June 2019 News clips (June 16-30)

Jul 1, 2019

Longtime local UC Cooperative Extension advisor retires

(Appeal-Democrat) Jake Abbott, June 30 [Page A1]

After nearly four decades as the Yuba-Sutter area's tree crops and environmental horticulture advisor for the UC Cooperative Extension, Janine Hasey recently announced that she would leave the position at the end of June.



Strawberry Growers Lean on Biologicals to Manage Pest

(Cal Ag Today) Jessica Theisman, June 28

California Ag Today recently met with Surendra Dara, a UC Cooperative Extension entomologist based in San Luis Obispo County. According to Dara, California strawberry growers follow many sustainable options.

“Growers are well-educated and have a support system that provides information to them very regularly,” Dara said.



Three Things Young Farmers Need To Know In Order To Harvest Success

(Forbes) Kenrick Cai, June 27

…Technology was a common theme of the panel, which featured Rotticci alongside Glenda Humiston, vice president of agriculture and natural resources for the University of California; Joe Pezzini, president and CEO of Ocean Mist Farms; and Jason Smith, president and CEO of Smith Family Winery. The quartet discussed keys to cultivating future leaders in farming. Here are their key takeaways:

… The next generation of farming leaders can succeed by being cognizant of their workforce, and one way to do that is to apply technologies in educational ways, Humiston said. She noted that many farmers are shown new technologies, but not taught how to use them. Field days, workshops, and webinars are all useful ways for agricultural leaders to make the best use of their farmers, she said.



Forbes AgTech Summit back at Salinas for fifth year

(Monterey Herald) James Herrera, June 27

…The 2019 Forbes AgTech Summit is possible with the help of Founding Partner, SVG Partners and its THRIVE Accelerator; Host Partner, city of Salinas; Innovation Showcase sponsor, Western Growers; Partner Sponsors are AgriNovus Indiana, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Taylor Farms, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Merced, and Yamaha Motor Ventures. Califia Farms, HarvestMark, a Division of Trimble, and Santa Clara University are Supporting Sponsors. Business Leader Sponsors include Driscoll's of the Americas, Hartnell College, iFoodDecisionSciences, Motivo and Rabobank. Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is the Official Dairy Partner. Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau is the Official Travel Partner.



Miocene Canal faces a murky future

(Chico Enterprise-Record) Brody Fernandez, June 27

…Butte County livestock and natural resources adviser Tracy Schohr with the UC Cooperative Extension said farmers and ranchers are highly dependent on the canal.

“What you see now are nearby springs that are dependent on the canal and a number of homes built in this area are as well,” Schohr said.

“Local orchards are suffering and local homesteads not getting water for their cattle, and horses are faces issues, too. These are significant challenges. We did an informal study last week and concluded that over 500 head of cattle benefit from the canal, primarily over the summer. Long-term challenges include efforts to reduce unneeded vegetation and fire fuels near the canal. This area has a lot of benefits which come from livestock grazing.”



FDA thwarting U.S. progress on gene editing

(Capital Press) Carol Ryan Dumas, June 27

…Gene editing is a precise and targeted technology that introduces a useful genetic variation in food animal breeding programs and is analogous to conventional breeding,  said Alison Van Eenannaam, an animal genomics and biotechnology specialist at the University of California-Davis.

“At the end of the day, gene editing really opens up a new opportunity for breeders to address critical problems such as disease resistance, animal welfare traits like dehorning and resilience like heat tolerance and also product quality traits,” she said.



NPPC Launches Keep America First in Ag Campaign – 

(AgWired) Cindy Zimmerman, June 26

The National Pork Producers Council(NPPC) has launched a new campaign to highlight the importance of establishing a proper regulatory framework for gene editing in American livestock. The “Keep America First in Agriculture” campaign was officially kicked off Tuesday with a media teleconference featuring leading researchers, veterinarians, producers and industry experts.

… Listen to opening remarks from the press conference with Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, Animal Biotechnology and Genomics Extension Specialist, University of California, Davis; Dr. Kovich; Andrew Bailey, NPPC Lead Counsel for Science and Technology; and Dr. Bradley Wolter, a leading pork producer and President of The Maschhoffs.



