2013 Distinguished Service Award

Doug Buhler

Awarded jointly with the Michigan Vegetable Council Master Farmer Associate Award 2013.

Doug Buhler is Director of MSU AgBioResearch and Senior Associate Dean for Research of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University.

Doug grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Nebraska. He was on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1984 to 1989. From 1989 to 2000, he was a research scientist for the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.

Doug came to Michigan State University in 2000 as Professor and Chair of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, a position he held from 2000 to 2005. From October 2003 to March 2005, he also served as State Leader for Agricultural Programs for Michigan State University Extension. From 2005 to 2010,Doug served as Associate Director of MSU AgBioResearch (formerly Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station) and Associate Dean for Research for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. From 2011 to 2013, Doug served as interim Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He is a member of a number of professional societies, including the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Weed Science Society of America, and North Central Weed Science Society.

During his time and many responsibilities at Michigan State University, Doug Buhler has shown a strong commitment to working with industry stakeholders. He has always been willing to listen to representatives of industry concerning their needs and concerns. He was the lead person at MSU for Project GREEEN for many years and helped develop this initiative into what it is today – an outstanding example of cooperation between industry stakeholders and the university. Doug has recognized the importance to industry of key research and extension positions and worked to hire new scientists during financially difficult times.

For his strong commitment to serve the needs of industry stakeholders, Doug Buhler is being recognized by the Michigan State Horticultural Society with its Distinguished Service Award and by the Michigan Vegetable Council with its Master Farmer Associate Award. These organizations, along with many other Michigan agricultural and commodity organizations, recognize the excellence of Doug’s work and the resulting benefits to our state’s agriculture. Doug and his wife Jean reside in East Lansing.

Jim Koan

Jim Koan has a history of growing apples that can be documented all the way back to the late 1800’s when his grandfather, Albert Koan Sr., farmed and homesteaded a 120 acre, diverse and sustainable parcel which included a small orchard. Born in 1923, Jim’s father, Albert Koan Jr. grew up participating in mostly the harvest of the apples from that orchard and that included merely storing the apples in wooden barrels and putting down more hard cider than sweet cider for the winter. He wasn’t privy to much horticultural practices or propagating information in those days. That remained the case when in 1948, Albert Koan Jr., with his wife Mary, came around the corner from his father’s farm to plant apple trees on his own 50 acres – though that crop of choice was strongly advised against on that soil by the county extension at the time. Albert’s son, Jim, was also born that same year and grew up with that first planting of apple trees and continues to grow apples on the same farm (with much added acreage, of course) his dad initially started out on. Jim and his wife Karen, have five children and three of them have now come back to the farm and play a significant role in his growing business.

The 500 acre farm includes a 150 acres of organic apples, as well as corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, and pasture. They also grow pumpkins for their farm market and raise reindeer. In the last few years, they've also added about one hundred fifty head of organic hogs. The piglets are used to eat drop apples and to root around the trees. The meat is sold at various farm stores as well as food cooperatives. As the farm has transitioned into organic growing, it has opened opportunities for selling premium apples and cider. About five years ago Jim developed a tasty brew of hard organic cider. It is made from entirely fresh squeezed apples. His hard cider is now has sixty distributers in forty states and is a primary focus of his business. Jim’s story is one of success with roots anchored firmly in the soil and strong family ties.

Michigan State Horticultural Society is pleased to present the Distinguished Service Award to Jim Koan.