- Author: Anne Megaro, Government and Community Relations director
How do you achieve this? Communicate with all audiences throughout the year, not just during times of need. This helps form relationships as well as a deeper understanding of what it is that you do and how your work impacts the local community. This helps build a lasting relationship and a desire to support your research, programming, and services.
How should you educate elected officials?
As university employees, we may indicate our needs and ask for support with many audiences (e.g. funding organizations, boards of supervisors, donors, etc.) but we must take into consideration other factors when talking to elected state or federal officials or their staff members.
We can, and should, educate and inform elected state and federal officials and their staff of the work UC ANR does in their districts. However, we cannot take positions on bills or ask for budgetary support without the expressed consent from the UC Office of the President. Only the regents, who have delegated authority to President Napolitano, can determine UC's official position on legislative issues.
So, what can you do if you can't ask for money?
Share the impact of your work. Be specific! Tell a story and use UC ANR's public value statements to guide you. Sometimes a personal story about an individual who benefited from your work is easier to remember, and more moving, than total program impact to an entire community. For example, talk about your work solving a problem with a specific farmer and how it improved their bottom line, share a 4-H youth project, talk about working with a specific community partner and describe how you worked together to achieve a shared goal. Did you promote economic prosperity, develop a qualified workforce, or promote healthy people and communities? Did your partners save money? Did more 4-H youth go to college? Did participants lead healthier lives?
If we fine-tune the way we message our story and impacts, we can ensure that UC ANR will become widely known as the face of UC in communities throughout California.
For more information, see my one-pager at http://ucanr.edu/sites/Professional_Development/files/293044.pdf. Feel free to contact me at (530) 750-1218 or email@example.com.
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources joined in the California Farm Bureau Federation's Centennial Celebration at the State Capitol on June 26.
State legislators visited booths where county farm bureaus displayed products from local growers and ranchers and discussed the benefits of agriculture in their county.
4-H volunteer Julie Farnham and Nicole Jansen and members of the Esparto/Capay Valley 4-H Club brought a small petting zoo consisting of three dairy calves and two exotic sheep and talked with legislators about the benefits of participating in 4-H.
“The California Farm Bureau Federation's Centennial at the Capitol was a great opportunity to talk with legislators about how UC is present in their districts and helping their constituents,” said Anne Megaro, director of government and community relations, who coordinated ANR's participation in the event.
UC Cooperative Extension has partnered with the Farm Bureau for more than a century. As UC Cooperative Extension was being organized in 1913, UC leaders required each county government that wanted to participate in the partnership to allocate funding to help support extension work in that community. It was also required that a group of farmers in participating counties organize into a “farm bureau” to help guide the UCCE farm advisor on the local agriculture issues. These grassroots groups later evolved into the California Farm Bureau Federation.
In May, Eta Takele, UCCE Riverside County director, was told to expect to receive no funding from the county in light of a budget shortfall in revenue. She and her UCCE staff and academics relayed the shocking news to their Riverside County clientele, and many asked how they could help.
In early June, more than 100 4-H members, 4-H volunteers, Master Gardener volunteers, farmers, nutrition course participants and other UCCE stakeholders attended a meeting to tell the Riverside County Board of Supervisors how they have personally benefited from UC ANR research and outreach and urged them not to cut UC Cooperative Extension funds.
Despite the need to make budget cuts, the Board of Supervisors agreed to maintain their contribution to UCCE and talked of expanding support later as an investment in the people of Riverside County.
In a recording of the board meeting, public comment begins at 18:30. Starting at 1:17:45, Supervisor Chuck Washington makes a motion to not cut UCCE programs, but find savings in lease expenses.
“Many, many thanks are due to a tremendous number of supporters who took the time to reach out to Supervisors and share their stories,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president, who attended the board meeting with Takele. “Jeffries commented that the public participation in the meeting far exceeded his expectations.”
A 4-H member who traveled nearly three hours from her home in Blythe to testify about the benefits of the 4-H program at the hearing told the supervisors, “It definitely saved me from getting into trouble.”
In “As Riverside County ponders spending cuts, public outcry saves 4-H, Master Gardeners,” the Press-Enterprise quoted Supervisor Jeff Hewitt: “'I think if we get this financially fit, why aren't we helping expand these programs?' Hewitt said to cheers.”
“This experience shows that our programs touch peoples' lives and there is strong support for UC Cooperative Extension in Riverside County,” said Anne Megaro, government and community relations director. If you have questions about outreach to elected officials, please contact Megaro at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 750-1218.