Growers Needed for Powdery Mildew Research in Vineyards

(AgNet West) Brian German, June 26

UC Cooperative Extension is looking for grape growers statewide to help with a study looking at the powdery mildew population to help better understand how and where resistance is developing.  The hope is to establish an annual rotation plan to help mitigate resistance.  “What we want to do is to track the resistance that is developing in powdery mildew,” said Gabriel Torres, Viticulture Farm Advisor for Tulare and Kings counties.  “We have at least five different groups, or mode of actions, and for four of them we have registered resistance.  So, we want to map where the resistance is developing.”



"Elvis of E. coli" retires after 32 years

(Morning Ag Clips) –Liz Sizensky & Pamela Kan-Rice, June 26

He has been called the “Elvis of E. coli” and the “Sinatra of Salmonella,” and now Carl Winter, a UC Cooperative Extension food toxicologist for 32 years, will rock and roll his way into retirement on July 1, 2019.



Edit FDA Regulation for Genes

(Ohio Country Journal) Chris Clayton, June 26

… FDA regulations, though, treat the genes in gene-edited animals as a pharmaceutical, creating massive regulatory challenges right up to the point of incinerating research animals raised to resist a disease.

“It stretches incredulity and no other country on earth is proposing to regulate editing as a drug,” Alison Van Eenennaam, a specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology at the University of California-Davis. “It's just kind of outlying with what's being proposed in other countries.”



Concern Raised by Increased Botrytis Presence

(AgNet West) Brian German, June 25

California's abnormal spring weather has resulted in an increase in botrytis presence, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley where severe incidences have been reported in vineyards.  There are some cultural practices that can be implemented, as well as various materials available that help to mitigate infection.

“There are a lot of fields affected by botrytis,” said Gabriel Torres, UC Viticulture Farm Advisor for Tulare and Kings counties.  “It is something that we expected having that amount of rain that late in the season.  That's like the perfect storm to develop botrytis outbreaks.”



Edit FDA Regulation for Genes

(Progressive Farmer) Chris Clayton, June 25

"It stretches incredulity and no other country on earth is proposing to regulate editing as a drug," Alison Van Eenennaam, a specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology at the University of California-Davis. "It's just kind of outlying with what's being proposed in other countries."



Can ‘Big Data' Help Fight Big Fires? Firefighters Are Betting on It

(NY Times) Jose A. Del Real, June 24

Max Moritz, a wildfire expert affiliated with the University of California, Santa Barbara, who has a long career in wildfire management, said improvements in predictive modeling are crucial for fighting fires, especially as the fires become more intense. But he noted that predictive technologies will not change the underlying factors of urban development and a warming planet that are making fires more intense.

“We need better data and better models, but we also need better preparation,” Mr. Moritz said. “We also have to make headway on all the other fronts, if we really want resilient communities in the face of climate change.”



BURN TIME! Prescribed Burners are Going to be Out in SoHum and Bridgeville This Week, Putting the Torch to Invasive Grasses

(Lost Coast Outpost) June 24

…The group is open to anyone who is interested in gaining skills in prescribed fire, and any landowners who would like to use prescribed fire on their properties. For more information, or to get involved in the Humboldt County PBA, please contact Lenya Quinn-Davidson and/or Jeffery Stackhouse, Advisors with University of California Cooperative Extension, at 707-272-0637,lquinndavidson@ucanr.edu or jwstackhouse@ucanr.edu.



Fire in Browns Valley fully contained

(Appeal-Democrat) June 24

Armed with bulldozers, helicopters, water tenders and hand crews, Cal Fire quickly struck down a grass fire started by a welding operation at the Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center in Browns Valley Monday afternoon.

By 4:20 p.m., the fire at the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources' property on Scott Forbes Road was fully contained and had burned 81 acres, Nevada-Yuba-Placer Cal Fire Division Chief Jim Mathias said. 



'Centers of Insurrection': Central Valley Farmers Reckon With Climate Change

(KQED) Mark Schapiro, June 23

…“What amazes me about these farms,” said Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, a Fresno-based Small Farms Adviser for the UC Cooperative Extension Service, “is they take these tropical things you'd never think to grow here and they figure out how to grow them.”

The farms appear, she says, to be seriously resistant to shortages of water that are

becoming ever more common in the southern end of the Valley. Many of the farms, she says, have from forty to fifty different crops on them at a time—including daikon radishes, Asian eggplants, and numerous spices including turmeric, ginger, and lemongrass.

