Pest Control Advisers Offer Essential Services
Despite remain-in-place and social distancing, farming of course remains an essential industry. Sometimes overlooked is that farming is a team sport. One critical member of that team is the Pest Control Adviser or PCA, who scouts fields and orchards to provide recommendations on managing pests and disease.
I asked Brian Entrekin, a Salinas Valley PCA with Integrated Crop Management, how the job has been affected with recent COVID-19 protocols.
Entrekin… “There's definitely fewer people on the freeway. There's still traffic every now and again, but I barely what we'd expect, and we're used to in this Valley. The crews are getting harder and harder to find. Between weeding crews and thinning crews and harvest crews. They're around, but it's not nearly as accessible as before. The prices on those are going up. Some fields, the harvest dates are getting changed around because production is a little different, especially in processing plants as restaurants are closed down and it's only to-go orders. So as restaurants continue to change their menus in that respect we'll get a better feel on what's going on out here.”
Entrekin mentions that while he scouts fields alone and can provide recommendations from a distance, continued education about products and practices is an important part of the job. Usually held over lunch, those meetings have all moved to Zoom. He gets the latest information, but is on his own for lunch.
Entrekin… “Yeah, that's what I was joking (about). I emailed the guy afterwards. I said, Hey, thanks for the meeting, but you still owe me a lunch. So, we'll see how that goes.”
PCAs remain an essential part of the essential business of California Agriculture.