New Richard T. Meister Scholarship Supports Research

Richard T. Meister

It is always a privilege to honor someone for their career achievements, and it is always a pleasure to provide opportunity to someone who is beginning his or her career. So it is doubly exciting to announce a new scholarship that does both.

Beginning in 2013, the Richard T. Meister Scholarship will be offered to graduate students in floriculture intending to pursue a career in research, Extension or teaching. A $2,500 scholarship will be awarded annually and will be administered by the American Floral Endowment.

Richard (Dick) Meister is the editor-at-large and chairman emeritus of Meister Media Worldwide, Greenhouse Grower’s parent company, which Meister’s father founded in 1932. The company is a leading publisher of specialty agricultural magazines and digital media. Beginning with its first magazine, American Fruit Grower, the company now includes multiple brands in addition to Greenhouse Grower, including Cotton Grower, American Vegetable Grower, Crop Life, Precision Ag, Today’s Garden Center, Farm Chemicals International and Productores de Hortalizas.

Dick Meister, who earned a degree in pomology from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, is an avid and long-time supporter of the land-grant university system, having worked with many notable university Extension agents during his career.

“I had a wonderful partnership with floriculture researchers and educators in the land-grant college system who helped transform floriculture through the development of innovative new practices that made possible expanding and valuable markets for growers,” Meister says. “The value of those who unlocked secrets of light, temperature and other factors can never be overestimated.” 

About The American Floral Endowment

For more than 50 years, the American Floral Endowment (AFE) has worked to address critical industry problems by funding research and solutions to support healthier and longer-lasting flowers and plants. From breeding and genetic issues to controlling and eliminating pests and diseases, AFE research benefits the entire industry, including retail and wholesale florists, growers, students and educators.

Attracting and retaining the best workforce is also extremely important to the success of the industry. AFE awards students and institutions paid internships, scholarships and grants to promote training and hands-on experience for the future leaders of the industry.

Since 1961, AFE has funded more than 15 million dollars in research, scholarships and grants.
The Richard T. Meister Scholarship is the newest addition to the scholarships AFE administers. There are many others, including:

The Vic and Margaret Ball Intern Scholarship Program

The Mosmiller Intern Scholarship Program

The James and Helen Phillip Scholarship Grant

The Paul Ecke Jr. Scholarship
BioWorks IPM/Sustainable Practices Scholarship

John Carew Memorial Scholarship
Seed Companies Scholarship

Donations to AFE are tax-deductible and are invested, with the earnings from the investments supporting the research programs and scholarships for years to come because the principal gift is never spent.
Vist for more information.

At 94 years old, Meister still comes into the office regularly. He remains passionately interested in agricultural issues and has a particular interest in the greenhouse industry. It was during Meister’s tenure as editor-in-chief of American Vegetable Grower that the need for a publication focusing solely on the needs of ornamental bedding plant growers became apparent. In the 1960s and ‘70s, vegetable growers began building hoop houses in order to get an early start on the season. After the harvest, the hoop houses were empty, and growers saw an opportunity to fill them with bedding plants, broadening their markets. The flowering plants were often sold at the same roadside markets through which the vegetables were sold. Greenhouse Grower began as a quarterly supplement inside American Vegetable Grower, eventually becoming a stand-alone magazine.

Extension Involved From The Beginning

Meister credits the Extension service with creating the germ of the bedding plant industry.

“Will Carlson at Michigan State University and Ray Sheldrake at Cornell University not only led research programs at their respective schools, but had the confidence and talent to go on the road,” he says.

“They inspired growers to convert to the new art and science of bedding plant production in double-layer poly plastic greenhouses.
“Will was indefatigable in finding ways to improve bedding plant production and inspire growers to change over. He led the bedding plant revolution and founded Bedding Plants, Inc., which grew to a membership of thousands. Ray changed hot beds to plastic greenhouses and, with the Cornell [potting] mix and lightweight plastic trays, made bedding plant production available to thousands of vegetable growers.
“The two of them would share the podium and put on a scintillating show to packed audiences, kidding each other and providing answers to questions from the audience. Whereas old-time greenhouse flower growers would keep their production practices secret, now everything was up for discussion, no holds barred. It was called the Ray and Will show.”

Meister often traveled with the two researchers, challenging growers to seize the market opportunities that “instant color” offered and to broaden their views on the potential of bedding plants.

Meister says Ray and Will, and many others like them he worked with in the fruit and vegetable industry, epitomized the goal of the land grant university system.
“These people were movers and shakers, not content with the status quo,” Meister says. “As scientists and educators they worked passionately to improve the lot of growers and to solve vexing problems in the field. They were part of the family of growers, occupying a position of advisor and technical expert. There is no doubt in my mind that the research, teaching and Extension made possible by the land-grant system made our agriculture preeminent in the world.”

