UC ANR in the news

April 2021

With Wildfire Season Looming, Early Budget Action Is A Welcome Start
(California Forward) Deb Kollars, April 13

…“Investing in forest management is a win-win-win-win,” said Glenda Humiston, vice president of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and co-lead of the California Economic Summit’s Empowering Resilient and Productive Landscapes work group. “Not only do we help reduce fire risk, but we can also protect air and water quality, manage gas emissions, and infuse our economy with innovative wood products, while also training a workforce that will be vital in helping us manage our forests well into the future.”


Unwelcome and tough to evict: California’s costly, uphill battle against invasive species 
CalMatters) Julie Cart, April 12

…Funded by about $500,000 in federal grants, Ted Grosholz, a professor and ecologist at the UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy, has spent more than a decade trying to evict green crabs from the lagoon. 

…Grosholz is almost admiring when he describes the characteristics of European green crabs that allow them to thrive wherever they wash up. “It has a suite of traits that make it a good invader,” he said. “They are physiologically tougher than a lot of other crabs. They are more tolerant of variable salinity. They are very tolerant of terrible conditions.” 


UC ANR Strategic Plan Serves as Roadmap for Future Success
(AgNet West) Brian German, April 9 

The 2020-2025 Strategic Plan from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) helps to serve as a roadmap for accomplishing ambitious goals moving forward. UC ANR Vice President Glenda Humiston said the plan helps the department carry out its overall mission. A multi-year framework is established through the plan, enabling UC ANR to prioritize programs and resources to better serve the state.

“The strategic plan really gets into criteria, milestones, budgets, people, who’s responsible for what, and how we’re actually going to get it done,” Humiston explained. “I think that’s critical because having that kind of specificity helps to ensure that we are getting the job done.”


Weather, Wildfire and Wine: Challenges Facing California Wineries
(American Vineyard) April 9

California’s wine grape growers and wineries are facing unprecedented challenges in the wake of climate change, wildfire, drought, and labor-related shortages. Join us on ARE Discussions where Aaron Smith (Deloach Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis) will provide an overview of the challenges facing the wine industry and Walt Brooks (Brooks Family Vineyards and Napa Valley Grapegrowers Association) will provide industry insights and on-the-ground perspectives from Napa County.


Lush Urban Forests Can Help Communities Fight Climate Change
(Enviornmental News Bits) Laura B., April 7

Urban trees are much more than lovely greenery and stately landscape features. Scientists believe trees are a key tool for combating climate change and living with warming temperatures in California.

UC Cooperative Extension is bringing together municipal and nonprofit organizations, homeowners associations, contractors, the green industry and educators to increase the tree canopy in urban areas by planting recommended species. Nearly 200 people gathered online in March 2021 to share research results, accomplishments and tree canopy growth strategies at the “Trees for Tomorrow Start Today” workshop.


UCR Entomologists Collecting Swarming Termite Specimens
PCT April 5

If you see western subterranean termites swarming in the spring, from now through June, save the specimens for University of California Urban Integrated Pest Management (IPM) advisor and urban entomologist Andrew Sutherland.

…“A major taxonomic question surrounding western subterranean termites remains unsolved,” said Sutherland, the Urban IPM Advisor for the San Francisco Bay Area. 


7 foods you should be storing in the freezer, including yeast, nuts and peppers
(WaPo) Becky Krystal, April 5

…Nuts: If you’ve ever grabbed nuts out of the pantry and they didn’t taste right, it’s probably because they’ve gone rancid. Ditto nut flours. Nuts are packed with fatty oils, which are prone to going off, especially in warmer temperatures. According to this handy guide from the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources folks, rancid nuts are not unsafe, but they aren’t particularly pleasant to eat. The guide recommends that if you know you won’t be using nuts within a few months, cold storage is best. Refrigeration extends the storage life to a year, the freezer, on average, to two. Frozen, shelled pistachios will last the longest (at least three), followed by walnuts and pecans (at least two), then almonds and chestnuts (at least a year). Shelled nuts are susceptible to picking up flavors and moisture, so store in something clean and airtight.


Ross Valley volunteers raise tomatoes for benefit
(Marin IJ) Adrian Rodriguez, April 2

…David Lewis, director of the University of California Cooperative Extension, which manages the UC Marin Master Gardeners program, called the community effort “a wonderful idea.”


