The Long Island Farm Bureau is honoring Daniel Gilrein — an entomologist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County — with its Long Island Farm Bureau Citizen Award for 2014.
The award is given annually to a community member whose contributions help the bureau and area growers.
“Over the years, Dan has been an expert to the farmers and also to area homeowners,” said Joe Gergela, the farm bureau’s executive director. “Dan has been involved with helping the farmers with his research and test trials, and most recently he is doing research on organic, nontoxic chemical means of dealing with pests — helping with farmers integrated pest management practices.”
Q: What do you enjoy most about your position with Cornell and helping East End growers?
A: Identifying and solving insect- and mite-related issues in the most environmentally sound ways provides the greatest satisfactions of my work.
Q: What first sparked your passion or interest in insects?
A: Even at a very young age I found insects interesting — Who wouldn’t? — but only during college years it occurred to me that a profession in entomology (the study of insects) was possible. My first degree, in botany, and my interests in growing plants with subsequent studies in entomology are happily joined together in horticultural work with Cornell.
Q: How does it feel knowing your work helps secure the local farming industry and way of life for growers across the East End?
A: We truly have something quite special here, but there is no time to rest on laurels. It is a constant challenge to provide current, practical, and relevant information for a highly valued and valuable industry and that includes our landscape professionals and arborists.
The hard work of those tied to the land enhances our lives and makes Suffolk a desirable place to live. I feel best knowing they continue in businesses that benefit us all. Thanks to all of them and to my colleagues, I consider myself very fortunate to be here and take nothing for granted.
Q: How does it feel to be honored with the Long Island Farm Bureau Citizen Award?
A: I was, for once, speechless. The recognition was a complete surprise. It is a great honor to be recognized by the Farm Bureau for the work one does on behalf of Long Island growers, landscape professionals, and other citizens.