About Us

We are a team of University of California Cooperative Extension pomology farm advisors and research associates in the Sacramento Valley.

Katherine Jarvis-Shean is the Area Orchard Systems Advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo Counties. She covers production research, education and assistance with almonds, prunes and walnuts, and can also field questions on citrus, pistachios, olives and stone fruit. Kat’s research projects include experiments on almond, prune and walnut rootstocks, fertilizer management, and the effects of warmer temperatures on bloom and harvest timing. Kat enjoys hiking in the Sierras with her dog and cooking big Italian dinners for friends and family. To sign up for Katherine’s newsletter for Sacramento, Solano, and Yolo counties, fill out this survey. Follow Katherine on Twitter: @AdvisorKat


Allan Fulton, UC Farm Advisor Emeritus, served in Tehama, Glenn, Colusa, Shasta, and Kings Counties for 32 years.  He has worked in both orchard and field crops focusing on water management tools and practices to achieve consistent and competitive production and efficient use of water and nutrients.  He has also worked to support local efforts to achieve sustainable groundwater management.  In retirement, Allan is helping new UC irrigation scientists establish their field research programs while wrapping up a couple unfinished projects of his own.   He hopes to have more time to spend with family and opportunity to travel.


Janine Hasey is the Tree Crops Farm Advisor Emeritus in Sutter, Yuba, and Colusa counties retiring after 38 years on July 1, 2019. Her focus is on walnuts, cling peaches, and kiwifruit. She served as the Extension County Director in Sutter and Yuba counties from 2014 until her retirement. In 1984, she started the UC Master Gardener program for Sutter and Yuba counties. In retirement, Janine will continue walnut research projects including no pruning/no heading training systems and managing several statewide rootstock trials. Janine is looking forward to more travelling and enjoys hiking, swimming and snorkeling.


Franz Niederholzer

Franz Niederholzer is the UCCE Orchard Systems Advisor in Colusa and Sutter/Yuba Counties.  He is also the Research Coordinator at the Nickels Soil Lab in Arbuckle.  His primary crop responsibilities are almond and prune, with additional support for olive, cherry, plum, pomegranate, apple, citrus and pistachio (Colusa) production.  Current research topics in almonds and prunes include variety and rootstock trials, fertility management, and safe and effective spray application. Use this link to sign up for Franz’s newsletters. Follow Franz on Twitter: @Hwy20Orchardoc


Luke Milliron is the Orchard System Advisor for Butte, Glenn and Tehama Counties. His primary crop responsibilities include walnuts, almonds, prunes and peaches. Research interests include almond, walnut and prune horticulture and irrigation management. Luke enjoys agriculture photography and the obscure sport of curling. Follow Luke on Twitter: @MillironLuke





Richard P. Buchner is the Orchard Crops Farm Advisor Emeritus for Tehama county in Red Bluff. He focuses on walnuts, almonds, and prunes in Tehama, Glenn, and Butte counties. Richard answers questions from California and walnut production regions throughout the world. His experience includes as M.S. degree from UC Davis in 1982 and 35 years as an orchard advisor before his retirement in 2017. His current research activity includes integrated pest management and rootstock evaluations for walnut and prune. In his spare time, Richard enjoys farming red wine grapes and crafting them into wine.



Joe Connell, Farm Advisor Emeritus, served in Butte County for 34 years. His specialty is almonds, olives, citrus and ornamental landscape plants. Work with almond growers included research on pest and disease management, pruning, frost protection, irrigation, new rootstocks and varieties, and timely harvest. Joe was instrumental in establishing the Butte County Master Gardener program and hosted the first Honeybee Tech Transfer Team – part of a nationwide effort to help beekeepers strengthen honeybee colonies for pollination of almonds. He served as Butte County Extension Director from 2011 until his retirement in 2014. In retirement, Joe enjoys ongoing field work, travelling, and spending more time with family and grandchildren.


Clarissa Reyes is the Orchard System Staff Research Associate for Butte, Glenn, and Tehama Counties. She supports Orchard System Advisor Luke Milliron to cover almonds, walnuts, prunes, olives, and pistachios. Her research interests include variety and rootstock selection, and plant-water relations. She enjoys river floating, road trips, and rambunctious dinner parties.


Adela Contreras joined UC ANR in 2022 as a Staff Research Associate and serves the Sacramento Valley with Katherine Jarvis-Shean and Franz Niederholzer across six counties. Among other research projects, she works on prune and walnut rootstock experiments and safe and effective spray application strategies. Adela is a first-generation college student from Salinas, CA, graduating with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Management at UC Davis in 2020. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Agronomy or Soils and Biogeochemistry and inform future grower decisions.  She enjoys kayaking, hiking, visiting family, eating, and adventuring with her dog Oakley.


Former contributors:

Emily Symmes was the Area Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Advisor in Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Tehama, and Yuba-Sutter counties and Co-Associate Director of Agriculture for the UC Statewide IPM Program (ipm.ucanr.edu). Her position with the University was focused on all aspects of pest management in the wide variety of crops grown throughout the Sacramento Valley. Her research projects in almonds and walnuts include mating disruption, improvements to monitoring and treatment thresholds, and phenology models for key pests. You can follow Emily on twitter @SacValleyIPM.


Mariano Galla formerly was an Area Agronomy and Weed Science Advisor for Glenn, Butte and Tehama Counties. His interests include herbicide resistant weed management, herbicide drift and integrated pest management.



Dani Lightle, Orchards Advisor, UC Cooperative ExtensionDani Lightle formerly was the Orchard Systems Advisor in Glenn, Butte and Tehama counties. Dani’s research projects included almond and walnut horticulture, cover crops, and walnut rootstock evaluation.


Evie Smith was a Staff Research Associate in the southern Sacramento Valley supporting the research and extension programs of Katherine Jarvis-Shean and Franz Niederholzer. Her work focused on rootstock selection, strategic water use, pest control, and management adaptation strategies for changing conditions in almond, pistachio, prune, and walnut orchards.