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Visionaries: Effective management keeps farmers in business

Listening to growers’ feedback is one of many tasks Janna Beckerman, professor of botany and plant pathology, performs.

Beckerman is a researcher, but there are many other tasks she performs, including teaching, extension, and listening to growers’ feedback. Listening to vegetable and plant growers’ feedback is so important in her job because they tell her what kind of plant diseases they are fighting and what methods work to control them. This gives her research a pathway because she must fight to find ways to manage a disease before they take over the growers’ farms and put their farms out of business.

One of the growers, Paul Howard, works with Beckerman nearly every day as a farm technician at Purdue Meigs Horticulture Farm. He cares for Beckerman’s research plots along with others. However, Howard also owns his own orchard at home as well. When Beckerman and Howard work together, they not only talk about what is happening at Meigs farm, they also discuss his own orchard.

Beckerman said talking with Howard can remind her that her advice can be difficult to act on due to financial restraints of running a farm or lack of time. This reminder allows Beckerman to stay in touch with the growers every day and understand some of the backstories of the farms when she is trying to diagnose diseases during farm visits.
Paul Howard, Chloe Richard, and Janna Beckerman (From left) Farm workers Paul Howard, Chloe Richard, and Purdue researcher Janna Beckerman communicate their findings at Meigs Farm.
Meet the Filmmaker/Blogger
Bonnie Witt, student filmmaker and blogger Bonnie Witt, student filmmaker and blogger

Bonnie Witt is a junior dual majoring in agricultural communication and in animal sciences with a focus on production and industry. She is from Sullivan, Indiana, and hopes to utilize what she learns in agricultural communication to support her work in the animal science industry.

This blog and video are part of the Visionaries series, which highlights the work and lives of researchers in the Purdue University College of Agriculture. The content for this series is created by the students of ASEC 280 (Digital Storytelling).

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Explore other videos and blogs created by our student-filmmakers
Videos are also available on the Purdue Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication YouTube channel

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