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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Riverside County UC Cooperative Extension marks its 100th anniversary

UCCE Riverside staff gather for a photo wearing their centennial t-shirts. Back row, left to right: Ihab Sharabeen, Claudia Diaz-Carrasco, Eva Parrill, Alyssa Taylor, Vada Wright, Claudia Carlos. Front row, left to right: Mao Vue, Cheryl Eggleston, Emma Sandoval, Connie Costello, Eta Takele, Chutima Ganthavorn, Chung Huynh, Myriam Acevedo.
For 100 years, UC Cooperative Extension has served the citizens of Riverside County by providing scientific research to farmers, teaching kids to be leaders through 4-H and offering nutrition guidance that makes the families throughout the county healthier.

On Nov. 12, UCCE puts the icing on the cake by bringing together key UC leaders, county supervisors, UC researchers, farm advisors and nutrition educators to provide perspective on the next century of Cooperative Extension in Riverside County.

“Back in 1914, the U.S. president and Congress realized that, to feed a great nation, ag research advances from top universities had to reach farmers,” said Eta Takele, the director of UCCE in Riverside County. “They made a bold move when they created Cooperative Extension, a program that revolutionized farming and communities. Over the years, we have worked side-by-side with farmers and their families to boost yields, maintain a safe food supply and protect natural resources.”

True to its form, UCCE is hosting an educational forum to mark the centennial. Presentations will run from 1 to 5 p.m. and cover such topics as the California drought, which is putting pressure on an agricultural industry in Riverside County that contributes $1.3 billion annually to the local economy. Director of the UC California Institute for Water Resources Doug Parker will explain how the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is responding to the crisis.

The statewide director of UCCE's 4-H and nutrition programs Constance Schneider will explain initiatives designed to reduce the alarming growth in overweight, obesity and Type 2 diabetes in California communities. In fact, the Riverside County's overweight and obesity rate is higher than average for California. Fourteen percent of Riverside County children ages 2 to 11 are overweight or obese and 36 percent of children 12 to 17 are overweight or obese.

Other speakers will address the UCCE working relationship with UC Riverside, new pest problems, issues related to waste management and the changing demographics of California. The program closes with a presentation on the future of UC Cooperative Extension by UCCE Vice Provost Chris Greer.

Following is the agenda for the 1 to 5 p.m. event:


Registration, program poster tour and light refreshments


Opening and presentation of a County Proclamation


Drought in California: UC ANR responds


Nutrition and 4-H Youth Development


Finding beneficial solutions to Southern California's waste management challenges


UC Riverside campus and UCCE relationship and opportunities


Local vegetable crop production challenges and opportunities


Entomology challenges for a diverse agricultural environment


The new multiracial face of California


A future of opportunities: UC ANR Strategic Vision

For more information, contact Eta Takele at (951) 683-6491, ettakele@ucanr.edu

Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 11:11 AM
Tags: Centennial (3), Eta Takele (1)

New UC studies outline costs of producing common dry beans in the Sacramento Valley

Blackeye beans are among the crops studied for the new report from UC Davis.
Two new cost and returns studies for growing common dry beans, single cropped and double cropped, in the Sacramento Valley are available from the University of California Cooperative Extension.

The studies focus on production costs in the Sacramento Valley -- Colusa, Sacramento, Solano, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties. The two different studies show production costs for growing beans under furrow irrigation on 30-inch beds single cropped, including lima (baby, vine and bush types) and blackeye beans; and double cropped, including light and dark red kidney, canario, large white navy, black turtle, cranberry and miscellaneous varieties.

Each analysis is based upon a hypothetical farm operation using practices common to the region. Input and reviews were provided by farm advisors, researchers, growers, farm accountants, pest control advisers, consultants, and other agricultural associates. Assumptions used to identify current costs for individual crops, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead are described. A ranging analysis table shows 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.

These two studies - "Sample Costs to Produce Beans-Common Dry Varieties-Double Cropped in the Sacramento Valley" and "Sample Costs to Produce Beans-Common Dry Varieties-Single Cropped in the Sacramento Valley" - and other sample cost of production studies for many commodities can be downloaded from the UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics Department website, http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu. Some archived studies are also available on the website.

For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the study contact Karen Klonsky at (530) 752-3589, klonsky@primal.ucdavis.edu or Don Stewart, (530) 752-4651, destewart@ucdavis.edu.

The studies were prepared by Rachael Long, UC Cooperative Extension advisor, Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties; Mark Lundy, UC Cooperative Extension advisor, Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties; Karen Klonsky, Cooperative Extension specialist, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis; and Don Stewart, staff research associate, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, UC Davis.

Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 10:21 AM
Tags: cost study (1), dry beans (1), Karen Klonsky (1)

Proper winter season tree care during a drought

Landscape trees may require extra care this winter if the dry spell continues.
California's drought is having a visible impact on lawns throughout the state as homeowners reduce their outdoor watering. Lawns can be brought back to life relatively quickly, but once a tree dies, its loss is irreversible.