Oberholster of UC Davis receives ASEV Extension Distinction Award
(Good Fruit Grower) April 1

Anita Oberholster, associate specialist in enology for the University of California, Davis, Cooperative Extension has received the American Society for Enology and Viticulture's 2021 ASEV Extension Distinction Award, according to a news release. 


North Redlands residents can get free trees
(Redlands News) Dina Colunga, April 1

… The project was conceptualized a few years ago when Janet Hartin, an environmental horticulturist with the University of California Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources, researched multiple natural resource areas, including climate readiness of landscaping and street trees installed by cities. Part of Hartin’s research revealed significant gaps in urban forest in cities across California. She responded by creating a step-by-step process to engage residents in collaborating with agencies to select and install species that both add to canopy cover and are resilient to rising temperatures and increasing pest presence. Hartin said the North Redlands project is about getting trees into the ground in a place where the urban tree canopy is lacking.


Almond Update: Spider Mites the Focus of Next Training Tuesday
(AgNet West) Taylor Hillman, April 1

Mites can be a frustrating issue for almond growers. Research over the last several years has identified a shift in what producers need to do in order to manage the pest. “It used to be that predatory mites were the main beneficial arthropod out there helping to control mites but that has changed,” UC Cooperative Extension Advisor David Haviland said. “Almond growers have gotten a lot greener. They’ve gotten away from the organophosphates, particularly in the dormant season. As that’s gone, pyrethroid has gone down. We’ve seen a big shift in the natural enemies for spider mites.”


March 2021

Point Reyes seashore water tests find high bacteria levels
(East Bay Times) Will Houston, March 29

The University of California Cooperative Extension Marin County has researched water quality and its relation to ranching activities in the seashore. David Lewis, the organization's director, said the park's efforts to curb contamination have been found effective from these studies. 


California Vineyards Prepare for 2021 Drought Condition
(Wine Business.com) Ted Rieger, March 24

With California facing drought conditions in 2021 following a 2020 growing season that was one of the driest and warmest in recent history, University of California (UC) crop water management and irrigation specialists provided advice to Lodi winegrape growers during two March workshops to help manage irrigation this season. UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) viticulture advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties Mark Battany has studied vineyard water factors worldwide. 


Point Reyes seashore water tests find high bacteria levels
(Marin Independent Journal) Will Houston, March 20

Five waterways in the Point Reyes National Seashore were found to contain unsafe concentrations of bacteria — including up to 40 times the state health standards for E. coli at one site, according to recently published tests. The findings come as the California Coastal Commission prepares to vote on April 22 on a controversial proposal to extend ranch leases to up to 20-year terms.


Marin assemblyman’s bill would permit more mobile slaughter units
(Marin Independent Journal) Richard Halstead, March 19

A new bill introduced by Assemblyman Marc Levine would make it legal in California for mobile units to slaughter goats, sheep and swine at farm and ranch sites instead of having to send them miles away to stationary slaughterhouses. “Currently, you can do that for beef,” said David Lewis, a farm adviser with the University of California Cooperative Extension. “You can do on-farm harvesting; you can’t for sheep, goats and swine for commercial sale.”


‘Burn It on Our Terms’: Using Flames to Curb Catastrophic Wildfire in Sonoma County
(Sonoma Magazine) Mary Callahan, March 19 

Cal Fire Division Chief Ben Nicholls, who oversees Sonoma County, says it’s a must-have campaign — a way to create defensive buffers around and between developed areas and establish strategic fire breaks in increasingly fire-prone regions like the Mark West Creek corridor north of Santa Rosa. “If we’re actually going to see a real mindset change, we need to be doing this where people are, and have it be front and center where people are aware and learning about it and experiencing it.” -Fire ecologist Sasha Berleman


Universities prepare West for another big wildfire season
(Western Farmer Stockman) Tim Hearden, March 18 

The West Coast's land-grant universities are holding webinars, conducting community meetings and publishing booklets to urge urban and rural residents to start preparing now for what could be another devastating wildfire season. Fire experts say this year’s wet, warm winter could contribute to yet another round of destruction this summer and fall, and scientists from Oregon State University, Washington State University and the University of California are teaching landowners about fuel-load management, resilient landscaping and how to plan for emergencies.


Nutrition experts teach farmworker families about healthy eating
(Western Farm Press) Jeannette Warnert, March 12

The Farmworker Institute of Education and Leadership Development (FIELD), founded by Cesar Chavez in 1978, is dedicated to strengthening communities and the lives of farmworkers and immigrants in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys. In Kern County, they are partnering with UC Cooperative Extension's CalFresh Healthy Living, UC program to ensure families have the knowledge and skills they need to buy and prepare food that will help prevent chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, and prevent obesity.


