Keith Waldron, livestock and field crop specialist with the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM), has earned the program’s “Excellence in IPM” award. The award honors Waldron for 30 years of service to farmers who collectively contribute more than $3 billion to New York’s economy. He received his award on July 16 at Cornell University’s Aurora Farm Field Day in Aurora, New York.
Field crops and livestock — teaching better ways to keep them healthy and productive — are Waldron’s stock in trade. And whether he’s working with growers, industry reps, or a farmer’s next-door neighbor, his dependability, responsiveness, and ready humor have earned him broad respect as an honest broker, according to Gary Bergstrom, professor of plant pathology at Cornell University.
As a sought-after speaker on a wide range of topics for a wide range of audiences, says Cornell University weed scientist Russell Hahn, “Keith covers not only IPM but occasionally pinch hits on entomology and plant pathology.”
One innovation: hands-on teaching materials for classes held in farmers’ fields — an approach that makes IPM principles so much easier to understand. In fact, one nominator recalls an aphid infestation found during class time, just in time to save his crop.
“Frankly, we are years overdue in recognizing Keith Waldron for his many important contributions,” says Bergstrom. Bergstrom cites a second Waldron innovation, striking in its simplicity: setting up a series of conference calls among extension educators and researchers statewide throughout each growing season.
“This has done more to build a sense of shared community among field crop personnel than anything I’ve observed over the past 20 years,” Bergstrom says.