Spanish-Language Field Days Grow in Western New York and Beyond

Join the Cornell Small Farms Program, CCE Lake Ontario Fruit Program, and NYS Integrated Pest Management for a Spanish-language field day! 

By Mildred Alvarado, Nicole Waters, Mario Miranda Sazo, Alejandro Calixto, Hannah Rae Warren [Vea este artículo en Español]

These days, the busy season never seems to stop. Luckily, neither does the collaboration between the Cornell Small Farms Program (SFP), New York State Integrated Pest Management (NYSIPM), and Cornell Cooperative Extension Lake Ontario Fruit Program (CCE LOF). The motivation? Dedication to New York’s Latino farming community and a commitment to improving Spanish-language access to agriculture education. 

Production, pests, and people define the focus of this Spanish-first collaboration with complementary goals to develop safe and sustainable tools to reduce risks associated with pest management practices, practical tips to grow Honeycrisp apples, and financial management skill-building to inspire successful farm business ownership. 

This collaboration recognizes the interconnected nature of sustainable farm business practices. Summer 2022 will bring further collaborations in the form of an educational and networking field day in WNY on Friday, June 17. As this collaboration continues to expand across the state, our team encourages interested service providers and extension agents to reach out with innovative ideas to reach and offer educational services to  Spanish-first farmers, friends, and neighbors.

NYS Integrated Pest Management – Agriculture

1 – 2 p.m. with Alejandro Calixto

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a science-based, decision-making process that focuses on sustainable prevention of pests through a combination of biological, cultural, physical and chemical methods, to reduce economic, health and environmental risks. The first line of prevention is to know and actively monitor the pests in your crop to ensure they are maintained under tolerable levels, this is essential to determine what is the best tactic (or combination of tactics) that you should adopt to control that pest. 

First, know your pests: it’s essential to IPM.  If you treat for the wrong pest, you waste time and money; perhaps even your crops . Abiotic problems can mimic pest damage too. Don’t spend money and time on treatments that don’t work or may damage your operation.

Relying too heavily on just one tactic makes for adaptable pests. Pests can become resistant to pesticides. The battle against pests costs money — which you should weigh against what you might lose from a pest. The balance point, or threshold, varies from situation to situation. This is where scouting, a cornerstone of IPM, kicks in. Meanwhile, maintaining tolerable levels of pests helps keep their natural enemies — the insects or diseases that prey on them — on location and working for you.

CCE Lake Ontario Fruit Program – Orchard Management

2 – 3 p.m. with Mario Miranda Sazo

This year practical technical knowledge of Honeycrisp among Hispanic orchard workers in Western NY needs to continue and expanded. The CCE LOF Spanish Fruit Program has identified this as a key area for educational programming and collaboration with the Cornell Small Farms Program and NYS IPM.

There is a great need in the WNY apple industry to improve tree growth and reduce occurrence of bitter pit in Honeycrisp trees which require constant support, care,  and labor provided by a well trained, primarily Spanish-speaking labor force. During the June 17 event, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the importance of crop load management and tree fruit nutrition, both critical aspects in business success for Honeycrisp cultivars and much more. 

Cornell Small Farms Program – Futuro en Ag Project

3 – 4:30 p.m. with Mildred Alvarado

While this portion of the field day will promote maintaining a broad perspective when facing decisions to achieve personal and professional goals as farm business managers and owners, the Futuro en Ag project focuses on producing educational programs and resources for new and beginning farmers and future ag entrepreneurs. Check out the latest educational resource offerings in Spanish by visiting SFP’s Centro de Recursos para Fincas!

Year to year, New York State harvests more than 1.2 billion pounds of apples, cares for more than 1.6 million apple trees, and farms more than 55,000 acres that provide fresh, nutritious apples to more than 68 million people around the country. (New York Apples Association, 2022). A huge portion of this effort is due to the massive contribution of Latino farmers, employees, and service providers who actively grow, harvest, pack, market, distribute, and export world-famous, NYS-grown apples. Recognizing our contributions as Latino farmers, our leadership, our skills, and our role in the agricultural sector will create opportunities to envision and develop successful agricultural careers. Additionally, understanding our contributions help us identify unique skills, as well as professional and business goals, which in turn improve our well-being and family lives, while inspiring our entire Latino agricultural community.

Together, we will explore and learn sustainable management practices from our local Latino community of farmers, managers, supervisors, farm owners, crew leaders, and employees in Western New York. As a community, we possess the skills to sustainably manage human, financial and natural resources. Sharing this knowledge and experience is key to continuing to grow leadership and business ownership in the apple industry. 

For more information, and if you are able to confirm your participation to ensure that we order enough food, please contact Mildred Alvarado at 413-406-9760 for Spanish or Nicole Waters at 607-227-6743 for English.

Nicole Waters

Nicole is the Beginning Farmer Project Coordinator for the Cornell Small Farms Program. Her work focuses on the human side of farming, with the day-to-day operations of the Labor Ready Project as her main priority. Trained in organizational communication, leadership, and English as a Second Language (ESL); Nicole’s work aims to foster healthy and positive working environments through professional development programs.