The University of California Cooperative Extension office in Tulare County, is launching a new website to facilitate exchange of information among individuals involved in citrus production in California, from growers to academics.
The ideology within this forum is to allow people within the field to exchange information in real time. It has been my personal observation, for example, that many PCA's have their own small network of individuals that they rely on for information regarding specific issues or problems encountered in the field and often only talk amongst themselves. It is my belief that having an internet-based forum would allow individuals to broaden this ‘in house group' to all individuals involved in the industry to better communicate ideas, information, and concerns regarding various aspects of citrus production. The forum site is set up to deal with the various citrus regions; SJV, Desert, Coastal, Southern Interior, and Sacramento Valley. The specific areas set up thus far are; Pests, Diseases, Irrigation, Fertility, Weeds, Harvesting Issues, and Post-Harvest Issues. Two additional sections have also been set up for discussions: a general citrus area, and a posting area dealing with all issues related to ACP/HLB. Users will also be able to upload pictures taken from the field when posting a question.
The utility of this forum is that a person has the ability to make an observation in the field, snap a couple of pictures of what he/she sees, and easily post this information to the forum where the citrus community at large could view and respond to start a thread on the topic. This could be done out in the field using a smart phone or tablet or from an office computer at the user's leisure. The success of this network will rely on individuals in the citrus industry to utilize this new important tool. The site is up and running but is certainly in the beta-testing phase. Therefore, having individuals using the site and reporting any problems or making suggestions on making it better is highly desirable. If the forum is successful, support will be sought to produce an app for cellular phones to make the process easier than a web-based forum. For further information or ideas of how this site can be improved, please contact Greg W. Douhan, SJV Citrus Advisor, UCCE, Tulare, California: firstname.lastname@example.org
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