NYS IPM 2003
Excellence-in-IPM Award Winners:
Votypka (far right) receives his Excellence-in-IPM
Award from Michael Hoffmann,
Director of the IPM
program, and Nathan Rudgers, Commissioner
NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets.
The 110 tractor-trailer loads of potatoes that trundle off Dave Votypka’s farm in Wayland, New York, each year have a common destiny—a quick run through a potato chip factory, then a couple days on a grocery store shelf until someone takes them through the checkout line.
Those unwitting consumers don’t know that, if it’s Votypka’s spuds they’re snacking on, they’ve just bought into a process that’s good both for the environment and human health.
That’s why Dave Votypka has received an “Excellence in IPM Award” from the New York State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program at Cornell University. The award recognizes outstanding efforts of people who practice IPM—who deal with insects, weeds, and diseases in ways that pose minimal risks, whether to the environment, human health, or economic well-being.
“I save thousands of dollars a year on my pesticide bill using IPM,” says Votypka. “Over the past 10 years, I’ve probably saved $75,000.” Instead of using preventative “calendar sprays” whether he’s got pests or not, Votypka relies on IPM forecasts that predict the imminence of diseases and other pests, and sprays only if he must.
Votypka likes to try new things. “Although I’ve always used cover crops to prevent erosion and build the soil, I’ve begun using more organic fertilizers lately,” he says. “It’s another way to recycle the materials that Mother Nature provides, and a healthy soil usually makes for more pest-resistant crops.”
Votypka began using IPM nearly 20 years ago when he was hired as a summer scout to look for pests on potatoes.
“Dave is always willing to speak to other growers so they can save money, too,” says Curt Petzoldt, vegetable coordinator for the NYS IPM Program. “As a member of the Empire State Potato Growers, he works hard to promote better ways of dealing with pests.”
In addition to potatoes, Votypka grows sweet corn, peas, and wheat on his 645-acre family farm. He received his award on February 11 at the Empire State Fruit and Vegetable Expo in Rochester, NY.