Ag Today November 30, 2017

After the fire: Seeding the future in Redwood Valley


Many Ukiah Valley residents might have noticed what looked and sounded like a crop duster flying overhead this week, but it wasn’t dropping chemicals – it was dropping seeds on the scorched land in Redwood Valley.

“Where there was grass, I can already see green coming back,” said Gibson Oster, getting ready to take off again Wednesday morning from the Ukiah airport in a yellow Thrush 510 full of ryegrass and clover seeds. “But where there was timber and brush and no grass, it is just moonscape.”

Oster grew up here, but lives in the Central Valley where there is more work for crop dusters, although they don’t use that term anymore.

“We prefer aerial application,” said Oster, adding that he tends to all kinds of crops, including organic rice and broccoli fields, as a pilot for American West Aviation based near Fresno.

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