Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of California
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

News stories

Children and families find a spark with hands-on fun


Hands-on crafts, farm animals and fresh organic produce brought the Santa Clara County community to the Martial Cottle Park Harvest Festival in San Jose Oct. 6. UC Cooperative Extension in Santa Clara County participated to share gardening information, composting basics and the fun of 4-H with children and families.

The UCCE 4-H program brought virtual reality goggles that allowed children to look in any direction for a view under the sea, complete with coral, fish and a sea turtle. Santa Clara County 4-H ambassador Alexa Russo used a tablet computer to interact with the children as they looked through the goggles, asking questions to engage them in the experience.

Children peer through VR goggles to see an undersea world, a 4-H activity shared with potential new members at the harvest festival. Behind the table from left are 4-H volunteer Stan Alger, 4-H program representative Sue Weaver, 4-H youth development advisor Fe Moncloa, and 4-H teen ambassador Alexa Russo.

The goggles are just one way 4-H is seeking to light a spark of interest in youth. In clubs throughout the state, 4-H youth are taking part in fun computer science and engineering projects while learning about healthy living, citizenship and leadership.

Booth visitors intrigued by the goggles at the harvest festival were invited to participate in a free event at the Google Mountain View Campus called Code Your World. The activity was developed by 4-H, Google and West Virginia University Extension to teach children about computer science with games and interaction. The Oct. 13 event is being held to to mark 4-H National Youth Science Day

"Code Your World is fun, hands-on and easy, even for people with no computer science experience," said Fe Moncloa, UC Cooperative Extension Youth Development advisor for Santa Clara County. "We opened Code Your World to all our 4-H members, and we're also encouraging kids who aren't members to come." Space is limited and pre-registration is required. To register, go to: http://ucanr.edu/nysdscc

For more information on Code Your World and the Youth Science Day event, see the Santa Clara County 4-H website.

Sunset 4-H member Kate Straub shows off her old English game hen.
UCCE certified master composters encourage Santa Clara County residents to turn their green and food waste into a rich garden amendment.
UC Master Gardener volunteers answered garden questions in their four-acre demonstration garden.
Master Gardeners offered a learning activity to youth visiting the event.
Fall succulent sales raised funds to support the Master Gardeners' garden.
Coyote Crest 4-H member Wes Hann with his brother's rabbit at the harvest festival.
Posted on Monday, October 8, 2018 at 9:45 AM
Tags: 4-H (83), Fe Moncloa (3), Master Gardeners (30)
Focus Area Tags: 4-H Family

Send kids to 4-H camp and leadership events by buying a paper clover

It's National 4-H Week 2018. California Tractor Supply stores are continuing their long-standing partnership with 4-H to make it possible for more children in their communities to experience 4-H's youth-led, hands-on learning with the 2018 Paper Clover Campaign.

Now through Oct. 14, California Tractor Supply customers can support 4-H by purchasing paper clovers for $1 or more at checkout.

“We are excited to partner with Tractor Supply on this annual fundraising campaign,” Shannon Horrillo, University of California's statewide 4-H Youth Development Program director said. “The funds raised will benefit California 4-H members who wish to attend 4-H camps and leadership conferences across the country.”

“The Fall Paper Clover campaign raises approximately $140,000 annually in support of California 4-H leadership and camp activities,” Horrillo said. “It's a fun way to support our 4-H youth!”

Since it began in 2010, the Fall Paper Clover campaign run by Tractor Supply Company and 4-H has generated more than $11 million in essential funding nationwide.

Find a local store at https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/store-locator.

Show your 4-H spirit by posting selfies wearing a 4-H clover, shirt or green on social media using #InspireKidstoDo or #TrueLeaders, the hashtags for National 4-H Week 2018, and tag @California4H.

About the University of California 4-H Youth Development Program

The University of California 4-H Youth Development Program is open to all youth age 5 through 19 years. More than 109,000 youth and nearly 14,000 adult volunteers participate in 4-H throughout California. The program is delivered through the Cooperative Extension offices of the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), a statewide network of the University of California. UC ANR researchers and educators draw on local expertise to conduct agricultural, environmental, economic, youth development and nutrition research that helps California thrive. Learn more at ucanr.edu.

Learn more about California 4-H at 4H.ucanr.edu, on Facebook and Twitter.

About 4-H

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 6 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 1 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  within the United States Department of Agriculture.

Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.org, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4-H and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/4H.

About Tractor Supply

Founded in 1938, Tractor Supply Company is the largest rural lifestyle retail store chain in the United States.  As of July 1, 2017, the company operated 1,630 Tractor Supply stores in 49 states and an e-commerce website at www.tractorsupply.com. Tractor Supply stores are focused on supplying the lifestyle needs of recreational farmers and ranchers and others who enjoy the rural lifestyle, as well as tradesmen and small businesses.   

Posted on Monday, October 8, 2018 at 8:03 AM
Focus Area Tags: Family

UC agriculture experts offer a webinar series with continuing education credit


Continuing education credits required by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation will now be available from UC Cooperative Extension by participating in live webinars.

“Everybody is busy,” said Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UCCE citrus entomology specialist. “It's hard for people to get to meetings. Now, they can get some of the hours they need for updating their professional licenses from home or work, or even on their smartphones.”

