From California to Arizona But Still in Ag Broadcasting

After more than 36 years at the editor’s desk of a storied print career, Patrick Cavanaugh (Ag Information Network, Tucson, Arizona) has decided to end his monthly deadlines for Pacific Nut Producer (PNP) magazine.

“I began my career as an agriculture journalist in California in 1986, writing for Nut Grower magazine, which is no longer in business. I left that company in 1995 to launch PNP, in collaboration with Dan Malcolm, Malcolm Media. The moment was ripe for PNP to take off, and fortunately it did. A few years later, we launched Vegetables West, which became the leading magazine for the produce production industry,” Cavanaugh noted.

“Since my first articles about California agriculture in 1986, when I felt like an undergrad in a PhD class, until the April 2021 issue of PNP, I have served as editor, and I have written more than 1,000 feature stories. I also am stepping down as editor of Vegetables West magazine, after more than 25 years,” Cavanaugh added.

In 2010, Cavanaugh expanded his California agricultural reportage to include radio broadcasting. As he was always in the field talking to growers, farm employees, researchers, regulators, agricultural leaders, and others in the farm industry, he considered, “Why not record some interviews for radio?”

“My first daily broadcasts were on the late George Gately’s Western AgriRadio Networks and then KMJ 580 in Fresno. Subsequently, my wife, Laurie, and I launched the California Ag Today Radio Network, which spanned the #1 ag state on great news-talk radio stations as well as the California Ag Today website and social-media news sources,” he said.

As a youth, Cavanaugh was immensely interested in agriculture. Upon graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in agricultural production in 1981, his priority was to escape Florida’s unbearable humidity.

“I moved to Arizona to work for an ag-management company that produced 500 acres of jojoba near Casa Grande and provided pressed jojoba oil to cosmetic companies,” Cavanaugh said. “As ranch manager, I converted the jojoba ranch to the first table grape acreage ever planted in Arizona. We sold and distributed Arizona’s finest crop from cold storage to grocery stores in Phoenix, Tucson, and surrounding areas.”

Cavanaugh left Tucson in 1985 for California to initiate a successful journalism career in production agriculture.

More recently, Cavanaugh sold the California Ag Today Radio Network in 2019 to Allen Media, owner of the Ag Information Network — the largest radio network in the West. The Walla Walla, Washington-based company dramatically expanded the newly acquired California Ag Today Radio Network.

“At the time, I thought I would drop the mic and stop broadcasting,” Cavanaugh said.

To introduce themselves and to expand their radio affiliates, Allen Media visited major commodity associations and marketing orders throughout California — particularly the Almond Board of California, American Pistachio Growers Association, and the California Walnut Board. Kelly Allen relayed to Cavanaugh several board leaders referred to Cavanaugh as “the Voice of Agriculture in California” and were dismayed he would no longer be on air.

“Then, Allen got to thinking: Why not add a California Tree Nut report to our programming? After all, the tree nut industry, by far the largest in the state’s agricultural community with a farmgate value of more than $8 billion, warranted its own daily report. They asked me if I was interested in producing a daily report on the industry,” Cavanaugh said. “It’s difficult to resist the radio bug and my passion for the tree-nut industry, so I started the radio report in October 2019. It has enabled me to stay engaged with the tree-nut industry, which I love,” he noted. “Also, in 2019, my wife Laurie and I moved back to Tucson as we share a love for the southwest.”