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Meet the Members of the Consortium

Working collaboratively to increase commercial hazelnut production in North America — that’s what brings the Consortium members together. Meet the team and discover what role each member institution is playing in the research and development of hybrid hazelnuts.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has been conducting research on hazelnuts for more than ten years. This research has focused on yield, oil yield, cold hardiness, drought resistance, and bioenergy. UNL has also developed mechanical equipment for hazelnuts.

In addition, the Nebraska Forest Service has for many decades specialized in the extension of forestry entrepreneurship and tree care to landowners and the general public. The Nebraska Forest Service has helped spur and create numerous extension and outreach programs to inform and educate farmers and other agricultural professionals about hybrid hazelnuts.

Key Findings

  • An average hazelnut could produce nearly two times the amount of oil per acre compared to soybeans (Hammond, 2006).
  • The physical/chemical characteristics of hazelnuts for biodiesel are substantially superior to soybean oil (Xu and Hanna, 2007).
  • The percentage of oil per hazelnut kernel ranges from 56.1% to 75.2% (Josiah, 2007).
  • Hazelnut oil has a unique fatty acid composition, thermal stability, and low temperature properties that should increase its value over soybean oil for a number of applications (Xu, 2007).

Key Personnel

  • Dr. Scott J. Josiah - Former Director of the Nebraska Forest Service: View CV
  • John Erixson - Interim Director of the Nebraska Forest Service: View CV

Publications/Research Papers (5 selected publications)

  • Clare, Aaron (2022). Hazelnut Research Bulletin 001. Expanded Hazelnut Trials - Survival Results 2022. Submitted.
  • Xu, Y, M.A. Hanna, and S.J. Josiah (2008). Synthesis and characterization of hazelnut oil-based biodiesel. Industrial Crops and Products. Submitted.
  • Xu, Y.X., Hanna, M.A., and S.J. Josiah (2007). Hybrid hazelnut oil characteristics and its potential oleochemical application. J. Industrial Crops and Products 26 (2007) 69-76.
  • Awada, T. and S. Josiah (2007). Physiological response of four hazelnut hybrids to water availability in Nebraska. J. Great Plains Research 17 (2) Fall 2007. Pp 193-202.
  • Gold, M., Godsey, L., and S.J. Josiah (2004). Markets and Marketing Strategies for Agroforestry Specialty Products in North America. Agroforestry Systems, 61:371-382. Also in: Nair PKR, Rao MR, and Buck LE (eds.) New Vistas in Agroforestry: A Compendium for the 1st World Congress of Agroforestry, Klewer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands (2004). 371-382.
See All Publications/Research Papers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Nebraska Forest Service.

Rutgers University has been conducting research on hazelnuts since 1996. This research has focused on Eastern Filbert Blight resistance (the major challenge for hazelnuts in the eastern U.S.) as well as pest resistance, cold hardiness, yield, and the overall development of hazelnuts for northern climates. Part of this work includes wide germplasm exploration and collection, with focus on newly accessible regions of the former Soviet Union.

Learn more about Rutgers University Hybrid Hazelnut Breeding Program

Key Findings

  • New sources of resistance to the devastating hazelnut disease Eastern Filbert Blight (EFB).
  • Rapid techniques to identify hazelnut seedlings resistant to EFB.
  • Evaluation of improved hazelnut cultivars developed in Oregon for use in the northeastern United States.

Key Personnel

  • Dr. Thomas Molnar - Lead Hazelnut Researcher/Plant Breeder: View CV
  • Dr. Bradley Ian Hillman- Professor, Dept. of Plant Biology: View CV
  • Dr. Margaret Brennan - Agricultural Economist: View CV
  • Dr. Nrupali Patel - Teaching Instructor, Dept. of Plant Biology: View CV
  • Dr. Donald Y. Kobayashi - Professor and Chair, Dept. of Plant Biology: View CV
  • Dr. Josh A. Honig - Assistant Professor - Director, Rutgers DNA Genotyping Laboratory: View CV

Publications/Research Papers (5 selected publications)

See All Publications/Research Papers from Rutgers.

Oregon State University has been conducting research on hazelnuts since 1969. This research has focused on the development of new hazelnut cultivars for the Oregon hazelnut industry, Eastern Filbert Blight (EFB)resistance, microsatellite marker development, and DNA markers for EFB resistance. Part of this work includes wide germplasm exploration and collection to increase the world’s largest hazelnut germplasm collection.

In addition to research, Oregon State University provides significant extension and outreach to the Oregon Hazelnut Growers, Scientific Committee of International Congresses on Hazelnuts, and Northern Nut Growers.

Watch a summary of the progress Oregon State is making in the hazelnut industry.