During his 50-year tenure guiding the growth of Meister Media, Meister traveled the world, gaining a first-hand view of floriculture and agriculture in many foreign countries. He has held both membership and offices in a number of grower and professional associations, including the American Society for Horticultural Science, Professional Plant Growers’ Association, Bedding Plant Foundation, Society of American Florists, Seeley Conference and other floriculture, fruit and vegetable associations.

“Many floriculture researchers and educators were my good friends, and I admired them, not only for their skills, but also for their passion to help and be of benefit to growers,” Meister says. “Such a relationship between researchers, educators and growers doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else in the world,” Meister says. “That is why I want to encourage students to do graduate work and make a career out of research, education and Extension. Floriculture, as well as other branches of horticulture, needs younger people to walk in the steps of those who accomplished so much. I feel sure there are many more discoveries waiting to be uncovered for the great benefit of all.”


Normal0 falsefalsefalse EN-US X-NONE X-NONE

Leave a Reply

More From Grow Initiative...
Status of Marijuana US Map May 2015

May 29, 2015

Marijuana Legalization Updates

As of April 2015, 23 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some capacity. At the federal level, several bills are currently awaiting action. Here is an update on current state and federal marijuana legislation across the U.S.

Read More
cannabis, marijuana plant

May 29, 2015

Making The Decision To Produce Medical Marijuana

Should horticultural growers consider cultivating medical marijuana? That’s up to the individual grower, of course, and certainly a number of growers already have jumped in. We at Meister Media Worldwide, publishers of Greenhouse Grower and American Vegetable Grower, do not necessarily endorse nor oppose the production of medical marijuana. But we do feel it is an option worth exploring. We intend our “Medical Marijuana” series of articles to give you information you need to make your own call. We hope you find it useful, and we do welcome your comments, thoughts and ideas as we continue to cover what we’re fairly certain is only going to be an increasingly viable and growing market for this emerging crop.

Read More
Double Whammy Merchandise Display At CAST2015

May 28, 2015

Grow Inspiration To Grow The Horticulture Industry

We need to work together as the horticulture industry to inspire and instruct consumers with our plant knowledge and marketing expertise.

Read More
Latest Stories
Amy Daniel with daughters

May 20, 2015

Fall Creek Farm & Nursery’s Amy Daniel Suppor…

Amy Daniel, marketing and brand manager at Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, has a passion for marketing and branding that led her into the green industry early in her career, when she and a friend started their own agency, and she began helping her parents — then owners of a retail nursery — with marketing services. Daniel’s career in the field started in the 1980s, after she finished college with degrees in journalism and advertising. It wasn’t long before she began to feel frustrated with the status quo in the industry. She and a friend from college, agreeing there was a better way to do things, decided to start a business. “I guess now looking back, we were probably young and naive, but it all worked out really well,” Daniel says. “We started our own advertising agency/marketing and PR firm. I ran that for two decades. It was very successful.” […]

Read More
susie raker featured

May 12, 2015

Manage Costs To Increase Profitability

Business profitability and health is about more than just sales. Growers can get in trouble when they don’t look at the complete picture when it comes to cost accounting. Susie Raker Zimmerman shares how the team at C. Raker & Sons keeps costs and profits in check.

Read More
Suzi McCoy with GM Logo

May 6, 2015

Garden Media Group’s Suzi McCoy Urges Women In Horticul…

When Susan McCoy, owner of Garden Media Group, started promoting roses and shrubs for The Conard-Pyle Co. (Star Roses and Plants), she knew the horticulture industry was the right place for her. What she didn’t know was how much the journey would reshape her business for the better. Now, she encourages women in horticulture to invite others to be a part of the industry.

Read More

May 5, 2015

World’s Largest Indoor Vertical Farm To Be Developed In…

A former industrial site in the Ironbound community of Newark, N.J., will be redeveloped into the world’s largest indoor vertical farm. The $30 million project was recently announced by RBH Group, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, Prudential Financial Inc. and AeroFarms, in partnership with the City of Newark and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). The vertical farm will serve as the global headquarters for AeroFarms. “We are excited to redefine not only the Garden State but also agriculture overall,” says David Rosenberg, CEO for AeroFarms. “Partnering with RBH, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, the City of Newark and NJEDA allows us to bring our global headquarters and the world’s largest indoor vertical farm close to where the consumer is, offering a fresher, more nutritious and delicious product while also creating jobs in the community.” According to Ron Beit, founding partner and CEO of RBH Group, AeroFarms will anchor its broader Makers […]

Read More

April 29, 2015

Field To Vase Dinner Tour Promotes American Grown Flowe…

For the first time last month, guests at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, Calif. were treated to a four-course, gourmet, farm-to-fork style meal in the middle of the fields. The event was part of the 10-city Certified American Grown “Field to Vase” Dinner Tour. The tour is a series of private, intimate gatherings that place seasonal, local and sustainable American Grown flowers at the center of the table where locally grown food, beer and wine is served by a farm-to-table chef. The Flower Fields event was one of four dinners that will be held in the state this year. It featured chef Marissa Gerlach, executive chef at the Vista Valley Country Club, Vista, Calif. Mike Mellano, a third generation flower farmer with a Ph.D. in plant pathology, led guests on tours of the fields. Guests were given a floral arrangement as a symbol of the evening’s theme: Celebrating Local American […]

