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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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

UCTV launches new portal to sustainability for California

The University of California today launches Sustainable California, a new media-rich web portal to share its efforts to sustain the world's sixth largest economy, a site of unequal natural resources and provider of more than half the nation's fruits, nuts and vegetables. The portal is hosted by University of California Television (UCTV).

Principal project partners are UC Water, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and UC Merced School of Engineering, among others.

Together with UC ANR and other UC partners, UCTV launches the new Sustainable California channel at http://www.uctv.tv/sustainable-cal/.

“California has a tremendous diversity of plants, animals, ecosystems and people,” said Glenda Humiston, vice president of UC ANR. “The state also plays an important role in feeding the nation and the world. We are now facing climate change, increasing conversion of agricultural land to urban uses, introductions of invasive diseases and pests, and other threats. UC ANR will share its science-based solutions for California sustainability on this new outlet.”

Sustainable California will broadcast stories of sustainability research and outreach conducted by University of California faculty, scientists and student.

“This is what UCTV is about, connecting Californians to the real-world, inestimable values that the UC provides all of California,” said UCTV Director Lynn Burnstan. “We are very excited to be able to join these partners and give the public direct access to what they are doing for all our benefit.”

As well as a video introduction to the portal, the launch features three fresh videos, spanning natural resources and agriculture. Water in the Balance, from UCWater, is a five-minute journey from Sierra Nevada snowpack through the state's system of dams and reservoirs to groundwater storage. The first in a series of six episodes, Introduction to Conservation Agriculture Cropping Systems, from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, features California farmers and UC scientists working together to develop sustainable farming practices. Taking technology to the mountains, Sierra-Net highlights the development of innovative cyber-infrastructure to provide real-time monitoring of the state's water resources and forest health. Produced by the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute, viewers will gain a deeper understanding of natural resources management and innovation.

The channel's content is appropriate for audiences of all ages and freely accessible to the public online at uctv.tv/sustainable-cal. The integrated video, article and curriculum format of the channel, in addition to its focus on biodiversity, natural resources and low-impact living, provides users both a look at and connection to practical solutions and approaches the UC is developing, making it a valuable resource for professional practitioners, educators, and media outlets.

Posted on Friday, May 5, 2017 at 9:59 AM

California Farm Demonstration Network forms to foster farmers’ innovation

A rainfall simulator sprays water over trays of different soils to show how on-farm management practices affect soil health.

Innovation is key to keeping California farmers globally competitive. On Friday, May 5, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Farm Bureau Federation, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, UC Davis and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources will forge a formal agreement to better connect the state's farmers with each other and with science-based information sources to assure the sustainability of the state's agricultural systems. Representatives of the six organizations will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to form the California Farm Demonstration Network.

The scarcity of water, fossil fuel use, carbon emissions, groundwater quality, labor cost and availability, air quality and loss of soil fertility are some of the challenges to the long-term viability of farming in California. Soils and their sustained health play a major role in keeping California's agriculture viable for future generations.

“What we are striving to accomplish with the California Farm Demonstration Network is to create a means for farmers to learn, to discover and to innovate,” said Jeff Mitchell, UC Cooperative Extension cropping systems specialist, who is leading the effort with technical and funding assistance from MOU partners.


  • Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture  
  • Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation   
  • Ron Tjeerdema, associate dean of UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources 
  • Karen Buhr, executive director of California Association of Resource Conservation Districts
  • Carlos Suarez, state conservationist for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

WHEN:  Friday, May 5

12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. – Demonstration of differences in soil function resulting from management practices.

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. – Network partners describe their respective roles.

WHERE: Dixon Ridge Farms, 5430 Putah Creek Road, Winters, CA

VISUALS: A rainfall simulator will spray water over trays of different soils to show how on-farm management practices help the soil hold together.

Network partners will sign the memorandum of understanding.


The statewide farm demonstration network builds upon and connects efforts across California including one created in Glenn County last year.

In Glenn County, the farmer-driven effort has provided the opportunity for local farmers to share innovative practices and hold honest discussions about opportunities and challenges related to these systems.

“The collaborative effort of the partners presents the opportunity to leverage resources based on local needs and increases the likelihood that innovative agricultural practices will be adopted sooner than they might have been without the networking opportunity,” said Betsy Karle, UC Cooperative Extension director in Glenn County.

With the California Farm Demonstration Network, the organizers hope to create more opportunities to connect local people, showcase existing farmer innovation, engage in new local demonstration evaluations of improved performance practices and systems, evaluate the demonstration practices, and share information with partners. They also hope to expand and connect other local farm-demonstration hubs throughout the state via educational events, video narratives and a web-based information portal.

Posted on Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 11:28 AM

4-H calls alumni and friends to join its new network

If 4-H has touched your life, raise your hand. Visit http://4-H.org/raiseyourhand to voice your support for the California 4-H youth development program, help it win a national competition, and connect with a network of 4-H alumni and friends.

You are considered alumni if you were in a 4-H Club, took part in a 4-H after-school program, served as a volunteer leader, or taught a project. Friends of 4-H are also invited to raise their hands.

“Having experienced our programs first-hand, our alumni know about the positive impact of 4-H,” said Glenda Humiston, vice president of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) and a 4-H alumna. UC ANR is the umbrella organization of 4-H in California.

As part of the new 4-H network being built in the 4-H Raise Your Hand campaign, members will get news about 4-H programs in California and stay in touch with a program that made a difference in their lives.

“I've raised my hand,” said Humiston, who credits 4-H with helping her become the first in her family to attend college. She later served in the Peace Corps, received a federal appointment from President Obama and now leads the statewide research and outreach arm of UC.

The National 4-H program, which currently empowers nearly 6 million youth across the country, aims to extend its reach to 10 million by 2025. It has launched a competition among states to see which ones can add the most alumni and friends to the network by June 30, 2017. A map showing the current front runners is on the registration page.

“We need the help of all 4-H members, their teachers, leaders and friends to build the California network,” Humiston said. “The prize is $20,000, and if we win, that money will fund California 4-H youth leadership programs.”

Another well-known 4-H alum is Grammy-award winning musician and actress Jennifer Nettles.

“4-H gives kids the opportunity to learn by doing, to grow from not only the encouragements brought by success, but also through challenges and failures,” Nettles said. “These skills will help them to handle whatever life may throw their way.”

The California 4-H youth development program is open to all youth aged 5 through 19 years old. For more information about California 4-H or to join a program, go to http://4H.ucanr.edu.


(Photo: Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Posted on Monday, May 1, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Tags: 4-H (7), Glenda Humiston (8)

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