Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology
Dr. John F. Baniecki received his Masters’ Degree from the University of Delaware with expertise in plant pathology and entomology. He then worked for two years as an industrial microbiologist in the field of microbial deterioration of materials for Heyden-Newport Chemical Corporation. Dr. Baniecki published two articles in the Journal of Plastics and American Society of Testing Materials. He then earned a Doctoral Degree in plant pathology and plant physiology from the University of Arizona. He came to West Virginia University in November of 1969, hired as a federal employee carrying out Extension duties in plant pathology and entomology with faculty rank and tenure in the Plant Sciences Division, Davis College of Agriculture.
Shortly after assuming his position, Dr. Baniecki started to work with youth in the State. He coordinated the State Entomology and Plant Pathology Career Development Events for 36 years. Dr. Baniecki was given the Future Farmer of America award. Soon after being in West Virginia, he organized a team of Extension agents to participate in corn trials to provide information for a National Survey of a destructive disease, Southern Corn Leaf Blight of corn. The President of DEKALB recognized the West Virginia program. Dr. Baniecki was a member of a pest survey team of federal and state employees monitoring for the introduction of foreign pests in West Virginia. He also assisted in field research that resulted in state publications involved with the introduction of parasitic insects as biological control agents of alfalfa weevil. He conducted yearly state publications of corn variety trials for resistance to maize dwarf mosaic virus, a destructive disease of corn. This information, reported in state publications, provided farmers in West Virginia and Ohio with varietal selection for the coming year.
Dr. Baniecki conducted pesticide field trials, reported in state publications, for control of diseases of strawberry, tomatoes, and bean. Dr. Baniecki coordinated the state-wide Pest Identification Laboratory. The diagnostic service that he provided out of this laboratory was extensively used by Extension agents, government agencies and individuals. He created over 100 plant pest fact sheets and weekly newsletters on plant pests and their management. Dr. Baniecki developed the Plant Pest Problem Solving Manual used by Extension agents throughout the counties. He was a lecturer in the West Virginia Master Gardener Program, involved in the training of gardeners all across the State on management of diseases and insects.
Dr. John F. Baniecki was coordinator and responsible for four major nationally funded programs involving, 1) pesticide use and training of individuals for certification. He was technical advisor for the West Virginia Pest Control Operators’ Association and received the Distinguished Service Award from them from 1995 to 2008. 2) He contributed to the National Agricultural Pesticide Information Assessment Program state pesticide data on agricultural and non agricultural plants. 3) the state integrated pest management program. Dr. Baniecki wrote and secured a grant for the West Virginia Plan. He coordinated a program involving farmers and the monitoring by trained individuals of insects and diseases of corn and alfalfa on a regular basis, and 4) He took the leadership role in homeland security and implementation of a national plant disease diagnostic network for the State.
Dr. Baniecki acquired updated laboratory equipment to aid in diagnosis and developing protocols that are designed to protect crops and livestock critical to agriculture and forest industries. He also provided Extension agents with microscopes to improve their diagnosis of plant pests, locally. Dr. Baniecki was elected into Epsilon Sigma Phi, the honorary organization dedicated to excellence in Extension. He received the Extension Program Award for excellence.
Dr. Baniecki is a member of Gamma Sigma Delta, from which he received the Extension Award of Merit. He received the WVU Award for Continuing Academic Achievement in Teaching, Research and Service for 2006-2007. Dr. Baniecki was recognized by the WVU Provost and Dean and Division Director of the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences. He was appointed Professor Emeritus in 2010.