ANR in the news November 16-30

Nov 30, 2019

OPINION: Environmental education for kids: It's only natural

(Chico E-R) Laura Lukes, Nov. 29

If you have school-age children, you may have noticed that something new is infusing science education in California classrooms.

...All of these new directives are intended to be fundamental components of K-12 science education. The UC Master Gardeners of Butte County share these goals. To encourage you to go out and explore nature with your children, we will occasionally be proposing activities and projects focusing on our local natural environment, beginning today with an activity for this time of year as the seasons change.


Don't Feed Wild Turkeys In California. And No, City Residents, You Can't Shoot Them.

(CapRadio) Ezra David Romero, Nov. 27

…"In some instances, they've been known to roost on cars and can scratch paint,” said Elaine Lander, an Urban & Community Integrated Pest Management Educator with the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

Lander recently wrote a blog post about how to manage turkeys as a homeowner in an urban setting. She says the best way to avoid turkeys is simple: Don't feed them, especially since it's illegal to feed wildlife in California. 

"The larger adults can be upwards of 20 pounds,” said Landers. “Their urban populations are growing and so we're trying to let folks know what they can do if they encounter wild turkeys. "  

Lander recommends removing bird feeders that attract the hens, having a dog and installing motion-detecting sprinklers to scare turkeys off.


California's working landscape makes $333-billion impact on state economy

(Fox and Hounds Daily) Nadine Ono, Nov. 26

California's “working landscape” represents the sixth largest economic sector in the state, outpacing the healthcare, real estate and construction industries. That's according to a recent report issued by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR).

“That's going surprise an awful lot of people, because too many folks here in California just really take our working landscapes for granted,” said ANR Vice President Glenda Humiston, speaking at the California Economic Summit in Fresno earlier this month. Besides traditional agriculture, working landscapes includes fishing, forestry, mining, outdoor recreation and renewable energy.


Petaluma slaughterhouse change leaves local ranchers adrift

(Petaluma Argus-Courier) Matt Brown, Nov. 25

…The Farm Bureau and the University of California Cooperative Extension this past week held a workshop for local ranchers on whole-beef animal sales for custom processing, including a working lunch to “discuss strategies for developing more local USDA-inspected facilities for livestock, poultry and rabbit processing.”

“If we want to continue to enjoy our locally raised products, we need to find other options,” Tesconi said.


Calaveras and Tuolumne County 4-H donors can double their gifts on Dec. 3

(Pine Tree) Nov. 25

On GivingTuesday, California 4-H supporters will have an opportunity to double their impact with a gift in support of 4-H youth in ?Calaveras and Tuolumne counties. “4-H is the number one youth leadership program in the country, and we consistently hear from 4-H alumni that they attribute their college and career successes to the skillsets they learned in 4-H,” said Rosemary Giannini, 4-H community educator for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties.


To Protect California Landscapes (including farms) They Must be Valued

(Cal Ag Today Jeannette Warnert, Nov. 25

…"We need to put a value to ecosystem services, from an economic standpoint, that incentivizes people who own and manage these landscapes so they can continue to manage them for everyone's benefit," said Stephanie Larson, UC Cooperative Extension rangeland advisor in Sonoma County.


California Tree Crops: Postharvest Irrigation in a Dry Autumn?

(AgFax) Luke Milliron, Nov. 25

Almond, prune, and walnut harvests are behind us, what postharvest irrigation(s) have you put on your orchard? Rainfall has been absent in October and November (as of this writing). Despite this lack of rainfall, our tree crops continue to lose water.

It is important to consider irrigation of perennial tree crops leading up to dormancy to foster carbohydrate storage in the trees and to guard against the occurrence of freezing temperatures in dry orchards putting them at more risk to cold injury.


Despite wildfires, some homeowners resist efforts to cut vegetation 

(SF Chronicle) Kathleen Pender, Nov. 23

… The noncombustible zone should include the 6 inches between the bottom of any siding and the ground, said Steve Quarles, who was the institute's chief wildfire scientist.

