Brad Tonnessen – Research Scientist
Brad Tonnessen grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, received his B.S. in Biology at the University of New Mexico, and earned a Ph.D. at Colorado State University in genetics and plant pathology. He spent time as an organic farmer and teacher at a non-profit in Sacramento, California. As the program manager for Vegetable Extension at New Mexico State University, Brad pursued projects in chile pepper breeding and research on mixed vegetable production, giving demonstrations and talks on seed-saving, sustainable agriculture, and genetics. As the research scientist for OARS-RM, Brad is working to sustain and build the community presence of this research station and produce ground-breaking research to benefit farmers. Research areas include organic treatments of Cytospora canker disease in peach, strategies to increase soil health, apple pest management, cold hardiness in perennial crops, vegetable variety trials, and local seed saving.
Bryan Braddy – Research Associate I
Bryan is a lifelong resident of Western Colorado. He graduated from Fort Lewis College with degrees in Environmental Biology and Agricultural Science and his studies focused on Range Management and Wildlife Ecology. Bryan previously worked for Colorado Parks and Wildlife and two other CSU research stations before joining WCRC in 1997. His work now is centered around all aspects of orchard and vineyard management. Bryan also teaches pruning techniques to Master Gardeners and backyard growers across Colorado.
Keegan Athey – Research Associate Horticulturist
Keegan is a long time farmer, river guide, and desert rat. With more than ten years of experience in organic agriculture, she has pulled calves, carrots, muscles, and weeds on farms and ranches throughout the Intermountain West. After years of running produce farms in Idaho, Keegan shifted out of production agriculture and into a research associate position at OARS-RM. At the research station, she strives to develop efficient systems and conduct practical research in the realms of organic seed production, small and mid-scale vegetable farming, cover cropping, and table grape viticulture. Keegan lives in Hotchkiss, Colorado where she spends her free time running rivers and trails, baking and eating cake, and taking stuff apart with her partner, Andy.
Ben Bentele – Research Associate Horticulturist
Ben was formerly a technician in the CU physics department, but finds fruit a whole lot tastier than photons. He moved to the North Forth with a knack for ag technology & a love for gardening. Besides an interest in the science of growth & chaos, Ben is a published poet, translator, & musician as well as an advocate for the arts in rural Colorado.