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NYS IPM 2003
Excellence-in-IPM Award Winners:
Donald Rutz

Don Rutz & Carolyn Klass
Donald Rutz and Carolyn Klass receive their
Excellence-in-IPM Awards on February 13, 2004

Dr. Don Rutz has received an “Excellence in IPM Award” from the New York State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program at Cornell University.

Rutz, a professor of veterinary entomology at Cornell University and chair of the Department of Entomology, often spends as much time out in the field as he does pushing a pen.

“Don was the first to develop a ‘whole-farm’ approach to dealing with pests,” says Keith Waldron, livestock and field crops coordinator for the NYS IPM Program. “He recognized that the flies that plagued livestock were just as important, economically, as the bugs that infested the corn.”

Indeed, stable and pasture flies can harass a calf so much that they lower its life-long milk production. And farmers whose cows are bothered by flies and other parasites can see 5 to 25 percent of their profits go down the drain.

Rutz has shown that farmers who use integrated pest management can lower fly populations by more than 50 percent while cutting back on pesticide use by up to 80 percent.

Rutz is particularly concerned about how farmers and their neighbors get along—especially since a lot of that “getting-along” has to do with whether or not the neighbors think that the flies on their screen door might have flown in from the farm down the road.

“Don has been called upon to help mediate several disputes in New York and around the country,” says Waldron. “He’s an innovator, a mentor, and a cheerleader rolled into one.”

Lately, Rutz has been pitting one tiny foe against another to see which of two species of parasitic wasps—critters no bigger than a fruit fly—proves best at combating the flies that particularly plague calves.

The “Excellence in IPM Award” recognizes outstanding efforts of people who encourage the practice of IPM—dealing with insects, weeds, and diseases in ways that pose minimal economic, environmental, and human health risks. Rutz received his award on February 13 at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

written by by Mary Woodsen