James Flore, Michigan State University professor of horticulture, was honored as Cherry Industry Person of the Year. Dr. Flore received the award July 7 at the MSU Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center in Traverse City, Michigan, during the National Cherry Festival.
The Cherry Marketing Institute presents the award to individuals who have shown exemplary support for the cherry industry during their careers.
Dr. Flore’s recent research involves environmental stress. He’s developed a system, still in the experimental stage, to delay bloom in apples and cherries, involving misting the buds to keep them cooler in the spring. This will help fruit growers when warm temperatures come a bit too early and may damage crops.
He has been an MSU faculty member since 1974. During his career, Dr. Flore has had two “official” Extension appointments. However, regardless of his appointment, he was always still very involved in outreach, working closely with the cherry industry on educational matters, and heading up global meetings and symposiums on advances in cherry production.
In the current role he assumed two years ago, he’s still active with the fruit industry, mainly answering questions, solving problems and giving presentations on the tree fruit industry.
Jim grew up in a rural community and until high school, attended a two-room school. An important part of his education was 4-H. His parents were both 4-H leaders, leading him to take part in projects involving tractors, cooking, sewing, electricity and woodworking. In all of these 4-H areas, it wasn’t just about the project.
“What I value most from my 4-H experience was practicing parliamentary procedure, conducting meetings and learning to problem-solve. Those are the things that 4-H does exceptionally well,” he said.