in the Lansing area, and both feel very fortunate for the opportunities and experiences MSU and Michigan have provided.

Eric is serving his second term (18 years total) as the Educational Coordinator for fruit education programs at the GL EXPO. Michigan State Horticultural Society appreciates his tireless efforts which have created an exceptional education program.

Michigan State Horticultural Society is pleased to present the Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Eric Hanson.