Almond Leadership inspires podcast for growers

Each year, participants of the Almond Board of California (ABC)’s Almond Leadership Program take on a special project that enriches their program experience and challenges them to take a deep dive into a topic that interests them, try a new technology or innovative practice on their operation, or to explore a new or novel idea that advances the industry in some capacity. This special project also aims to showcase participants’ talents and knowledge gained throughout the year, and encourages them to be big-picture, creative thinkers.

For her special project, 2019 Almond Leadership Program participant Haley Fields decided to create an ag-based podcast made by an ag community member for those involved in ag, and beyond. 

The podcast sector is growing rapidly as this form of mass communications allows people to quickly maneuver from hearing the day’s news to learning about the Civil War to indulging in a true crime mystery. In Field Notes, Fields is immersing herself into the world of talk show podcasts with a long-term view of success. 

“I wanted to take on a project that would sustain itself even after graduating from the program,” Fields said. 

Fields’ family is involved in the almond industry, and she married an almond grower. While she has always been exposed to the industry in one way or another, in her own career she decided to take a creative route in serving California agriculture by working for a local ag marketing agency in Turlock, AC&C Marketing. In her role, Fields strives to help the Central Valley ag community thrive in the world of digital marketing, whether that’s promoting their brand via a website or creating videos that tell their company’s story. 

“I am not in the field every day, nor am I technically a grower or involved in processing on the quality side. But what I do know is marketing and communications, and I love the opportunity to share the true story of California ag through my work,” said Fields. 

Field Notes will be a place where almond growers and others involved in the Central Valley agriculture community can talk freely about their opinions on current challenges, future happenings and hopes for where they believe California agriculture is headed in regards to innovation and sustainability. 

“I would like this to be a platform for authentic ag communication,” said Fields. “This podcast was made to give all parties in the industry a voice to be heard and a safe place to share thoughts.” 

The agriculture sector is not the only target audience for Field Notes. Fields hopes that consumers will eventually listen to her podcast to educate themselves on impact of California agriculture on their personal lives. Consumers have an idea of what agriculture involves, Fields noted, but very few know the day-to-day responsibilities and vast amount of jobs wrapped up in the almond industry, alone. Educating consumers, therefore, is not an easy nor a fast task, but a worthwhile one. 

Another key element Fields would love to bring into her podcast is women working in ag. 

“There are a lot of incredible women in this industry who are doing great things, and I want to highlight their accomplishments,” Fields said. Ultimately, she would love to highlight the accomplishments of everyone who is working hard for the broader ag community. 

Field Notes officially launched in early November with the release of three episodes, one with ABC’s Senior Manager of Industry Relations and Communications, Jenny Nicolau, one with Martin Pohl of Hughson Nut Inc., and one with ABC’s Senior Director of Global Communications, Daren Williams.Fields aims to produce new episodes at least once a month, and industry members can find this podcast series on the listening platform BuzzSprout. Fields hopes to have her podcast featured on Apple Podcasts and Spotify in the near future.