Home Business Bernadine Strik’s Legacy: How Her Work Helped Blueberries Thrive Around the World

Bernadine Strik’s Legacy: How Her Work Helped Blueberries Thrive Around the World

How Her Work Helped Blueberries Thrive Around the World


Bernadine Strik was a renowned professor and extension berry crops specialist at Oregon State University (OSU). She dedicated her life to researching and developing sustainable blueberry farming practices that would help farmers around the world grow better blueberries. Strik’s work transformed the blueberry industry and made the fruit accessible to people worldwide. Her work on blueberries earned her numerous accolades and awards, and she was a highly respected figure in the agriculture community. Sadly, Strik passed away on October 18, 2021, at the age of 60, leaving behind a legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come.

Early Life and Education

Bernadine Strik was born on September 17, 1961, in Burlington, Iowa. She grew up on a farm and developed an interest in agriculture from a young age. Strik attended Iowa State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture in 1983. She went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Horticulture from the University of Arkansas in 1987. Strik then earned a Ph.D. in Horticulture from the University of Minnesota in 1992, where her dissertation focused on the effects of pruning on highbush blueberries.

Career at Oregon State University

After completing her Ph.D., Strik joined the faculty at OSU in 1992 as an assistant professor and extension specialist in berry crops. She quickly established herself as a leading expert on blueberries, and her research focused on sustainable production practices, cultivar evaluations, pruning, and soil management. Strik’s work on blueberries led to significant advancements in the industry and helped growers increase their yields and profits.

One of Strik’s most significant contributions was her research on blueberry pruning. She conducted extensive research on pruning techniques and developed a system that maximized fruit production while minimizing labor costs. Her work on pruning resulted in the development of a highly efficient and sustainable pruning method that is still widely used by blueberry growers today.

Strik also conducted extensive research on soil management practices for blueberries. She was a firm believer in sustainable farming practices, and her research focused on ways to reduce the use of chemicals and fertilizers in blueberry production. Strik’s work on soil management led to the development of innovative and sustainable techniques that are now used by blueberry growers worldwide.

In addition to her research, Strik was a dedicated educator and extension specialist. She worked tirelessly to share her knowledge and expertise with growers, both in Oregon and around the world. Strik was a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events, and her publications on blueberry production were widely read and highly regarded.

Impact on the Blueberry Industry

Strik’s work on blueberries had a significant impact on the industry, both in the United States and around the world. Her research and innovations in blueberry pruning and soil management helped growers increase their yields and profits while reducing their environmental impact. Strik’s work also played a significant role in making blueberries more accessible to consumers worldwide.

Blueberries were once considered a luxury fruit, with limited availability and high prices. Strik’s research helped make blueberries a more affordable and widely available fruit, leading to increased consumption and demand. Today, blueberries are one of the most popular fruits in the world, with production and consumption continuing to grow.

Strik’s impact on the blueberry industry was recognized with numerous awards and accolades throughout her career. She received the Oregon State University Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award in 2018, the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Legacy Award in 2021, and was named a Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science in 2021.


In conclusion, Bernadine Strik was a pioneer in the field of blueberry farming and her contributions have been invaluable to the industry. Her research on plant nutrition, pruning, and management practices has helped blueberries thrive around the world. Strik’s work has not only benefited blueberry farmers and consumers but has also contributed to the advancement of sustainable agriculture practices.

Her legacy lives on through the countless farmers and researchers who have been inspired by her work. Strik’s dedication to her field has left a lasting impact on the agriculture industry and has paved the way for future innovations and discoveries.

It is important to continue to honor and recognize the work of women in science, especially those who have made significant contributions but may not have received the recognition they deserve. Bernadine Strik’s work serves as a reminder of the important role that women play in the advancement of science and the impact their contributions can have on society.

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