Matt DeBacco and Kip Kolesinskas have spent years monitoring disease and pests throughIPM and evaluatingsoil conditions (respectively) on Connecticut farms. This training will include side-by-side presentations by each of them on the Top 10 Issues they have seen on vegetable farms. We will also discuss the overlap of the problems identified, many of which are associated with Climate Change, and identify possiblesolutions to make farming in our state a more productive and resilient endeavor.
Matthew DeBacco is a three-time UConn graduate, receiving his Bachelor of Science primary major in Pathobiology and a secondary major in Horticulture along with a minor in Molecular and Cellular Biology. He continued on to earn a Master’s degree in Education and a Masters in Agronomy studying organic suppression of powdery mildew in cucurbits and analysis of the degradation of fiber pots in a field plot setting. He has worked with farmers across the state as a Nutrient Management on Farm Planner where he helped growers allocate nutrients in a cost-effective manner. He also has provided one-on-one consulting along with diagnosing field problems while offering guidance for growers and providing reports for grower alerts. In addition to this, he has taught college and high school level science classes. As a hobby, he enjoys growing giant pumpkins and has held the Connecticut state record twice with his largest being 1,766.5 pounds.
Kip Kolesinskas serves as the Land Use and Conservation Specialist for UConn Extension’s Solid Ground Farmer TrainingProgram. He has worked with Connecticut’s farmers, landowners, state agencies, municipalities, and non-profits for the past 31 years. Working as a field soil scientist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Kip was responsible for completing the state-wide update and digital release of the Soil Survey of Connecticut. He has intimate knowledge of all the soil landscapes in Connecticut and their limitations and potential for agriculture and agricultural infrastructure. As a Resource Soil Scientist he worked with teams of conservationists, agronomists, ecologists, and engineers to develop conservation plans for farms and evaluate, design, and install conservation practices. With his 35 years of government experience he has extensive knowledge on how to navigate and apply for federal and state programs that can benefit farmers, as well as the regulatory issues such as inland wetlands and water quality. He managed the USDA NRCS Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program and has worked extensively with state agencies, municipalities, and land trusts on farmland protection. Kip has been a major contributor to statewide efforts to increase farmer access to land, develop farm friendly municipalities, and promote locally grown and produced food. Kip speaks and teaches extensively statewide and nationally on soil quality, soils and land-use planning, wetlands, farmland protection, and the rental and leasing of farmland.