2017 Distinguished Service Awards

Allan Overhiser

Allan Overhiser is the fifth generation on his family farm in the rural community of Casco Township in Allegan County.  In 1982 he began farming alongside his father, Albert. He had graduated from Western Michigan University where his major was Agribusiness  and Minor was Business Administration. Allan and his wife Kim have been married 35 years. They are the proud parents of five kids (four of which are quadruplets) and all five are currently attending college. They have two sons that may someday continue farming once they complete their college years like Allan once did alongside his dad.

Part of his involvement within the community of Casco has been carrying on a long tradition of Township Government seats started by his Grandfather in 1934, followed by his dad and now Allan.  He was clerk for 16 years, Trustee for 3 years and since 2006 Township Supervisor. He has served as a volunteer firefighter for 12 years.  He helped initiate and develop the South Haven/Casco Sewer and Water Authority and South Haven Area Emergency Services Authority and as a  director on both boards. 

Allan has served and has held several key positions with the following organizations: that include American Farm Bureau, Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Agricultural Commodity Marketing Association and its' Apple Committee, Michigan State Horticultural Society(President 1999), Michigan Plum Advisory Committee, and Al-Van Soil and Water Conservation District.

When not farming, running to township meetings or other ag group meetings he and his wife Kim enjoy traveling to college basketball games to watch their son Aaron play for the Findlay Oilers in Ohio as well as the MSU Spartans play!   Allan is thankful for all the support that he has received from his wife, kids, parents, brothers and other family members.  He is also thankful that he farms in Michigan where agriculture has a rich tradition of cooperation.

The Michigan State Horticultural Society is pleased to present the Distinguished Service Award to Allan Overhiser.

Rufus Isaacs

Rufus Isaacs studied Applied Biology at the University of London for his Bachelor's degree received in 1990, and followed that with a PhD in Entomology from the same institution, awarded in 1994. He then came to the US to work on cotton IPM at the University of Arizona where he met his wife Cassandra. They have a wonderful 11 year old daughter, Ruby.

Rufus and Casandra moved from Arizona to Michigan in 1997 when he was employed by MSU to study mating disruption of apple pests with Larry Gut and Jim Miller in the Department of Entomology. In 1999, he was hired to be the Small Fruit Extension Entomologist, and he has worked closely with berry growers to develop and implement IPM programs for key insect pests including Japanese beetle, grape berry moth, and spotted wing Drosophila. His lab at MSU is also studying wild and managed pollinators and their important role in supporting Michigan fruit crop production.

The research program he leads has been awarded over $10 million in competitive funding and the results of his research have been published in over 50 extension publications, 10 book chapters, and over 150 research publications. His former students and postdocs are employed at MSU, in other land grant universities, at the US EPA, and in agrochemical companies.

Dr. Isaacs was awarded the 2013 Outstanding Extension Specialist award from the Michigan Association of Extension Agents and the 2017 Excellence in IPM award by the regional branch of the Entomological Society of America. 

For his exceptional service to the fruit industry in Michigan, the Michigan State Horticultural Society is pleased to present the Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Rufus Isaacs.

More Information



7087 East Napier Ave.
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022

Phone (269) 252-5461