Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of California
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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UC Vice President Glenda Humiston to testify before House Ag Committee June 22

UC ANR vice president Glenda Humiston will testify before the House Committee on Agriculture June 22 about the value of university agricultural research.
Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources, will speak before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture about the importance of university agricultural research and innovation at a June 22 hearing scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. EDT (7 a.m. Pacific Time).

Humiston is one of six higher education witnesses who will speak at the hearing, which is being held as Congress considers provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill. 

The hearing takes place at the Longworth House office Building in Washington, D.C., and will be streamed live and recorded on YouTube.

In announcing the hearing, the chair of the House Committee on Agriculture, Michael Conaway of Texas, said ag research has been essential to U.S. gains in productivity over the past century.

"With the global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, U.S. production agriculture will continue to be asked to produce more with fewer resources and the best way to do that will be through strategic investments in agricultural research," Conaway said. "I look forward to hearing from university leaders about the opportunities and challenges they face in ensuring American agriculture remains a world leader in cutting-edge technology and research.”

Following are highlights from Humiston's prepared remarks:

  • A recent study found the return on investment for federal funding of the public land-grant system averages 21:1, corresponding to annual rates of return between 9 percent and 10 percent.

  • With the University of California (UC) Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) serving as a vital partner, California's $47 billion agricultural sector continues to make California the nation's top agricultural state.
  • In the past fiscal year, UC ANR has served more than 1.4 million adults and youth directly, published about 1,800 peer-reviewed journal articles and filed more than 20 patents.
  • Federal and state funds are leveraged to secure federal competitive grants, grants from private industry, and other gifts and awards for research at the nation's land-grant universities.

  • Although progress is being made to incrementally increase appropriations to the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, it remains funded at considerably less than the $700 million authorized in the previous two Farm Bills.

Humiston will explain that universities are uniquely set up to allow collaboration among experts in different subjects to solve complex problems and she will give a few examples of multidisciplinary projects, including development of a product to improve the shelf-life of fresh produce and reduce food waste: 

“James Rogers studied flexible solar cells at UC Santa Barbara and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. A radio program on world hunger gave the materials scientist his “aha!” moment in 2012. His work on thin-film polymers from solar cells, coupled with information from UC Cooperative Extension, led to an invisible, edible and tasteless barrier that can protect food crops and dramatically improve longevity of produce freshness – using waste plant parts often left on the farm. Apeel Sciences now supports 71 employees and hits shelves this summer, when some of the world's largest avocado producers start using it.”

For a transcript of Humiston's full prepared remarks, see http://ucanr.edu/files/264186.pdf.

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers and educators draw on local expertise to conduct agricultural, environmental, economic, youth development and nutrition research that helps California thrive. Learn more at ucanr.edu.

Posted on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 1:31 PM
Tags: Farm Bill (3), Glenda Humiston (9)

Broccoli and lettuce cost studies released by Agricultural Issues Center

Iceberg lettuce in the produce section of a market.

New studies with sample costs to produce and harvest iceberg lettuce and broccoli for fresh market in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties have been released by UC ANR Agricultural Issues Center and UC Cooperative Extension. Vegetable growers may find these useful for estimating their own production costs and potential returns on investment.

“These studies have an expanded section on labor, which includes information on California's new minimum wage and overtime laws,” said Laura Tourte, UC Cooperative Extension farm management advisor in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties, who co-authored the study.

Broccoli plant in the field.
The analysis is based on a hypothetical well-managed farming operation using practices common to the Central Coast Region. The costs, materials and practices shown in this study will not apply to all farms. Growers, UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisors and other agricultural associates provided input and reviewed the methods and findings of the study.

Both studies assumes a farm operation of 1,500 non-contiguous acres of rented land. The hypothetical iceberg-lettuce farm has 250 acres planted to iceberg lettuce. The lettuce is hand-harvested into 42-pound cartons containing 24 film-wrapped heads. The hypothetical broccoli farm has 500 acres planted to broccoli. The broccoli is hand-harvested into 21-pound bunch cartons.  On each farm, the remaining acreage is assumed to be planted to other cool season vegetable crops.

The authors describe the assumptions used to identify current costs for production material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead. Ranging analysis tables show net profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.

Free copies of “Sample Costs to Produce and Harvest Iceberg Lettuce in the Central Coast - 2017” and “Sample Costs to Produce and Harvest Broccoli in the Central Coast - 2017” and other sample cost of production studies for many commodities are available. To download the cost studies, visit the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at https://coststudies.ucdavis.edu.

The cost and returns studies program is funded by the UC Agricultural Issues Center and UC Cooperative Extension, both of which are part of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact Jeremy Murdock of the Agricultural Issues Center at (530) 752-4651, Richard Smith UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Monterey County, at (831) 759-7357 or Tourte at (831) 763-8005.

