Small and Organic Farm Advisor
University of California
Small and Organic Farm Advisor

Organic Agriculture Seminar Series for Growers

Agenda and Recordings

(Scroll down for presentation recordings and summaries)

January 26 - May 4

Tuesdays, 12 - 1 PM via Zoom

Please join us for a weekly lunch time seminar. We’ll be joined by a guest each week for a 30 minute presentation then open up the conversation for questions from the listeners. 

Zoom info will be the same each week.

 Meeting link:

 January 26

Evaluating biochar for use in California agriculture
Dan Gelardi, PhD Candidate, UC Davis Soils & Biogeochemistry Graduate Group
February 2
Thrips, aphids, seed corn maggot and more: Managing insect pests in organic fields and vegetable production
Rachael Long, UC ANR Farm Advisor, Interim Director for Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento Counties
February 9
Plant Defense Mechanisms Part 1: Induced disease resistance and plant activators
Richard Bostock, Distinguished Professor, UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology
February 16
Plant Defense Mechanisms Part 2: How soil microbes defend plants from insect pests
Amelie Gaudin, Professor of Agroecology, UC Davis
February 23
Post Harvest: The ABCs of keeping produce fresh and nutritious
Beth Mitcham, Director, Postharvest Technology Center and Cooperative Extension Specialist
March 2
Spring nutrient management in organic orchards
Katherine Jarvis-Shean, UC Cooperative Extension Orchard Systems Advisor for Sacramento-Solano-Yolo
March 9
Asking the plant to tell you when it needs water
Ken "Dr. H2O" Shackel, UC Davis Professor of Pomology
March 16

Spots and stripes two bandits of the west! Ecology and a new aggregation pheromone of cucumber beetles. 

Jasmin Ramirez Bonilla and Ian Grettenberger, Grettenberger Lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology
March 23
Role and Assembly of microorganisms on leaves--Managing the plant microbiome
Steve Lindow, UC Berkeley Professor of Plant Pathology
April 6
How are organic fertilizers effecting the soil microbe and what does that mean for your soil health?
Cristina Lazcano, Assistant Professor, Soil Ecology and Plant Nutrition
May 4
The birds and bees where the field ends - and their plant friends
Corey Shake, Senior Partner Biologist, Point Blue Conservation Science

Meeting ID: 955 0709 0502

Passcode: 593028

One tap mobile

+16699006833,,95507090502# US (San Jose)

+12532158782,,95507090502# US (Tacoma)

 **If you would like the zoom link and info to automatically appear in your calendar, please download the following link. We will be using the same link each week.






Bagrada Bug Community Forum

Andrew Brait, Full Belly Farm

Paul Underhill, Terra Firma


Bagrada bug is an emerging invasive stink bug pest in California, which preferentially feeds on plants in the mustard family (i.e. broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage).  It is a sucking insect and can cause severe yield losses, especially when it attacks young plants. On January 12, 2021 UCCE hosted a forum for Yolo, Sacramento, and Solano county organic growers to discuss their experiences with fighting bagrada bug. Paul Underhill and Andrew Brait led the discussion.

Bagrada Summary Article





Evaluating Biochar for Use in California Agriculture

Dani Gelardi, UC Davis

Jan 26, 2021

Biochar is often described as a silver bullet for increasing agricultural production while decreasing environmental impact. Due to its unique properties, biochar has the potential to address many pressing agricultural challenges, including fertilizer pollution, yield decline, vulnerability of soils to drought, depleted soil carbon stocks, waste management, and dependence on fossil fuels. Despite increased interest and investigation, there remain many questions about whether or not biochar can address these issues. In this 30-minute talk, Dani Gelardi will cover the basics of biochar: What is it? How is it made? What can it do? She will then review recent research from the UC Davis Environmental Chemistry Lab to illustrate how the basics may or may not apply to agricultural systems in California.

Biochar Seminar Summary

Presentation Recording

Screen Shot 2021-02-03 at 10.56.27 AM
Insect Pest Management in
Organic Field and Vegetable Crop Production
Rachael Long, UCCE
Feb 2, 2021

This talk will focus on managing insect pests in organic field and vegetable crop production, including thrips, aphids, stink bugs, seed corn maggot, and more. Discussion will include the importance of good agronomic practices, healthy soils, and biodiversity practices that favor natural enemies, for enhanced pest control on farms.

Seminar Summary

Presentation Recording

Indusced resistance
Plant Defense Mechanisms Part 1:
Induced Disease Resistance and Plant Activators
Rick Bostock, UC Davis
Feb 9, 2021
Rick’s talk will briefly explain induced disease resistance in plants and how plant “immune” systems are activated, provide examples of plant activators that trigger this immunity, and discuss benefits and limitations of using induced resistance in production systems.

Plant Defense Mechanisms Part 2:
How Soil Microbes Defend Plants from Insect Pests
Amelie Gaudin, UC Davis
Feb 16, 2021
Reduced insect pest populations found on long-term organic farms have mostly been attributed to increased biodiversity and abundance of beneficial predators. However, the role of plant resistance has largely been ignored. Professor Amélie Gaudin will share an example of organic management promoting pest control through greater plant resistance to insects across organic farms in Yolo county and the important role of soil health and the soil microbiome in mediating these effects.
Dr. Gaudin's Publication:

post harvest
The ABCs of Keeping Produce Fresh and
Nutritious after Harvest
Beth Mitcham
Feb 23, 2021
UC Cooperative Extension Specialist for Postharvest and Director of the Postharvest Technology Center at UC Davis
Dr. Mitcham’s talk will review how to determine the best time to harvest your vegetable crop. She will also discuss recommended practices to maintain quality after harvest including cooling and packaging.
Presentation Recording
Kat 2
Nutrient Management Planning for Orchards

Katherine Jarvis-Shean
March 2, 2021
UCCE Orchard Systems Advisor for Yolo, Solano, Sacramento Counties
Join Dr. Katherine Jarvis-Shean as she discusses nitrogen, potassium and micronutrient needs and considerations in fruit orchards, primarily stone fruit, in our Yolo-Solano Counties context.
Presentation Recording
Shackel_0226.06b cropped, resized
Asking the Plant to Tell You When It Needs Water

Ken Shackel
March 9, 2021
Professor of Pomology at UC Davis
When plants are thirsty they typically respond by using less water and being less productive. However, depending on the crop and the timing of the stress, this response may have beneficial economic or horticultural side effects. This talk will explain how water stress is measured, and will show some examples of how these measurements have resulted in more optimal irrigation management.

Plant Water Needs Seminar Summary

Presentation Recording


Spots and stripes: two bandits of the west!

Ecology and a new aggregation pheromone of cucumber beetles


Jasmin Ramirez Bonilla

UC Davis Department of Entomology

March 16 , 2021

This talk will cover the biology, ecology, and a new aggregation pheromone for the western striped cucumber beetle and western spotted cucumber beetles. Both species are considered key pests of fresh-market melons in Northern CA.

Cucumber Beetles Leaflet

Presentation Recording



Managing the leaf microbiome for crop health and productivity

Steve Lindow

Professor of Ecology UC Berkeley

March 23, 2021

Some microorganisms live in high numbers on the leaves of all plants.  These microbes, called epiphytes, play important roles in plant health and productivity - both by causing disease, but also by inhibiting  disease. Professor Lindow will talk about the nature of the leaf surface and focus on the processes by which these epiphytes immigrate to newly developing plants from other plants nearby. His talk will also address the large effect of agro-ecological practices on plant microbiology, such as the role of cover crops and the local diversity and abundance of nearby vegetation on establishing beneficial microbes on crop plants.


Presentation Recording


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