- Author: Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
For more than three decades, the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at UC Davis has been dedicated to the understanding and prevention of illness and injury in western agriculture.
WCAHS is pleased to announce the center has received funding from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for the next five years. The center is one of 12 agricultural health and safety centers in the United States to receive funding this year. It was also one of the first two centers established by NIOSH in 1991.
Agriculture continues to pose hazardous risks to farmworkers in the U.S. based on occupational fatality rates. In the U.S., roughly 11% of agricultural fatalities and 42.6% of injuries occur in the western region (Arizona, California, Hawai'i and Nevada). Western agriculture is one of the nation's most intensive and productive and employs up to 1 million farmworkers.
Agriculture in California is characterized by labor-intensive specialty crops (e.g., berries, table grapes, melons), which require pruning, weeding, harvesting and packaging by hand rather than with machines. In addition to repetitive stress and musculoskeletal injuries, and machinery-related accidents and falls, workers may experience exposure to hazards such as heat, wildfire smoke, pesticides and zoonotic pathogens.
“Western agriculture feeds the nation by producing more than 400 commodities with one-third of all U.S. vegetables and two-thirds of U.S. fruits and nuts,” said Kent Pinkerton, director of WCAHS and professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine. “The unique nature of diverse specialty crops requires greater human labor, which leads to an increased risk in farm-related injuries, along with the growing mechanization of farming practices, especially in California.”
Research projects in the new funding cycle
A portion of the NIOSH grant will fund research projects over the five-year cycle with the aim of finding practical solutions to lower health and safety risks. Kent Pinkerton will continue to study the impacts of agricultural and wildfire emissions on California farmworker health. Director of Outreach Christopher Simmons, a professor and the chair in the Department of Food Science and Technology in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will continue his research on biosolarization as an alternative to soil fumigation.
Farzaneh Khorsandi, an assistant professor of Cooperative Extension in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering joins the center both as a principal investigator and the project lead for the agricultural all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety research project. She will also lead the pilot/feasibility program, which provides seed funding and mentorship for early-stage investigators on safety and health issues in western agriculture.
Timothy Beatty, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will join the center as a principal investigator studying surveillance of occupational health and injuries in the western region to develop novel machine learning approaches to categorize injury data by cropping system and work.
Fadi Fathallah, a professor and department chair in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, will continue in his role as associate director of WCAHS and as a project investigator on Beatty and Khorsandi's projects.
Upcoming outreach and training projects
The grant renewal will also enable WCAHS to expand outreach activities into Arizona, Hawai'i and Nevada as well as to further develop safety guides for Southeast Asian farmers and tailored print and video resources in English, Spanish, Hmong, Punjabi and Indigenous languages (including Mixteco, Zaptoteco and Triqui). In-person and remote trainings on numerous topics, including heat illness prevention, injury and illness prevention and wildfire smoke exposure will also continue to be offered by the center.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Hawau Bojuwon joined UC ANR on March 26, 2018, as a UCCE area nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Kern County.
Prior to joiningUCCE,Bojuwon was working as a regional nutrition and health education specialist and county program director at University of Missouri Extension from 2016 to 2018. In Missouri, she planned, implemented and evaluated educational programs in nutrition, health, food safety, food resources management, and physical activity promotion education to low-income audiences. From 2015 to 2016,Bojuwon was a research assistant in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at University of Mississippi.
In addition to her dietetic and health promotion internships, Bojuwon worked as a clinical and outpatient dietitian where she was responsible for helping people make health-conscious decisions by selecting healthy food options, reading nutrition facts on food labels, reducing fat intake and increasing physical activity. Her work experience includes assessing clients, planning, developing and directing nutritional care activities for them, interviewing and advising clients about their diets, menu planning and development of meaningful health reports in addition to providing nutrition education.
Bojuwon earned two M.S. degrees, one in food and nutrition services and the second in health promotion, and a B.A. in biochemistry from University of Mississippi. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist.
