Half the funds for the endowed chairs was provided by UC President Janet Napolitano; the other half was donated by the California Pistachio Research Board. One is the UC Cooperative Extension Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Genetics; the other is the UC Cooperative Extension Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Soil Science and Plant Water Relations.
“The establishment of endowed chairs represents an historic occasion for UC ANR and is something we've never before enjoyed during the 100-years UC ANR Cooperative Extension has served California,” Humiston said. “The pistachio industry's contribution demonstrates its high level of confidence in our research and outreach program, and President Napolitano's match shows her recognition of the work we do not only on campuses but throughout UC ANR.”
UCCE is the applied research and outreach arm of the University of California that serves the agricultural industry, coordinates the 4-H program, supports natural resources stewardship, and provides nutrition education programs throughout the state.
The California Pistachio Research Board has a long history of funding ANR research. Since its establishment in 2007, the program's donations have totaled more than $3 million. Relative to other major California commodities, pistachio production is new. The first commercial crop was produced in 1976. In 2014, farmers harvested 519 million pounds of pistachios, valued at $1.8 billion.
Tom Coleman, a Fresno County pistachio farmer and chair of the Pistachio Research Board, said he enjoys informally comparing notes with other growers, but that doesn't substitute for scientific research.
“I find it absolutely invaluable to have good scientific research to apply on our farms,” Coleman said. “With impending changes in our water situation and a changing climate, research is really our only option.”
In fact, the industry has already felt the impact of climate change on yield. The pistachio growers expect the 2015 yield to be nearly 50 percent lower than the previous year, in large part due to a lack of sufficient winter chilling and water supply cuts, said Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board.
“We know that our future is going to look better with more research as we face the challenges of a warming climate and less water,” Klein said.
Napolitano created the Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs last year for UC campuses and UC ANR to use as an incentive to encourage donors to establish endowed chairs to fund research. Endowed chairs help attract and retain top-flight academics. Once established, endowed chairs provide a dedicated source of funds, in perpetuity, for the chair holder's scholarly activities.
“Donors who endow chairs are helping support the agricultural industry today, and contributing to future growth, innovation and success,” Humiston said. “We hope to establish more endowed chairs in UC Cooperative Extension with the help of our partners.”
More than 350 people participated, with the greatest number attending the lunch conversation with President Janet Napolitano and VP Glenda Humiston. Among the topics Napolitano and Humiston discussed was ANR's role in the President's Initiatives, including Global Food, UC-Mexico and Carbon Neutrality.
If you attended the conference and haven't already evaluated the conference, send your comments by completing an anonymous survey. Your input is instrumental in understanding what was done well and what can be improved.
Videos of trainings, PowerPoint presentations and posters have been linked to the conference website:
- Some of the in-service trainings were recorded. To listen to the speakers deliver their presentations and view their PowerPoints, visit the In-service Trainings website and click on “Video” under each presentation. Not all of the trainings were recorded.
- PDF files of Tuesday's highlighted presentations PowerPoints have been added online. Click the titles in the online conference agenda (not the PDF) to view the description for each presentation and to open the PDFs.
- PDFs of posters displayed at both of the receptions are posted. Poster presenters, if you do not see your file, please send it to ANR Program Support so it can be added.
Three University of California students will be working with scientists in the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources to study food security, nutrition education and agricultural research and extension.
UC Berkeley graduate students Erika Brown and Matthew Shapero and UC Davis senior Jay Gelvezon will each receive a $4,000 fellowship through the university's Global Food Initiative.
“It is imperative to get students involved in UC ANR's activities to move the world toward food security for all and a more sustainable future,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources. “The fresh ideas that the UC Global Food Initiative fellows contribute will help us extend what we learn through research to improve the health of Californians.”
Brown, a native of San Diego, will work closely with Lorrene Ritchie, director of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute, on a student food-security research project. In the spring of 2015, nearly 9,000 students from all 10 UC campuses participated in a survey, which was designed to document the prevalence of food insecurity among students and to identify characteristics of students who experience food insecurity. Brown, a public health graduate student at UC Berkeley, will help analyze the survey results to better understand factors contributing to food insecurity and the consequences on students. Since arriving at UC Berkeley, she has worked with several organizations in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Food Security Taskforce, to identify and eliminate barriers to achieving food security.
