Jim Cronk is a farm boy at heart. His grandmother owned a large farm in Des Moines, Iowa, where she grew corn and raised livestock and Jim’s mother had a green thumb. Turns out that love of farming the land has filtered down through the generations to him. For seven years Jim was employed in the landscaping business. There he built a solid foundation that provided him with the expertise to grow and maintain a variety of perennials, annual flowers, shrubs and trees and to understand factors needed for healthy growth (soil, nutrients, etc.). This background also provided a launching point for working at the University of Massachusetts Cold Spring Orchard (CSO) in Belchertown.
In 2010, Jim Cronk began his employment as a technician at CSO. For the next 10 years, he could be found working closely with extension staff, researchers and fruit growers throughout the state, gaining valuable education and experience. Jim predominately managed the orchard sales program while also maintaining farm equipment, supervising the sweet cider program and performing myriad farm tasks connected with operating and maintaining a commercial orchard.
In March 2021, he transferred to the South Deerfield agronomy farm as assistant to the farm superintendent becoming part of the farm facilities team where he performs farm duties similar to his orchard tasks. Jim is focused on the facilitation of research, extension and graduate student plots while also assisting with hay production and managing the Belted Galloway herd.
Since his arrival at the agronomy farm, he has prepared fields for planting crops and has learned a considerable amount pertaining to crop production and the care and wellbeing of livestock. Jim enjoys his work with research, various projects and facilitating the future of the agronomy farm.
He attended the University of New Hampshire in 1995 on a baseball scholarship and finished academic studies at American International Collage in Springfield where he received his B.S. in psychology. He was also given the Henry A. Butova Memorial Award presented to a baseball player who had shown outstanding contributions to A.I.C. baseball on and off the field.
When off-duty, whether riding his motorcycle, playing 18 holes of golf, fishing, swinging a hammer on home projects, cutting firewood, weeding his gardens or cooking dinner, Jim likes to stay busy.