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A focus on chemical-free pest management, once centered at UC’s famed Division of Biological Control, spawned a cadre of independent advisors on California’s farms, most of whom are now retired. Pete Goodell PhD, UC Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist and former president of the Association of Applied Insect Ecologists, recently ended a 35-year career in the field. “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey and Pete Goodell discuss the present state and future of pest management under a new generation of practitioners.
A featured reward of “self-independent” farmers is durable associations made with fellow cultivators. Just out of high school, Easton farmer Kenny Lucero soon mastered the rare art of growing Japanese eggplant. He also loved greenhouse work, making T&D Willey Farm’s annual vegetable transplants over three decades. Plant management skill ushered Kenny into his second career as a table grape grower. Join “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey in conversation with Kenny Lucero.
Madera’s Daulton Ranch, once encompassing 17,000 acres, hearkens to California’s Gold Rush era. On half that spread, neighbor Clay Daulton today grazes his own breeding stock, Yosemite’s mules and horses, and overwintering cattle from the Pacific Northwest. This significant agricultural enterprise has never relied on irrigation over its 170 years of operation, thriving on natural rainfall. “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey and Clay Daulton engage in a resource management conversation focused on Madera’s past and present.
“Biostimulant” joins the lexicon of crop fertility inputs as we begin to appreciate complex interplays between plants and soil microbes in delivering nutrition. How do biostimulants differ from familiar N-P-K fertilizers, do they work, or just more “snake oil” to pick a farmer’s pocket? Join “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey in conversation with pioneering agronomist Peter Aleman, owner of Bio-Gro Inc., Mabton, WA.
Author Liz Carlisle revisits our “Down on the Farm” front porch to discuss her just-published Healing Grounds: Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming. Liz argues that climate change demands not just playing number games with soil carbon but reembracing ancestral relationships with the land. One connection to such tradition is environmental scientist Aidee Guzman, whose research on San Joaquin Valley immigrant farmers’ soils and cropping systems features in the book. They join host Tom Willey in conversation.