AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—The Alabama Crops Report Podcast is where the research meets the row. When the armyworms move in or Southern rust conditions are setting in, the Alabama Extension crops team wants to cultivate community by bringing their expertise to producers on the farm. The Alabama Crops Podcast series is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.
Scott Graham, Extension entomologist and one of the hosts of the podcast, said the COVID-19 pandemic made Extension professionals re-evaluate their dissemination methods and take steps to effectively help stakeholders.
“When the world seemingly shut down, our growers were still farming and still needed solutions for their management problems,” Graham said. “We hope to use this avenue as a way to expand on our Alabama Crops Report Newsletter to provide more in-depth information on timely topics.”
Hosts and Topics
Producers can expect to hear a wide range of topics throughout the year. From insect scouting tips to fertilizer application recommendations and harvest updates—the crops team will tackle timely issues in the field on a weekly basis.
Episodes will be 10 to 15 minutes long in a conversational form. Graham, Katelyn Kesheimer, Amanda Scherer and Adam Rabinowitz will take turns interviewing Extension specialists, regional agents and agronomists about happenings in the field.
Current podcasts include the following:
- Episode 1: Cotton Update
- Episode 2: Commodity Crop Prices and Fertilizer Costs
- Episode 3: Managing Weeds in Corn
- Episode 4: Managing Insects in Corn
New episodes will drop weekly during the production season. Graham said in cases where there are several important topics to discuss, there may be multiple episodes in a week.
Kesheimer said she looks forward to producers and other listeners getting to know the team better.
“It’s been a tough year with the pandemic and we haven’t had as many opportunities to go out and connect with growers like we normally would. This provides us with a great opportunity to meet people on their time,” Kesheimer said. “All of the hosts are new to Alabama Extension in the last couple of years, so many people might not know about us or our backgrounds. I’m hoping we can provide a laid-back, yet informative few minutes that will spark even more interactions with producers.”
Mike Phillips, director of Alabama Extension, said the podcast is one way Extension personnel are taking knowledge to the farm.
“This has been a hard year for farmers and their families,” said Phillips, formerly Extension’s assistant director of agriculture, forestry and natural resources programming. “Our team has never stopped working to meet the needs of Alabama farmers, but there have been many challenges. The Alabama Crops Report Podcast is one way agents and specialists can get information to farmers in a timely manner.”
“As technology continues to evolve, we try to evolve with it,” Graham said. “This podcast will allow us to share information in an efficient—and hopefully entertaining—manner. It also allows farmers to listen in the truck, tractor or office at any time that is convenient for them.”
Kesheimer said the goal is to share timely information as quickly as possible.
“If we receive calls about a problem on Monday, we can be recording a podcast episode on Tuesday,” she said. “We’ll listen to the regional agents and producers for feedback to make sure we’re covering the most important issues.”
Feedback and Future Podcasts
Feedback from producers and agricultural personnel has been positive thus far. Graham said the crops team looks forward to helping Alabama producers navigate the growing season in-person, through the newsletter and through the podcast.
Learn more about the Alabama Crops Report Podcast by visiting the podcast page on the Alabama Extension website. New episodes will drop weekly on Thursdays. Also, subscribe to the Alabama Row Crops Report newsletter by visiting www.aces.edu.