New podcast offers advice to California farmers

Phoebe Gordon and Luke Milliron, UCCE orchard systems advisors in California's Central Valley, have begun a podcast to help the region's farmers.

Two enterprising farm advisors with the University of California’s cooperative extension have begun a podcast that will focus on tree crops and other produce grown in the Central Valley.

Called “Growing the Valley,” the podcast will have a new episode every two weeks, with each episode focused on news growers can use, such as managing specific pests, irrigation techniques, alerts about what to watch out for, and what tasks to take care of at particular times of the year.

It’s the brainchild of Phoebe Gordon and Luke Milliron, both UCCE orchard systems advisors in the Central Valley, who wanted a good additional way to connect with growers and industry professionals, outside their regular work.

“People learn in different ways, and a podcast is portable, can be listened to while driving, and can be listened to multiple times, unlike a field day talk,” Gordon said. “Many of us in the ag world spend a lot of time in our trucks and it’s a great time to learn new things.”

UCCE has several widely read blogs by farm advisors, and specific websites focused on integrated pest management (, fruits and nuts (, and weed management ( The podcast will be a new tool for outreach.

It will cover their own specialty areas, tree crops such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts, figs, prunes and cling peaches. It will also focus on other crops grown in the valley and elsewhere in the state.

“It would be fun to do episodes on other crops since we have some specialty industries scattered through the state, but I think we both want to make sure we keep focused on the people we serve,” Milliron said.

The podcast will feature brief research reports and timely topical information from the hosts, plus interviews with other UCCE farm advisors, specialists and professors, as well as researchers from the USDA, other universities and industry representatives. It is aimed at current and future farmers, pest control advisers, industry representatives and the public.

The first full-length episode is a segment with a weed advisor on herbicide resistant weeds that are a concern for orchards. Gordon is working on an irrigation series, and Milliron is working on a pest series. Future episodes will focus on winter chill, pre-plant fumigation and frost protection.

“Since we will be posting episodes fairly frequently, we will have the ability to remind growers about important tasks, such as navel orangeworm sprays during hull split, or starting their winter sanitation program,” Gordon said.

Begun in June, the podcast has already received a positive response, with a few hundred listeners tuning in. It’s available for free on the website, and via Apple iTunes and Google Play Music.


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