As the amount of sunlight falling on trees is reduced with the change in the seasons, trees go into dormancy and require less water than during the hot summer months. But in exceptionally dry conditions, a tree may not have enough stored moisture to survive until drought conditions improve. Tree advocates and water officials today urged homeowners to educate themselves on effective tree care to ensure their trees' survival in the months ahead – especially if California's extended dry period continues this winter.

Representatives of the Sacramento Tree Foundation, California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH) at UC Davis, UC Cooperative Extension and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) say a return of normal rainfall this winter might be enough to sustain trees without special care and watering. However, with no way to know how long the current drought will continue, the advocates said knowing when and where to water a tree can be the difference between its life and death.

“We are seeing locations in California where trees are dying because they haven't been watered adequately,” said CCUH Director Dave Fujino. “While homeowners are trying to save water by letting lawns die, they need to continue watering their nearby trees.”

Chuck Ingels, UC Cooperative Extension horticulture advisor, urged homeowners to follow these steps:

  • Dig into the soil 6 to 8 inches at a tree's drip line – the area immediately below the widest part of the leaf canopy; if the soil feels dry and crumbly, it needs water.

  • Apply water slowly and uniformly using low-volume application equipment, such as a soaker hose that circles the tree at the drip line. Allow water to saturate the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches.

  • Allow the soil to dry between waterings; for most mature trees, one or two deep waterings per month is adequate. Fewer waterings – and perhaps none – are needed during the cooler and potentially wet winter months.

  • Add mulch (leaves or wood chips) between the trunk and drip line to retain the soil's moisture.

  • Reduce competition for water by removing weeds and grass within 4 feet of a tree's trunk.

Anne Fenkner, Greenprint Regional Coordinator, Sacramento Tree Foundation, said trees are essential to the health and beauty of residences and entire communities throughout the state. “Trees provide food for people and animals and shade that helps make hot climates livable,” she said. “We owe it to ourselves, our children, their children and the trees themselves to help them get through this extraordinarily dry period. When water supplies are limited, priority should be given to trees, then shrubs and perennials and lastly to lawn and annuals.”

Julie Saare-Edmonds, DWR's Landscape Program Manager, said Californians are responding to the call in January by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to reduce their water usage by 20 percent.

But if a homeowner has allowed a lawn to dry up during the drought, trees growing in that lawn may not be getting enough water and may need more to help them transition into winter dormancy.

Anne Fenkner, Sacramento Tree Foundation, said trees have varying water needs depending on their species, age, size, slope of the ground beneath them and other factors. Homeowners can nurture their trees and improve their health by understanding tree care principles:

  • Older established trees may be starved for water as well as younger trees. The low rainfall last winter did not replenish the soil moisture adequately and they may need a moisture boost before winter.|

  • Avoid fertilizing trees now; it will stimulate new growth at the wrong time of year.

  • When planting new trees, choose species wisely. Consult a local urban forestry group such as the Sacramento Tree Foundation or check the Arboretum All-Stars list at UC Davis. We don't know how long the drought will last, so consider selecting drought-resistant varieties and delaying planting until drought conditions improve. If the drought worsens in 2015, investments in new trees may be lost.

  • Improve the quality of the soil in which the trees grow. Aerate lawns so the roots of mature trees have good access to water and oxygen.

  • Consult the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners or a certified arborist if you have questions about the health of a mature tree.

Additional advice on caring for trees can be found at these websites:


At a press availability on Tuesday, Oct. 28, tree advocates, water officials and a UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture expert will urge homeowners to educate themselves on effective tree care to ensure their trees' survival in the months ahead – especially if California's extended dry period continues this winter. With exceptionally dry conditions, a tree may not have enough stored moisture to survive until California has relief from the drought.

WHAT: Presentations on tree care by Sacramento Tree Foundation, University of California Cooperative Extension and the California Department of Water Resources. Event will show how to keep trees healthy during the drought and prepare them for the cooler winter season. Demonstrations will include determining if soil is sufficiently wet, the importance of mulch, identifying a tree's drip line and why it's important to slowly add water there.

WHEN: 9:30 to 10 a.m., Tuesday, October 28, 2014

WHERE: 3457 V Street, Sacramento, Calif.  (Residential home across street from Sacramento High School, one-half block east of 34th Street just south of Highway 50 and southeast of downtown Sacramento.)   
SPEAKERS: Anne Fenkner, Greenprint Regional Coordinator, Sacramento Tree Foundation
Chuck Ingels, Environmental horticulture advisor, UC Cooperative Extension in Sacramento County
Julie Saare-Edmonds, Department of Water Resources Landscape Program Manager
Posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 8:13 AM
  • Contact: Jeannette Warnert, (559) 240-9850, jewarnert@ucanr.edu
Tags: Chuck Ingels (4), trees (1)

California Oak Symposium to attract hundreds of oak researchers to Visalia Nov. 3-6

Oak woodlands are the most biologically diverse habitat in the state of California.
The foremost oak researchers in California and the Pacific Northwest, plus researchers from Spain and South Korea, converge in Visalia for the 7th California Oak Symposium Nov. 3-6. This is the symposium's first appearance in the San Joaquin Valley since its inception 35 years ago.

