L to R: Carol R. MacNeil, Curt Petzoldt, and Don
Sweet. Photo: R. Way.
Don Sweet is the owner and president of Crop Advantage, a private consulting firm headquartered in Scottsville. His clients include strawberry growers, fresh-market and processing vegetable growers, and dairy farmers. Always the innovator, Sweet starts with Cornell IPM recommendations, but he moves beyond them in the search for new ways to benefit his clients by saving on pesticide inputs. According to the IPM Program’s assistant director Curt Petzoldt, "Don has even initiated IPM-related work on crops for which Cornell has not yet developed IPM techniques. For two or three years before Cornell did it, Don was working with greenhouse tomato growers to devise IPM practices for that crop. He is also leading the way with scouting protocols and thresholds for bell peppers and leaf lettuce."
Sweet grew up on a small farm in Rush and was active in 4-H as a youth. He went on to earn two degrees in agronomy: an associate’s degree at SUNY Alfred and a bachelor’s degree at Iowa State. After college Don managed a 20-acre U-pick strawberry operation and then worked as a scout for an agricultural consulting firm. He started his own consulting business in 1990.