UC ANR in the news

October 2020

Match.Graze Connects Landowners with Grazers
(AgNet West) Brian German, Oct. 13

…“What we’re doing is encouraging livestock producers to sign up on this website. It’s free of charge. They can tell whatever they want to tell about themselves, create their own profile, and then a landowner can do the same. They can sign up their property, some of their particulars, and what they’re looking for,” said Stephanie Larson, UC Livestock and Range Management Farm Advisor. “Then hopefully people can look back and forth and make a match and we can have grazing in more areas in California to reduce fire fuels.”

UC Berkeley study shows interventions affect school lunch participation
(DailyCal) Annika Constantino, Oct 12

Overall, the study showed that the interventions had modest effects on students’ perceptions of school lunches. The perception that school lunches tasted good and were enough to make students feel full increased by 0.2 points on a five-point scale among 8th graders in schools with intervention, according to study co-author Lorrene Ritchie, director of the Nutrition Policy Institute at the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, or UCANR.

Smoke, plants and people
(Nevada Appeal) JoAnne Skelly, Oct. 12

With all the smoke lingering lately and on hearing that Napa grape growers lucky enough to still have grapes may not harvest them due to smoke contamination, I wondered how smoke affects plants as well as people. I found some interesting articles.
The first was from University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) of Sonoma County that addressed “Produce Safety After a Fire.”
UCCE pointed out was there can be contaminants in ash and debris that land on edible plants during and after a fire depending on “what built environment and natural materials burned.”

UC Cooperative Extension small farms advisor strives to make farming more inclusive and equitable
(CDFA Planting Seeds) Pam Kan-Rice, Oct. 12

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted life for everyone, with information about COVID-19 changing daily. For Californians who aren’t fluent in English, obtaining reliable information is particularly difficult. Aparna Gazula, a University of California Cooperative Extension advisor who serves Santa Clara, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties, has been providing COVID-19-related information in Chinese and Spanish for immigrant Bay Area farmers.

New study to investigate influence of cattle grazing on particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions from wildfires
(Benito Link) Devii Rao, Oct 10

UC Cooperative recently wrapped up a grant that explored the benefits of livestock for fire fuels reduction and fire safety. The next phase of this study has just been initiated. The research team will build on their prior work to calculate the particulate matter (PM) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that result from herbaceous vegetation (fine fuels) consumed by livestock, compared to those produced if the same forage/fuels were instead burned in a wildfire. They will also consider the potential PM and GHG emissions from the same quantity of decaying vegetation.

Grazing program offers green way to cut grass, reduce fire danger in Sonoma County
(Press Democrat) Guy Kovner, Oct. 9

A website created by Sonoma County’s UC Cooperative Extension enables landowners to connect with livestock owners to rent cattle, sheep or goats to devour the worrisome vegetation, restoring what used to be one of nature’s ways. “It’s a dating service for grazing,” said Stephanie Larson, county director and livestock and range management adviser for the UC service.

These UC Davis food experts want your sauerkraut and kimchi samples — for science
(Sac Bee) Darrell Smith, Oct. 9

It may be a take on Lady Liberty’s iconic words, and this pair of researchers may well be yearning to breathe free when they walk out of the lab, but Maria Marco and Erin DiCaprio have put out the call to kitchens across California: If it’s fermented, these UC Davis food scientists want it.

The Farm Of The Future Might Be In Compton. Inside A Warehouse. And Run Partly By Robots
(LAist) Stefan Slater, Oct 6

The amount of time produce spends in the grow room depends on the crop. Nate Storey, chief science officer and co-founder of Plenty, explains that one leafy green crop might go through the entire process from seedling production to harvesting in two to three weeks. That's significantly less time than if those crops were grown via traditional agriculture.

On a large, outdoor farm in the Salinas Valley, baby kale would typically require 35 to 50 days, depending on the time of year, before it was ready for harvest, according to Richard Smith, a University of California Cooperative Extension vegetable adviser for the Central Coast.

