Oklahoma pecan growers have taken advantage of technology to continue learning about growing pecans and orchard management through a series of online classes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many changes in the way people learn. Oklahoma State University Extension stepped up to the plate to provide valuable, research-based information to state residents, said Becky Carroll, OSU Extension associate specialist, fruit and pecans.
“We started the monthly Pecan Topics Zoom program last year due to the cancelation of the Pecan Management Workshop series and other field days,” Carroll said. “With Extension employees working from home, being able to connect with clients and offer education came with a learning curve – for both presenters and growers – but we prevailed.”
The popular online sessions will continue monthly through November. Oklahoma pecan growers are encouraged to attend virtually, ask questions and forge new relationships in the industry.
“There were more than 400 participants in the Zoom series representing 55 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. We also reached growers in five other states, as well as six foreign countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, Spain and Turkey,” she said.
The first Pecan Topics Zoom session will take place Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. The agenda includes:
- Scouting and treatment of scale.
- Planting bareroot trees.
- Update on ice damage cleanup at the Cimarron Valley Research Station.
- Explanation of new USDA Pecan Research and Promotion Program.
Additional Pecan Topics Zoom workshops are scheduled March 12, April 9, May 7, June 4, July 9, Aug. 6, Sept. 10, Oct. 8 and Nov. 5. Those interested in the events should email Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org for a hyperlink to preregister; Carroll can also be reached at 405-744-6139.
Carroll said she plans to incorporate issues or questions that OSU Extension educators are receiving at the county or district level.
“If people are asking about these things, it’s certain other growers are likely having similar questions,” she said. “While some businesses can shut down during this pandemic, the agriculture industry doesn’t stop. Producers continue to need valuable information that enhances their operations, and it is our mission to provide pecan growers with answers to their questions through these workshops.”
– Trisha Gedon, Oklahoma State University