Dr. Scott Johnson worked for 31 years as an extension specialist for the University of California, Davis. He was based at the Kearney Agricultural Center, a research station in the heart of San Joaquin Valley’s intense agriculture.
He earned an undergraduate degree in biology before entering studies at Cornell University, where he received a doctorate in pomology in 1982. His thesis advisor was Dr. Alan Lakso, who is also retiring this year.
His work focused mostly on fresh peaches, nectarines, and plums for shipping, but he also worked on apples and kiwi.
He was particularly interested in plant relationships with water and conducted experiments on deficit irrigation. He also studied nutrient deficiencies, rootstocks, and chemical and mechanical thinning.
Working with Dr. Ted DeJong and farm advisor Kevin Day, he investigated high-density training systems for stone fruit orchards.
He was named Outstanding Extension Specialist and Researcher in 2008 by the International Fruit Tree Association and received the Outstanding Research Career Award from the Physiology of Fruit Crops Working Group of the International Society of Horticultural Sciences this year.
Johnson has developed a website summarizing his research, which can be found at http://ucanr.edu/sites/fruitreport.
After growing up on a Michigan dairy farm, Richard Lehnert began writing about farming in 1962, while still a junior studying journalism at Michigan State University. He worked at newspapers for a year before joining the staff of Michigan Farmer, where he spent 26 years, the last 15 as chief editor. He was a member of the staff of Good Fruit Grower from 2010 until 2015.
Read his stories: Story Index