Ignitions can happen when flames reach the house, flying embers land on something combustible or radiant heat spreads from a nearby structure fire. Studies have shown that 55% to 90% of buildings ignited during wildland fires were set aflame by flying embers, Quarles said.

…Quarles said home-hardening is as important as vegetation management. “If your neighbor's house 15 feet away ignites, your 5-foot zone may not help unless you have done other things to your house,” he said.

On the flip side, a hardened home could ignite if it's surrounded by fuel, said Yana Valachovic, a forest adviser with UC Cooperative Extension. After the Camp Fire, she saw a modern home in Paradise (Butte County) that had been built to the newest codes, but had “significant damage” because embers landed on combustible plants and mulch. That started fires that broke the first pane of every dual-pane window in the house.

“Our guidance (from the state) is totally silent about what we do outside the front door,” Valachovic said.


Students explore the bounty of Butte County

(Chico Enterprise-Record) Robin Epley, Nov. 22

More than 100 students from Paradise Ridge Elementary School gathered Thursday morning at the Patrick Ranch Museum in Durham to learn about agriculture, farming and local commodities like walnuts and bees.

Each year, the Butte County Cooperative Extension's CalFresh Healthy Living UC Nutrition Education Program, in collaboration with the support group of the Butte County UC Cooperative Extension, hosts a “Student Agricultural Field Day,” during which local students have the opportunity to interact with local producers, researchers and gardeners on acres and acres of the museum's working ranch.


We need the food that we lost' — California's low-income families reeling from blackouts

(CALmatters) Jackie Botts, Nov. 22

…“I know it's very hard for people to have to sacrifice all this food,” said Linda Harris, a food microbiologist at UC Davis.

The consequences of eating spoiled food include vomiting and diarrhea. “If you think that there's a risk, then throwing it away is the safest thing to do,” Harris said.


In The Studio: Farming In The Age Of Climate Change

(KVPR) Kathleen Schock, Nov. 22

The unseasonably warm and dry fall we are experiencing in the San Joaquin Valley is a reminder of the changing climate, here and around the world. In the studio, moderator Kathleen Schock explores how climate change is affecting the region's top industry: agriculture. Her guests are Renata Brillinger who is Executive Director of the California Climate and Agriculture Network, Dr. Tapan Pathak from UC Merced, Ruth Dahlquist-Willard who is an Advisor with the UC Small Farm Program, and grape and raisin farmer Steven Cardoza.


Local growers coming back to farmers markets

(Oroville Mercury Register) Natalie Hanson, Nov. 21

…The UC Master Gardeners of Sonoma County performed a study a couple of years ago after an urban fire, according to Luis Espino, rice farming systems adviser for Butte and Glenn counties and county director of University of California Cooperative Extension, in an email.

With regards to produce exposure to smoke and ash, the study results “confirmed our hypothesis that produce safety was not significantly affected by the fire,” Espino said.

“Our cumulative analysis further suggests that eating trace contaminants on produce does not provide a significant chemical exposure during an urban wildfire event, and the potential cancer risk is outweighed by the cancer risk reduction from the nutritional value of eating produce,” he added. “Unfortunately, there isn't much information about food safety after urban fires. The Butte County Master Gardener program is very interested in the question and they might have more resources to share.”


To protect California ecosystem services, they must be valued

(YubaNet) Nov. 21

The ecosystem services of landscapes in California are essential to the state's future, but many people take them for granted.

In addition to direct economic outputs, working landscapes – farms, rangelands, forests and fisheries, to name a few – sequester carbon, capture water, support wildlife, offer picturesque views and make space for hiking, skiing, boating and other recreational activities.

“We need to put a value to ecosystem services, from an economic standpoint, that incentivizes people who own and manage these landscapes so they can continue to manage them for everyone's benefit,” said Stephanie Larson, UC Cooperative Extension rangeland advisor in Sonoma County.