A Green Wave? Mexico’s Marijuana Market May Be Middling
(New York Times) Oscar Lopez, March 12

…Strict regulation and high taxes kept the majority of California’s producers and vendors in the gray or black market, according to Daniel Sumner, director of the agricultural issues center at the University of California, Davis. In many communities, marijuana-related businesses faced fierce local opposition…“It’s a substantial business,” he [Daniel Sumner, director of the agricultural issues center at the UC Davis] said, but in the context of California’s annual budget of more than $200 billion, “it’s a drop in the state bucket.”


State to restore UC Cooperative Extension budget
(Agri-Pulse) Brad Hooker, March 10

Legislative committees have been discussing funding proposals for the UC system. Within those talks, lawmakers are pushing to restore the full budget for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR).The Newsom administration initially planned to trim the UC ANR budget by nearly 13% in early 2020. Then the division took another hit as the state’s economic crisis deepened, losing $13 million in total. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s initial proposal for 2021 offers just $1.9 million to fill the gap, along with an additional $2 million for wildfire abatement work.


State to restore UC Cooperative Extension budget
(Agri-Pulse) Brad Hooker, March 10

Legislative committees have been discussing funding proposals for the UC system. Within those talks, lawmakers are pushing to restore the full budget for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR)...The Newsom administration initially planned to trim the UC ANR budget by nearly 13% in early 2020. Then the division took another hit as the state’s economic crisis deepened, losing $13 million in total. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s initial proposal for 2021 offers just $1.9 million to fill the gap, along with an additional $2 million for wildfire abatement work.


Living With Fire: What California Can Learn From Native Burns
(Huffpost) Megan Botel, March 10 

North Fork Mono tribal members are teaching the group of university students, ecologists, journalists and, notably, officials from the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) how it might help curb the state’s fire crisis by clearing out highly flammable vegetation before the dry, hot summer. 


Use Organic Fertilizers for the Right Reasons
(Growing Produce) David Eddy, March 9

…That is one of the initial conclusions made by Cole Smith, Staff Research Associate, University of California Cooperative Extension, Santa Clara and Monterey Counties, who is in the third year of a project, “Evaluation of Certified Organic Fertilizers for Long-term Nutrient Planning.”

“If you’re using high-N organic fertilizers, it’s not default they are beneficial to soil health,” he says. “We don’t recommend they replace compost, manures, or cover crops. Just because you’re using blood meal or guano doesn’t mean you’re increasing soil health.”


Budget Hearings to Consider UC Funding Restoration
(AgNet West) Brian German, March 8

Conversations are continuing regarding the potential for a full UC funding restoration. For UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), it would mean the nearly 13 percent funding reduction for the fiscal year 2020-21 would be undone. Funding for the fiscal year 2021-22 would be restored to pre-COVID levels. The agreement to restore the funding is still yet to be finalized, but the potential holds significant promise for UC ANR programs and initiatives.

“We’re very excited, we’re very appreciative of the Legislature doing this. But it is still unclear whether or not this is actually a full restoration of ongoing funding, or if it’s one-time funding,” said Glenda Humiston, UC ANR Vice President. “There’s a huge difference as far how we utilize the state general funds because for us they’re the main funding source to pay salaries of our Cooperative Extension advisors out in the field.”


4-H’ers ‘motor along’ with boat-building, animal science
(Western Valley Press) Pamela Kan-Rice, March 4

As many students continue online learning due to COVID-19, 4-H hands-on learning activities are keeping them excited and engaged in education. The University of California's 4-H Youth Development Program has created several learning activities that allow children to interact within COVID-19 guidelines.


UC partners with Gotham Greens to advance indoor agriculture&nbsp
(Imperial Valley Press)Pamela Kan-Rice, March 4

Urban agriculture pioneer Gotham Greens, which operates high-tech greenhouses across the United States, is placing its latest state-of-the-art greenhouse near UC Davis.


When the robots arrive, what happens to farmworkers?
(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, March 4

…“As these machines emerge, we will definitely step in and play that role,” said Gabriel Youtsey, the UC’s chief innovations officer. He points to current community outreach efforts by the university’s AI Institute for Food Systems, which is using artificial intelligence to create efficiencies spanning the entire production and distribution system.


