Since the 1970s, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Shasta and Lassen counties, Dan Marcum, has been working alongside farmers - particularly the risk-takers and early adopters - to test new crops and pest controls, according to a feature in the Redding Record-Searchlight.
He won their trust, the story said, with his practical knowledge of farming and work ethic.
"Dan works harder than most of the farmers in his area," the story quoted fourth generation Fall River grower Travis Corder.
Over the years, Marcum has undertaken myriad efforts to help the region's farmers diversify their crops, wrote reporter Tim Holt. For example:
- He took farmers on a field trip to the University of Minnesota to learn how to grow short-season wild rice
- He led a field trip to Central Oregon to look into the possibility of growing peppermint
- He has worked closely with farmers to develop economically viable organic pest control methods
- He is experimenting with cold-weather winegrape varieties that can be planted successfully by smaller growers for personal use and possibly to sell to wineries
"Crop diversity is like diversifying your stock portfolio. It helps growers survive the ups and downs of wholesale prices for any one crop," Marcum was quoted.