Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association, recently wrote a commentary defending Cornell University’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, which is facing a potential budget slashing.
“One of the items proposed for cuts in the state budget is a zeroing out of Cornell University’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. While we understand that the budget situation in Albany (NY) is desperate, eliminating the funding to IPM is a mistake. IPM explores and creates safer and more economical ways for farmers to fight pests.
Prior to Cornell’s innovative IPM methodology, growers traditionally used more of a preventative approach to controlling pests, which include insects, plant diseases, or any weed that interferes with the production of a crop.
IPM works differently. IPM science tells us that not all insects are harmful and, in fact, some insects actually help control other harmful insects.
IPM goes way beyond offering farmers in New York better methods to grow crops; it provides consumers with safer foods and protects our environment.
IPM is designed with three major goals in mind: Reduce the use of pesticides, protect the environment, and help grow the safest and healthiest crops as economically as possible. This will provide us all affordable and safer food. By eliminating the funding for IPM, the state is turning its back on not only upstate New York’s biggest economic sector, agriculture, but is also saying to consumers that food safety is not important enough to fund.
New York is blessed to have a world-renowned research university for agriculture at Cornell, and an Agricultural Experimental Station in Geneva, offering cutting edge research on IPM practices, which is second to none in this field. Without financial support from the state, these facilities will become useless.
For our agricultural economy, for our environment, and for the safety of our residents, we encourage our leaders in Albany to reinstate IPM funding for New Yorkers.”