What's the real story?
(News Journal) Clarence Shmidt, March 3

Misleading information is perpetuated through TV, periodicals, nurseries, social media, the internet, or from friends and relatives. Look for specific nutrient deficiencies and fertilize accordingly rather than a routine feed. Source: University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources


4-H offers proven practices for effective online learning
(Western Farm Press) Jeannette Warner, March 2

The volunteer educators and professional staff whose work provides thousands of California 4-H members aged 5 to 18 with invaluable learn-by-doing lessons were among those facing challenges, said Steven Worker, UC Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development advisor.


Building to Weather the Storm
(ASTM International) Kathy Hunt, March 2

In “Reducing the Vulnerability of Buildings to Wildfire,” Stephen Quarles, Ph.D., University of California Cooperative Extension adviser emeritus and chair of the subcommittee on fire exposure (E05.14) notes the importance of the test methods for fire tests of roof coverings (E108), referenced by California building codes. Quarles also cites a critical proposed standard, the test method for evaluating roof field vent response to wind-blown flame and burning ember exposure (WK23700). 


Gotham Greens goes west to unlock next growth chapter: ‘The indoor environment is relatively unexplored but offers fantastic opportunities’
(Food Navigator) Mary Ellen Shoup, March 2

… “New genetics, data-driven intelligent farming, farm automation, energy optimization and other technologies can all be brought together to create a range of new tasty, healthy, and sustainable food products. We are interested in the complementary nature of indoor and outdoor agriculture, and the opportunity to help expand a local footprint of food production that is less resource-intensive and create a new generation of diverse young farmers,” Youtsey [Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources] told FoodNavigator.


Gray wolf makes rare visit to Tuolumne County, areas farther south
(Union Democrat) Guy McCarthy, March 1

…“This is the first recorded observance of a collared gray wolf this far south in the Sierra Nevada,” Scott Oneto with UC Cooperative Extension for El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties said in a phone interview. “We don’t have an exact location. He’s been moving quickly from the Oregon border since the first of this month, doing a lot of zig zagging back and forth at a pretty good rate.”



February 2021

Rebuilding the Paradise Community Gardens
Laura Lukes, Feb 28

The neighborhood garden offered community members a chance to work together to grow fresh, organic food to share with family, neighbors, and local organizations. 


Burning California to save it: Why one solution to raging wildfires can’t gain tract
Dale Kasler and Nicole Blanchard, Feb 25

A growing army of experts argues that “prescribed fire” — planned, deliberate burns — can reduce the volume of combustible vegetation from parched landscapes and ease a crisis gripping the western third of the country.“It’s not a small matter; you’re putting fire on the landscape,” said Anthony Scardina, deputy forester for the U.S. Forest Service in California. “There are risks and we have to manage those risks and follow protocols and see whether those risks are worth it.”


Whole Orchard Recycling and Its Impact on Future Plantings
(Pacific Nut Producer) Matthew Malcolm, Feb 26

Whole orchard recycling is really catching more interest among farmers recently, particularly in the almond industry; and leading the charge in the research/outreach of this practice is UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor Brent Holtz.  Watch this brief interview with Brent as he discusses benefits and considerations for implementing this practice in the orchard; and read more about it in Pacific Nut Producer Magazine.


Orchards begin to bloom
(Appeal-Democrat) Jake Abbott, Feb 24

Orchards in the Yuba-Sutter area are beginning to bloom as spring approaches.

Almond orchards are in full bloom with their white flowers on display, which typically occurs around mid-February. Some peach orchards have also started to see pink flowers blooming, especially along the Highway 70 and Highway 99 corridors.

If they haven't already started to bloom, prunes aren't far behind, said Franz Niederholzer, farm advisor of orchard systems for the area's UC Cooperative Extension.


Growers refine date palm irrigation with UC research
(Western Farm Press) Pamela Kan-Rice Feb 24

Despite efforts by growers to conserve water, data was lacking on date palms' actual water use to refine the best irrigation management for the crop until a recent research project led by Ali Montazar, UC Cooperative Extension irrigation and water management advisor for Imperial and Riverside counties.



New food-safety guide outlines laws and best practices for urban farmers
(Imperial Valley Press) Pamela Kan-Rice, Feb 18

Californians growing food in cities now have help understanding the food safety laws that apply to them. A free publication containing California-specific information on rules and regulations for urban farmers was recently published by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.


4-H offers proven practices for effective online learning
(Morning Ag Clips) UC Ags, Feb 21

 Schools and children’s social and club activities hastily moved online in the spring of 2020 when across the country Americans began to shelter-in-place to avoid spreading the coronavirus.The volunteer educators and professional staff whose work provides thousands of California 4-H members aged 5 to 18 with invaluable learn-by-doing lessons were among those facing challenges, said Steven Worker, UC Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development advisor.


