The Apps for Ag hackathon, which was spearheaded by Gabe Youtsey, chief information officer, brought software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, farmers and others who work in agriculture to the ANR building for a weekend to create apps to address agricultural issues.
The first place team, GivingGarden, took home $7,500 in prize money, custom rodeo belt buckles and a six-month, top-tier membership to the AgStart Incubator in Woodland.
The hyper-local, produce-sharing app provides gardening advice from the UC Master Gardener Program and enables backyard gardeners to connect with others who want to share their produce. The GivingGarden team members are Scott Kirkland, Josh Livni, Deema Tamimi and John Knoll.
The top three teams will also receive complimentary startup incorporation services valued at $2,200 from Royse Law.
All of the participating teams had about 48 hours to develop their apps. Teams that were interested were offered $500 in “cloud credits” to build their solutions and host them on Amazon Web Services' platform. Teams also had access to an IoT kit to incorporate connected devices into their solution.
The top four teams pitched their apps to judges in front of a live audience at the California State Fair.
The event was sponsored by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, the California State Fair and the City of Sacramento.
“It's really important for UC ANR to be involved in app development because as farmers and natural resource managers face ever-increasing challenges – climate change, invasive pests, the need to conserve water – technology is one of the ways to find solutions,” said VP Glenda Humiston.
“Using technology we can find better ways to reduce pesticide use, increase irrigation efficiency, reduce travel into the fields, manage people better, and deal with the fact that we have a huge labor shortage in this state,” said Humiston, who served as one of the Apps for Ag judges.
The other judges included University of California Chief Information Officer Tom Andriola, USDA Chief Data Officer Bobby Jones, and Better Food Ventures and Mixing Bowl Hub founder Rob Trice.
Amanda Crump, former associate director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab at UC Davis, rejoined ANR on May 2 as director of the Western Integrated Pest Management Center.
From June 2008 to December 2009, she was a UCCE environmental horticulture advisor in Fresno County.
She left ANR to take a position at the Horticulture Innovation Lab, which builds international partnerships for fruit and vegetable research that improves livelihoods in developing countries. There, she provided programmatic leadership, managed international horticulture research projects, and worked with stakeholders, federal donors and an advisory board to identify the most pertinent horticultural research needs worldwide and to disseminate the results of this research to farmers in 19 countries.
Crump completed a B.S. in agricultural education from University of Idaho and a M.S. in plant pathology and weed science from Colorado State University. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in agricultural education at UC Davis.
Crump is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1271 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vinchesi named vegetable advisor
Amber Vinchesi joined UCCE on April 11 as an area vegetable crops advisor for Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Vinchesi was a postdoctoral research associate at Washington State University, Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, where she implemented Lygus management strategies in alfalfa seed production. She developed methods to analyze gut contents of beneficial predators to determine what predators ate when candidate insecticides reduced preferred prey numbers in alfalfa fields.
From 2014 to 2015, Vinchesi was a postdoctoral scholar at Oregon State University's Hermiston Agriculture Research and Extension Center, where her research focused on using thiamine (vitamin B1) as an alternative control method for insect-vectored potato diseases like Potato Virus Y and Zebra Chip. She also conducted pesticide trials in the greenhouse and surveyed wireworm species in the area.
As a graduate research assistant from 2009 to 2014, Vinchesi conducted research on the alkali bee, a native, solitary, soil-nesting bee used for alfalfa seed pollination in southeastern Washington. Her work included conducting environmental mitigation studies for the Department of Transportation to determine how rerouting a four-lane highway would affect populations of commercially managed native alkali bees.
Vinchesi completed a B.S. in entomology from Purdue University and both an M.S. and a Ph.D. in entomology from Washington State University.
Based in Colusa, Vinchesi can be reached at (530) 458-0575 and email@example.com.
Greg Douhan joined ANR on March 1 as a UC Cooperative Extension area citrus advisor for Tulare, Fresno and Madera counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Douhan had been a staff research scientist in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at UC Riverside since 2013. At UC Riverside, he was involved in virus and viroid diagnostics of citrus, studying the interaction between citrus tristeza virus and Fusarium solani (citrus quick decline disease), and conducting research on the postharvest pathogen Penicillium digitatum. At the same time, he also served as the coordinator of the National Clean Plant Network for Citrus, which has centers in California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Maryland, Florida and Puerto Rico. From 2005 to 2013, Douhan held a faculty position as assistant professor in the department.
