- Author: Elizabeth J Fichtner
Annual trade shows such as the California Tree Nut Conference, the Tree and Vine Expo, and the California Walnut Conference attract hundreds of growers to centralized locations in the Central Valley. The educational content at these conferences, including presentations and oversight of panel discussions, is contributed by UC ANR academics with wide-ranging research expertise. The value of this partnership is underscored by the unbiased role of UC scientists in the research arena, particularly at venues designed primarily as marketing events. These trade show events generally engage over 1000 growers per event, allowing UC-generated information to reach greater numbers of contacts than that of our local meetings or newsletter publications. The added benefit is that the costs of the venue and associated luncheon are covered by the corporate sponsors presenting their products in the trade areas.
The farm advisor community similarly capitalizes on the high subscriber numbers of serial publications to extend written extension materials to our clientele base through the state. PNP, established in 1995, reaches nearly 10,000 subscribers and has relied on the UC ANR farm advisor community for relevant, science-based editorial content. For example, Brent Holtz, PhD, UC ANR has authored the monthly Almond Tasks editorial for 15 years. The promulgation of information is heightened by both the circulation volume and the availability of an online archive of articles.
The rich editorial provided by trade magazines includes articles written by UC academics and associated collaborators, as well as articles composed by journalists based upon the work or presentations conducted by UC academics. Subscribers should always take note of article authorship in trade magazines. Articles written by journalists are not proofread or edited by the UC research community; consequently, small errors may be unintentionally propagated in the trade literature. In the past decade, the demand for editorial on nut crops has increased so dramatically that the research community cannot meet the demand. Consequently, trade magazines have had to rely on technical articles composed by freelance journalists. Researchers appreciate the work of the ag- journalism community and do their best to provide information, quotes, and figures for such articles. Regardless, there should be a distinction between articles written by the research and extension community and those authored by our peers within the journalist community.
The written and spoken content presented for industry functions may vary considerably from the content farm advisors print or post in UC forums, such as UC newsletters and grower meetings. Trade shows are funded by marketing; therefore, research that demonstrates a lack of product efficacy (or perhaps even a product detriment to a crop or commodity) will not be welcome at trade shows. As a result, certain topics may be excluded from the agendas at trade events. Similarly, higher emphasis may be placed on agenda items qualifying for continuing education credits than on horticultural practices or techniques. Rest assured, UC ANR academics continue to provide third party, unbiased extension materials by maintaining UC-sponsored meetings for growers and publishing our newsletter editorials both in print and online. UC extension resources include our website, UCCE San Joaquin Valley Trees and Vines (https://www.sjvtandv.com/about-the-authors), individual farm advisor websites and blogs, and as well as the UCCE Growing the Valley podcast (https://www.growingthevalleypodcast.com/).