First Friday of the month at 5p.m.
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Raised on a Santa Cruz County apple orchard that great-grandfather Bella planted around 1900, Gina Colfer’s passion for agriculture burns unabated. Agronomist Colfer’s career witnessed Central Coast organic vegetables scale-up from hundred-acre farms to operations of thousands. “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey and Gina discuss what industrial-scale organic operations do well, and where they fall short of the biological systems management Colfer advocates at agribusiness supplier Wilbur-Ellis.
Matt Angell fixes ailing wells for a living. His Madera Pump Co. chases a plunging water table to depths of a thousand feet trying to keep desperate farmers’ orchards and vineyards alive. Matt warns that end days are near if agriculture doesn’t drastically mend its ways. Is anybody listening? Join Matt Angell and “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey in conversation.
Monte Bottens, a Central Illinois generational family farmer, is throwing off industrial corn and soybean shackles to reembrace self-independent crop and animal diversity common to his recent ancestors. During a stint selling tractors in our San Joaquin Valley, Monte imagined that farmers hereabouts might benefit from some midwestern regenerative knowhow. Join farmer Bottens and “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey to learn how he’s doing just that.
Gerald Haslam’s pen came to final rest this April 13th. Over a fifty-year career, he wrote deeply authentic stories depicting California’s Central Valley, its diversity of people, places, and rural culture. He excelled at yarns from his South Valley Okie and oil patch upbringing. “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey and Tulare County agrarian advocate Trudy Wischemann celebrate the life and times, most certainly the words of a singular Valley author.
As our San Joaquin Valley confronts its first drought under Sustainable Groundwater Management Act rules, just pulling harder on deep wells isn’t an option anymore. UC Merced watershed scientist Joshua Viers encores on “Down on the Farm” to critique proposed infrastructure techno-fixes vs. reimagining an agriculture that will reap more value from less production. Several collaborative skunkworks grapple with action plans but could consensus ever emerge? Join “Down on the Farm” host Tom Willey and watershed scientist Joshua Viers in conversation.