About Patrick Cavanaugh

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Patrick Cavanaugh has created 1490 blog entries.

Future of Integrated Pest Management

IPM: A Decision Making Process

By Joanne Lui, Associate Editor

Lori Berger is the academic coordinator for the University of California’s statewide Integrated Pest Management program. She spoke with California Ag Today recently about the sustainability of IPM and where it’s heading in the future.

“IPM is part of a sustainable approach to pest management. It’s very holistic. It’s a decision-making process. It incorporates all factors in an environment and in a situation, and it uses all human resources.”

Berger believes that even though IPMs are sustainable, the system might not work as well as it should.

“IPM has been around for 50 years, but our system is somewhat stuck in that we tend to be more reactive than proactive,” she explained. “If there’s an event such as an invasive pest or some … pesticide incident, some huge regulatory change or some legislative pressure, it’s like all of a sudden the system needs to reboot itself. We need to look deeper into the system and be working in a more embedded way across platforms and people.”

Berger told us that instead of looking at things in a linear way, it’s important to look at all the parts and how they relate to each other to find flaws in the system.

“As scientists, we tend to look at things cause and effect. We were looking into optimizing the whole by looking at the parts, but now taking things that are more of a systemic level, we’re trying to looking at the parts and also how they work in relationship to each other. That’s to where we can realize some of our biggest gains that there’s not as much at stake, or there’s less risk for all parties, and people are more aware of what’s going on.”

2021-05-12T11:01:58-07:00November 28th, 2017|

Bayer’s “Grow On” Tool Pinpoints Sustainable Farming

Program Segmented for Different Crops

By Joanne Lui, Associate Editor

Nevada Smith of Sacramento is a marketing manager for Bayer Crop Science’s Western Region. California Ag Today recently spoke with him about Grow On, a tool that farmers can use to identify, apply, and communicate sustainable farm practices.

“It’s a tool to help growers really think about how they approach the marketplace and how they communicate the message around sustainability. We think it’s a critical aspect for not only … their success but our success,” Smith explained. “But there’s many things they’re not really identifying that they do every day from a common standpoint that they need to promote themselves. What we’ve really done in the next step which we felt was missing was really going after each crop segment. In the Grow On campaign, we have a citrus segment, a tree nut segment, a grape segment, and several other ones. “

Segmenting the program can help target specific aspects of each type of crop.

“You can really understand what aspects might provide you from a labor point of view that really affects grapes and … performance,” Smith said. “If I’m a citrus guy, what am I doing about bees? These are different components, so you don’t really overlap. We’re really trying to ground into each crop.”

The idea behind Grow On is to give farmers the tools to be advocates for farming and sustainable agriculture.

“Bayer’s producing this before the marketplaces, which I really don’t understand, and let them be their own conduits,” Smith said. “We’ve talked about advocacy. We’ve talked about what growers are doing each day to solve their own problems to keep themselves sustainable, but now’s an opportunity to take these little aspects in six different buckets here and really understand how they can talk the story themselves.”

“We look at the big picture, and what we’re trying to do is provide solutions to what Bayer’s providing. They’ll begin to see other things that their doing themselves. They can organize themselves in thought and provide those tools to whoever’s buying their commodity and crop and also to that persons who’s asking them why do you farm? How are you helping the environment through your practices? This is the platform for them to do that.”

For more information about Grow On, visit cropscience.bayer.us.

2017-11-16T21:27:40-08:00November 16th, 2017|

Agricultural Guestworker Act Won’t Help California

Proposed Legislation Long Way from What State Needs

By Joanne Lui, Associate Editor

Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s Agricultural Guestworker Act is moving forward for the full Ag Committee to consider it, but according to Paul Wenger, President of the California Farm Bureau Federation, it’s a long way from what California needs.

“They did something with the H2C proposal. It’s a long, long, long ways from what we need here in California. We’ve been very clear on that … with Kevin McCarthy’s office, being the leader of the Republicans and really our key architect for all things that go through the Legislature, and so we’re in constant contact with Congressman McCarthy,” Wenger said.

The ag leaders in California are pretty astounded that Congress is doing anything about labor.

“We’re glad we finally got something to discuss, but there’s a long ways to go,” Wenger explained. “As it’s written, as it came through the subcommittee, there’s really nothing there that would work for our employees here in California and give us the kind of flexibility that we need, but we need a vehicle to start the discussion. … Talking to Congressman [David] Valadao’s office, Jeff Denham and others on the Republican side because it’s really got to be led by the Republicans.”

“We  now need a lot more that will allow for some portability of our workforce, in order to get legal documentation for those folks that don’t have good documentation that are already here in our state working without touchback, because we know folks aren’t going to go back and stand in line for 20 years waiting for some kind of a work authorization.”