He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in plant pathology from Washington State University and completed a B.S. in botany/biology from Humboldt State University.
Douhan is based in Tulare and can be reached at (559) 684-3312 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tolgay Kizilelma joined ANR as the IT infrastructure and support manager on Feb. 29.
He is in charge of modernizing how ANR provides IT support services, overseeing the redesign of our technology infrastructure, and serving as a key lead in upgrading and running ANR's network infrastructure across the state.
“Tolgay has extensive experience in key technology areas such as cyber-security and technical project management,” said Gabriel Youtsey, chief information officer. “He comes to us with many years of experience running IT in both private companies and higher education.”
Kizilelma has 20-plus years of professional IT experience in the business sector, healthcare and higher education. Prior to joining ANR, Kizilelma was the IT manager at Shields Harper & Co based in Martinez, leading companywide IT initiatives for multiple locations in three states. He managed his company's U.S. operations remotely from Turkey from 2007 to 2012. During this time, he also lectured undergrad IT courses and led IT projects within the computer engineering department of Pamukkale University in Turkey.
“I am an advocate of lifelong learning, and I really would like to emphasize the effective and efficient use of resources and tools available for all ANR clients, such as Lynda.com and LMS (learning management systems) for most of our training needs,” Kizilelma said.
He earned a Ph.D. in business management at Dokuz Eylul University in Turkey, an MBA at Saint Mary's College of California and a BSc in computer engineering at Ege University in Turkey.
Kizilelma is located in the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1233 and email@example.com.
Jennifer Caron-Sale joined ANR's Office of Program Planning and Evaluation as a policy analyst on May 9. She will be assisting Katherine Webb-Martinez and Vanessa Murua with ANR strategic planning efforts and program evaluation.
Caron-Sale has been a regulatory analyst at the California Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco for the last eight years. At the CPUC, she focused on overseeing the planning, implementation and evaluation of demand response and energy efficiency programs. Prior to joining the CPUC, she taught environmental science at various non-profits in the Northeast and Midwest.
She earned a B.A. in environmental studies from Mount Holyoke College, a M.S in natural resource policy and management from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a M.P.A. (public administration) from Syracuse University.
Caron-Sale is based at UCOP and can be reached at (510) 987-0214 and Jennifer.Caron-Sale@ucop.edu.
Mark Takata joined the UC Integrated Pest Management Program on Feb. 29 as a web production coordinator.
Takata has over 10 years of experience in programming, web production workflow, and user interaction/user experience design. Last year, he spent two days a week working with UC IPM as a contractor from UC Davis Information and Education Technology (IET) to help design and code the user interface for the Urban Plant Diagnostic Tool, mobile Pest Management Guideline framework and other infrastructure projects.
In the private sector, Takata consulted for UC Davis, UC Merced, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Avanade, HDMI, VISA and Accenture among others. In 2015, he returned to UC Davis where he provided technical solutions for the Office of the Chancellor and Provost, Mondavi Center and other campus units as an employee with IET.
For UC IPM, Takata will coordinate and ensure that IPM content is clearly laid out and efficiently published to the UC IPM website. He will also work with the rest of the IT and production staff to transition the current web pages, as well as any new projects, to a more mobile-friendly look and feel.
Takata is located at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1386 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lucia Varela, UCCE area IPM advisor in the North Coast, was honored with the 2016 Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America's Distinguished Achievement in Extension Award.
Varela, who serves high-value wine vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties, was nominated by Pete Goodell, UCCE area IPM advisor based at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
In his nomination letter, Goodell wrote: “The impacts from her extension program and team efforts have resulted in a reduction of insecticide use in several crops. Her work with invasive species task forces has mitigated the spread of several invasive species.”
As a specific example, he wrote, “She has taken on a major leadership role in turning back the European grapevine moth (Lobesia) infestation in the North Coast wine region by coordinating with county, state and local agencies.”
Varela received the award at the branch's annual meeting in Honolulu on April 5.
Steven Lindow, professor in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley, has been selected to receive the Award of Distinction, the highest award made by the American Phytopathological Society in honor of his significant contributions to the science of plant pathology.
Lindow, who is also executive associate dean for the College of Natural Resources, will receive the award at the APS annual meeting in Tampa, Fla., which will be held July 30-Aug. 3.