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HVRL Membership Meeting: March 10th at 4PM, 2015 Hudson Valley Research Lab Conference Room.

Membership Meeting: March 10th at 4PM, 2015 Hudson Valley Research Lab Conference Room.

Hudson Valley Tree Fruit, Vegetable, Grape and Small Fruit Growers are cordially invited to become voting members of the Hudson Valley Research Laboratory and participate in moving the mission of laboratory forward (detailed letter).

We will be inviting interested individuals to become HVRL board members, voting on key board of director positions, present staffing updates, discuss the development of a vegetable scientist position to expand our research possibilities with our partnership with the local economies project, discuss developing a non-grower contribution membership, to be followed by research priorities and open topic discussions.

Please join us. Let your voice be heard in steering the HVRL toward the research and extension most needed by the industry.

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March 4, 2015

Dear Eastern NY Fruit and Vegetable Grower,

We hope this letter finds you well, anticipating the start of yet another growing season. We would like to begin by again thanking all of you for your generous contributions in support of the Hudson Valley Research Laboratory in Highland, NY. We are writing to urge all of you to become members of the lab. In 2014 members were able to voice their vision for the future of the research we will be conducting. Together we have accomplished many of our first year goals.

• At the 2014 Hudson Valley Research Laboratory Membership meeting, members agreed to a 5-year partnership with Cornell, securing the funds needed to maintain and operate the facility and retain CALS faculty and staff at the HVRL. Presently there are 82 members providing vision to the direction of the lab.

• Members unanimously agreed to retain a pest management emphasis at the HVRL, voting to retain the plant pathology position held by Dr. Dave Rosenberger. We have interviewed two excellent candidates for the plant pathology position, have offered Sara Villani the appointment, and are now awaiting her negotiation with the University. Sara has worked under Kerik Cox during her PhD studies with extensive tree fruit research on fireblight and apple scab.

• Three Eastern NY Horticultural team members are currently stationed at the Hudson Valley Lab. with office space, internet, and phone. They are Dan Donahue, tree fruit specialist to replace Mike Fargione; Teresa Rusinek, vegetable specialist; and Jim O’Connell, small fruit specialist.
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• Through ARDP support we have hired a post-doctoral horticulturalist from Spain, Gemma Reig, to fill the horticultural position left by retiring Steve Hoying. Gemma will be instrumental in moving Terence Robinson’s Hudson Valley projects forward, working with two other post-docs who will be stationed at Geneva while Terence takes a 3-year leave. Gemma will be on a 1-year appointment beginning April 1, 2015. Her re-appointment is contingent on available grant funding.

• We have retained Joe Whalen, Steve Hoying’s former technician, to continue working on horticultural projects. He will provide technical support to Gemma on precision thinning, platform assessments, cherry hedging studies and system trials.

Your support has provided the resources to maintain the operations of the HVRL over the next five years. Because of this support, CALS has agreed to sustain salaries for HVRL faculty and staff for that period.
Within this limited 5-year term, Cornell has determined that the property owned by CALS, including: the research orchards, buildings (pole barns, coolers for fruit storage, repair shop and most importantly the pesticide facility), all field equipment, trucks and automobiles, will be transferred to the Hudson Valley Research Laboratory, Inc. (HVRL, Inc.). We currently project project annual operating expenses of $125,000. However, we expect these costs may increase somewhat as we assume responsibilities for insurance and maintenance of new properties.

For the HVRL, Inc. to continue in its present state, yearly funding will be essential. Our need for your membership this year is two-fold. First and foremost, your input to determine yearly research objectives, vote on important decisions and guidance for the future of the lab is essential. Secondly, your membership support is critical to take on additional expenses resulting from CALS divestment of property and equipment that will take place over the next 4-years. We will need to register 200 farm memberships at $500.00 for each year to sustain the $100,000 level of support needed annually to cover costs. These funds will act as the backbone for support while additional funding from non-grower donors will also be sought..

The next annual HVRL Membership meeting is on March 10th at 4PM at the Hudson Valley Research Laboratory, 3357 US Highway 9W, Highland, NY 12528. You are invited and encouraged to attend the meeting and provide your thoughts on future research. You can mail in your membership dues, making your check payable to the “Hudson Valley Research Laboratory, Inc.” Mail to: Donna Clark, Hudson Valley Lab, P.O. Box 727, Highland, NY 12528.

Agenda items include staff updates, director elections, development of a vegetable scientist position to expand our research potential, partnership with the local economies project for future opportunities, developing a non-grower contribution membership, followed by research priorities and open topic discussions.

Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to seeing you at the meeting.

Sincerely,

HVLR Board of Directors

Tom Waz, President Randy Pratt, Vice-President Brad Clark, Secretary-Treasurer
David Fraleigh Ed Miller Josh Morgenthau
Gary Samascott Jeff Crist
Fundraising Committee:
Amy Hepworth, Sarah Dressel