The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources is pleased to announce a new partnership with the California Stewardship Network to accelerate economic recovery across the state by tapping expertise in broadband development, small-business acumen, agricultural technology and more.
To help communities recover from the recession and expand regional economic-development efforts, UC ANR is investing approximately $3 million to hire 15 new UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) advisors and one specialist. These UCCE experts will collaborate closely with members of the California Stewardship Network – an alliance of regional leaders who are committed to solving state's most pressing economic, environmental and social well-being challenges.
“The California Stewardship Network represents regions across California and each region is different, with its own challenges and opportunities. This UCCE investment brings science and solutions that fit the uniqueness of each region, while partnering across the state to improve our communities,” said Heidi Hill Drum, co-chair of the California Stewardship Network and CEO of the Tahoe Prosperity Center.
The UCCE scientists will leverage existing community and economic development efforts, especially in rural parts of the state, and provide vital expertise in business development, agricultural technology, biomass and wood products, disaster recovery, water justice, controlled environment food production, food systems development, urban resiliency and – crucially – digital infrastructure.
“We've long known how important it was to close the digital divide, but COVID really highlighted the absolutely critical need for all families and communities to have high-quality access to the internet,” said Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
In rural regions of the state, the pandemic, catastrophic wildfires and increased global competition have been whittling away at rural economies. The “working landscapes” of wilderness areas, farms and ranches provide food as well as wildlife habitat, recreational venues, energy and water. Humiston sees vital opportunities to expand revenue in these areas for rural residents.
“For California to thrive, these working landscapes must be managed to yield economic opportunities now and into the future,” Humiston said.
“California needs healthier forests for many reasons – reduced risk from wildfire, producing more water, better habitat and recreation opportunities – but we will not get there if we can't develop valuable uses for the excess biomass that needs to be removed from our forests.”
Hiring is underway for some of the new UC Cooperative Extension positions; others will be released for recruitment in early 2022. The 16 new UCCE positions and the counties they serve include the following:
1. Rural Community and Economic Development Area Advisor (Del Norte, Humboldt, and Trinity)
2. Agricultural Technology (Intermountain Research and Extension Center in Siskiyou County)
3. Biomass and Forest Products Advisor (Siskiyou, Shasta and Trinity)
4. Broadband Development Area Advisor (Butte, Tehama, Glenn)
5. Disaster Recovery for Housing (Plumas, Lassen, Sierra)
6. Water Justice Policy and Planning Specialist (UC Berkeley)
7. Regional Food Systems Area Advisor (Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, Solano)
8. Regional Food Systems Area Advisor (Amador, El Dorado, Calaveras, Tuolumne)
9. Woody Biomass and Forest Products Advisor, (El Dorado, Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, and Mariposa)
10. Agriculture Technology Area Advisor, (Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, San Luis Obispo)
11. Technology and Innovation for Small Farms Advisor, (Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Fresno County)
12. Community and Economic Development Area Advisor, (Inyo, Mono, Northeastern Kern)
13. Water and Community Resilience Area Advisor, (Kern, Kings, Tulare)
14. Community and Economic Development Area Advisor – (Los Angeles, Orange)
15. Woody Biomass and Bioenergy Advisor, (Riverside, San Bernardino)
16. Agriculture Technology Area Advisor, (South Coast Research and Extension Center in Orange County)