Anthony Fulford joined UCCE on June 18 as an area nutrient management/soil quality advisor in Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, he studied on soil health testing and nutrient management practices for corn, soybeans, and wheat grown in Ohio as a postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University. Fulford studied soil fertility of rice cropping systems at the University of Arkansas where he evaluated nitrogen soil testing, nitrogen use efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions in the mid-South. His research has been focused on identifying rapid and affordable soil health measurements to better predict organic nitrogen supply to plants. He has worked closely with growers and extension educators to conduct research on nutrient management and soil health and has led demonstrations and discussions at soil health workshops.
Fulford received a Ph.D. in soil fertility from University of Arkansas, a M.S. in soil science from Southern Illinois University, and a B.S. in forestry from Colorado State University.
Fulford is based in Modesto and can be reached at (209) 525-6800 and email@example.com.
Anne Megaro has been appointed to serve as interim director of Strategic Communications in addition to her current role as director of government and community relations. She will assume this role until the Strategic Communications position is filled.
During the transition, Liz Sizensky and Pam Kan-Rice will share project management responsibilities and Cynthia Kintigh will oversee content migration to the new website design. For assistance with publicizing the impact of your work, you are welcome, as always, to contact Jeannette Warnert, Ricardo Vela or Kan-Rice directly.
Megaro can be reached at (530) 750-1218 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Strategic Communications staff contact information is listed at http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Administration/Associate_Vice_President_for_Academic_Programs_and_Strategic_Initiatives/csit/staff.
Gerry and Haviland honored by ESA
Alec Gerry, UC Cooperative Extension Specialist and UC Riverside Professor of Veterinary Entomology, and David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Kern County, recently received awards from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America.
Gerry, who created a website https://www.veterinaryentomology.org to help producers identify pests and search lists of pesticides registered for veterinary pests, received the 2018 Medical, Urban and Veterinary Entomology Award.
One person nominating Gerry wrote, “From the beginning of his career, Alec has demonstrated a consistent ability to balance scholarly investigations with providing solutions to practical pest management problems. These two spheres of endeavors have infused each other, resulting in a prodigious contribution to our knowledge of pests of livestock and poultry and the diseases they carry to humans and animals.”
Another wrote, “Alec has heavily influenced our Pacific region through his many collaborations with UC extension personnel (specialists and farm advisors in animal agriculture at the county level or up at UC Davis) and his research projects and meaningful interaction with vector control districts.”
Haviland, who delivers presentations in Spanish as well as English, received the 2018 Excellence in Extension award.
One nomination letter said, “Haviland uses his research outputs to drive his prodigious extension program. This includes 430 presentations, primarily to farmer and pest control advisor audiences, to total attendances of over 32,000 people.”
Another wrote, “In our opinion, Mr. Haviland has proven to be more intuitive, approachable, and accessible to the local agricultural industry than most. His presentations to growers and PCAs on the issues and outcome of his research have always been timely and on target and he continues to provide valuable information for our newsletters and other industry periodicals. We have experienced evidence of his hard work in getting all important findings, whether from his work or his peers, delivered to growers and PCA's quickly so that the information can be put to use. He has always been open to our pest management concerns, very creative in developing management strategies, available to answer questions, and provides leadership and outreach for new information and research findings.”
Other UC colleagues also received awards from ESA's Pacific Branch:
- Award for Excellence in Teaching- William Walton, UC Riverside
- Distinction in Student Mentoring- Jay Rosenheim, UC Davis
- Student Leadership Award- Jessica Gillung, UC Davis
The awards were presented June 12 at the Pacific Branch Entomological Society of America meeting in Reno.
Frank G. Zalom, distinguished professor in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at UC Davis, will be the next editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology, the largest of the Entomological Society of America's family of scientific journals.
“Dr. Frank Zalom's career can be viewed as a model of applied entomology derived from an understanding of basic biology, and he is an ideal choice to be the new editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology," said ESA President Michael Parrella. "His unparalleled and broad expertise will serve to continue the journal's growth as the publication of choice for applied entomological research and to build upon the legacy of Dr. John Trumble [professor of entomology at UC Riverside]."
Zalom brings the experience of a 40-year career at the intersection of entomological research, teaching, and application. He served for 16 years as director of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program and is the only entomologist in the UC system to ever receive a simultaneous appointment in teaching, research, and extension. His primary research focus has been on integrated pest management of agricultural crops.
"My colleagues and I on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Economic Entomology are delighted to welcome Dr. Frank Zalom as the journal's next editor-in-chief. We could not have asked for a better candidate in terms of vision, dedication, reputation, experience, and integrity," says Xuguo Zhou, associate professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky and chair of the Journal of Economic Entomology Editorial Board
"And we also express our deep gratitude to Dr. John Trumble, whose tireless work ethic and unerring leadership have driven JEE to such great success for so long," said Zhou.
Zalom will take on a five-year term as editor-in-chief.
To promote the exchange and sharing of agricultural extension information, several U.S. Land Grant institutions have formed an alliance with 10 Chinese agricultural universities. From June 17 to 22, UC ANR took a group of scientists from Chinese agricultural universities on a tour of agriculture in Northern California.
“The Chinese face many of the same issues that we do here in the U.S.,” said VP Glenda Humiston. “The Chinese universities want to improve rural economic development to lift up the quality of life for people in rural communities. They are also responding to global climate change, drought and pests while trying to improve food security and water use efficiency. They see UC Cooperative Extension as an effective research model; we hope that scientific collaborations will accelerate solutions and help maintain relations for California agriculture with China.”
The Chinese Extension Alliance Delegation included Song Hui, vice dean of the New Rural Development Research Institute of Northeast Agricultural University; Sun Wenpeng, professional extension personnel of Northeast Agricultural University; Luo Jian, associate professor of business at Hunan Agricultural University; He Minghui, associate professor of business at Hunan Agricultural University; and Li Peng, director of the Office of Invigorating Agriculture with Science and Education in the Department of Science and Technology.
The group toured Oregon agriculture with Oregon State University representatives, then drove from Klamath Falls with Humiston and Greg Gibbs and Rob Broadhurst of Development Services to begin the California tour at UC ANR's Intermountain Research and Extension Center in Tulelake. Rob Wilson, Intermountain REC director, showed them research being conducted on potatoes and mint breeding. From there, the group headed out to tour Shasta Dam.
In Redding, Larry Forero, UCCE director in Shasta County, and Rick Satomi, UCCE forest advisor, told the Chinese delegates about local research and outreach, then introduced them to 4-H youth and families at the Shasta District Fair, where 4-H members were bringing livestock for show.
UCCE advisors Josh Davy and Allan Fulton discussed orchards and water in Tehama County.
In Yuba City, UCCE director Janine Hasey and her staff gave the guests an overview of UCCE programs in Yuba and Sutter counties and plans for celebrating the office's 100th anniversary on Aug. 24. They met with UCCE pomology advisors, who gave them a tour of Sierra Gold Nurseries orchards and walnut rootstock research sites and discussed collaborations with growers.
Stephanie Larson, UCCE director in Sonoma County, drove the group around areas in Santa Rosa that burned in October and discussed UCCE's fire research and outreach to the community. The group also met with UCCE staff in Sonoma County to discuss food access, 4-H youth development, natural resources and wine grapes.
For a view of UC Cooperative Extension from the campus perspective, Mark Bell, vice provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, introduced the group to colleagues in the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences at UC Davis. They met with Mimi Rose, program coordinator for international programs; Martin Smith, UCCE specialist in the Department of Human Ecology; Ron Tjeerdema, associate dean for Environmental Sciences; Bruce Linquist, UCCE rice specialist; Jim Hill, emeritus UCCE specialist; and Louise Ferguson, UCCE specialist and founder of the Fruit and Nut Research and Information Center.
Anne Megaro, director of governmental and community relations, introduced the group to Gail Feenstra, deputy director and food systems coordinator of UC ANR's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and Sonja Brodt, academic coordinator. Then they toured the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility with soil science post-doc Daoyuan Wang and the UC Davis Student Farm with its director Katharina Ullmann.
“They have extension in China, but it is not like ours,” said Megaro. “They are looking to strengthen their advisor positions and develop a mechanism for career advancement, similar to what we have in the U.S.”
The Chinese Extension Alliance Delegation wrapped up their tour at UC ANR's offices in Davis to learn about UC ANR's statewide programs. Jim Farrar discussed the Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, Missy Gable described the Master Gardener Program, Shannon Horrillo talked about the 4-H youth development program, Greg Ira explained California Naturalist; and Katie Panarella covered the Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences, Expanded Food Nutrition Education (EFNEP) and Master Food Preserver programs.
Humiston, who met with the China-US University-based Agricultural Extension Alliance in China in March of 2017, said, “We look forward to collaborating with our agricultural extension colleagues in China.”
See more photos of the tour at https://www.flickr.com/gp/151501801@N07/YVBqk6.