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Plant Pathology Farm

Randy Dreibelbis is the plant pathology farm manager. He has an unusual responsibility for a farmer: he creates conditions under which crops can be infected with any one of a number of diseases. The goal of the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology is to select and breed crops that can stand up to bacterial, fungal, and viral diseases, and research conducted at the department’s farm leads to the development of crops with increased resistance to serious pathogens.

Dreibelbis and his staff oversee each phase of the farm’s research projects, from plowing the field to planting and making every chemical application. The farm crew also must react quickly to Pennsylvania’s changing conditions.

One of the prime directives for the plant pathology farm is to create field research experiments to help various agricultural industries cope with major disease threats.