"The drought will be a major focus of the symposium," said Rick Standiford, UC Cooperative Extension forest management specialist based at UC Berkeley, and symposium coordinator. "We will also have cutting edge research and policy presentations on sudden oak death, gold-spotted oak borer and conifer encroachment in black and Garry oak woodlands, among much more."

California's oak woodlands cover 10 percent of the state, and oaks are a key ecological component of conifer forests. There are more than 20 species of native California oaks; several are found nowhere except within the state's borders and some others range only as far as Canada and Mexico. Oak woodlands are the most biologically diverse habitat in the state, making conservation a policy and management priority.

The symposium begins with tours of regional oaks on Nov. 3. One group will tour the Visalia urban oak forest; a second group visits the Kaweah Oaks Preserve and Dry Creek Preserve. Over three days, scientists will present 58 research papers on oak management, wildlife, ecosystem services, ranching and utilization, gold-spotted oak borer, oak restoration, and sudden oak death. Ten of the projects focus on oak conservation, touching on such topics as economic incentives for oak conservation, the oak conservation program at Tejon Ranch, and establishment of Oregon white oak and California black oak in northwestern California.

The wildlife series of presentations provides new information about native and introduced species that make their homes among the oaks, including European starlings, Pacific fishers, bats and wild pigs. Some of the ranching topics to be discussed include the public and private incomes from forests in Andalusia, Spain, economic incentives related to recreational use of private oak woodland, and acorn production and utilization in South Korea.

Since 1979, the California Oak Symposium has been held every 5 to 7 years; the last one was in Rohnert Park in 2006. Visalia was selected for the symposium because of its geographic convenience for both northern and southern California oak scientists, and the city's commitment to the preservation and protection of native oak trees.

Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM
Tags: oak (3), Rick Standiford (1)

California's youngest citizens are forming a lifelong habit of drinking water

Children are getting used to reaching for water to quench their thirst.
Young children in daycare in California are getting into the habit of reaching for water to quench their thirst, according to research published in September 2014 by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The research, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows that more preschool-aged children have ready access to water during all activities, mealtimes and snacktimes, indoors and out, when they are in Head Start, private and public centers and licensed family home daycare.

“This is so important for child nutrition and obesity prevention,” said Lorrene Ritchie, the director of the UC Nutrition Policy Institute and the study's principal author. “We've learned from older children that many of them never drink plain water, so they're not used to it and don't like the taste.”

In fact, national surveys in the early 2000s found that, on any given day, 84 percent of 2- to 5-year-old children drank sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas, sports drinks and fruit punch. The calories amounted to 11 percent of the children's total energy intake. At the same time more than one-quarter of young children in the U.S. did not drink plain water on any given day.

“Humans evolved to drink water, so our bodies don't register very well the calories in juices, sodas and sweetened beverages,” Ritchie said. “Giving a child a cup of Hi-C, Capri Sun, SunnyD or other sweetened beverage is like setting a sugar bowl in front of them. It's sweet and goes down easy, but they're consuming calories very quickly without realizing it.”

Changing beverage preferences isn't a “silver bullet” cure for the obesity crisis, she said, but if there is one dietary factor that has had a significant impact on overweight and obesity, it is calories from sugary drinks.

In 2008, University of California researchers documented the types of beverages served to children in childcare settings. They found that one-fifth of the childcare providers served whole milk, 2 percent offered flavored milk, and 27 percent gave children juice more than once per day. A small fraction, about 8 percent, served sugar-sweetened beverages to the children. Only 28 percent always served water with meals and snacks, and 36 percent served no water at all.

“Fully one-quarter of children are already overweight or obese when they enter kindergarten,” Ritchie said. “It was clear from the research that we needed to focus on the beverages in childcare.”

The UC research informed the writing of Assembly Bill 2084 by Rep. Julia Brownley in early 2010. The measure passed, was signed by Gov. Brown and went into effect in January 2012. Also in 2010, Congress enacted legislation, based on UC and other research, that requires drinking water be available all day in childcare facilities that take part in the federally funded Child and Adult Care Food Program.

“The UC Nutrition Policy Institute's research was tracked provision by provision into groundbreaking state legislation,” said Kenneth Hecht, Nutrition Policy Institute coordinator. “NPI research is now the basis for the law of the land.”

After the state and federal laws went into effect, Ritchie and her research team embarked on a second study to determine the impact of the legislation on beverages served in childcare settings. At the time of the second survey, 77 percent of providers had self-serve water available indoors and 78 percent had it available outdoors. Nearly half of the providers served water with meals and snacks.

Children in programs following the new law have access to drinking water throughout the day and at meal and snack times. Children are no longer offered whole milk (after age 2), flavored milk or sugar-sweetened beverages and given no more than one glass of 100 percent juice each day.

“We've made great strides using research to inform policy, but there is still much to do to improve the nutrition of young children,” Ritchie said. “We are sticking with it.”

Posted on Monday, October 20, 2014 at 9:27 AM

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