PULLMAN – Steven R. Lyon, a senior scientific assistant in WSU’s winter wheat breeding program, received the O.A. Vogel Crop Improvement Award Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Washington State Crop Improvement Association in Pasco.
 
The award is given annually to an individual in WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, WSU Extension or USDA who has made significant contributions to the pure seed program or crop production in Washington state.
 
“He is the heart, soul and often the brains of the winter wheat breeding program and as such has done much to contribute to crop improvement in the state of Washington,” said Steve Jones in a nomination letter.
 
Jones is WSU’s winter wheat breeder and Lyon’s supervisor. “He not only has followed and selected our most recent variety, Xerepha, through all phases of field selection, he also was the one who made the initial cross in the greenhouse that produced the line,” Jones said.
 
Lyon, who has worked for WSU for 15 years, manages all aspects of the winter wheat breeding program on a day-to-day basis, including staff and student employees. He has given numerous talks to grower groups at field tours, represented the winter wheat breeding program at meetings outside of Pullman and written articles about the research program for popular media.
 
The Washington State Crop Improvement Association is a non-profit organization delegated by the Washington State Department of Agriculture to certify chickpea, field pea, lentil, soybean, sorghum, small grains (including wheat, barley, oats, millet, triticale, and buckwheat) and forest reproductive material.
 
Lyon received a $1,000 cash award and a plaque. The WSCIA Vogel award was first presented in 1974.