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NYS IPM 2004
Excellence-in-IPM Award Winners:
Jeff Kubecka

Jeff Kubecka, who grows 200 acres of sweet corn and other vegetables in Kirkville, N.Y., has earned an "Excellence in IPM Award" from the New York State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program at Cornell University for his proactive work in adopting and promoting integrated pest management. IPM develops and demonstrates least-toxic methods of dealing with insects, weeds, and plant diseases.

The first time Kubecka risked a field of sweet corn to try this way of dealing with pests, the numbers kept telling him not to spray. This worried Kubecka, who deals in a business where one wormy ear of corn might have a distributor putting in a call to the competition.

"We went to harvest on that field and didn't have to spray once," Kubecka recalls. "I couldn't believe it, since these are normally times of heavy pest pressure. But it worked, and that sealed the deal for me." Kubecka harvests about 16,000 bushels of sweet corn each year, as well as potatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and broccoli.

"Jeff is an innovative farmer who has worked with me on several demonstration projects and takes full advantage of opportunities to reduce pesticide use," says Abby Seaman, vegetable crops educator with the New York State IPM Program. "As the co-executive secretary of the New York Vegetable Growers, he influences other farmers in adopting IPM."

IPM-based farming practices, Kubecka explains, are both environmentally and economically sound. "You can't be spending money for no reason," he says. "That's what's great about IPM-the research has been done for the economic and environmental value of every decision. When you use IPM, you know that when you make a decision, it's the right one."

Kubecka receives his award on February 13 at the New York State Fruit and Vegetable Expo in Syracuse, N.Y.