Bojuwon is based in Bakersfield and can be reached at (661) 868-6217 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alejandro Del Pozo-Valdivia joined UCCE on March 23, 2018, as an area integrated pest management (IPM) advisor in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Del Pozo-Valdivia was a post-doctoral research scholar (from August 2016 to March 2018) at North Carolina State University, where he designed, analyzed and reported research on elucidating how Bt resistance influences flight capacity in cotton bollworm and timing of insecticides in Bt cotton to control bollworm. Del Pozo-Valdivia held graduate research assistant positions at North Carolina State University (2012-July 2016) and Washington State University (2009-2011) where he planned, designed, set up and analyzed various experiments managing an invasive Hemipteran and two Noctuid species. From July 2004 to 2008, Del Pozo-Valdivia, who is fluent in Spanish, was chief of pest management at Camposol S.A. in Trujillo, Peru, where he managed weeds, diseases and arthropod pests in commercial and GAP-certified asparagus.
Del Pozo-Valdivia completed a Ph.D. in entomology from North Carolina State University, a M.S. in entomology from Washington State University, and a B.S. in agronomy from La Molina National Agrarian University, Lima, Peru.
Del Pozo-Valdivia is based in Salinas and be reached at (831) 759-7359 and email@example.com.
Michael Rethwisch rejoined UCCE on Nov. 13, 2017, as a crop production and entomology advisor for Palo Verde Valley in Riverside County. From 1999 to 2007, Rethwisch served in Palo Verde Valley as UCCE crop production advisor.
In 2007, Rethwisch moved to University of Nebraska – Lincoln to become a Cooperative Extension educator in crops and water for Butler and Polk counties. He conducted research on a wide variety of local crops, evaluating biostimulants and pesticide efficacy and resulting crop yields. He advised growers on pesticide safety, nitrogen management and water use. His applied research poster was chosen as the 2017 national champion by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. He also coached the 2017 4-H horticulture contest national championship team.
From 1994 to 1999, Rethwisch was an extension agent for University of Arizona Cooperative Extension at the Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation, where he assisted with 4-H events, trained 4-H members in horticulture and conducted pest-control research and field trials on cotton and alfalfa. From 1987 to 1992, Rethwisch was an IPM specialist at University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.
Rethwisch earned an M.S. in entomology and a B.S. in entomology and agronomy from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
Rethwisch is based in Blythe and be reached at (760) 921-5064 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Khorsandi named ASABE 'New Face of Engineering'
Farzaneh Khorsandi, UC Cooperative Extension specialist for agricultural safety and health at UC Davis, was selected as the “New Face of Engineering” by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
ASABE named 13 young members to its class of 2018 "New Faces of ASABE – Professionals." From the 13 "New Faces,” Khorsandi was chosen the top honoree and represented ASABE at Engineers Week activities in Washington, D.C., in February.
Through their professional and extracurricular pursuits, New Faces of ASABE, all 35 years of age or younger, represent the best of a profession that endeavors throughout the world to improve quality of life and make sustainable use of precious natural resources.
Nominated by engineering colleagues and fellow ASABE members, the 2018 Class of New Faces of ASABE was announced Feb. 14 at the 2018 Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference in Louisville.
Larson, Barry win gold for outstanding educational material
Sheila Barry, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor in the Bay Area, and Stephanie Larson, UCCE livestock and range management advisor in Sonoma County, won the Gold Award for Outstanding Educational Material in the Promotional Materials category from the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.
Decisionmakers and the public have little knowledge of animal agriculture production or the ecosystems services provided by livestock grazing on western open space lands, according to Larson and Barry. To address the issue, they created an information campaign promoting the value of cattle grazing and ecosystem services on open space through curriculum and interpretive trail signage.
The advisors collaborated with the California Rangelands Conservation Coalition and three park districts (East Bay Regional Park Districts, Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District, and Sonoma County Regional Parks) to produce signage, factsheets and videos describing ecosystem services and how they relate to California rangelands. The print materials are linked at http://ucanr.edu/sites/BayAreaRangeland.
