News & Events

Honoring Wallace E. Heuser - Founding Father of IFTA

Wallace E Heuser

Wallace Heuser Picture

Wallace Eugene Heuser, aged 90, died on Tuesday, February 5th in Lawrence, Michigan.  Wallace was born in Hartford, Michigan on January 12, 1929 to Marjorie and Eugene Heuser.  He graduated from Hartford high school in 1946.  Wallace graduated cum laude from Michigan State University in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science in Pomology.  He married Laura Lee Riegel on July 16, 1950.

Wallace E. Heuser is survived by 5 children: Gary Heuser, Wanda (Dan) Heuser Gale, Stephen Heuser, Jeffrey Heuser and Roy (Rachel) Heuser; 9 grandchildren: Laura Lee Gale, Michael Heuser, Jack Gale, Rachel (Nick) Heuser, Susan (Terry) Gale Phillips, Barbara Gale, Helena (Pat) Mengel, Christopher Heuser, Thomas Heuser, Samuel Heuser, Emily Heuser; 10 great-grandchildren, Vincent Krohne, Hayle Krohne, Elizabethe Hallan, Jessica Hallan, Summer Phillips, Grace Gale, Taylor Philips, Macy Boyer, Joshua Gale, Daniel Gale; and 2 great-grandchildren, Alison Cornell and Beverly Cornell.

Wallace was preceded in death by his loving wife Laura, his parents, three brothers, Kenneth, Robert, Earl, sister Joan, and daughter-in-law Lori.

Wallace was recognized as a worldwide authority on deciduous fruit varieties, rootstocks and orchard management systems. He was an internationally recognized horticulturist, nurseryman, innovator, and marketing specialist.  Wallace was president of Hilltop Orchards & Nurseries producing over a million fruit trees a year.  Wallace was a leader in the introduction of dwarfing fruit tree rootstocks into the US in the 1950’s and was the founder and first president of the International Fruit Tree Association.   He introduced many fruit industry standard varieties such as Smoothee® Golden Delicious, Redchief® Red Delicious, Paula Red®, Buckeye Gala®, and over 130 other varieties that revolutionized the tree fruit industry in the US and around the world

Wallace was a recipient of the Wilder Medal from the American Pomological Society for fruit variety improvement, the Michigan State University Distinguished Service Award for Agriculture, the Centennial Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan State Horticultural Society, president of the Michigan State Horticultural Society, recipient of the Outstanding Service Award from the International Dwarf Fruit Tree Association. director and past president of the National Peach Council, Fruit Man of the Year Award, Michigan Association of Pomsters, recipient of the first Hall of Fame Award, International Fruit Tree Association, recipient of The Michigan Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award, and the Cherry Industry Person of the Year.

A Memorial Service will take place on Saturday February 16, 2019, at 11:00 AM at the Hartford United Methodist Church. There will be visitation prior to the memorial service beginning at 10:00 AM with lunch following.

The family asks that memorials be made to the Hartford United Methodist Church, 425 E Main, Hartford MI 49057 or to the International Fruit Tree Association at

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2018 American Fruit Grower Apple Growers of the Year - Phil and Judy Schwallier

2018 American Fruit Grower Apple Growers of the Year - Phil and Judy Schwallier

A HUGE congratulations to former IFTA president and his wife and partner, Phil and Judy Schwallier on being named the 2018 American Fruit Grower Apple Growers of the Year. A wonderful accomplishment that could not go to a more deserving couple!

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IFTA Young Professionals Scholarship Program

The IFTA Young Professionals Scholarship Program was started in 2013 to encourage the next generation of fruit tree growers to attend the association’s educational events. The first Young Professional Scholarships were awarded that year for the IFTA Study Tour in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was a great success, and IFTA is hopeful in supporting this program for many future IFTA events.

We are currently working to acquire sponsor support to provide scholarships that would help allow our Young Professionals to attend the Annual Conference in Rochester, New York, February 24-28, 2019.

If interested in applying, please read the below information for qualifications and more details!

  • Current IFTA membership is required.
  • Applicants must be 35 years of age or younger when the study tour takes place.
  • If you have already registered for the event, you may still apply to receive a scholarship.
  • Scholarship recipients may be asked to assist with events during the study tour

2019 Young Professionals New York Scholarship Application

Applications will be reviewed by the IFTA Young Professionals committee, and recipients will be notified by email.

Application Deadline: November 30, 2018

We appreciate support of the the Young Professionals Scholarship, please use the linked donation form if you would like to donate.

2019 Donation Form - Young Professionals Scholarship


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Platinum Sponsors

IFTA Research Foundation


Thank you for contributing to the IFTA Research Foundation!

Thank you to all who have contributed to the Research Foundation this year, whether for current research projects and operation or to the permanent endowment fund.

Click here to find out more about the foundation.

The IFTA Research Foundation provided grant money to six research projects awarded by the IFTA Research Committee for fruit tree research.

As the Foundation continues to build the permanent endowment, returns from that investment will be able to fund future research projects.

With your help, our organization will continue to be the leading international organization advancing intensive orchard systems.

Clicking the Donation button allows you to make a donation to both the Research Foundation and the Young Professionals Scholarship Fund.


Updates and Stories

From these humble beginnings, IFTA has grown into an international organization noted for its commitment to furthering the fruit tree industry.

A Historical Perspective,
written by Robert F. Carlson. Robert was a former Executive Secretary of IDFTA (IFTA) and the namesake of the Carlson Lecturer at the IFTA Annual Conference.
Research Foundation
The IFTA Research Foundation provides grant money for research projects. Current projects include work on Apple Rootstock; Sweet Cherry Production Physiology, Orchard Technologies and Efficiencies; High-Density Planting Systems and more. As the Foundation continues to build the permanent endowment, returns from that investment will be able to fund future research projects.

Friends of Young Professionals

Young Professionals Scholarship Donors

We would like to take the time to recognize the following organizations for their generous support of the Young Professionals in 2018.  This past winter these companies provided support of $1,000 or more to help next generation professionals attend the 2018 Annual Conference and Study Tour in New Zealand.  Based on feedback from the scholarship recipients, the impact won't soon be forgotten!



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