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Sharon Bachman

Proactive and Pro-IPM Earns Excellence in IPM Award for New York Extension Educator

by Mary Woodsen

sharon bachman
Sharon Bachman

EAST AURORA, NY: After budget cuts cost Erie County in western New York a full-time cooperative-extension horticulturalist, Sharon Bachman’s to-do list got longer. Lots longer. Erie County’s agriculture sector is worth about $117 million, even though the county hosts the state’s second-largest metropolitan area. But Bachman — who already provided farmers countywide with a range of agricultural services — took it all in stride, backing up Erie’s cadre of volunteer master gardeners with the diagnostic help they need to help householders cope with pests the least-toxic way.

For this and much more, Sharon Bachman has received an Excellence in IPM award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program.

Bachman has been making her rounds since 2005: Helping growers place fruitworm traps in u-pick blueberry farms. Plant cover crops in rotation with strawberries to suppress root rot. Use routine soil and leaf analyses that lead to healthy, nearly pest-free crops. These IPM practices can reduce, steeply, a grower’s pesticide use.

“Sharon is a can-do kind of person who lives and breaths IPM,” says Cathy Heidenreich, a berry specialist at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York. “She’s always personable, always proactive, always thinking ahead.”

Bachman received her award on May 3, 2013 at an Erie County Small Fruit Grower meeting in East Aurora, New York.