“The general public and, in particular, large funders tend to not view agriculture as a particularly sexy topic. We've done such a great job for over 150 years of providing a safe, secure, wonderful, bountiful food supply that people take it for granted,” VP Glenda Humiston told members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, explaining the challenges of fundraising for public agricultural research.
“Agricultural research has been essential to U.S. gains in productivity over the past century,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) when he announced the hearing on The Next Farm Bill: University Research. “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. 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.”
Conaway asked why the universities' agriculture programs lack infrastructure like labs and greenhouses and have $8.4 billion in deferred maintenance.
“As we've dealt with cuts and increased costs, it's been easy to say, ‘We can put off fixing that roof or put off buying that new piece of equipment a few more years if we can keep those researchers doing their work,'” Humiston explained. “Unfortunately, I think that's been going on for decades rather than a few years and that's why it's gotten so critical."
Humiston and the other guests described how their institutions partner with private industry and other government agencies to leverage federal funding.
Highlights of Humiston's remarks
- A vital component of federal support for agricultural research has been capacity funding specifically dedicated to supporting research and Cooperative Extension programs at America's land-grant universities.
- The current mix of federal and state capacity funds is generally leveraged many-fold by federal competitive grants, grants from private industry, and other types of unrestricted gifts and awards to faculty conducting research at the nation's land-grant universities.
- 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 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 1,800 peer-reviewed journal articles and filed more than 20 patents.
- 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.
To watch a recording of the hearing, visit YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckbfCTTuZs0. Humiston appears at the 24:45 mark.
For a transcript of Humiston's full prepared remarks, visit http://ucanr.edu/files/264186.pdf.
The committee has scheduled listening sessions, “The Next Farm Bill, Conversations in the Field,” to gather input from farmers, ranchers and stakeholders across the country. They will be in California on Aug. 5 in Modesto.
More than 300 people crowded into the Computer History Museum in Mountain View for The Mixing Bowl's FOOD IT: Fork to Farm event on June 27.
Food producers, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, venture capitalists, industry executives, researchers and nonprofit representatives gathered to explore the different ways in which information technology is being applied to a broad range of food and agriculture challenges.
A panel of university deans, including Helene Dillard from UC Davis, Andrew Thulin from Cal Poly and Wendy Wintersteen from Iowa State, discussed a range of food and agriculture topics with VP Glenda Humiston moderating. The deans discussed science literacy and noted that about seven out of ten of their agriculture students come from urban areas.
At the event, which was co-sponsored by UC ANR, Humiston announced that UC ANR is launching The VINE, or The Verde Innovation Network for Entrepreneurship, to cultivate regional innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems in rural communities. Led by Gabriel Youtsey, chief innovation officer, The VINE aims to bring together resources such as small business development centers, community colleges, county Cooperative Extension offices, makers labs, incubators and accelerators to help people commercialize their ideas.
Dillard noted that UC Davis's InnovationAccess also helps people bring their products to market.
Humiston and Dillard were interviewed by The Cube about how the university is changing to address ag tech issues. Broadband access to the internet in rural areas is a limiting factor for agricultural technology, Humiston told The Cube's Jeff Frick. The agricultural industry is using satellite imagery, drones and soil sensors, she said. “If you've got thousands of sensors zapping information back and forth, you can fill up that pipeline pretty fast.”
The interview with Humiston and Dillard and others from FOOD IT are posted at http://www.siliconangle.tv/food-it-june-27-2017-mountain-view-ca.
Read more about the FOOD IT at http://ucanr.edu/?blogpost=24534&blogasset=52096.
UC ANR is a sponsoring partner of The Mixing Bowl's FOOD IT event taking place Tuesday, June 27, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.
Participants will explore the different ways in which information technology is being applied to a broad range of food and agriculture challenges.
VP Glenda Humiston will be moderating a panel called “The Deans' List of Food/AgTech Topics” that will feature food and agriculture university deans Helene Dillard from UC Davis, Andrew Thulin from Cal Poly and Wendy Wintersteen from Iowa State.
"Overall, FOOD IT will gather 300 people, from food producers, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, venture capitalists, industry executives, researchers and non-profits, representing all aspects of the food system for a highly interactive day," said Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer.