When blazes spark, ‘Fire Twitter’ heats up
(SF Chron) Ryan Kost, Oct. 3

…Twitter launched in 2007, right in the middle of Faith Kearns’ four-year stint as associate director of the Center for Fire Outreach at UC Berkeley. At the time, she says, it was hard to get any sort of fire news. Mostly, they relied on customized news filters, but almost from the start, Twitter proved useful, especially in the early moments after a fire ignited. “Just like with earthquakes,” says Kearns, a scientist who focuses on water, wildfire and climate change. “If you want to figure out what just happened, you look at Twitter.”

September 2020

Can California's wine country survive the climate crisis?
(Salon) Matthew Rozsa, Sept 30

Dr. S. Kaan Kurtural, a specialist in viticulture at the University of California – Davis, said that the environmental calculus had shifted with climate change.

"The ecological challenges have been known for a while and we have initially benefited from it," Kurtural wrote to Salon. "As our climate got warmer (growing season mean temperature) we were able to make more fruit for wine, and grow a lot of it. Now it has passed a tipping point."

California wildfires: Nearly 4 million acres have burned statewide as red flag warning looms for Wine Country
(Mercury News) Paul Rogers, Maggie Angst, Evan Webeck, Sept 30

“Two outlier events — the lightning and the heat waves — coincided as a double whammy. It’s just incredible,” said Max Moritz, a fire scientist with UC Santa Barbara. “And with climate change we are probably going to make these extreme events more common. This could be what we are going to see more of. When you put Diablo and Santa Ana winds on top of that, it’s really scary.”

Megafires Are Breaking Climate Models, Highlighting California's Need To Focus On Prevention
(CapRadio) Ezra David Romero, Sept 29

Michael Jones was up the entire night Sunday watching the Glass Fire take off in Napa and Sonoma counties. At more than 42,000 acres Tuesday it’s damaged at least eight wineries, 80 other homes and businesses and forced tens of thousands to flee.

“It's blown into Santa Rosa — it's not super surprising that we're in the same boat again,” said Jones, a forestry advisor for the UC system in Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties. 

…“It's actually burning in a strip of the coastal range that hasn't burned in recorded history,” Jones said.

… This new baseline of information is part of why Lenya Quinn-Davidson, a UC system fire advisor in Humboldt county, says it’s no longer time to debate “base-level conversations” over whether prevention tactics like prescribed burns are beneficial.

Napa and Sonoma are burning again. Here’s why scorched areas can remain vulnerable
(SF Chron) Kellie Hwang, Sept 28

…“The term we like to use is resilience,” said Lenya Quinn-Davidson, fire adviser for the UC Cooperative Extension. “Resistance implies a fire won’t enter an area again. What we’re looking to achieve is resilience in a forest, landscape or community structure, where fire can be part of the system but won’t remarkably change it … and actually preserve what’s there.”

California’s ancient ‘asbestos’ forests no longer seem immune
(CalMatters) Julie Cart, Sept 28

…“There is a collective sensation that we are reaching a tipping point,”  said Lenya Quinn-Davidson, a fire specialist with the University of California Cooperative Extension. “This year was not just the fluke burning horrifically. This is 3.2 million acres of fire that burned in a month. It was complete triage and disaster.

Groups find solutions to local food insecurity
(Modesto Bee) Chrisanna Mink, Sept 28

“The help start the garden project, the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency provided funding and the University of California Cooperative Extension provided resources and education for CUSD staff, promotoras and the children.”

Kids still drink milk when chocolate milk is pulled
Krissa Welshans, Sept 28

Results from a new study by the University of California Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) revealed that while removing chocolate milk modestly reduced students' milk consumption, it did not compromise average intake of key milk-related nutrients.

Local groups plan prescribed burn events this fall
(Plumas News), Sept 23

In addition to the Plumas Underburn Cooperative, the Feather River RCD, and the Plumas County Fire Safe Council, event cooperators include the University of California Cooperative Extension, Chico State University Ecological Reserve, and Plumas National Forest.

Reshaping How Research is Viewed, Accessed Amid The Pandemic
(CapRadio) Insight, Sept 23

UC Davis Viticulture and Enology Cooperative Extension Specialist Anita Oberholster with new research on how the state’s wine crop has been affected by wildfire smoke and ash.