Live webinars allow experts to talk about timely issues, such as new pest outbreaks, and give participants the option to ask questions via chat and get immediate answers from presenters.

The first webinar is from 3 to 4 p.m. Oct. 17 and will focus on citrus thrips, a perennial pest in citrus production that can vary greatly from year to year. Grafton-Cardwell will discuss biology, biological control, temperature effects, damage, monitoring, chemical control and resistance.

Participants must register in advance on the UC Ag Experts Talk website and connect to the webinar from beginning to end in order to receive continuing education credit. The course will be held on Zoom, communications software that enables video conferencing. Attendees will link into the meeting with audio and video online via computer or smartphone. Details for connecting will be emailed following online registration.

The continuing education sessions will be offered each month by various UC Cooperative Extension experts. On Nov. 14, Ben Faber, UCCE advisor in Ventura County, will discuss avocado diseases. Future class dates and topics will be posted on the UC Ag Experts Talk website.

Citrus thrips feeding causes gray scars in a ring-pattern around the stem end of fruit. Citrus thrips will be the topic of the first live UC webinar Oct. 17.

Professional pest control advisers must complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years; qualified applicator certification and qualified applicators license renewal requires 20 hours every two years, according to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

All the webinars will be recorded and the sessions posted on the web, however, watching the recording will be for informational purposes only and not eligible for continuing education credit.

Posted on Friday, October 5, 2018 at 9:23 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Google features Santa Clara County 4-H member in new computer science video


A teen leader involved in the UC Cooperative Extension 4-H program in Santa Clara County was featured in a Google blog and video in honor of National Youth Science Day.

In an interview with the author, Curtis Ullerich, a Google employee and 4-H alum, Reyes said she joined 4-H at five years old, and worked on 4-H baking, flower arranging, poultry, sewing and guinea pig projects. She said she learned important life skills, like public speaking and organization. Last year, she took on a computer science project and now leads a computer science project for Santa Clara County youth.

"CS is a part of so many things," Reyes said. "... CS is part of fashion, agriculture, art, music and more."

Reyes became the first non-Googler to be featured in one of its CS First videos. "You're basically a celebrity now," Ullerich said.

Fiona Reyes, a 4-H member in Santa Clara County. (Photo: Curtis Ullerich)

In the video, Reyes and Olga, a CS First program manager at Google, introduce a free online activity called Animate a Name. Using an online tool, kids can choose any name - their own name, a school name, a club name, etc. - and make the letters change colors, spin or dance to a favorite tune.

"That was my first experience being professionally filmed and using a teleprompter, but it was very fun," Reyes said. "The final project turned out amazing. It's weird to think that kids all over the nation will be watching it as they do the Animate a Name activity."


Posted on Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 4:25 PM
Tags: Google (1), Santa Clara (1)
Focus Area Tags: 4-H

New UC ANR cost study for growing hybrid sunflower seeds helps farmers estimate costs

Hybrid sunflowers growing in the Sacramento Valley. California growers produce the seed for hybrid sunflower planting stock for U.S. and foreign markets. Photo by Sarah Light

A new study on the costs and returns of producing hybrid sunflower seed in the Sacramento Valley has been released by the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Agricultural Issues Center for farmers who are considering growing hybrid sunflower seeds.

“Although the acreage is relatively small – about 50,000 acres in the Sacramento Valley – hybrid sunflower seed is an important crop because California growers produce the seed for planting stock, destined to be planted in many areas around the world for oilseed and confectionary snack food markets,” said Sarah Light, UC Cooperative Extension agronomy advisor and co-author of the cost study.

Authors Rachael Long, Mariano Galla and Light received input and reviews from fellow UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors and agricultural industry cooperators for the study, which is based on a typical farm in the Sacramento Valley producing field and orchard crops.

“One thing new in our cost study is that it's based on a crop that is irrigated with subsurface drip as opposed to flood,” Long said. 

The study estimates the cost of hybrid sunflower seed production on 200 acres as part of a row crop rotation, using subsurface drip irrigation. The subsurface drip irrigation tape is replaced every seven years. Annually, 15 percent, or 30 acres, of the subsurface drip tape is replaced.

To avoid cross-pollination with other sunflower varieties, hybrid sunflower seed production requires at least a 1.25-mile field isolation or different planting times. In this study, male sunflower seed is planted in three rows on a single 5-foot bed and female seed is planted in two rows on three 5-foot beds. The field ratio is 25 percent male parent lines to 75 percent female parent lines. With two hives per acre, honey bees are used to cross-pollinate between the parent lines. The male lines are destroyed after pollination to prevent seed contamination of the female lines.

The authors used current production practices to identify costs for the sunflower crop, including material inputs and cash and non-cash overhead. The study includes tables that show profits over a range of prices and net yields, monthly cash costs, costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.

The new study, “Sample Costs to Produce Sunflowers for Hybrid Seed in the Sacramento Valley – 2018,” can be downloaded for free from the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu.

Sample cost of production studies for many other commodities are also available at the website.

For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact the Agricultural Issues Center at (530) 752-4651 or UC Cooperative Extension advisors Rachael Long at rflong@ucanr.edu, Sarah Light at selight@ucanr.edu, or Mariano Galla at mfgalla@ucanr.edu.

Posted on Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 2:29 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

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