“They know how to keep these crops going,” said Dahlquist-Willard. “They never grow the same thing on the same piece of ground right after one another. They rotate, one year squash, the next year who knows what it could be.”



Fire Prevention: Cal Fire Struggles to Meet Defensible Space Inspection Goals

(KQED Forum) Mina Kim, June 21

According to a new KQED investigation, only 17 percent of properties in territory where Cal Fire is responsible for monitoring defensible space were actually checked by their inspectors in 2018. State law requires at least 100 feet of defensible space around a property, which limits the amount of vegetation close the home. With one in four residents living in places that are at a high risk for wildfire, many Californians are wondering how to save their homes. In this hour, Forum takes questions about how to better protect property through defensible space and fire safe homes.


Lauren Sommer, science and environment reporter, KQED

Yana Valachovic, county director and forest advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension

Todd Lando, executive coordinator, FIRESafe Marin



Why deep watering may be the answer to your garden woes

(LA Times) Jeanette Marantos, June 21

…Yvonne Savio, the retired coordinator of the UC Cooperative Extension's master gardener program in Los Angeles, has a simple, low-cost approach that — judging from her lush Pasadena garden — really works.

Savio, creator of the comprehensive Gardening in L.A. blog, simply “plants” 5-gallon nursery buckets between her tomatoes and other vegetables and then a couple times a week fills the buckets with water and lets it slowly drain into the soil.



Invasive Japanese knotweed is not our friend

(Marin IJ) Martha Proctor, June 21

…The Marin Knotweed Action Team (MKAT) is a coalition of local, state and federal agencies, including UC Cooperative Extension, working to educate community members, and identify unknown patches of the weed and treat them before new infestations can arise. MKAT was formed to block the spread of this invasive pest before it is too late.



Can California avoid a third year of wildfire catastrophe? Here's what's been fixed — and what hasn't

(San Francisco Chronicle) Kurtis Alexander, Peter Fimrite, J.D. Morris and Kathleen Pender, June 20

…“We're not going to solve the problem (right away),” said Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at UC Berkeley. “But there's hope of making a difference in the next two decades.”

… “You have to address these home vulnerabilities, and if you don't you're not going to make a lot of progress on the fire problem,” said Max Moritz, a UC Cooperative Extension wildfire specialist at UC Santa Barbara.



With access to native foods, First Nation families less likely to go hungry

(Daily Democrat) Pam Kan-Rice, June 20

“How food security is framed, and by whom, shapes the interventions or solutions that are proposed,” said Jennifer Sowerwine, UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley, who led the study in partnership with the Karuk, Yurok, Hoopa, and Klamath Tribes. “Our research suggests that current measures of and solutions to food insecurity in the United States need to be more culturally relevant to effectively assess and address chronic food insecurity in Native American communities.”



Advice on wildfire preparation takes on new urgency

(AgAlert) Kevin Hecteman, June 19

… Spiegel pointed to the six P's of evacuation preparation promoted by Cal Fire: people (pets), papers, prescriptions, pictures, personal computer and plastic, as in credit cards.

Susie Kocher, a University of California Cooperative Extension natural resources advisor in South Lake Tahoe, said it's never too late to work on creating defensible space, but cautioned against engaging in activities that could cause sparks, such as mowing, in times of red-flag alerts when weather conditions are ripe for rapid fire spread.

"I think the main thing we have learned is that we are all at risk," Kocher said, noting the destruction of homes in suburban neighborhoods caused by embers carried in high winds. "We all have to work together to reduce the risk."



The Environmental Downside of Cannabis Cultivation

(JSTOR Daily) Jodi Helmer, June 18

… While much of the research has focused on public health and criminalization, the environmental implications of commercial-scale cultivation have been largely ignored. Could the increases in cannabis cultivation send the environment up in smoke?

New research has linked production of the once-verboten plant to a host of issues ranging from water theft and degradation of public lands to wildlife deaths and potential ozone effects. “We have a culture and history of cannabis cultivation in remote areas that may be sensitive to environmental disruptions,” explains Van Butsic, co-director of the Cannabis Research Center at the University of California Berkeley.


By Pamela Kan-Rice
Author - Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach