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Gary Bergstrom

Cornell "go-to guy" for field crops and the diseases that afflict them earns Excellence in IPM award

by Mary Woodsen

Leader, innovator, advocate, mentor, friend—Gary Bergstrom, professor of plant pathology and plant-microbe biology at Cornell University, has received an Excellence in IPM award for his hard work and enthusiasm in seeking answers to the disease problems that sometimes plague field crops. In New York, Bergstrom is the go - to guy for information on diseases of alfalfa, field corn, soybeans, wheat, other small grains, and biofuel grasses.

For nearly three decades, Bergstrom has worked closely with Extension educators, crop consultants, and growers to find least-toxic solutions, solutions that emphasize dodging the bullet with cultural practices that help avoid problems in the first place. His work has been integral in developing and testing disease resistant crop varieties and management tactics; his guidance invaluable  on the careful use of crop protectants.

“Gary reaches out to growers and field personnel, including them his research and demonstration projects,” says Keith Waldron, NYS IPM field crops coordinator. “He inspires people.”

Growers, consultants, and educators are obvious beneficiaries of Bergstrom’s expertise. But millers? Each year, Star of the West Milling Company in western New York buys more than 3.5 million bushels of wheat from local growers.

Knowing that their wheat is of the highest quality couldn’t matter more, says manager Francois Lachance. “Gary’s work has been invaluable to the food industry far beyond New York’s borders,” he says.

Bergstrom received his award on January 12, 2011 at the Western New York Corn Congress.