Pest management team wins achievement award
(Mountain Democrat) Thomas Frey, Feb 22

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation honored the University of California Spray Application Pest Management Alliance Team of El Dorado County with an Integrated Pest Management Achievement Award Thursday.The program is run by Lynn Wunderlich who has served as farm advisor for the UC Cooperative Extension Central Sierra for more than 20 years.


Groundbreaking Research Shows Promise for Spinach Growers
(Holtville Tribune) Julio Morales, Feb 18

A local three-year research project to determine whether drip-irrigation systems can help reduce the incidences of downy mildew in organic spinach is showing “promising results.” The groundbreaking study is being conducted at the University of California Cooperative Extension and led by Aliasghar Montazar, UCCE irrigation and water management advisor.


New Course Creates Central, South Coast "Climate Stewards"
(KCLU) Caroline Feraday, Feb 18

The Community Environmental Council (CEC) is offering the pilot course, which teaches locals how to take action on climate change and qualify as “Climate Stewards.” The UC Climate Stewards course is offered in coordination with the UC Division of Agriculture and the Natural Resources California Naturalist Program, and is part of a statewide effort to build on-the-ground support to advance local and state climate goals.


Eight ways UCANR boosts the California economy
(FarmPress) Linda Forbes, Feb 16

The University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources works to benefit the California economy by improving agricultural efficiencies, mitigating risk, providing trusted information to inform policy, combating pests and diseases, advancing agriculture technologies and training the next generation of leaders.


An unwelcome newcomer
(Rice Farming) Vicky Boyd, Feb 15

…Whitney Brim-DeForest, University of California Cooperative Extension rice farm advisor for Yuba and Sutter counties, has narrowed the newcomer down to a member of the Echinochloa genus, which includes barnyardgrass, early watergrass and late watergrass. Whether it is a species not before seen in California or a new biotype of a resident species remains unknown.


California’s rainy season is starting about a month later than it did in the 1960s, researchers say 
Los Angeles Times (Paul Duginski), Feb 13

…“There are a plethora of papers coming out from modelers forgetting the fact that we are actually farming the desert,” said S. Kaan Kurtural, a [UC Cooperative Extension] specialist in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis. “Our system is based on irrigated agriculture, not rain-fed systems. The scale and efficiency of production of permanent crops in California is probably one of the greatest success stories of this country.”


Conservancy and Escondido resident restoring oak forest
(Escondido Times Advocate) Jamison Lauria, Feb 11
In recent years, the oak story in Southern California has appeared beneath grim headlines. Tens of thousands of the majestic trees have died after attacks by the gold spotted oak borer, aka GSOB, the Asian polyphagous shot hole borer, and the deadly fungi they transmit, according to the University of California Cooperative Extension. Some of the trees are more than 300 years old. 


Garden Variety
(Palm Springs Life) Thomas Meagher, Feb 9

…“A silver lining of COVID,” says Janet Hartin, who is Area Environmental Horticultural advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), “is that since people have had to be home more they are taking greater notice of what’s going on right around them, in their gardens, grounds, and trees. And they’re appreciating all of it a lot more.”


Business Briefs
(North Bay Business Journal) Katie Piontek, Feb 8

University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) in Sonoma County is asking poultry and livestock producers to complete a survey of their needs. Their input will inform UCCE and County of Sonoma departments, local agencies, and private organizations as they develop evacuation plans for rapid deployment of services. 


UC's Humiston: Extension's budget woes 'frustrating'
(Farm Press) Todd Fitchette, Feb 4

The annual battle to adequately fund University of California Cooperative Extension programs continues to frustrate Glenda Humiston, vice president of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Division.

… "It's just so frustrating," she said. "Cooperative Extension is miraculous. If you really think about it, for the money we receive and the return on investment that this state has seen with new crops, new varieties, and economic development in all sorts of sectors – yet the state can't come up with money to adequately fund us."


‘A blessing’: Storms help bolster aquifers, snowpack
(AgAlert) Kein Hecteman and Ching Lee, Feb 3

…Richard Smith, University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Monterey County, said rain always affects planting schedules in the Salinas Valley, because farmers plant every day to ensure a constant supply in late spring when harvest begins.