Posted on Monday, June 5, 2017 at 5:14 PM

'We are UC ANR' public awareness campaign launched

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources has launched a public awareness campaign titled "We are UC ANR." The campaign was designed to help those who have struggled to wrap their arms around all that UC ANR does. It features two new website products: A three-minute video that explains UC ANR's origins and current activities and an interactive map that shows the locations of ANR programs across the state.

The communications team is asking everyone - UC ANR staff and academics, farmers, 4-H members, volunteers, agency representatives and all other stakeholders - to share their ANR stories through social networks, with the hashtag #WeAreUCANR. To make this easy, the team developed a toolkit that includes sample posts and tweets, images, short video trailers and messaging.

The people of UC ANR are problem-solvers, catalysts, collaborators, educators and stewards of the land. ANR is a bridge between the people of California and trusted, science-based answers to everyday questions. Please help us bring UC ANR alive to current and future stakeholders.

We are UC ANR webpage (with video and map)

We are UC ANR social media toolkit

A sample of the many images available in the social media toolkit as part of the #WeAreUCANR public awareness campaign.
Posted on Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 6:45 AM
Tags: #WeAreUCANR (1)

New cost estimates for strawberry production released by UC Agricultural Issues Center

The cost study for strawberry production notes that in 2016 new minimum wage and overtime laws were passed in California. Many growers already pay more than the current state minimum wage, but may be affected by the overtime law.

A new costs and returns study for strawberries has been released by UC Agricultural Issues Center and UC Cooperative Extension to help growers make farm management decisions. The study presents sample costs to produce and harvest strawberries for fresh market in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. 

“The study also has an expanded section on labor, which includes information on California's new minimum wage and overtime laws,” said Laura Tourte, UC Cooperative Extension farm management advisor in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties, who co-authored the study.

The analysis is based upon a hypothetical well-managed farming operation using practices common to the Central Coast region. The costs, materials, and practices shown in this study will not apply to all farms. Growers, UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisors and other agricultural associates provided input and reviewed the methods and findings of the study.

The study assumes a fairly flat farm operation of 50 contiguous acres of rented land. Strawberries are planted on 45 acres. From April through early October, the crop is harvested by hand and packed into trays containing eight 1-pound clamshells. Harvest peaks in June and July. 

The authors describe the assumptions used to identify current costs for production material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead. Ranging analysis tables show net profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.

Free copies of “Sample Costs to Produce and Harvest Strawberries in the Central Coast Region-2016” and other sample cost-of-production studies for many other commodities are available. To download the cost studies, visit the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at https://coststudies.ucdavis.edu

The cost and returns studies program is funded by the UC Agricultural Issues Center and UC Cooperative Extension – both of which are part of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources – and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the study, contact the UC Agricultural Issues Center at (530) 752-4651, Mark Bolda, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Santa Cruz County, at (831) 763-8025 or Tourte at (831) 763-8005.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 12:05 PM

Backyard poultry enthusiasts invited to participate in UC research survey

By learning how backyard poultry enthusiasts share information with each other, UC researchers will be able to deliver poultry-health information more effectively to poultry owners.

Californians who raise backyard poultry are invited to participate in a study to help the University of California more effectively deliver poultry health information, especially to prevent the spread of poultry diseases.

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Cooperative Extension are conducting a research study consisting of a voluntary survey designed specifically for backyard poultry owners in California. 

“Our goal is to better understand how backyard poultry enthusiasts communicate with each other in California and to design and execute effective and efficient backyard poultry outreach programs,” said Maurice Pitesky, UC Cooperative Extension poultry specialist with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “To do this, we are sending out a short survey to help us understand the ‘structure' of the backyard poultry network."

Identifying information will be stripped from survey answers to create a network of anonymous dots.
This information will be crucial in the event of a poultry disease outbreak such as avian influenza.

For example, if the researchers know which counties have a large number of birds traveling in and out, then they can focus outreach resources, such as biosecurity workshops, in those higher-risk counties. In addition, the information will guide UC scientists to plan custom workshops depending on the needs of poultry owners in specific counties.

“Please note we are a university not a regulatory agency and therefore our focus is on outreach and education, not regulation and enforcement,” Pitesky said.

If you would like to participate in this voluntary study, please fill out the California Backyard Poultry Survey at http://ucanr.edu/sites/poultry/CA_Backyard_Poultry_Survey by June 1, 2017. 

If you have any questions or comments, please contact UC Cooperative Extension specialist Pitesky at mepitesky@ucdavis.edu or his research associate Myrna Cadena at mmcadena@ucdavis.edu.

 

Posted on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 3:10 PM

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