Mathesius, hired three months ago to serve Yolo, Sacramento and Solano counties, explained the role of UC Cooperative Extension and how it relates to the state's land grant universities.
Richter summed up Mathesius' role in three sentences:
- You're the answer man.
- You do real world research.
- You are translating research done at UC and making it public.
Mathesius works with growers who produce corn, wheat, small grains and sunflowers. Among the issues the growers are facing are drought mitigation, groundwater protection and variety selection.
"Water affects everybody," he said. "Farmers don't want to waste water. They want to use what's available and optimize it. "
Mathesius said his goal is to look at agricultural sustainability.
"I don't mean organic. I do think that sustainability is about sustaining farming economically and environmentally," he said. "Moving forward, UC Cooperative Extension is in a great position to do this."
UCCE advisors, he said, can be the voice of science in debates that can become polarized, such as the potential impacts of using genetically modified organisms in agricultural production.
"We will have a position based on scientific reasoning," he said.