Shapero, a native of Santa Barbara, will lead a group of graduate students to organize seminars and workshops for students who are interested in pursuing careers in research and extension in nutrition, youth development, agriculture and natural resources with Cooperative Extension. Shapero's fellowship will also support the UC Berkeley graduate student-led Cooperative Extension Showcase, which brings UC Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists to the Berkeley campus to discuss their work and to network with graduate students. At the showcase this fall, students will have an opportunity to meet potential academic mentors and discuss future collaborative research. Shapero, a range management graduate student, has worked on farms in the Sierra foothills and served two years on the Nevada County Agricultural Advisory Commission and two years on the board of directors for Nevada County Grown.
Gelvezon, a native of Torrance, will work with UC ANR's Strategic Communications team on projects that convey the benefits of UC ANR's food-related research and outreach in communities throughout California. Gelvezon, who is pursuing degrees in both nutrition science and communication, will engage in social media research, photography, video and media outreach projects. The UC Davis senior has served for the past year as a photographer and photo editor for the school's newspaper the California Aggie. He has also worked as a sports nutrition social media intern, creating daily Twitter content, flyers and Instagram posts, and working with UC Davis Athletics to film and edit videos that provide nutrition information for UC Davis athletes.
The University of California aims to put the world on a path to sustainably and nutritiously feed itself. Through its Global Food Initiative, UC is building on existing efforts and creating new collaborations among its 10 campuses, affiliated national laboratories and UC ANR to improve food security, health and sustainability.
To get UC students involved in the Global Food Initiative effort, the UC Office of the President is providing fellowship funds to each UC campus, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC ANR. All of the UC Global Food Initiative fellows systemwide are listed at http://universityofcalifornia.edu/news/uc-students-awarded-global-food-initiative-fellowships.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Registration is now open for the 2015 UC ANR Joint Strategic Initiative Conference, which will be held Oct. 5-7 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, 1230 J Street, in Sacramento.
UC Cooperative Extension advisors, UC Cooperative Extension specialists, Agricultural Extension Station faculty, program directors, academic coordinators and programmatic staff are encouraged to attend.
At the conference, you'll have the opportunity to
- Meet Vice President Glenda Humiston at the Monday evening reception.
- Participate in a discussion with UC President Janet Napolitano and Vice President Humiston at Tuesday's luncheon.
- Learn about ANR competitive grant-funded research projects.
- Engage in planning for the Strategic Initiatives.
- Attend program team and workgroup meetings.
- Take advantage of free training sessions.
- Network at the stakeholders' reception on Tuesday evening.
The conference is being coordinated through the five UC ANR Strategic Initiatives:
- Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases
- Healthy Families and Communities
- Sustainable Food Systems
- Sustainable Natural Ecosystems
- Water Quality, Quantity and Security
There's still time to submit a poster abstract for a poster session, the deadline for submit poster abstracts is Sept 9. Posters will be displayed on Monday and Tuesday nights. For details, see http://ucanr.edu/sites/2015jointsiconference/Call_for_Posters.
For the conference rate at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, reserve lodging by Sept. 11 by calling (800) 325-3535 or booking online at https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/ucanr2015. UC ANR will provide travel funding for participants who are affiliated with ANR.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Following a national search, UC President Janet Napolitano named Humiston, currently the California state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, as her nominee for the post. Humiston has 25 years of experience working on agriculture, natural resources, sustainability and economic development in rural communities. President Obama appointed her to lead USDA Rural Development in California in 2009.
"I'm excited beyond belief," Humiston, a Sonoma County resident, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. "This is such an opportunity to make a difference on many levels."
For ANR's Global Food Systems Forum held in Ontario in 2013, Humiston participated on the panel discussing implications and opportunities for California agriculture.
Humiston earned her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in environmental science, policy and management, her master's degree in international agricultural development from UC Davis and her bachelor's degree in animal science from Colorado State University.
UCOP news release: http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=18291.