California Citrus Industry Sowing Social Media Seeds?

Western Farm Press. 30 December 2013.  For all the distractions that social media can have in our lives, it has its benefits and advantages. California Citrus Mutual (CCM) is to be applauded for embracing these tools in an effective way.

I recently came across web links to two different YouTube videos featuring CCM officials talking about two totally different issues that impact growers and their consumers.

Several months ago Orange Cove citrus grower Kevin Severns recited, without cue card or teleprompter, some best management practices field workers and growers can use to slow the spread of the Asian citrus psyllid in the San Joaquin Valley. He later elaborated on his ideas with us, which we shared with you.

Severns, who was elected CCM’s chairman earlier this fall, is now featured on a YouTube video that spells out these BMPs for growers and citrus industry workers. The practices he shares are identical to what he shared with us shortly after ag officials discovered a couple small mandarin trees in a Dinuba, Calif., neighborhood that were infested with the Asian citrus psyllid. The discovery was a wake-up call to local citrus growers.

Severns is featured in a related YouTube video that encourages residents to inspect their citrus trees monthly for the psyllid and signs of Huanglongbing.

Discussing a totally different issue, CCM President Joel Nelsen and several California citrus industry representatives are part of another YouTube Video put together by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. The video highlights efforts regulators and agriculture are partnering in to improve air quality in the basin that grows much of America’s food supply.

The San Joaquin Valley is a location known for its rich soil and Mediterranean climate. It is one of only several such zones in the world where climate and soil combine to make a good growing region for many different agricultural commodities. What makes the San Joaquin Valley special in that regard also leads to challenges because of the meteorological aspects of the valley and the millions of people that live work and play in Central California.

The point here isn’t to spell out what’s in the two videos. You can watch them for yourself. The point is to highlight what one agricultural industry is doing to help others understand the issues facing them and the efforts they employ as they partner with state regulators and others to improve air quality in a basin responsible for growing much of the nation’s food supply, including much of America’s fresh-market citrus.

Whether it’s an invasive pest that threatens to decimate California’s iconic citrus industry, or issues related to air quality which impacts millions of Californians living in the Central Valley, the citrus industry is to be praised for its leadership and use of an effective tool to communicate its efforts and successes.