Agricultural journalists and freelancers Dennis Pollock and Greg Northcutt have been honored with Western Farm Press’ (WFP) Agricultural Journalism Award of Excellence awards for their almost 20 years combined service writing about western agriculture for Farm Press readers.
“Dennis Pollock and Greg Northcutt are exemplary agricultural journalists who have worked one-on-one with growers and other industry leaders to share important agricultural news with the farming community,” said WFP Editor Cary Blake.
Based in Fresno County, Pollock is no stranger to California agriculture as he was a reporter for the Fresno Bee newspaper for 30 years, including the last 14 years there covering the agricultural beat. Since then, he’s freelanced with Farm Press for a decade covering a wide range of agricultural issues so his journalism career has stretched 40 years.
Blake said, “Dennis is a knowledgeable and respected writer who does a spectacular job of covering production agricultural issues and reporting key messages to Farm Press readers.”
In 2016, Pollock authored Farm Press’ bi-monthly free Tree Nut Farm Press e-newsletter where he discussed the latest news and issues in California almonds and walnuts, plus western-grown pistachios and pecans. Some articles in the free-to-readers newsletter are also printed in Western Farm Press magazine.
Pollock grew up on a small Ohio farm with five siblings where the family raised pigs, alfalfa, and corn – using horses in the farm’s early days.
Over his decades of reporting, Pollock has been amazed by the rapid pace of technological changes in the agricultural industry, and its rapid adaption of computers and smart devices, plus the incorporation of instruments including soil sensors.
“Agriculture continues to change to meet demands on the farm. With water, farmers can make changes to make every single drop count,” Pollock said.
On receiving the WFP award, Pollock said, “I am very honored, surprised, and very pleased.”
Greg Northcutt honored
Freelancer Greg Northcutt was honored with the identical award for his eight years writing WFP’s free The Grapeline bi-monthly e-newsletter, plus authoring Tree Nut Farm Press for the seven years preceding Pollock.
Northcutt just wrapped up his 42nd year as an agricultural journalist and freelancer, and retired several months ago.
“I’ve learned a lot – it’s been interesting and challenging to keep up on industry changes and practices,” Northcutt said. “Perhaps the biggest challenge was keeping track of the many pests and diseases that impact grapes and tree nuts.”
Northcutt was also raised on a farm working on his uncles’ dairy and beef cattle operation in Illinois. His early journalism career included writing ample corn and soybean copy with later writings on wheat in the Upper Great Plains.
Grapeline and TNFP readers may be surprised to learn that Northcutt lives in Washington State.
“It was quite a change learning about grapes and almonds,” said Northcutt who cut his teeth on grape industry issues while researching and writing articles for the Washington State Wine Commission.
He added, “For the Grapeline and Tree Nut newsletters about 99 percent of the people I called for interviews, including growers, talked with me – even taking time out during their busy harvests.”
Northcutt interviewed a diversity of growers with operations ranging from three acres in size to the thousands of acres.
“Greg has done an incredible job covering the ever-changing California grape and tree nut industries and we appreciate his efforts in always churning out high quality articles,” Blake said.
Northcutt also has been amazed by the technology harnessed by growers today.
“I interviewed one California grape grower who combined geographic information systems (GIS) and infrared images of his vineyards captured by aircraft to gain the latest vineyard data on soil types, cropping patterns, and rainfall. The grower used this data to farm individual vines to get all the fruit to ripen at the same time.”
On receiving Farm Press’ award, Northcutt said, “It’s a fantastic way to culminate my career as an agricultural writer. Writing about agriculture has been my life for 42 years. It’s rewarding to be recognized and appreciated.”