Farm Progress

Farm Progress editor wins agriculture journalism award for exposing threat to California tree nuts

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Todd Fitchette, Farm Press
This is Todd (left) with Jerry and Dianna Rovey of Buckeye, Ariz., the 2024 High Cotton winners from the West. This was taken at the High Cotton Breakfast in Memphis in February.Shelley E. Huguley

Todd Fitchette, Western Farm Press and Farm Progress associate editor, has been recognized with the Fresno County Farm Bureau’s Farm Trade Print award for his story "California Tree Nuts Under Attack by New Beetle," published in October 2023. This prestigious acknowledgment came during the 30th annual Journalism Awards hosted by the Fresno County Farm Bureau (FCFB) on April 19, celebrating outstanding agricultural journalism that impacts the industry and community.

Fitchette’s article spotlighted the threat from the Carpophilus truncatus (Nitidulidae) beetle, a significant pest of almonds in Australia, now affecting almond and pistachio orchards in California. This investigative report played a crucial role in educating tree nut farmers on the vital need for enhanced winter sanitation practices to mitigate risks associated with this invasive pest. The work aligns with the criteria established by the FCFB for its awards, focusing on thorough, objective reporting and educational outreach concerning pressing agricultural issues.

The selection panel for this year's awards included notable figures such as Adam Borchard from the California Fresh Fruit Association, public relations specialist Tanya Osegueda, and FCFB President Mark Thompson. Fitchette’s entry was chosen from a competitive pool of dozens, underscoring his and Farm Progress’ commitment to high-quality agricultural journalism.

Reacting to the award, Mike Wilson, senior executive editor at Farm Progress, said, “Todd’s dedication to agricultural journalism has consistently produced not only informative but also impactful stories. His work on the invasive beetle species is a prime example of journalism that not only informs but also encourages the agricultural community to act.”

Fitchette’s recognition included receipt of the FCFB Tractor Trophy, a symbol of excellence within the industry, donated by Fresno Equipment Co.

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