…"The growers are skilled at working around the weather, as long as we get a dry spell," he said, noting that farmers leave fields laser-leveled, which helps with drainage, and peaked beds can be quickly worked for planting.

Oleg Daugovish, UCCE farm advisor for Ventura County, said the only impact from the rain he's seen to row crops is the usual mud restricting entry to fields, and strawberry fruit damage.


California Needs More Storms, Groundwater to Avoid Prolonged Drought, Experts Say
(Cap Radio) Ezra David Romero, Feb 3

…“It works a little bit like a bank account,” [UC Cooperative Extension specialist Helen] Dahlke explained. “We've taken a little bit too much money out in the last couple decades. And now we are trying to put a little bit of that — a little bit more money back into the account.”


Can You Trust a Pro-Beef Professor? It’s Complicated.
(Undark) Jenny Splitter, Feb 3

CARNIVORES AND CATTLE ranchers love Frank Mitloehner. As people who produce or eat meat look for ways to defend their effect on the planet, Mitloehner, an air quality scientist at the University of California, Davis, has been there to voice support.


Protecting homes in wildfire-prone communities
(Morning Ag Clips) Feb 2

A team of California and Nevada fire scientists have produced a booklet with step-by-step guidance on retrofitting an existing home to be more resilient to fire.

Susie Kocher, UC Cooperative Extension forestry and natural resources advisor and co-author of the new guide, said some homeowners feel powerless to protect their homes against California’s increasing wildfire threat.




Bon Appétit takes down a ‘dangerous’ video on canning seafood after experts warn of botulism risk
(WaPo) Emily Heil, Feb 2

…Colleen Clemens, the program director for the [UC ANR] Master Food Preservers of Orange County, called Leone’s video “dangerous misinformation.” In a video of her own, Clemons broke down the trouble with its approach: Only high-acid foods (like pickled vegetables), she notes, can be canned in a water bath. Lower-acid foods need to be processed using a pressure canner, which allows the contents to reach the temperature of 240 degrees needed to kill the bacteria that causes botulism.

… But as Clemens notes, it’s impossible for a water-bath process to heat the jars and get the contents hotter than 212 degrees, the temperature at which water boils. “You can’t achieve a temperature of 240 degrees in anything other than a pressure canner,” Clemens says. (Attempts to reach Langley and her company were unsuccessful.)


January 2021

Community Environmental Council Posts New Climate Leadership Course
(Noozhawk) Kathi King, Jan 28

The Community Environmental Council (CEC) is proud to announce a new certification course, UC Climate Stewards, that will empower locals to take clear action on climate change.

The course, offered in coordination with the UC Division of Agriculture and the Natural Resources California Naturalist Program, is part of a statewide effort to build on-the-ground support to advance local and state climate goals.


Drone Camp receives increased interest amidst COVID restrictions
(AgNet West) Brian German, Jan 28

…“The goal of this drone camp is to give people an introduction to the whole workflow of using drones,” said Andy Lyons, Program Coordinator for IGIS. “The whole workflow includes regulations and safety – being aware of those – planning flights, and we talk a lot about equipment. There’s a lot of options around equipment.”


Cooperative extension planning virtual walnut series
(Appeal Democrat) Jan 27

The University of California Cooperative Extension is planning a statewide virtual walnut series in February for farmers to learn about the latest trends in the industry and receive continuing education credits.


Three Questions: Keeping people involved in agriculture is focus
(Appeal Democrat) Jan 27

Whitney Brim-DeForest is the county director of the University of California Cooperative Extension for Yuba and Sutter counties and is a rice advisor. She has a Ph.D in horticulture and agronomy and specializes in plant genomes, weeds, integrated pest management and soil, plant, water, nutrient relationships.


Environment Experts To Newsom: Now’s Your Moment
(Cap Radio) Ezra David Romero, Jan 26

In his most recent budget, Newsom also proposed to spend a billion dollars on prescribed burns and forest thinning. While that amount of money is a first for fire prevention, says UC Berkeley Forestry Advisor William Stewart, it still doesn’t go far enough because of the vast and expensive nature of fire mitigation needs.

“We may need to do something different than kind of the small scale projects that we historically know how to do,” he said. “There needs to be some people with kind of a skunkworks approach. Can we look at doing this a different way?”


Fungicide Application via Drip Irrigation

(Cal Ag today) Tim Hammerich, Jan 26

Protecting fruit from soilborne pathogens is a big concern for strawberry growers. Researchers at the University of California Ag and Natural Resources are looking to see if a drip application of fungicides might be effective. Here’s UC Cooperative Extension advisor in entomology and biologicals, Surendra Dara.