Symposium teaches on lab-made protein

(TriState Livestock News) Maria Tibbetts, Nov. 21

…One of the most popular presentations was by Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, a cooperative extension specialist in the field of animal genetics and biotechnology in the department of animal science at the University of California, Davis. She shared some of the technology surrounding cultured meat products and pointed out many of the pitfalls and difficulties that stand in the way of mass production of lab-grown meat. She said she's gone through the process of growing cultured muscle tissue and it's very difficult, time-consuming and expensive. “The process for making cultured meat has technically challenging aspects. It includes manufacturing and purifying culture media and supplements in large quantities, expanding animal cells in a bioreactor, processing the resultant tissue into an edible product, removing and disposing of the spent media, and keeping the bioreactor clean. Each are themselves associated with their own set of costs, inputs and energy demands.”


'Fire is medicine': the tribes burning California forests to save them

(Guardian) Susie Cagle, Nov. 21

…In 2018, the fire ecologist Lenya Quinn-Davidson founded the Humboldt County Prescribed Burn Association, a firelighting co-op of landowners who manage each others' properties – the first like it in the west. “People really want prescribed fire in their toolbox,” she said. “Their grandpas used it, they've heard of the tribes using it historically. People are really curious and excited about it.”


California's working landscape makes $333-billion impact on state economy

(Cal Economy) Nadine Ono, Nov. 20

California's “working landscape” represents the sixth largest economic sector in the state, outpacing the healthcare, real estate and construction industries. That's according to a recent report issued by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR).

“That's going surprise an awful lot of people, because too many folks here in California just really take our working landscapes for granted,” said ANR Vice President Glenda Humiston, speaking at the California Economic Summit in Fresno earlier this month. Besides traditional agriculture, working landscapes includes fishing, forestry, mining, outdoor recreation and renewable energy.


Roundup: Harvests wind down but orchard work doesn't

(Farm Press) Logan Hawkes, Nov. 20

…In southern and Central Valley regions of California, some sanitation efforts are underway, mostly in almond orchards. Proper sanitation is, of course, a critical step in controlling Navel orangeworm.

Mummy nuts represent a dire threat to nut orchards and most growers are
aware of the risks and are diligent about sanitation as weather and time allows. It's interesting to note, however, that many University of California Cooperative Extension advisors believe many growers fall short in effective sanitation, and this creates considerable problems for not only their own orchards but for orchards in near proximity.


How to attract bug-eating birds to farms

(Morning Ag Clips) Nov. 19

Hedgerows bordering farmland – plantings with native trees, shrubs, bunch grasses and wildflowers – support bug-eating birds, helping with on-farm pest control, according to research by recent UC Davis graduate Sacha Heath and UC Cooperative Extension advisor Rachael Long. The study was published in the October 2019 issue of the online journal Ecosphere.


Sudden oak death cases increasing in Napa County and California

(Napa Valley Register) Howard Yune, Nov. 19

Statewide, 1,732 of 16,227 surveyed trees were found to carry the sudden oak death pathogen, nearly a fifth of the total. Overall, sudden oak death has infected trees in 14 California counties, killing some 50 million oaks and tanoaks, according to the UC Berkeley research center.

… [UCCE specialist Matteo] Garbelotto attributed the resurgence of sudden oak death, in Napa and elsewhere, to the return of vigorous wintertime rainfall after five years of drought.

“What's happening is every time we have a rainy year, sudden oak death spreads farther in the state,” he said last week. “What we detected is result of what happened two years ago when we had a very wet year; that really helped organism spread significantly. Last year, we didn't quite notice because it was drier, but this year it was wet again and all of a sudden, outbreaks became evident throughout the state. In some areas the level of infection is 10 times higher than in 2018.”


Experts warn of surge in sudden oak death infections in Northern California

(Irrigation & Green Industry) Sarah Bunyea, Nov. 18

A University of California, Berkeley scientist says the rate at which trees in Marin County, California, became infected with sudden oak death in 2019 nearly doubled compared to the previous year, according to an article by KPIX 5 News.

… Kerry Wininger of UC Cooperative Extension says you'll see big patches appear at once and tree limbs that have fallen off. Wininger is with the UC team working to measure the problem, and she oversees a yearly survey conducted by volunteer citizen scientists.


