UC advisor to Northern California ranchers rides off into the sunset
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor in Sutter and Yuba counties, retired on March 14 after 32 years supporting the iconic California cattle ranching industry.
“I feel blessed to have been able to be in an organization that allows you to come to work each day and use the power of the University of California system to solve local problems and help improve people's lives,” Nader said.
After earning a bachelor's degree in animal science at California State University, Chico, and a master's degree in animal nutrition from UC Davis, Nader joined UC ANR in 1982 as a livestock and natural resources advisor in Lassen County. Over the years, advances in information technology dramatically changed the way he communicated with ranchers.
In the early 1980s, Nader mimeographed lengthy newsletters and mailed them to clientele. In recent times, he emailed a paragraph with hyperlinks to more information. While in Lassen County, Nader also maintained a morning agriculture radio program as a method of extending information.
“I am impressed that UC ANR allows advisors to able to lead collaborative groups to solve problems in the field,” Nader said, a practice that he used numerous times over his career.
Examples include his work in the Pine Creek Coordinated Management Plan and the Yuba and Butte counties coordinated pre-fire management plan. A recent article in California Agriculture journal, UC Cooperative Extension works with fire councils to reduce wildfires, highlights the pre-fire plan's role in stopping two potentially catastrophic fires. Although not a fire scientist himself, Nader aggregated the basic concepts from UC Cooperative Extension during a sabbatical leave to be better able to address problems of the local communities he served.
The groups that he worked with were honored with the Smoky Bear Award and the Cal Fire Service Award. The Pine Creek CRMP group's work was cited as a reason to not list the Eagle Lake trout as endangered. Nader also used his animal science background to work with other advisors to publish information on how grazing could be used as a tool reduce fuels.
In 1996, Nader transferred to Sutter and Yuba counties. He said looks back on the rice straw research he conducted with animal science specialist Peter Robinson there with a sense of fulfillment. Their work over 14 years showed that preventing rice straw from drying greatly increases the nutritional value to animals. Their work was one of the UC Cooperative Extension programs recognized with the Circle of Life award from the California Rice Commission.
Nader was named the Cattleman of the Year from both the Lassen and Butte county Cattlemen's associations. He was recognized by the California Cattlemen's Association for his education and research work. The Butte and Yuba Fire Safe Councils honored Nader for his assistance in forming and for actively participating in their councils.
“I saw the councils as the perfect platform to extend research information to local residents on what they could do to reduce their risks to wildfire,” Nader said.
During a presentation to UC President Dynes on pre-fire planning, the resulting discussion revealed a need to teach the thermal transfer process for people to better understand how fire science related to fire safety recommendations.
“This is an example of how the interaction with UC faculty that can perfect the impact of Cooperative Extension,” he said.
Nader said he especially enjoyed the people he worked with during his career.
“I appreciate all the clientele and ANR staff that allowed me to greatly enjoy the blessing of being a farm advisor for 32 years,” Nader said.
During retirement he plans to spend more time with his wife Marie and son Alan on their Modoc County ranch.