As a scientist, I am committed to outreach education and take most opportunities to participate in community events to educate the general public on grape production in the Western NY and PA region.
My Extension duties include developing and conducting workshops to facilitate growers' abilities to learn and understand production practices developed by the research community at Cornell University and to become more efficient and profitable in their businesses. Pruning workshops are popular, especially among the wine grape crowd, and a grower was generous enough to allow the group to prune in his vineyard this spring.
As part of my Extension activities, I also encourage growers to obtain soil and petiole tests, then I try to work with them to develop a nutrition management program that would best suit their and their vineyards' needs. I have worked with several growers to develop an economical, practical, and scientifically sound nutrition management program throughout the year – for both juice and wine grape production.
My goal for outreach is to educate as many people as possible about the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program, as well as the statewide production of grapes in New York. Surprisingly few native New Yorkers realize the production levels that occur here. Part of my outreach activities includes speaking to members of the media – radio, TV, and newspaper. When a weather event happens – such as the spring in May of 2010 – reporters contact me with questions on what effects these events have on grape production in the region.
I also initiated a working group with two colleagues – a county extension agent and a fellow LERGP team member – to address the needs of women in agriculture in Western NY. This stems from my experience attending a Risk Management Women in Agriculture conference in Baltimore on March 2010.
Finally, I hope to engage the local schools in programming to introduce the region and the industry to the future grape growers, wine makers, and industry members of the region.