Speakers and participants include representatives from food and retail companies including Airbnb, Analog Devices, AT&T, Bowles Farming Company, Forbes, Campbell's, Coca-Cola, Driscoll's, Google, Land O' Lakes, Mattson, Rabobank, Recology, Syngenta, Upfront Ventures, Walmart, Western Digital, Yamaha and many more. You can read more about the event at http://mixingbowlhub.com/events/food-fork-farm.
To register for FOOD IT, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/food-it-fork-to-farm-tickets-30230557411. Use discount code “17STMB" for 70 percent off (just $75 for the day).
UC ANR has new online orientation guide
UC ANR has a new online orientation guide for new employees. It begins with a welcome video from VP Glenda Humiston and continues to a table of contents where new employees will find topics such as the ANR Mission and Vision, ANR Core Messages, History of ANR, ANR programs and unit overview videos, as well as personal responsibility, employee resources, and more. UC ANR continues to explore ways to orient our new employees beyond the annual New Employee Administrative and Programmatic Orientations.
UC Learning Center upgrade
Between July 7 and 14, the UC Learning Center website (lms.ucdavis.edu) will be down for an upgrade. Therefore, plan your compliance and other training with that schedule in mind. As new information is available from UCOP, we will send out a reminder announcement.
ANR employees still have access to Lynda.com. Therefore, disregard any messages you may have received stating that our subscription is over. If you have not already created a personal account, please go the ANR Portal and under “My Links” click on Lynda.com Learning. This month's learning module recommendations are “Delivering Employee Feedback” with Todd Dewett and “The Benefits of Project management” with Richard Harrington. Check them out!
MSAP provides people managers new awareness
During the four-day program, Jordan and Macias participated in simulated UC management scenarios, received behavioral feedback from assessors, attended a career development workshop, and connected with UC systemwide colleagues. Before they arrived, they participated in pre-assessment components and will be involved post-program activities to continue their professional development.
Macias remarked, “MSAP was an insightful experience. I have become more confident in my strengths and more self-aware of my development areas. I look forward to using the skills and information I learned, in my continued professional growth.”
Become an assessor and help ANR serve this UC systemwide initiative for upward mobility. Academics can add the assessor service to their merit and promotion package. For information on how to become an assessor, contact Jodi Azulai at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next MSAP will be held Oct. 9-12, 2017. See the next article to apply.
CALL FOR ANR APPLICANTS: Management Skills Assessment Program (MSAP)
If you or your people managers are ready for a leap in professional development, we encourage applying for the Management Skills Assessment Program (MSAP).
This program assesses the management skills of high-potential, early-career supervisors and managers for future leadership opportunities at the University of California. We strongly recommend discussing the program with supervisors and managers who exhibit potential for management development.
Applications are due July 10, 2017.
Eligibility requirements include:
- Full-time career status with a current, satisfactory (or better) performance evaluation
- Career Tracks job classification as a supervisor or manager
Participants will be selected based on an evaluation of the applicant's (1) career goals in management, (2) level of skills essential for performing management functions, and (3) demonstrated career path and/or strong commitment to management skill development.
ANR Learning & Development pays the $1,095 program fee plus transportation and other related travel costs.
What to expect:
- A demanding program with assessees in activities from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
- No time to check email or attend to work responsibilities.
- Eat with other assessees and share small condos.
Application instructions and further information about the program are at http://msap.ucr.edu. Choose UC ANR (not UC Davis) in the application.
A UC ANR committee will review all applications and make the final selection.Completed applications must be submitted online at http://msap.ucr.edu by Monday, July 10, 2017 (Remember the website will shut down between July 7 and 14 for upgrade). As supervisor, you will also have a required portion in the submission for application consideration and commit to participate in the required post-program activities.
For more information, contact Jodi Azulai, ANR Learning and Development coordinator, at email@example.com.
ANR Learning and Development
To position ANR as the premiere source of knowledge and science for agricultural and natural resources issues, it is vital that our people keep their knowledge and skills at peak performance. The ANR Learning and Development website offers an array of opportunities for employee learning and professional development that can help serve that goal. I strongly encourage employees to take full advantage of these resources as well as other opportunities to enhance their personal and professional growth. – Glenda Humiston, Vice President
Innovation is key to keeping California farmers globally competitive. On 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 signed a memorandum of understanding 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.
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.
“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.
The MOU was signed by 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; Karen Buhr, executive director of California Association of Resource Conservation Districts; Carlos Suarez, state conservationist for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; and VP Glenda Humiston.
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.
Read more about the ceremony in Mitchell's blog post http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=24054.