- Author: Mimi M Enright
Air quality in Sonoma County has been significantly impacted by the fires that spread through the region. The full scope of the air contamination is still unknown, but likely includes high concentrations of likely carcinogens including heavy metals, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
There is limited research on the impact of smoke from a wildfire in a wildland urban interface on produce safety. UCCE Sonoma is partnering with Vanessa Raditz, who was working with community organizations on emergency food relief during the crisis, to develop a Citizen Science project to assess the impact of the air pollution from the wildfire on produce. During the crisis Vanessa, who has a Master's degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley, began quickly developing a partnership with members of the community and UCCE Sonoma to gather samples and seek funding for testing and education on this topic.
Master Gardeners and other concerned community members were trained to collect samples from local farms and gardens of washed and unwashed produce, each in triplicate, to determine if contaminants can be easily washed off produce, or whether it has been taken up in plant tissue. Volunteers focused on kale, collards, chard, and lettuce, as these leaves are directly exposed to air pollution. Vanessa scheduled volunteer training at Bayer Farm, Harvest for the Hungry and Petaluma Bounty, and samples were taken from 10/19-22. Time was of the essence to gather samples which are all being frozen. Now we turn to find partners to find funding for the testing and develop an educational outreach program when results are received.
Visit Disaster Recovery to learn more.
- Author: Karen Giovannini
Celebrating National 4-H Week for the 75th consecutive year, Sonoma County 4-H program was presented with a Gold Resolution at the Oct 2 Board of Supervisors meeting.
"4-H is deserving of public recognition for its distinguished record of helping young people become healthy, happy, and thriving citizens who make a positive difference in their communities... the Board of Supervisors hereby proclaims October 1-7, 2017 as National 40H Week in Sonoma County."
The Sonoma County 4-H program, established in 1926, helps young people, ages 5-19, reach their fullest potential as competent, confident individuals who contribute to and are connected with their communities.
Now is the time to Join!
4-H alumni around the country are always the first to acknowledge the significant positive impact 4-H had on them as young people; the opportunities and experiences that 4-H provides youth empowers them to become true leaders. In fact, research has shown that young people in 4-H are almost four times as likely to contribute to their communities, and are twice as likely to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in their free time.
4-H, the nation's largest youth development and empowerment organization, cultivates confident kids who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities right now. In the United States, 4-H programs empower six million young people through the 110 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension in more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the United States, independent, country-led 4-H organizations empower one million young people in more than 50 countries.
National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)./table>
- Author: Julia Van Soelen Kim
50 food and agriculture leaders from Sonoma County and the North Bay gathered on June 8, 2017 in Petaluma for the North Bay Food Policy Council Convening. Participants represented the Sonoma Food System Alliance and three North Bay food policy councils. Food Policy Councils are multi-stakeholder coalitions that work on devising local level solutions to nutrition, agriculture, and food systems issues.
Participants shared highlights of their work across the region, exchanged best practices and success stories, built skills in local policy advocacy, and sparked greater regional coordination between food policy councils. The event was hosted by North Bay Food Systems Advisor, Julia Van Soelen Kim, and UC Cooperative Extension. Based on the success of the event, it will likely be offered again in spring 2018.
For more information, contact Julia Van Soelen Kim, North Bay Food Systems Advisor
Drs. Alda Pires and Maurice Pitesky, along with PhD epidemiology student Laura Patterson, from UC Davis joined with Dr. Stephanie Larson, Director of UCCE Sonoma County, to present a seminar titled “Farming 101: Diversified Crop and Livestock Farming” at the UCCE office in Santa Rosa. About 30 small-scale diversified farmers with diverse livestock (e.g., sheep, goats, poultry, pig, rabbits and cattle) and crops (e.g., vegetables, fruit trees, wine grapes) attended the event.
Dr. Pitesky provided information on pastured poultry and biosecurity practices that are important to reduce the risk of avian influenza outbreaks.
Dr. Larson discussed pastured swine practices and opportunities for NRCS funding.
Dr. Pires gave a presentation on food safety risks and animal health considerations for integrated crop-livestock and diversified farms, including information about specific food borne pathogens (e.g., Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7) and parasite management.
PhD student Laura Patterson discussed research updates about a small-scale farm study as well as
Information about upcoming UCCE Sonoma County workshops can be found on our calendar.
- Author: Cheryl Reynolds
Is your pesticide safety training in compliance with the new Worker Protection Standard?
— Sarah Risorto and Lisa Blecker, UC IPM Pesticide Safety Education Program
We are in the midst of a new and changing era of Worker Protection Standards (WPS). The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) recently published the revised WPS, which is meant to increase protections for agricultural fieldworkers and pesticide handlers from pesticide exposure when they're working in farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses. The changes are already affecting California agriculture!
What major regulatory changes have already gone into effect?
Several changes are required to have been in place as of January 2, 2017. These include:
- All 417,000 fieldworkers in California must attend annual pesticide safety training.
- Records of all fieldworker pesticide safety trainings must be kept on file for 2 years.
- Fields must be posted when the restricted entry interval (REI) exceeds 48 hours.
- “Application-exclusion zones” must be implemented to prevent the entry of anyone into areas up to 100 feet from pesticide application equipment.
- Instructors previously qualified via a DPR-approved Instructor Training programs (Train the Trainer) are qualified to train through 2017. If you wish to be qualified to train fieldworkers and handlers after December 31, 2017 using this qualification, you must complete an updated, DPR-approved Train the Trainer workshop.
Now is the time to make sure these changes are put in place!
What major regulatory changes are still in store for us? When will they happen?
The regulatory changes that must be in place by January 2, 2018 include:
- Who do these changes affect? Additional training topics for fieldworkers and handlers have to be added to the curriculum.
- Handlers have to suspend an application if anyone enters the application exclusion zone.
Many people who work in the California agricultural community will be impacted by the WPS revisions. These include fieldworkers, pesticide handlers, farm labor contractors, private and in-house safety trainers, growers, farm managers, licensed pesticide applicators (private and commercial), pest control advisors (PCAs), and crop consultants, to name a few.
How do I know if I am qualified to train?
If you attended one of the DPR-approved Train-the-Trainer programs you are qualified through 2017. However, if you wish to continue training after the end of the year, you must complete a DPR-approved Instructor Training Program, which includes the 2018 training topic requirements.
If you maintain certain licenses/government designations, including PAC, QAC, QAL, PCA, and certain County Biologist licenses you are qualified to train. UCCE Advisors are also qualified to train.
How can I get qualified as a trainer?
To become a trainer, take an Instructor Training program that is approved by DPR for 2018 topics. The University of California Pesticide Safety Education Program (part of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, UC IPM), in partnership with AgSafe, will offer multiple workshops this spring that cover the new federal requirements for fieldworker and handler training. You can reserve your spot now. At the end of the training you will be a Certified Pesticide Safety Instructor.
If I am currently qualified, how can I make sure I stay up to date on all the new requirements?
If you are currently qualified as a trainer because you maintain a California PAC, QAC, or QAL, or if you are a PCA, you can attend an Instructor Training Program this spring to learn about the new WPS requirements and additional training topics. While a certification may qualify you, an Instructor Training Program will prepare you to train! Register today!/table>