PORTLAND, N.Y. — Cornell Cooperative Extension Chautauqua County’s Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is pleased to announce that Dan Sprague Jr. has recently been hired to fill the position of Field Coordinator. Dan will be responsible for creating and maintaining a research project management system for all current projects; to take a lead role in directing and performing general vineyard, farm and laboratory activities to complete team research objectives; to oversee building maintenance; and to assist with pesticide reporting all while maintaining a safe workplace for staff and visitors as well as protecting the natural environment.
Dan is a fourth generation grape grower, and as such, comes to this position with a vast amount of experience. He comes from Perrysburg, NY where he grew up working on a dairy and grape farm. He currently resides in Perrysburg with his wife and family and is the sole proprietor of Dan Sprague Jr. Farms, which consists of 45 acres of Welch contracted Concord grapes.
After graduating high school in 2002, Dan went on to get his Industrial Equipment Technology Certificate from the Manufacturing Technology Institute at Jamestown Community College SUNY. Armed with this education Dan worked 10 years in Industrial Maintenance at Cliffstar Corporation, and then 5 years as the full time daily operations manager for Dan Sprague Farms. During this time Dan became a partner in his father’s business – Dan Sprague Farms Custom Grape Harvesting, as well as the owner/operator of his own farm.
Dan is looking forward to working with LERGP and being “hands on” and at the forefront of the new developments in technology emerging in the grape industry. His work in relation to the USDA/NIFA SCRI “Efficient Vineyard” grant will include leading teams to validate sensors used in the project, as well as maintaining the vineyards as required by the study. Dan is excited about working with the LERGP team in the variety of activities on the table right now. He looks forward to using his education and experience with technology to help move projects forward and to be a crucial part of the team.
The Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is a cooperative effort between Cornell and Penn State Universities; the participating Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations of Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara and Cattaraugus Counties in New York and Erie County in Pennsylvania; and participating industry partners National Grape Cooperative (Welch’s), Constellation Brands and Walkers Fruit Basket. The LERGP extension team provides research-based educational programming for commercial grape growers throughout the year at venues across the Lake Erie grape belt. For more information on LERGP, call 716-792-2800 or visit our website at http://lergp.cce.cornell.edu/
—Kim Knappenberger, NYS IPM Program
Cornell Cooperative Extension Chautauqua County
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