Key Findings

  • Jefferson hazelnut (2009).
  • Eta hazelnut pollinizer (2009).
  • Theta hazelnut pollinizer (2009).
  • Red Dragon ornamental hazelnut (redleaf contorted) (Plant Patent Applied For).
  • Yamhill hazelnut (2008).
  • Sacajawea hazelnut (2006).
  • Santiam hazelnut (2005).
  • Gamma hazelnut pollinizer (2002).
  • Delta hazelnut pollinizer (2002).
  • Epsilon hazelnut pollinizer (2002).
  • Zeta hazelnut pollinizer (2002).
  • Rosita ornamental hazelnut (redleaf).
  • Clark hazelnut (1999).
  • Lewis hazelnut (1997).
  • Four hazelnut pollinizers (1990) (VR 4-31, VR 11-27, VR 20-11, and VR 23-18).
  • Willamette hazelnut (1990).

Key Personnel

  • Dr. Shawn A. Mehlenbacher - Lead Hazelnut Researcher/Professor: View CV
  • Dr. Kelly Vining - Assistant Professor, Dept. of Horticulture: View CV
  • Dr. Nik Wiman - Assistant Professor, Orchard (Hazelnut) Specialist: View CV

Publications/Research Papers (5 selected publications)

  • Gökirmak, T., S.A. Mehlenbacher, and N.V. Bassil (2007). Characterization of European hazelnut (Corylus avellana) cultivars using SSR markers. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 131: (in preparation)
  • Mehlenbacher, S.A., A.N. Azarenko, D.C. Smith, and R.L. McCluskey (2007). Santiam Hazelnut. HortScience 42: (submitted)
  • Mehlenbacher, S.A. (2007). Hazelnut. In: J. Janick (ed.). Encyclopedia of temperate fruit and nut crops. CABI (in press).
  • Mehlenbacher, S.A., R.N. Brown, E.R. Nouhra, T. Gokirmak, N.V. Bassil, and T.L. Kubisiak (2006). A genetic linkage map for hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) based on RAPD and SSR markers. Genome 49:122-133.
  • Lunde, C.F., S.A. Mehlenbacher, and D.C. Smith (2006). Segregation for resistance to eastern filbert blight in progeny of Zimmerman hazelnut. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 131:731-737.
See All Publications/Research Papers from Oregon State University.

Ron Revord received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 2019, studying genetic diversity and eastern filbert blight resistance in the American hazelnut. He is currently an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry, where his research surrounds the genetic improvement of the hazelnut, chestnut, and black walnut. In collaboration with the Hybrid Hazelnut Consortium, Revord’s research on the American hazelnut includes assembling core collections, studying the inheritance of disease resistance and climate adaptations, and developing DNA markers associated with key traits of interest. In 2021, hybrid hazelnut breeding selections of the Consortium were established for evaluation at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin, Missouri. The best performing selections in this environment represent the first potential releases to Missouri growers.

Key Findings

  • Genetic diversity and structure within a large American hazelnut germplasm collection.
  • New sources of EFB resistance from the American hazelnut.
  • American hazelnut breeding parents with higher transmission of EFB resistance to hybrid offspring.

Key Personnel

  • Dr. Ronald S. Revord – Assistant Research Professor, the Center for Agroforestry View CV

Publications/Research papers

  • Revord, R. S., Lovell, S. T., Brown, P., Capik, J., & Molnar, T. J. 2020. Using genotyping-by-sequencing derived SNPs to examine the genetic structure and identify a core set of Corylus americana germplasm. Tree Genetics & Genomes, 16(5), 1-11. DOI:
  • Revord, R. S., Lovell, S. T., Capik, J. M., Mehlenbacher, S. A., Molnar, T. J. 2020. Eastern Filbert Blight Resistance in American and Interspecific Hybrid Hazelnuts. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 145(3), 162-173. DOI:
  • Revord, R., Lovell, S., Molnar, T., Wolz, K. J., Mattia, C. 2019. Germplasm development of underutilized temperate US tree crops. Sustainability, 11(6), 1546. DOI: 10.3390/su11061546
  • Revord, R.S., 2019. Towards the exploitation of the American hazelnut (Corylus americana) (Doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

The Arbor Day Foundation began the Hazelnut Research Project in 1996 with plantings of hybrid hazelnuts at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska. By 2000, the project evolved to include charter members across the nation conducting research on hazelnuts in their own backyards and has reached nearly 80,000 active members.

Key Findings

  • Best practices and methods for growing hazelnuts from seeds.
  • Hybrid hazelnuts can thrive in Nebraska as a dryland crop.
  • Arbor Day Farm hybrids grow best in zones 4 to 8.

Key Personnel

  • Adam Howard - Director of Mission Engagement Arbor Day Farm

Five Partners. One Common Cause.

It takes years of research and development to create healthy cultivars.

Take a look at our timeline for hybrid hazelnut commercialization.

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