Will 2021 be the turning point for food technology?
(Food Dive) Megan Poinski, Jan 26

…Some who work in food technology have seen their products and research passed over in the past because of purported consumer fear of GMOs. This includes Alison Van Eenennaam, an animal geneticist at University of California, Davis. 

…"They want a product that they want for whatever reason. It tastes good, it's the right price. You know, the three things that normally drive consumers,” she said. 


Why palm trees are dying in San Diego County
(CBS 8) Shawn Styles, Jan. 25

"It's estimated that 10,000 palms have been killed by the South American palm weevil," said Mark Hoddle. Hoddle is with UC Riverside. He described how the weevils attack.

"These long nose weevils use it to drill holes and then lay their eggs in the tunnel," said Hoddle.


As COVID-19 Ups the Stakes, Advocates Say Prison Food Needs an Overhaul
(Civil Eats) Nadra Nittle, Jan 21

…“They’re the largest single food purchaser in the state, so it seems appropriate that that institution would be focused on California-grown produce,” said Wendi Gosliner, who heads research at the Nutrition Policy Institute and teaches at U.C. Berkeley. “We know from what people say and the limited information available that the food quality in prisons certainly needs a lot of work.”


The 2020 wildfires could cost California’s wine industry $3.7 billion — but it doesn’t have to be that way
(SF Chron) Esther Mobley, Jan 21

…“UC Davis probably needs $10 million over five years,” Moramarco said, referring to the country’s preeminent academic institution for wine science. “That’s a lot of money, but it’s a small amount of money relative to the risks that we face.”


New Hires at UC Ag Science Site to Boost Research
(Holtville Tribune) Julio Morales, Jan 21

… Starting next month, Apurba Barman will be working onsite at UCCE as an integrated pest management adviser.

Barman was hired Jan. 11, and for the time being has been working remotely from Georgia, where he recently led a whitefly monitoring and management program at the University of Georgia that targeted crop systems in the state’s southern region.

… With more than 386,000 head of cattle, the county ranked second in California for cattle and calf production, accounting for 13.5 percent of the state’s overall production in 2019, according to the ag report.

The significance of those figures is also reflected by the recent hiring of Pedro Carvalho as feedlot management specialist at UCANR’s Desert Research Extension Center in Holtville. The position is newly created and statewide in scope, said DREC Director Jairo Diaz.


The childhood obesity crisis started before Covid-19. The pandemic has made it much worse
(The Counter) Sam Bloch, Jan 19

…“Since March, around 30 parents in six school districts in the San Joaquin Valley, a sprawling farm region in central California, have participated in school meal focus groups. Their conversations are being shared with Patel and Christina Hecht of the University of California’s Nutrition Policy Institute for a study about nutrition and food insecurity. As low-income families, they depend on schools to feed their children, and especially the undocumented immigrants among them, who are ineligible for government assistance such as SNAP or pandemic unemployment compensation. Nevertheless, at a time of great need, they’re turning their backs on the free meals, which they don’t believe are healthy or nutritious, said Veva Islas, a program director at Cultiva La Salud, the Fresno-based nonprofit that organizes the focus groups.”


Biden climate plan to address worsening Western wildfires, but it will take years
Zach Urness and Damon Arthur, Salem Statesman Journal, Jan 18

… In 2020, Max Moritz [a wildfire specialist at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Bren School] co-wrote a guide for communities on how to build in the wildland-urban interface. To protect homes from oncoming wildfires, he suggests new construction should be built in areas to take advantage of barriers in the landscape such as water bodies, roads, parks, irrigated farmland and meadows.


Backyard poultry a growing trend
(Pagosa Sun) Robin Young, Jan 17

…“This segment of agriculture has been largely overlooked by the veterinary community in North America,” said Dr. Alda Pires, University of California cooperative extension specialist in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and co-principal investigator in the study. “Due to the potential for public health issues and the spread of zoonotic disease, veterinary professionals need increased training and better awareness of the health and welfare of these animals.”


Sixth-graders in Calaveras County get hands-on experience building Mars rovers
(KCRA) Will Heryford, Jan 14

Students in Calaveras County are getting some novel hands-on experience about the planet Mars.

Sixth-graders at Avery Middle School spent the day building model Mars rovers at socially distanced in-class learning, then took their vehicles outside and tried to maneuver them around a small map using books and boxes to simulate rough terrain.

