We are a team of University of California Cooperative Extension pomology farm advisors in the Sacramento Valley.
Katherine Pope 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.
Danielle Lightle is the Orchard Systems Advisor in Glenn, Butte and Tehama counties. Her primary crop responsibilities include almonds, prunes, oil and table olives, and walnuts. Dani’s research projects include almond and walnut horticulture, cover crops, and walnut rootstock evaluation. At home, Dani raises Nigerian Dwarf goats and spends most of her spare time chasing her toddler around her small farm.
Emily Symmes is 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 is focused on all aspects of pest management in the wide variety of crops grown throughout the Sacramento Valley. Current research projects in almonds and walnuts include mating disruption, improvements to monitoring and treatment thresholds, and phenology models for key pests. You can also follow Emily on twitter @SacValleyIPM.
Allan Fulton is an Irrigation and Water Resources Advisor for Tehama, Glenn, Colusa, and Shasta Counties. He focuses on water management in walnuts, almonds, prunes, other tree crops and pasture. His work includes research and education on water management tools and concepts to achieve consistent and competitive production and efficient use of water and nutrients. He also works to support local efforts to achieve sustainable groundwater management. His experience includes an M.S. degree in Soil and Water Sciences and 30 years in California agriculture as a UC Farm Advisor and in farm management. Allan spends his spare time with his wife traveling and helping their children and grandchildren.
Janine Hasey is a Tree Crops Farm Advisor in Sutter, Yuba, and Colusa counties where her focus is on walnuts, cling peaches, and kiwifruit. She has been a farm advisor for 35 years and in 1984 started the UC Master Gardener program for Sutter and Yuba counties. She is also County Director in Sutter and Yuba counties. Janine’s current walnut research activities include no pruning/training systems, managing several statewide rootstock trials, and Bot canker and blight control. Janine’s interests include hiking, swimming/snorkeling, horseracing, travelling, and facetiming with her granddaughter.
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. 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.
Mariano Galla is the Area Agronomy and Weed Science Advisor for Glenn, Butte and Tehama Counties. His major responsibilities includes agronomic crops, excluding rice, and weed science in any crop grown in his counties. He is interested in herbicide resistant weed management, herbicide drift and integrated pest management. In his free time he enjoys hiking, skiing and scuba diving.
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 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.