Why you'll sometimes still see trees around towns destroyed by wildfires
(Kens5) Terry Spry Jr, Sept 21

Another aspect of wildfires contributing to this is that houses are especially vulnerable to embers that spurt off from the flames.

“Embers can be blown for miles ahead of a fire front,” said Susan Kocher, another forest advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension. “The embers can penetrate the home through the vents or open windows and catch the home on fire, which then burns the trees [immediately surrounding the house].”

Take precautions when wildfire ash falls on fruits and vegetables
(Statesman Journal) Kym Pokorny, Sept 17

“Mapping the food-growing area and soil sample spots allows you to correlate your test results, and identify spots of concern in case you need to do more testing, according to the UC Cooperative Extension of Sonoma County, California. Ask the lab for a heavy metals panel analysis that includes lead, cadmium, arsenic, nickel and mercury.”

The Indigenous Tradition That Can Help California Avoid Some of Its Endless Wildfires
(Slate) Delilah Friedler, Sept 17

“We aren’t anywhere near bringing fire back at the scale we need to,” says Lenya Quinn-Davidson, a fire adviser with the University of California Cooperative Extension who helped lead that burn. “It’s important to push forward with a grassroots model that empowers people to do the work, instead of having bottlenecks with the agency that’s in charge.”

Crops’ recovery from wildfires may take time, experts say

(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, Sept. 16

…“There’s a strong emotional desire to do something big because there’s so much damage, and that’s certainly understandable,” said Morgan Doran, a University of California Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor. “My recommendation is to temper that with the financial feasibility and goals that you have for the landscape you manage.”

How To Keep California's Forests Healthy and Reduce Fires

(KQED Forum) Michael Krasny, Sept. 15

Wildfires seem to be getting bigger, more frequent and more dangerous. Experts say that won't change this season or next, unless the state and federal governments spend billions of dollars more on thinning forests and making California communities more resilient to fire. That would mean a big shift for foresters and firefighters who've spent the past century working to preserve timber and beating back the flames. But people who study fire say that shift in thinking is long overdue. We'll talk about what it would take to rework how California manages wildfires and forests.


  • Craig Thomas, director, Fire Restoration Group
  • Lenya Quinn-Davidson, area fire advisor, UC Cooperative Extension
  • Danielle Venton, reporter, KQED Science
  • Scott Stephens, professor of fire science, the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley

Power Up: California may be burning. But it's also still drilling for oil

(WaPo) Jacqueline Alemany, Sept. 15

… Cities and communities can take more immediate steps to lessen the wildfire damage: "At this point we’ve learned a lot about how to engineer homes and communities so that they can be more survivable,” Max Moritz, a wildfire expert affiliated with the University of California, Santa Barbara, told the New York Times's Brad Plumer and John Schwartz. “But these lessons aren’t being implemented fast enough.”

Forests That Survive Megafires Prove Good Management Trumps Climate Change

(Forbes) Michael Shellenberger, Sept. 13

…But whatever happens to Shaver Lake, says University of California, Berkeley forest scientist Rob York, “There are lots of cases in the scientific literature of prescribed burns having changed fire behavior.”

150 million dead trees are fueling huge Sierra wildfires

(Los Angeles Times) Bettina Boxall, Sept. 13

“I don’t want to be alarmist. But I think the conditions are there,” said Scott Stephens, a UC Berkeley professor of fire science and lead author of a 2018 paper that raised the specter of future mass forest fires as intense as the Dresden, Germany, and Tokyo firebombings.

“As those [trees] continue to fall, the physics of it are unchanged. If you have dead and downed logs … the fires described in warfare are possible.”

Wildfires will be more common in a warming world

(The Economist) Sept 12

“It's not that different to building on an earthquake-prone landscape,” says Max Moritz, a wildfire expert at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Fire Suppression — And Climate Change — Is To Blame For California’s Megafires. Experts Unpack The Term.
(CapRadio) Ezra David Romero, Sept 12

…More than a century later fire suppression is still taking place, even though there are efforts to change a mentality of putting fires out. But that’s slowly changing as the pace, scale and astronomical costs of wildfires exponentially grow, says Michael Jones, a UC system forestry advisor for Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties

Cattle might be secret weapon in fight against wildfires, experts say. Here’s how
(Sac Bee) Katie Camero, Sept 11

… Researchers with the University of California Cooperative Extension set out to evaluate how much fine fuel — grasses and other plants known to start fires — cattle eat and how their feeding behavior affects flame activity.