2017-11-07T21:47:30-08:00November 7th, 2017|

Hundreds of Studies Point to Glyphosate Being Safe

Herbicide is Non-Toxic if Used Correctly, Expert Says

By Joanne Lui, Associate Editor

Glyphosate herbicide, produced under the well-known brand of Roundup, or any of its generic labels, has been studied around the world with absolutely no findings showing it to be toxic if used correctly. California Ag Today recently interviewed Liza Dunn, an emergency medical doctor, and also a medical toxicologist on the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis, about the herbicide. She’s been working with Monsanto for about a year.

Monsanto has done lots and lots of studies, and not only Monsanto, but there are six full data packages that review using very, very, very intensive laboratory and epidemiologic techniques to look and see if something is actually causing a problem,” Dunn said.

But according to media reports, glyphosate does cause big problems.

“We have never found any problem with any health claim with glyphosate, and this is both independent researchers and researchers who are based with industry, so when you look at the evidence objectively, there is no health claim that has ever been demonstrated with glyphosate. If you use it as directed, it is incredibly, virtually non-toxic,” Dunn explained.

According to Dunn, that’s been proven by more than 100 toxicology studies.

“There are different levels that you have to study when you’re bringing your product to market, so different things that you have to look at. We have produced multiple, multiple studies, way in excess of what regulatory agencies have required, in order to demonstrate the safety and virtual non-toxicity of our product,” Dunn said.


2021-05-12T11:05:15-07:00November 1st, 2017|

Bayer Launching CoLaborator Space in Sacramento

Biotech Startup Lab to Serve as Incubator

By Joanne Lui, Associate Editor

Bayer Crop Sciences Biologics Group in West Sacramento is Bayer’s global headquarters for microbial base crop protection products. The company recently announced that a new biotech startup lab space known as the Crop Science CoLaborator is available in 3,000 square feet within the West Sacramento facility. Jon Margolis, head of research technologies for Bayer Biologics, recently spoke to California Ag Today about the project

Jon Margolis

“This is a part of the original building as we built it out,” Margolis said. “We set aside about 3,000 square feet in the back to be dedicated to this incubator space, and now we’ve just finished the construction.”

The lab space is scheduled to become available in December.

“It’s part of kind of a larger strategy for Bayer,” Margolis said. “So we have actually now three of these so-called CoLaborator spaces. So there’s one in Mission Bay associated with UCSS in San Francisco. There’s another one in Berlin, and then this is the latest. But this is the first one for Bayer that’s dedicated to agriculture and food research.”

We asked Margolis what the meaning is behind the CoLaborator.

“It’s really based around the idea that for start-up companies, there’s a clear benefit of being associated and nearby to Bayer, not so much for the facilities as much as the opportunities to be able to talk to and interact with us,” Margolis explained. “From our side, it’s a great thing because it gives us kind of a reason or an opportunity to be talking to start-ups in this space who might be interested in renting this.”

Bayer is already starting to solicit for tenants for the space.

“It’ll be a combination of office and then fully modern, what we call, wet lab or biochemistry and cell biology kind of labs, which would be able to host up to three different companies,” Margolis said. “So typically, these early stage start-up companies are comprised one to three people, and what they’re really trying to do is get the initial proof of concept to really show that their idea, their technology works, to then be able to go out to investors and get the next round of funding. So this is kind of in that sweet spot because there’s not a lot of that space in the local area.”

2021-05-12T11:05:15-07:00September 26th, 2017|

Washington Post Writer Sees Ag Issues with RAISE Act

Disconnect Exists with Urban Politicians, Ruben Navarrette says

By Joanne Lui, Associate Editor

Ruben Navarrette grew up in the Central Valley and is a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group. California Ag Today caught up with him recently at an event in Fresno called the The Latino Paradox: Immigration Forum. He spoke about the RAISE Act S.354, which severely limits immigration into the U.S. because it would be based on education and skills.

Ruben Navarrette

“There’s this disconnect in Washington and New York … mostly urban areas where politicians don’t think much about agriculture, agribusiness,” Navarrette said. “They have no clue about where this fruit is coming from when they walk down the street in New York and they see an orange. They don’t understand how dangerous something like the RAISE Act would be if you ultimately limit the amount of people who come here based on education and skills.”

The RAISE Act will limit immigration from Latin American countries. Meanwhile, U.S.-born citizens don’t go out to work in the fields.