Read More

April 21, 2015

There’s Still Time Left In Crown Bees’ Camp…

There is a little more than a week left in Crown Bees’ Indiegogo fund-raising venture designed to give garden center retailers a chance to help increase awareness of native bees, and to increase the number of bees to pollinate local food. The company is raising $100,000 to redesign “Bee with Me,” a social network that connects, maps and empowers bee boosters across the U.S. Garden centers that take part in the campaign can: Be listed as a local resource for products and supplies in the online network Get access to and activate a new group of customers Be viewed as a leader in the community Be seen as a source of local expertise. Within your own store and brand, there are several ways you can also help to raise awareness about native bees, such as educating customers about the gentle nature of solitary bees. Visit for some easy facts to pass […]

Read More
Todd Woodfield

April 8, 2015

Sustainable Horticulture Pays Off

Practicing holistic horticulture has saved money and improved plant quality for Abby Farms. Its manager shares where the operation has seen differences from conventional production.

Read More

April 1, 2015

Philadelphia Flower Show Draws More Than 250,000 Attend…

With more than 250,000 consumers attending the prestigious Philadelphia Flower Show in March each year, it's a great opportunity to get flowers and gardening products into the public eye. This year's show displays took on family favorites at the movies, with a focus on Disney and Pixar films. Check out some of the highlights in our slideshow.

Read More

April 1, 2015

Peace Tree Farms Grows Its Customer Base

Over the past five years, Peace Tree Farms in Kintnersville, Pa., has concentrated on growing its business by providing plant material for the displays at the illustrious Philadelphia Flower Show. We caught up with Peace Tree Farms’ Lloyd Traven to ask about how the Flower Show figures into his business plan.

Read More
Bloomtown_Screen Shot 2015-03-10

March 24, 2015

Bloomtown Exposes Consumers To The World Of Horticultur…

A new web series called Bloomtown is all about the mud, sweat and tears of horticulture. Filmed in St. Louis, Mo., it chronicles the world of horticulture using local flower growers, greenhouses, wholesalers, florists, consumers, retail shops and arborists, with the goal of opening consumers’ eyes to the world of horticulture around them.

Read More

March 18, 2015

Growers Ask For Immigration And Healthcare Reform Durin…

Nearly 90 growers, retailers, suppliers and wholesales attended the Society of American Florists' (SAF) 2015 Congressional Action Days March 9-10. The delegation, representing 18 states, arrived on Capitol Hill at a time when two major industry issues - immigration and healthcare reform - are especially prominent in national headlines.

Read More
Nexus Corporation's Cheryl Longtin Encourages Women To Seek Volunteer Leadership Opportunities

March 4, 2015

Nexus Corporation’s Cheryl Longtin Encourages Wom…

When Cheryl Longtin came to the horticulture business in 1994, she applied her experience in the automotive industry to promote the adoption of more technology in greenhouse production. Longtin says horticulture, with its rich family tradition, has long promoted women in the industry compared to other industries, but women in horticulture must continue to seek out opportunities to provide volunteer leadership in organizations that shape the future of the business.

Read More
Smart Herb Garden

March 2, 2015

Smartpot Uses Sensors And Cartridges To Ensure Success …

Click & Grow helps make it simple for consumers to grow their own herbs and spices at home, even if they have little experience with plants.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Student Flash Mob At TPIE Has Roots In Floriculture

The local FFA students who entertained TPIE attendees in 2014 and 2015 received industry donations of plants and a greenhouse structure to help expand their horticultural program.

Read More

February 12, 2015

GROW Perspective: What Is It You Do Again?

The industry is very good at talking about what we do and how we do it, but has almost completely lost touch with talking about why this work is important. As an industry, we need to promote our professions as vital to healthier living.

Read More
bee photo

February 11, 2015

26 Ways Growers Improve The Green Industry

In Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked how your operation is living the GROW Initiative’s five pillars: How are you driving consumer success, cultivating new customers, demanding quality, investing in the industry and sharpening business management? Through your candid responses, we learned about some of the ideas you’ve implemented and steps you’re taking for 2015. Here are just a few.

Read More
Noble Foundation

February 3, 2015

Lloyd Noble Scholars Program Application Period Now Ope…

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation is offering college students an opportunity to work side-by-side with the Noble Foundation’s renowned agricultural consultants and researchers through the Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture program, a summer internship that provides students the opportunity to enhance their in-class education with real-world application and experiences.

Read More

January 7, 2015

GROW Summit 2014 Homes In On The Issues That Keep You U…

During Greenhouse Grower’s third annual GROW Summit in December a number of ideas, questions and calls-to-action transpired. Here are a few of the highlights.

Read More