UC Climate Experts Warn California Wildfires, Extreme Weather Events Will Get Worse
(KPIX) Andrea Nakano, Sept 10

“Unfortunately we can expect more of the same. That is absolutely clear because all the science is very consistent that these are the kinds of events that have been predicted for decades and all of the signs point to more of the same,” says Dave Ackerly, Dean of Rausser College at UC Berkeley.

Wildfires Are Worsening. The Way We Manage Them Isn’t Keeping Pace.
(New York Times) Brad Plumer, John Schwartz, Sept. 10

…“At this point we’ve learned a lot about how to engineer homes and communities so that they can be more survivable,” said Max Moritz, a wildfire expert affiliated with the University of California, Santa Barbara. “But these lessons aren’t being implemented fast enough.”

Climate change fuels wildfires in the west
(Desert Sun) Ian James, Sept 3

“There are things we can and should be doing to address the fire problem and fire risk in California, and to get ahead of it, and to make ourselves more resilient,” said Lenya Quinn-Davidson, a fire adviser with the University of California Cooperative Extension and director of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council.

We Know How to Prevent Megafires. We’re Just Not Doing It.
(Defense One) Elizabeth Weil, Sept 2

“Some fire Cassandras are more optimistic than others. Lenya Quinn-Davidson, area fire adviser for the University of California Cooperative Extension and director of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council, remains hopeful. She knows the history. She understands that the new MOU is nonbinding. Still she’s working on forming burn cooperatives and designing burner certificate programs to bring healthy fire practices back into communities.”


August 2020

Six ways California can reduce dangerous wildfires
(SF Chronicle) Peter Fimrite, Aug. 29

…“This is not a matter of raking some leaves,” said Keith Gilless, a forest economist at UC Berkeley and chair of the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, referring to President Trump’s much-ridiculed suggestion that California rake the forest floors. “This is a matter of untold tons of biomass from decades of fire suppression.”

Why California spends billions but can’t control its wildfires. ‘No simple or cheap solution’
(Sacramento Bee) Dale Kasler, Ryan Sabalow, Aug. 27

...“I don’t think at this point we’ve gotten much traction with the problem,” said Malcolm North, a fire ecologist at UC Davis and the U.S. Forest Service. “The enormity of it … it would probably take years. There’s no simple or cheap solution to this problem.”

...“Every part of California is receptive to wildfire,” said Yana Valachovic, a UC Cooperative Extension forestry advisor on the North Coast. “Especially in a year like this, when we had a pretty dry winter and spring, so a lot of the state is in drought conditions.”

...“We’re just trying to dig ourselves out of a very, very deep hole,” said Michael De Lasaux, a retired UCANR forester who had to be evacuated from his home in Quincy recently. “We’re decades behind the curve.”

UC Davis lands $20 million grant to research artificial intelligence in food systems
(Sacramento Business Journal), Mark Anderson, Aug 26

The University of California Davis has received $20 million to launch and lead a research institute integrating artificial intelligence in food systems.
UC Davis will be part of a $140 million national effort through research universities and agencies that is being sponsored by the National Science Foundation, UC Davis reported.

“The food system is ripe for disruption, with many advances over the past decade paving the way to a transformation,” said Ilias Tagkopoulos, professor in the UC Davis Department of Computer Science and Genome Center, in a news release. Tagkopoulos will be director of the new center, called the AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems, or AIFS.

Why California’s wildfires keep getting worse
(Salon) Nicole Karlis, Aug 25

"They are certainly getting worse over time," Susan Kocher, a forestry advisor at the University of California-Cooperative Extension Central Sierra, told Salon. "We burned fewer acres in wildfires in 2019 than 2018, but overall, yes, the trend is progressing to burning more and more acres at high severity over time and affecting more people through evacuations and damages to homes and communities."

