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Our History

The IPM Program Directors 2015
The NYS IPM directors, left to right: Jennifer Grant, Don Rutz, Jim Tette, Mike Hoffmann and Curt Petzoldt. Photo taken April 2015 at the IPM House in Geneva.


Jim Tette, our first director, built Cornell University’s first IPM team back in the mid-1970s. As a chemist, Tette was amazed by how insects communicate using chemicals and began seeking ways that growers could use those chemicals to help manage pests. Just as he bridged disciplines—chemistry and biology—Tette had the knack for bridging the gaps between research and extension. And he had deep instincts for team-building and accountability. The result? A program that brought science to the farm and the community; a program built on credibility and commitment—values still central to the program’s core.

Mike Hoffmann, our director from 1999 to 2005, helped build on Tette’s legacy and make the program “world class,” according to one outside review. Hoffmann’s background: farm boy-turned entomology professor, whose research was dedicated to finding beneficial organisms that combat difficult pests with the greatest efficiency and least expense. He had a tremendous instinct for developing strong, effective partnerships to promote and teach IPM at every level of society. 

Don Rutz, our director from 2006 to 2012, has worked since the early days of IPM to develop and promote integrated pest management. For Rutz, it wasn’t that big a step from the dairy farm he grew up on to becoming a leading veterinary entomologist; along the way he served as dean of the Department of Entomology. His boundless optimism—always seeing the glass half full (if not overflowing)—guided the program through budgets thick and thin.

Jennifer Grant and Curt Petzoldt, co-directors through 2014, have deep roots in IPM. They had served as the program’s assistant directors since 2006 and as community (Grant) and vegetable (Petzoldt) IPM coordinators for years before that. Each has made valuable new contributions to the practice and future of IPM regionally, nationally, and even internationally. And each carries forward the deep commitment to teamwork and enthusiasm that's core to strong, credible, successful IPM.

Jennifer Grant’s long involvement with IPM—not to mention her enthusiasm and ready humor—make her a natural fit as the program’s current director. She brings more of the superb IPM programming and support for New York’s agricultural and urban sectors that Cornell University Extension and our many stakeholders have come to expect and rely on.

More history:

The New York State IPM Program was established in 1985 through legislation added to the Agriculture and Markets Law, strengthening and broadening the Cornell IPM Program already underway in Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Funding comes via the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

In 1994 the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences began Community IPM outreach supported through USDA Smith-Lever 3d IPM funds via Cornell Cooperative Extension. In 1999, with the help of Senator Marcellino and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, we began our Community IPM program modeled after our agricultural program.