UC ANR always has a lot going on in the world of nutrition, but this month we seem as active as ever in this important space.
First came the announcement late in February that Pat Crawford, a UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist who previously served as the director of the Atkins Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley, would be joining our Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI). Pat and her growing team of researchers will join NPI, which conducts research to inform, build, and strengthen nutrition-related policy, outreach and programs.
NPI then took center stage later in March when it distributed a national news release urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make water “first for thirst.” What this means, essentially, is that NPI is taking a strong stand in asking the federal government to promote plain drinking water as the healthiest beverage. We've even asked the USDA to add a symbol for water to its “MyPlate” graphic.
NPI developed a “Take Action!” page on its website with easy-to-follow guidelines for submitting comments on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. For those of you who might be interested in sharing with your friends and family, the “Take Action!” web page is located at http://npi.ucanr.edu/water.
Finally, on March 24, the Sacramento Bee published this op-ed piece penned by UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor Rachel Surls from Los Angeles County. Working with our communications staff, Rachel writes eloquently about urban agriculture and cites several examples of how urban farming is working well in cities across our state. She clearly shows how those case studies support UC's Global Food Initiative and its goals.
As always, I appreciate the work all of you do on behalf of UC ANR and, by extension, for the people of California. Thank you!
Laura Snell joined UCCE on March 2 as a livestock and natural resources advisor in Modoc County.
Prior to joining UCCE, Snell worked as a recruitment coordinator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Agriculture Education where she provided recruitment, retention and advising services to future and current students. She also organized the World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute and arranged logistics for domestic and international student trips. In 2013, she collaborated with UNL and The Nature Conservancy as an undergraduate intern coordinator for summer undergraduate research projects at the Niobrara Valley preserve, a cattle and bison ranch in northcentral Nebraska. From 2010 to 2013, Snell was a graduate research assistant/laboratory instructor/publications coordinator, conducting research in cattle grazing, nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas emission in pasture ecosystems. She taught the introduction range and forage class and published journal articles on her master's research. Prior to working in Nebraska, Snell was an environmental educator at the University of Georgia, teaching forest ecology, hiking, canoeing, navigation, anthropology, high ropes and team building to children grades 3-12 and adults at 4-H camp.
She earned a B.S. in water science and a M.S. in agronomy at UNL.
Snell is based in Alturas and can be reached at (530) 233-6328 and email@example.com.
Lindsay Jordan joined UCCE on February 17, 2015 as a viticulture area advisor in Madera, Merced & Mariposa counties.
Jordan's viticulture experience began as an undergraduate at UC Davis, where she majored in viticulture and enology and participated in undergraduate research investigating the hydraulic conductivity of Vitis xylem vessels. For her master's degree research, she led trials in Riesling vineyards in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York that evaluated the effects of under-vine groundcovers on vine growth and fruit and wine quality to promote sustainable vineyard floor management. Jordan was the recipient of the Cornell Fredrick Dreer Award, which enabled her to travel to New Zealand and be a part of an under-vine management study lead by the Eastern Institute of Technology in Marlborough for the 2014 growing season. Jordan has worked at several commercial wineries for harvest in vineyard and lab technician positions, including Pernod Ricard Winemakers in Blenheim, New Zealand, and Mumm Napa and Quintessa in the Napa Valley before joining UC ANR.
Jordan earned a B.S. in viticulture and enology from UC Davis in 2011 and a M.S. in horticulture from Cornell University in 2014.
Jordan is based in Madera and can be reached at (559) 675-7879, Ext. 7209 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Devii Rao joined UCCE on Feb. 23 as an area livestock and natural resources advisor for San Benito, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Rao had worked as a rangeland management specialist for Point Reyes National Seashore since 2012. She worked closely with 24 ranching families to identify priority issues and developed science-based solutions that allowed for both economically viable ranching operations and conservation of natural resources. Her outreach and education efforts for the Seashore have included presentations, coordination of conferences, and field tours. From 2008 to 2012, the Marin County native worked as a private consultant in range management conducting rangeland research; preparing grazing management, manure management, and monitoring plans for conservation lands with special resources; as well as outreach and education in the form of individual consultations with ranchers, presentations at conferences, and peer-reviewed publications.
She earned a B.A. in environmental studies with a minor in economics from UC Santa Cruz and an M.S. in range management from UC Berkeley.
Rao is based in Hollister and can be reached at (831) 637-5346, Ext. 14 and email@example.com.
The American Society for Enology and Viticulture has named Matthew Fidelibus, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis, as the recipient of the 2015 ASEV Extension Distinction Award. Fidelibus will receive the award at the 66th ASEV National Conference in Portland, Ore., in June after delivering his presentation “Increasing Scope and Engagement in Extension.”
Fidelibus, who is based at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, conducts research aimed at reducing production costs and improving yields and quality for raisin, table, and wine grapes. His research interests include environmental physiology, plant growth regulation, and cultivar and clone selection. In addition to publishing more than 30 papers, his list of accomplishments includes serving as past-president of the Plant Growth Regulation Society of America and director of ASEV. He is presently an associate editor of the Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture and PLOS ONE.