Every sixth-grader in Calaveras County will receive a rover kit, thanks to the Mars-based 4-H STEM challenge through the University of California.


Popular organic weed-control product found to include banned chemicals
(Napa Valley Register) Tim Carl, Jan 14

…“Stop orders like this are not common in my experience,” Bradley Hanson, an extension weed specialist at UC Davis, wrote in an email. “I don’t recall anything similar with an herbicide in the last 15 years since I’ve been involved with weed-management research in the state.”

…“Because Weed Slayer was made from eugenol, which is on the federal exempt list, there was no registration necessary — therefore no reg number and no recording of usage,” wrote John Roncoroni, extension farm advisor emeritus of vineyard weed science, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE).

…“As I understand it, the questions about the integrity of the product were raised by UCCE scientists and growers,” wrote Monica L. Cooper, viticulture advisor at UCCE, Napa County. “This is consistent with our UCCE mission to ensure the continued economic prosperity and ecological sustainability of agricultural operations in California in partnership with industry and government agencies.”


Science writers answer questions about SCU, CZU fires
(Gilroy Dispatch) Jan 14

…After the Tubbs fire burned through urban areas in Sonoma County in October 2017, the University of California Cooperative Extension received an influx of questions about local produce safety. “We started asking around, and there really was very little research—a void in information around the effects of urban wildfire on produce safety,” says food systems advisor Julia Van Soelen Kim.


Lemons Became More Popular, But then COVID Hit
(Cal Ag Today) Tim Hammerich, Jan 14

A recent study on the costs and returns of establishing and producing lemons in Ventura County was released by UC Cooperative Extension in Southern California and UC Agricultural Issues Center.

“We grow lemons along the coast because it doesn't get hot, and we do a really good sour lemon. The trees flower year-round, and so there's production year-round,” said Ben Faber, a Farm Advisor based in Ventura County.”


Industry Input Encouraged for Shifting Animal Biotech Oversight to USDA
(AgNet West) Brian German, Jan 14

… “I think this is a step in the right direction, I don’t think that the approach of regulating them as animal drugs ever made a lot of scientific sense,” said Alison Van Eenennaam, Cooperative Extension Specialist in Animal Genomics and Biotechnology at UC Davis. “I’m supportive of USDA taking over the regulation of food animals that have been modified for agricultural purposes. What I don’t understand is why there’s a different approach for plants than for animals.”


UC grant to strengthen honeybee health and crop pollination
(Davis Enterprise) Kathy Keatley Garvey, Jan 12

The UC Davis department of entomology and nematology is sharing a $900,000 grant from the University of California’s Office of the President to establish a four-campus network of bee researchers and engineers to strengthen honeybee health and crop pollination.


UCCE slates virtual winter rice meeting for Feb. 11
(Rice Farming) Jan 11

The University of California Cooperative Extension plans to hold its annual winter rice meetings as a virtual event Feb. 11 from 9 a.m.-noon PST.


New avocado study examines high-density plantings
(Western Farm Press) Jan. 11

…A new study on the costs and returns of establishing and producing avocados in San Diego County has been released by the University of California Cooperative Extension, UC Agricultural Issues Center and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.


Ganoderma: Why Are My Almond Trees Falling Over?
(Cal Ag Net) Matthew Malcolm, Jan 7

Almond trees are collapsing all over the California, and it’s not just an old age thing anymore. If you are experiencing this in your orchard, your trees may have Ganoderma Heart Rot. Watch this brief interview with UCCE Nut Crops Advisor Mae Culumber as she explains, based on her recent presentation at the Grape, Nut & Tree Fruit Expo.


The Math on Navel Orangeworm Sanitation
(Cal Ag Today) Patrick Cavanaugh, Jan. 7

…David Haviland is a UCANR Cooperative Extension Entomologist in Kern County. “I just want to do a little bit of a back of a napkin math. Just think about this scenario. If you're down to two mummies per tree, if 10% of those were infested, you assume that half of any worms in there are going to be females. And each of those females, when it comes out, it's going to make 85 eggs. Just roughly look at that scenario,” noted Haviland.


California’s sequoias and redwoods can survive climate change—if we help them
(Nat Geo) Alejandra Borunda, Jan 6

…“The empowering message there is, human management can actually override the effects of climate in a fire contest,” [UC Cooperative Extension forestry advisor Lenya] Quinn-Davidson said. “It's not just a climate story. We can't just throw in the towel, feel overwhelmed, and tell ourselves these trees are done for. That's not true!”