“I think there’s a lot of people who wrongly believe that American workers will do those jobs if the wages are high enough, and the way they tell the story [is] to make the agribusiness and the farmers into the bad guy,” Navarrette said. “If you know enough farmers and you go out into enough fields and you interview enough farmers and enough workers, you know that’s completely false. Farmers could be in business for 30 years and never in 30 years have they ever had an American come to them and say, ‘Can I pick peaches?’ ”

With the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act (DACA), if dreamers are sent back, there are questions about what may happen with their parents.

“If they go back, the parents may ultimately self-deport as well and that’s going to be disruptive,” Navarrette said. “Clearly it’s a mistake for us to believe that sort of agriculture and DACA, they’re all separate from each other. The issues are all intertwined. When a farm worker is working in a field, he cares about whether the local police have the authority to detain him, if he’s pulled over. He cares because he has kids who are in the DACA Program, so farming isn’t necessarily segregated. The farm workers are piped into all these different issues.”


2017-09-22T16:02:29-07:00September 22nd, 2017|

Letter in Support of Temperance Flat Dam

California Building Industry Association Supports Temperance Flat Dam Project

Many letters are flowing to the California Water Commission in support of Temperance Flat. Here is just one of them!



Mr. Armando Quintero


California Water Commission

P.O. Box 942836 Sacramento, CA 94236-0001


Re: Support for Temperance Flat Reservoir

Dear Chairman Quintero:

The California Building Industry Association (CBIA) is a statewide trade association that proudly represents 3,000 members, ranging from homebuilders and trade contractors to suppliers and industry professionals. CBIA member-companies are responsible for over 90% of the privately financed and privately constructed new homes built in California each year. As such, we take great interest in the Water Commission’s Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP) and its process for allocating Proposition 1 funds for projects to improve the statewide water system. CBIA has historically been a strong supporter of efforts to increase water supply – our organization was a key stakeholder in the water bond negotiations in 2009 through the successful Proposition 1 bond on the ballot.

Given our longstanding interest in California’s water system, we wish to express our support for the Temperance Flat Dam and Reservoir Project given its ability to provide essential water storage for the state of California. As one of the projects identified in the 2000 CALFED Record of Decision, the project would provide up to 1.26 million acre-feet of vital water storage, thereby improving water supply and the flexibility needed to manage California’s precious water resources.

An increase in water supply is particularly important given the state’s current and projected housing crisis. Housing supply is not keeping up with demand nor has it in several decades. The current backlog of housing is estimated at two million homes needed. Additionally, to keep pace with growth, the state needs at least 180,000 new units per year through 2025. With low supply and skyrocketing costs, it is not surprising that California’s overall homeownership rate is at its lowest level since the 1940’s. The State ranks 49 out of the 50 states in homeownership rates as well as in the supply of housing units per capita.

One critical component for addressing California’s housing needs is there must be an adequate and reliable source of water. While today’s homebuilders employ the newest and most effective water efficiency technology, new housing projects cannot be approved and built without identifying water supply. Temperance Flat would help provide that reliability so that our members can move forward on much needed housing projects throughout the state.

We strongly support this project, as it would help ensure that California has the ability to sustain its growing water needs by enhancing deplenished water resources and providing the necessary flexibility in the system to manage those resources. We look forward to working with the California Water Commission and the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority to advance this important project.


Erin Guerrero

Vice President of Legislative Affairs


Many other letters are coming in for support. Here is who to contact, by e-mail or U.S. mail, with your comments attention to:

California Water Commissioners and Executive Director

California Water Commission

P.O. Box 942836

Sacramento, California 94236-0001


Mr. Joe Yun, Executive Director

California Water Commission

P.O. Box 942836

Sacramento, California 94236-0001


2017-08-01T23:19:49-07:00August 1st, 2017|

Almond Growers Conserve Water – Part 2

The Value of the California Almond Industry – Part 2

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

The California almond industry is doing very well as a leading crop desired by consumers around the world, and growers are doing a tremendous job in growing the crop efficiently. This is Part 2 of a multipart series on the value of the California almond industry.

Buddy Ketchner runs a consulting firm called Brand K Strategies, and he works closely with the almond industry. He said that a cornerstone of industry is the fact that about 78 percent of the almond growers farm almonds under drip or micro sprinklers.

“That’s why we have the fact now that we’re using 33 percent less water than we were 20 years ago. I think that investment and that commitment to continual innovation is one of the reasons the industry’s done well. Now, all food takes resources, all food takes water, all food takes energy to grow,” Ketchner said. “I think what the almond industry has done well, and needs to continue doing, is to make sure that we’re doing it in the most effective, the most efficient, the most productive way. Not just for our growers but for the Earth and for the planet, which is what they do.”

The almond industry is committed in saving even more water over the coming years. There is a solid trend going on in the food industry that’s known as plant protein.

