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Patrick Hooker

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Patrick Hooker, New York agriculture leader and IPM advocate, earns Excellence in IPM award

Contact: Jennifer Grant | 315 787 2353 | jag7@cornell.edu

Patrick HookerGENEVA, NY, January 5, 2017: Patrick Hooker didn’t grow up on a farm, but you’d think he did. He worked after school on a neighbor’s dairy farm and served as state president of the Future Famers of America. By the time he’d earned his B.S. in agricultural education at Cornell University in 1984, Hooker had one clear vision for his life: to do all he could to help all New York farm communities stay productive and profitable.

And he did. By 1985, he was working in the state capitol. Not long after, he became the director of the senate agriculture committee. That same year, the state legislature mandated the New York State Integrated Pest Management (NYS IPM) Program, and Hooker has been a supporter since day one.

Now, for his steadfast and unequivocal support for what IPM stands for — sound science and sound solutions for pest and pesticide problems — Patrick Hooker has received an Excellence in IPM award from the NYS IPM Program.

“When IPM began, it was novel and sometimes controversial,” says Julie Suarez, associate dean for governmental and community relations at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Yet early in my career I clearly recall many legislative and gubernatorial meetings in which Pat promoted IPM as one of the highest priorities.”

By 2008, Hooker had become New York’s Commissioner of Agriculture. In a time of economic turbulence when many valuable state programs were lost, Hooker played a key role in keeping IPM alive, notes Donald Rutz, director of NYS IPM during that time. “The NYS IPM Program owes an immeasurable amount of its success to Pat for his herculean support of IPM,” Rutz says.

Hooker’s influence didn’t stop there. In 2011 he became director of agribusiness development for Empire State Development Corporation, where he created new markets for family farms. Now he serves under the governor as deputy secretary for food and agriculture, where he has laid the building blocks of a true renaissance in New York agriculture. In every position Hooker has held, integrity and conviction have been the hallmark of all that he accomplished.

The IPM connection? IPM is a core principle of each project or program Hooker has oversight for. His long-time support for IPM in New York aided the restoration of NYS IPM’s funding to pre-2008 levels, notes Jan Nyrop, associate dean of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“Having an excellent program is a necessary condition for on-going funding, but not a sufficient condition,” Nyrop says. “One also needs a strong advocate who has the respect of colleagues.”

Hooker had the foresight to know that protecting the environment was good for agriculture in New York, says Jennifer Grant, director of the NYS IPM Program. “Thanks to him, New York is a national leader in IPM.”

Patrick Hooker received his Excellence in IPM award on January 5, 2017, at the Agriculture Society Annual Forum in Syracuse, New York. Learn more about IPM at nysipm.cornell.edu.