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Plant Science

Bob Gaddie, 62, of Bakersfield, is the third and last generation of his family to work in agriculture. “There are plenty of opportunities, but kids just are not into it,” he says. “It’s not a glitzy profession.” (Irfan Khan / LAT)
As a consultant who aids farmers in rooting out pests, Gaddie finds himself taking on more work at a time when he’d like to do less. He plans to retire in a few years, and says that with fewer young people entering the profession, his clients will be hard-pressed to find a replacement. (Irfan Khan / LAT)
It’s been said that the almond tree brings forth its fruit in silence; one of the duties of agriculture specialists such as Gaddie is to listen for whatever signals they can detect about the health of such trees. (Irfan Khan / LAT)
Patrick Dosier, 22, a student at Cal Poly Pomona, sees a future in the agriculture business. “I think some people are figuring out that [agriculture is] the basis of the economy, and if it’s healthy, everybody’s healthy,” he says. (Irfan Khan / LAT)
Dosier harvests watermelon on an experimental organic farm affiliated with Cal Poly Pomona. (Irfan Khan / LAT)
“Behind every farmer in the field, there’s a whole line of merchants and scientists that support that farmer,” says Fred Roth, a professor of plant pathology at Cal Poly Pomona. “But we’re aging out, and there isn’t a group of people coming up to take our places.” (Irfan Khan / LAT)
Gaddie uses a magnifying glass to searches for tiny bugs on a leaf. (Irfan Khan / LAT)