“I think one of the things we talk a lot about is the rise of the plants. The notion is that as populations increased, that as the middle classes increased globally, there’s a sense that we need to have protein that comes from plants as well as animals. So, people choose plant-based proteins for a number of different reasons,” Ketchner explained.

“For some of them, it’s because of the environmental story; they believe it’s more sustainable. For some people, it’s a health story; they just think it’s healthier or lighter, or it has some contribution to health that makes it a better choice for them than animal protein,” he said.

“For some people, it’s cost. There are a lot of reasons people pick plant-based protein. And how people are choosing to get their protein. I don’t remember what the latest statistic is. I think it’s like eight percent of the population is vegetarian, but 33 percent of the population regularly chooses vegetarian and plant-based protein options. It’s just how they want to balance their diet,” Ketchner said.

“I just want to make sure I’m clear: All food is good. I think animal protein is great, and plant-based protein is great. Consumers are looking for a balance in their diet, and so lots of reasons why that’s grown, but almonds are certainly part of that trend,” he said.

2017-07-26T17:36:10-07:00July 26th, 2017|

Almonds Nearly Perfect Food (Part 1)

The Value of the California Almond Industry

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

The California almond industry is doing very well as a leading crop desired by consumers around the world. That’s according to many people in the industry, but one person who knows even more is Buddy Ketchner who runs a consulting firm called Brand K Strategies working with food companies and industries to help them navigate the changing food world at a strategic level. He’s based in Boulder, CO, but he is heavily involved in the California almond industry.

“I think the almond industry is one of the great success stories in American agriculture. And I think it’s living in a place now where people connect to almonds for so many different reasons, for the health, because it’s from nature, it’s unprocessed, it’s convenient, it’s portable. Almonds are almost the perfect food for what people are looking for today,” Ketchner said.

Buddy Ketchner

“And I think over the last 20 years of work, establishing that trust with consumers and with customers on what almonds, not only what they are, but what they stand for, has put us in a really great place,” he said.

And Ketchner says when people make food choices, they’re thinking beyond just what they’re buying. “Part of what they’re doing is they’re signaling what’s important to them, and I think almonds align with people’s values in a lot of ways.

“Over the last few years, we’ve come under some scrutiny because of water usage and other things, and I think those issues are important,” he said. “And I think one of the things we have to do in the industry is make sure that we’re always telling our story and lathering up our story and balancing our stories. Not only on why almonds are good for you, but why almonds are good. And I think that’s really important for us.”

“And ultimately building demand and continuing to grow this industry is about something bigger than just marketing; it’s about telling our story as an industry, not only what we grow, but how we grow it and why we grow it,” he said.

Ketchner explained that one of the cornerstones of the industry’s success has been the investment in research where it’s applied into practice.

“When you have an industry where 76 to 78% of the industry is using some form of drip irrigation or micro sprinklers, but in more sustainable irrigation techniques, that is so far above most industries, almost any other industry,” he said.

And so investing in the research, investing in the technology and then applying it in the field has really mattered.

2017-07-25T16:16:23-07:00July 25th, 2017|

Central Valley Grapes in Demand for Rosé Blends

Rosé Blends Growing in Popularity

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Rosé blends are popular again, according to Nat DiBuduo, president of Allied Grape Growers, a California wine grape marketing cooperative with nearly 600 grower members located from major wine grape regions in California.

The Fresno based association exists for the purpose of efficient and competitive marketing of its members’ grapes as well as offering marketing services for non-members.

Recently, they had their 66th annual grower meeting in Fresno. DiBuduo said there’s some activity from the Central Coast and North Coast wineries sourcing out grapes in the Central Valley.

Nat DiBuduo

“They are looking for quality grapes that they can blend into their different programs. We are getting interest on good Cabernet, Barbera and Grenache in order to make rosé wine,” DiBuduo said. “This is something we hadn’t seen in a long time. Rosés seem to be the buzz all of sudden.”

Evidence has shown that millennials are reaching for rosé blends.

Another popular wine from the Central Valley is moscato, made from Muscat Alexander grapes.

“Moscato is very interesting. Last year, we had more Muscat Alexander than we knew what to do with. This year, we don’t have enough Muscat Alexander. I’ve already sold probably the excess 3000 to 4000 tons that I had and just yesterday got a phone call for another 1000 tons, so yeah, I don’t have enough Muscat Alexander, where last year we were in excess,” DiBuduo said.

We asked DiBuduo the reason for that shortage this year. “I think the heat has caused a crop shortage, you know it’s a caused a weakness in the crop,” DiBuduo explained.


2017-07-21T16:45:23-07:00July 21st, 2017|
Go to Top