Stop Blaming Climate Change For California’s Fires. Many Forests, Including The Redwoods, Need Them.
(Forbes) Michael Shellenberger, Aug. 24

“When I hear climate change discussed it’s suggested that it’s a major reason and it’s not,” Scott Stevens [Stephens] of the University of California, Berkeley, told me.
Redwood forests before Europeans arrived burned every 6 to 25 years. The evidence comes from fire scars on barks and the bases of massive ancient trees, hollowed out by fire, like the one depicted in The New York Times photograph.

“There was severe heat before the lightning that dried-out [wood] fuel,” noted Stevens. “But in Big Basin [redwood park], where fire burned every seven to ten years, there is a high-density of fuel build-up, especially in the forests.”

What to let burn, what to save? Firefighters must practice triage in California
(KCRW), Madeleine Brand, Aug. 24

Lenya Quinn-Davidson - Area Fire Advisor with UC Cooperative Extension in Humboldt County, CA; Director of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council

What should wildfire prevention look like? Three experts urge action.
(Christan Science Monitor) Martin Kuz, Aug. 24

National Guard and U.S. military helping to fight California fires
(Los Angeles Times) Alex Wigglesworth, Susanne Rust, Ruben Vives, Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Aug. 23

Does California have the resources to fight Bay Area fires?
(Los Angeles Times) Susanne Rust, Joseph Serna, Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Anita Chabria, Aug. 22

Smoke, ash from River Fire raises questions about produce, farmworker safety
(Salinas Californian) Kate Cimini, Aug. 21

…According to a preliminary UC Cooperative Extension Sonoma study, smoke from 2017 fires had little impact on local Sonoma County produce.
Based on preliminary findings, "...produce safety was not significantly affected by the fires and may be mitigated by washing produce." 

Who’s eating my tomatoes? Pt. 1
(Farmer Fred) Fred Hoffman, Aug. 21

… U.C. Farm Advisor Rachael Long tells us about the mud dauber wasp, which can be very effective at controlling another backyard nemesis: black widow spiders.

Can California handle this many wildfires at once? Crews and equipment already ‘depleted’
(Sacramento Bee) Dale Kasler, Ryan Sabalow, Sophia Bollag, Aug 19

…“They can’t put as many firefighters next to each other on the fire line,” said Bill Stewart, a UC Berkeley wildfire expert. “The pickup trucks (transporting crews) are historically full of people. Now they’re limited to one or two.”

Millions of Older Californians Live Where Wildfire Threatens. Mostly, They’re on Their Own
(KPBS), August 17

That’s why we have to learn to live with wildfire and adapt to the increasing risks brought by climate change, says Max Moritz, a wildfire specialist for the UC Cooperative Extension. 

“To finally come to a coexistence with wildfire: that is a whole different way of thinking and living with a given hazard,” he said. “It means that we have to be ready for them and we have to look out for the most vulnerable people when they do come.”

UCCE promotes nature as a way to improve wellness
(MorningAg Clips), Aug 13

Could A Phone App Help Prevent California Wildfires?
(Capital Public Radio), Ezra Romero, Aug 10

Helping Farmers Manage Risk
(CalAg Today), Tim Hammerich, Aug. 6

Mediterranean oak borer detected in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties
Lake County News, Aug. 5

Several Factors Increasing Northern Pistachio Acreage, Including SGMA
(Agnet West), Taylor Hillman, Aug. 3

5 Diseases Threatening Your Garden & How to Fight Them Off
(Chowhound), David Klein, Aug. 3

Former Goat Herder’s Crop Research Promotes Prosperity for Imperial Valley Farmers
Morning Ag Clips, Aug. 2

July 2020

(AgInfo Network) David Sparks, July 30

Scientists create calf designed to produce 75% male offspring
KNEB, July 28

California: New bill could prevent by-products going to feed
Feed Navigator, Jane Byrne, July 27

UC Cooperative Extension offers virtual range camp
Benito Link, Devii Rao, July 27, 2020

Meet Cosmo, a bull calf designed to produce 75% male offspring
Morning Ag clips, July 27

Want to become a San Bernardino County Master Gardener? Here’s how
San Bernardino Sun, July 26

Why aren’t loquat and orange trees producing?
(Los Angeles Times) Laura Simpson, July 25, 2020'

