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Ardent Albany Ag Educator Earns Excellence in IPM Award
GENEVA NY, January 26, 2019: Tom Gallagher, Senior Resource Educator of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County, received an Excellence in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYSIPM) at the Winter Green-Up Grazing Conference, in Latham NY. NYSIPM develops sustainable ways to manage pests and helps people to use methods that minimize environmental, health and economic risks. The award honors individuals who encourage the adoption of IPM in their businesses, schools, communities, and farms, and who develop new tools and tactics for sharing these practices.
Armed with a degree in animal science from Cornell, Gallagher began his career as a Cooperative Extension Agent for the university in 1976. At first, he led educational programming in dairy, livestock, and field crop management. In 1984, Gallagher expanded his curricula, through joining a regional team, which taught marketing, land use planning, small farm start-up instruction, and farmer’s market development. Gallagher’s work with the Albany school systems has resulted in the districts’ requirement that 50% of the food they purchase be grown locally and served fresh. He also played a key role in reopening a local USDA livestock processing plant, a hugely important resource for local farmers, and helped to develop a marketing method for sheep and goats using a tele-auction system, which resulted in producers moving over 4,000 head a year. His colleagues credit him for resurrecting the grass-fed market, where, as a result of his ministrations, the number of beef producing farms in the capital area doubled.
But it has been Gallagher’s involvement in the community—bringing safer practices to schools, homes and offices—that has raised the level of IPM practice in Albany. In response to the city and county of Albany severely restricting pesticide use on public property more than two decades ago, Gallagher helped establish Albany County’s Pest Management Committee. This group assists managers of the county’s offices, parks, athletic fields, and jail in finding creative IPM solutions to pest problems. In 2017, the committee along with NYSIPM, held a Stop Pests in Urban Housing workshop where participants learned how to deal with bed bugs. Gallagher has promoted low-risk pest management practices in county buildings, schools and public housing; and has educated staff and building occupants. County office buildings featured posters of a cheeky cartoon mouse urging employees to keep their snacks to themselves. Gallagher also works with multiple levels of government to implement IPM in the community, including Albany County, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets.
“Tom Gallagher is why our program has been totally successful for the safety of our residents and employees of the County of Albany,” said Charles E. Hughes Jr. Senior Code Enforcement Officer.
Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, Community IPM Coordinator, said, “Through the years, when NYSIPM Program funding was in question, Tom was always an ardent supporter of the program and reached out to legislators to encourage them to provide funding.”
Learn more about Integrated Pest Management at nysipm.cornell.edu.