Pine Island Cranberry is hiring! We are looking for a foreman for our Integrated Crop Management (ICM) program, which is how we manage the big picture: the relationship between water, soils, weather, disease, insects, weeds, and nutrition. Interested applicants would be working with some of the best people in the business!
“The way that the cranberry industry is changing and becoming more complicated, we need more talent,” explains COO Bryan vonHahmann. “That means we have to develop the people we already have, as well as hiring more people to increase our strength. We’re looking for a foreman who can join a progressive team with opportunities for advancement, and as Pine Island grows and adapts, so will that individual. The most important thing we do here is grow cranberries, and that’s what the position’s about: growing more healthy fruit per acre at the best cost.”
“We’re looking for a person to fill two important roles under the crop management umbrella,” says Mike Haines, a fifth-generation grower and son of CEO Bill Haines. “One is new production, so he or she would be working with Matt Stiles as he takes on more responsibilities. Matt has a lot to do; we plant more and more every year, so there’s a lot of acreage to be looking after. We’re going to need someone to work with him to get things done more quickly so they can move onto the next thing. And if he’s away, or has duties elsewhere, the right person can step in for him.”
The other aspect of the job is scouting, which is currently done primarily by Vanessa deJesus. “Vanessa has, by far, has the most knowledge of anyone on the place about where to expect insect problems,” Mike says. “She has the general knowledge of the various species and their life cycles, but what makes her so good is that she also uses the knowledge to predict possible infestations in specific locations. Right now, her backup consists of people who already have a lot to do, like me or Matt or Jeremy. But when she’s at her most busy, so are we, so she really needs someone who can help with that.”
Our new ICM foreman will also have a lot of resources to draw from! Our team works very closely with the researchers at the Rutgers Marucci Center on many aspects of crop management, and Mike is particularly enthused about their hybrid program. “We’re planting so many of the hybrids from Rutgers these past couple of years and into the foreseeable future,” he says. “Right now we’re looking at our first substantial planting of the Haines variety, and we’re curious to see how that does. And who knows what the future holds, especially now that Rutgers seems to be gearing up to release more varieties?”
“People want to share their knowledge and they want you to succeed, because the knowledge benefits everyone,” Mike says. “This is a really good environment for asking questions.” Not only do we want to hear questions, we also really want to hear your ideas. “One of our strengths is that we’re really open to trying new things here,” Mike says. “We don’t just do things because that’s the way they’ve always been done. Stiles only started a couple years ago and we’ve already implemented some of his suggestions. No season is the same as the one before; not just regarding weather–though that’s obviously a big factor–but how we approach things, what equipment we use, how we adjust the fertilizer plan, and so on.” We’re also open to embracing new technology; part of the work Rutgers does here involves tracking certain crop issues via the use of drones.
“Since I’ve been here, we’ve turned up our fertilizer schedule on the young bogs by feeding them more often and mixing different types of fertilizers to best match the soil and drainage of different bogs,” says Matt Stiles. “Additionally, we’ve changed how we water the young bogs, being very careful not to over water them. I’ve also made some changes to how we go about planting which has made us more efficient and allows us to plant more acres in a day.” (If you check our planting tag, you can see how our team has made changes from year to year; it’s been quite interesting!)
Matt loves what he does, and it shows. “It’s nice to always be doing different things and constantly working to improve our crop,” he says. “We’ve been doing a lot of research and have been putting a lot of new ideas into practice which has improved our young bogs greatly. And, as always, it’s a great benefit to be able to work outdoors on such a beautiful property with such a great group of people!”
Click here for an application for the ICM Foreman position!