UC ANR Symposium Focuses on Climate Change Policy and Environmental Justice

(Sierra Sun Times) Clare Gupta, Nov. 17

On a crisp fall morning at University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources' Elkus Ranch, a group of scholars and practitioners gathered for a daylong public symposium on “Advancing Climate Change Policy and Environmental Justice in California.” Against the sunlit backdrop of rolling golden hills and leaves just turning color, Dr. Leah Stokes of UC Santa Barbara delivered a keynote address on the current crowded landscape of federal-level climate change policy proposals.


Humboldt County Master Food Preservers course begins in 2020

(Times Standard) Nov. 17

Home food preservation is enjoying resurgence in Humboldt County as a result of increased interest in growing and eating local foods and the revival of a do-it-yourself food movement. When food is harvested during the growing period, everyone has opportunities to preserve the abundant fresh and available foods to be enjoyed for months in the future.

Master Food Preservers are trained, dedicated volunteers who help educate the community about food safety and home food preservation using up-to-date and research-based methods for canning, freezing, drying or pickling. If you enjoy preserving food, the local University of California Cooperative Extension office encourages you to become a Master Food Preserver.


Is Florida the Answer to California's Fire Problem?

(Sierra) James Steinbauer, Nov. 16

...For some of these reasons, getting permits for prescribed fire in the West can be prohibitively expensive. In California, an air quality permit can range from under $40 to as high as $1,250. To burn during the fire season—from May through October—you also need a permit from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire. For a 300-acre burn, Cal Fire might require three fire engines and for as many as 30 people to be on-site. Lenya Quinn-Davidson, an area fire adviser for the University of California Cooperative Extension, said that, apart from being maddening to organize, this can add up to thousands of dollars a day.

The biggest hurdle for those who want to burn in California is that firefighters have a near monopoly on prescribed fire, Quinn-Davidson said. “There's a lot of ownership by the fire-suppression community over prescribed fire. It's this culture of, ‘We're the experts; we're the only ones who know how to use it, and we're the only ones who should use it.' But they don't have time to use it because they're too busy fighting fires.”


Hemp farmers seek clarity on federal, state regulation

(AgAlert) Ching Lee, Nov. 16

…Though not “a whole lot of data” is available yet, according to UC Cooperative Extension specialist Bob Hutmacher, some observations have emerged from a couple of small trials conducted this year at UC Davis and the UC West Side Research and Extension Center in Fresno County. The initial studies included an experiment on planting density, comparing different cultivars and a breeding-observation block representing a range of genetics. Researchers also battled corn ear worms on their small plots and were forced to use a pesticide to reduce damage to developing buds.

On the impact of different environmental conditions and plant maturity on raising concentrations of the plant's different compounds, Hutmacher said “there's a little bit of literature out there that would go along with the idea,” but added, “that sort of remains to be seen.” A more dominant factor affecting the THC-CBD profile of the crop is plant cultivar, he said, and growers should look to their seed or transplant provider as the primary source of information when selecting cultivars.


‘Working landscape' adds $333B to state's economy

(Ag Alert) Dave Kranz, Nov. 16

The “working landscape” of California — including agriculture, forestry and other economic sectors tied to natural resources — contributed 1.5 million jobs and $333 billion in sales to the state's economy last year, according to a new report.

The University of California, the California Community Colleges Centers of Excellence and the California Economic Summit released the report last week. Titled “California's Working Landscape: A Key Contributor to the State's Economic Vitality,” the study used 2018 federal data associated with employment, earnings and sales income to estimate the contributions of nine economic sectors. Specifically, the report divided the working landscape into agricultural production, agricultural support, agricultural distribution, agricultural processing, mining, forestry, outdoor recreation, fishing and renewable energy.

There will be an Advanced Manufacturing in Agriculture Regional Workforce Advisory Meeting held from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, Nov. 22, at the Woodland Community & Senior Center that centers around “working landscapes.”

Speaking will be Glenda Humiston, vice president of Agriculture and Natural Resources, for the Office of the President of the University of California.

Humiston will be talking about the finding of “California's Working Landscape” report and the “critical importance of the food and ag cluster, environmental technologies and natural resources to the state and regional economy.”

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