The ASEV Extension Distinction Award recognizes outstanding contribution of enology or viticulture information through an extension program or the translation of novel research findings into commercially applicable tools for enologists or viticulturists.
Ariel Dinar, professor of environmental economics and policy at UC Riverside, has been named a 2015 Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA), the organization's most prestigious honor.
“Ariel Dinar is known internationally as an expert on the economics of water, and his recognition by the AAEA is well-deserved,” said Anil Deolalikar, founding dean of the UCR School of Public Policy. “His research on water pricing, water institutions, water quality control, water management modeling, agriculture and climate change, agricultural extension, and regional cooperation in water management has influenced policy changes at the local, state and national levels. We are delighted that the AAEA has recognized him for this well-deserved honor.”
Dinar said the ultimate goal of his research is to better understand the tradeoff between various policy interventions and which societal objectives could be achieved at the expense of others.
“In the field of water economics, we are just starting to understand the relationships between the different water consuming sectors, and the direct and indirect effects of various water and non-water policies on the entire economy,” he said. “However, understanding economy-wide effects of water scarcity and policies to address it are still a challenge left to be achieved.”
According to the AAEA, the primary consideration for the selection of Fellows is “continuous contribution to the advancement of agricultural or applied economics as defined by the Vision Statement. Achievements may be in research, teaching, extension, administration, and/or other contributions to public or private sector decision-making.”
Read the entire UCR press release at http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/27414.
Master Gardeners win international award
The UC Master Gardener Program in Sonoma County was recently recognized with the International Master Gardener Search for Excellence award for their Garden Sense program. The project placed first in the Community Service category in the program recognizing Extension Master Gardener volunteer work in the United States, Canada and South Korea.
Garden Sense, a partnership developed between the Master Gardeners and the Sonoma County Water Agency in 2013, trains consultants in lawn conversion, landscape water management, irrigation systems, site assessment, low-water-use plants and sustainable garden practices. The volunteer consultants visit Sonoma County homeowners to show them how to conserve water by creating a climate-appropriate garden that is healthy, sustainable and environmentally sound.
“In our first year of operation we estimate water savings as a result of the program at 6 acre feet,” wrote Mimi Enright, Master Gardener Program coordinator in Sonoma County, in her blog post about the award.
2013 USDA report, meaning they do not have “consistent access throughout the year to adequate food for healthy, active living,” according to Rachel Surls, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Los Angeles County. Families with children are even more likely to run short on food.
Urban agriculture is one tool that has the potential to improve food security in California communities.
To better support the state's urban agriculture, a statewide assessment of urban agriculture needs was conducted by Surls, Gail Feenstra, deputy director of Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP); Sheila Golden, former SAREP staff member who now works for Community Alliance with Family Farmers; Ryan Galt, professor in the Department of Human and Community Development; Shermain Hardesty, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics; Cheryl Wilen, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Diego County; Claire Napawan, professor in the Department of Human Ecology; Valerie Borel, horticulture and natural resources program coordinator in Los Angeles County; Aziz Baameur, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Santa Clara County; and Rob Bennaton, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Contra Costa and Alameda counties.
The team conducted a survey of ANR personnel and interviewed urban farmers and policymakers.
They found that 65 percent of ANR academics and staff responding to the survey said that they had provided support, advice, technical assistance or served as a partner for urban agriculture activities within the past year.
ANR personnel said they would like to see educational materials developed specifically for urban agriculture on a number of topics, including pest management, water management, design of community projects, soil testing and remediation and tips for projects at schools.
Their study has been published in the February issue of Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, a special issue on urban agriculture.
To read the full report, you can also view it at http://ucanr.edu/sites/UrbanAg/files/188371.pdf.
The purpose of the STAR program is to recognize and reward outstanding staff individual and team performance within Agriculture and Natural Resources. Recipients receive cash awards as well as recognition.
Under the STAR plan, managers are able to recognize, acknowledge and reward staff employees for exceptional performance or significant contributions related to and supportive of individual, departmental, divisional or organizational goals and objectives. Nominations are due April 30, 2015.
Below are comments from past STAR winners:
Although my supervisor thanked me on a regular basis, receiving the star award confirmed that my efforts were truly valued. This award program provides a way to recognize an employee's contribution to the unit and to the division as a whole. It also motivates the employee to continue to do so. – Mary Roberts, UC ANR Human Resources, Staff Personnel
An appointed review team will review the nominations and select as many as 20 individuals and two teams to receive awards. To read the STAR award guidelines and restrictions and to download the nomination form, visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/ANRSPU.
While working at the University of Western Australia, Nansen, who joined UC in January, developed a smartphone app that can be used to optimize pesticide spray applications. He would like to partner with UC Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors to adapt SnapCard for use by California growers.
“It was developed on the basis of spray nozzles and spray volumes relevant to Australia,” Nansen said. “I would very much appreciate contact with farmers, commodity groups, crop advisers and companies involved in pesticide spraying with an interest in optimizing spray coverage as part of ensuring high performance pesticide applications.”
He is currently finalizing the publication of a research paper describing the regression model behind SnapCard. The free app is available for Android and iOS platforms and can be downloaded from his website http://chrnansen.wix.com/nansen2.