Chinese scientists tour California agriculture with UC ANR
To promote the exchange and sharing of agricultural extension information, several U.S. Land Grant institutions have formed an alliance with 10 Chinese agricultural universities. From June 17 to 22, UC ANR took a group of scientists from Chinese agricultural universities on a tour of agriculture in Northern California.
“The Chinese face many of the same issues that we do here in the U.S.,” said VP Glenda Humiston. “The Chinese universities want to improve rural economic development to lift up the quality of life for people in rural communities. They are also responding to global climate change, drought and pests while trying to improve food security and water use efficiency. They see UC Cooperative Extension as an effective research model; we hope that scientific collaborations will accelerate solutions and help maintain relations for California agriculture with China.”
The Chinese Extension Alliance Delegation included Song Hui, vice dean of the New Rural Development Research Institute of Northeast Agricultural University; Sun Wenpeng, professional extension personnel of Northeast Agricultural University; Luo Jian, associate professor of business at Hunan Agricultural University; He Minghui, associate professor of business at Hunan Agricultural University; and Li Peng, director of the Office of Invigorating Agriculture with Science and Education in the Department of Science and Technology.
The group toured Oregon agriculture with Oregon State University representatives, then drove from Klamath Falls with Humiston and Greg Gibbs and Rob Broadhurst of Development Services to begin the California tour at UC ANR's Intermountain Research and Extension Center in Tulelake. Rob Wilson, Intermountain REC director, showed them research being conducted on potatoes and mint breeding. From there, the group headed out to tour Shasta Dam.
In Redding, Larry Forero, UCCE director in Shasta County, and Rick Satomi, UCCE forest advisor, told the Chinese delegates about local research and outreach, then introduced them to 4-H youth and families at the Shasta District Fair, where 4-H members were bringing livestock for show.
UCCE advisors Josh Davy and Allan Fulton discussed orchards and water in Tehama County.
In Yuba City, UCCE director Janine Hasey and her staff gave the guests an overview of UCCE programs in Yuba and Sutter counties and plans for celebrating the office's 100th anniversary on Aug. 24. They met with UCCE pomology advisors, who gave them a tour of Sierra Gold Nurseries orchards and walnut rootstock research sites and discussed collaborations with growers.
Stephanie Larson, UCCE director in Sonoma County, drove the group around areas in Santa Rosa that burned in October and discussed UCCE's fire research and outreach to the community. The group also met with UCCE staff in Sonoma County to discuss food access, 4-H youth development, natural resources and wine grapes.
For a view of UC Cooperative Extension from the campus perspective, Mark Bell, vice provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, introduced the group to colleagues in the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences at UC Davis. They met with Mimi Rose, program coordinator for international programs; Martin Smith, UCCE specialist in the Department of Human Ecology; Ron Tjeerdema, associate dean for Environmental Sciences; Bruce Linquist, UCCE rice specialist; Jim Hill, emeritus UCCE specialist; and Louise Ferguson, UCCE specialist and founder of the Fruit and Nut Research and Information Center.
Anne Megaro, director of governmental and community relations, introduced the group to Gail Feenstra, deputy director and food systems coordinator of UC ANR's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and Sonja Brodt, academic coordinator. Then they toured the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility with soil science post-doc Daoyuan Wang and the UC Davis Student Farm with its director Katharina Ullmann.
“They have extension in China, but it is not like ours,” said Megaro. “They are looking to strengthen their advisor positions and develop a mechanism for career advancement, similar to what we have in the U.S.”
The Chinese Extension Alliance Delegation wrapped up their tour at UC ANR's offices in Davis to learn about UC ANR's statewide programs. Jim Farrar discussed the Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, Missy Gable described the Master Gardener Program, Shannon Horrillo talked about the 4-H youth development program, Greg Ira explained California Naturalist; and Katie Panarella covered the Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences, Expanded Food Nutrition Education (EFNEP) and Master Food Preserver programs.
Humiston, who met with the China-US University-based Agricultural Extension Alliance in China in March of 2017, said, “We look forward to collaborating with our agricultural extension colleagues in China.”