Edible landscape is good for table, world
(The Record) Lee Miller, July 24, 2020

The Quest for the Best
PacHort, Karrie Reid, July 20, 2020

Potential cure for ailing citrus trees is a dose of hope for the industry
(Los Angeles Times) Jeanette Marantos, July 18, 2020

Burger King, Lemongrass and Methane
Global Ag Network, July 15, 2020

Local Preserve Wants To Change The Way We Fight Wildfires In California
(KAZU), Michelle Loxton, July 14, 2020

Burger King Tells A Whopper!
(Drovers), Greg Henderson, July 15, 2020

Community Members Encouraged to Support UC ANR Funding
(AgNet West), Brian German, July 16, 2020

Supervisors support Siskiyou County’s 4-H program
(Siskiyou Daily News), Bill Choy, July 16, 2020

Marin County agricultural production grew 4% in 2019
(Marin Independent Journal) Richard Halstead, July 12, 2002

His ‘Eco-lutionary’ Call to Action
(The Los Angeles Times) Jeanette Marantos, July 11, 2020

Voles Populating Chino Hills
(Champion Newspapers) Marianne Napoles, July 11, 2020

Suggestions amid a sizzling summer
FarmPress, July 8, 2020

The University of California announced its first Black president
(CNN) Sarah Moon, July 8, 2020

Climate-change research provides tools for farmers
FarmPress, July 7, 2020

UCCE pear expert Rachel Elkins retires from 33-year career
Lake County News, July 7, 2020

A Big Rat in Congress Helped California Farmers in Their War Against Invasive Species
Inside Climate News, Abby Weiss, July 5, 2020

Step up your watering of roses in the summer
The San Diego Union-Tribune, July 4, 2020

Fight fire with fire
Calaveras Enterprise, July 3, 2020

Improving forest health would create jobs, improve economies in rural California
Cal Matters, July 2, 2020

Rhonda Smith
Anderson Valley Advertiser, Bob Dempel, July 1, 2020

Vegetable Growers Rally to Conquer COVID-19 Induced Challenges
(Growing Produce) Carol Miller, July 1, 2020

UC ANR Engaged in Projects to Increase Internet Connectivity
AgNet, West, Brian German, July 1, 2020

June 2020

CA budget deal proposes fewer cuts for K-12 than May revision
Daily Californian, June 30, 2020

Hermosa Beach a natural habitat for coyotes
(Easy Reader News) Kevin Cody, June 26, 2020

UC Berkeley researchers find forests are becoming younger, smaller
Daily Californian, June 26, 2020

2020's Only Live Junior Livestock Show
(Modoc Record) Laura Snell, June 25, 2020

Head of UC ANR has ideas for rural recovery
(Agri-Pulse) Brad Hooker, June 24, 2020

Southeast Asian farmers face total loss in COVID fallout
The Business Journal, June 22, 2020

Making California Wine in the Time of Covid-19
Courthouse News Service, June 17, 2020

Study: Most retailed avocado oil is of poor quality
(Farm Press) Diane Nelson, June 17, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic has affected state’s food, agriculture and environment
Daily Democrat, June 16, 2020

Bradford-Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award presented
Daily Democrat, June 13, 2020

In absence of federal action, farm workers’ coronavirus cases spike
Politico, June 9, 2020

A new class of California naturalists 
(Catalina Islander) Jessica Boudevin. June 5, 2020

How has the pandemic impacted Calif. agriculture? 
(Morning Ag Clips) June 4, 2020

Prescribed Burn Association Coming to Central Coast 
(AgNet West) Brian German, June 4, 2020

Dairy researcher looks to improve feeding efficiency
(Capital Press) Julia Hollister, June 4, 2020

Almond farming, like baseball, requires a game plan
(Farm Press) Lee Allen, June 3, 2020

Tehama County expands re-opening following COVID-19 closure 
(Red Bluff Daily News) Julie Zeeb, June 2, 2020

UC ANR Getting Creative with Diversifying Funding Support 
(AgNet West) Brian German, June 2, 2020

What if food were the focus of the school curriculum?
(Futurum) Christian Nansen, June 1, 2020