The three videos are posted on UC ANR's YouTube channel:
- Sharing open spaces with livestock https://youtu.be/Qd8LEGLDhaM
- Sharing open spaces with livestock when you have a dog https://youtu.be/zzdGnfFwmcA
- A year in the life of a cow https://youtu.be/znJbWknVXVg
Susie Kocher, UCCE forestry and natural resources advisor in the Central Sierra area, will accept the award on behalf of Larson and Barry during the awards ceremony May 2 at the ANREP conference in Biloxi, Miss.
APS honors Judelson, Subbarao and Vidalakis
Howard Judelson, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Riverside, will be named an APS fellow.
“Over his professional life of more than three decades, Judelson has made significant fundamental contributions to studies of oomycete plant pathogens, and has advanced the discipline and mission of APS,” according to the APS website.
“Judelson is recognized for his contributions towards understanding the basic biology and evolution of oomycete plant pathogens. He established the first techniques for manipulating genes in P. infestans and relatives, created genome resources, and studied cellular pathways involved in pathogenesis. Overall, Judelson made significant contribution and achievements in original research, teaching, and professional and public service.”
“Vidalakis has made outstanding contributions to regulatory plant pathology and crop security by playing a leading role in the development and implementation of regional, state, national, and international citrus regulatory protocols in collaboration with industry, scientists, research institutions and regulatory agencies. He has played a key role in the transitioning of the Central California Tristeza Eradication Agency towards the more comprehensive Citrus Pest Detection Program with emphasis on huanglongbing (HLB) diagnostics. The rapid detection and eradication of HLB infected trees in major citrus producing areas of California, such as the San Joaquin Valley, is recognized as one of the most important elements in the battle against the deadly HLB.
“Vidalakis serves on multiple statewide citrus regulatory committees and provides expertise at the highest levels of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). One of his major regulatory contributions to California's citrus was his leading role in the development and implementation of the mandatory (SB 140) Citrus Nursery Stock Pest Cleanliness Program that protected the citrus nurseries in advance of the spread of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and the discovery of HLB-diseased trees in California.”
“Subbarao's seminal research contributions focus on soilborne fungal diseases affecting lettuce and other cool-season vegetable crops. His recent research has provided crucial novel insights into the biology and management of Verticillium and Sclerotinia pathogens. His work presented convincing evidence that V. dahliae strains pathogenic to lettuce were introduced into the production system via infested spinach seeds.
“Subbarao led the development of the online platform, VertShield, built to share data and diagnostic tools so that others around the world can reliably identify Verticillium pathogens and monitor their movement. Subbarao was also a co-leader in sequencing the first Verticillium genomes, which facilitated subsequent studies on genome evolution and pathogenicity mechanisms.”
Read more about the contributions of Judelson, Subbarao and Vidalakis to the science of plant pathology at https://www.apsnet.org/members/awards/Pages/2018AwardeesAnnounced.aspx.
Mary Blackburn, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Alameda County, was honored for her Alameda County Nutrition Action Partnership (CNAP) by the Harkin Institute March 21 at the Harkin on Wellness Symposium in Des Moines.
Blackburn's Alameda County Nutrition Action Partnership is one of 11 wellness programs from across the country that the Harkin Institute selected to exemplify best practices for how communities and organizations can invest in health.
The 11 wellness programs are highlighted in the first of what is planned to be an annual Harkin On Wellness (HOW) publication.
CNAP draws on the strengths of established community resources that joined together to coordinate work between USDA-funded partners and unfunded organizations in their community.
Through the partnership, CNAP is able to help implement and work with programs including Safe Routes to School, Alameda County Community Food Bank nutrition education and training, brown bag recovery for low-income seniors, Project EAT (Educate, Act, Thrive), Fresh Approach, Oakland Unified School District Health & Wellness and Nutrition Services, and Get Fresh Stay Healthy Campaign.
Fox named interim Affirmative Action Compliance and Title IX officer
In this role, Fox will be responsible for receiving reports of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment or sexual violence. Fox can be reached at (530) 750-1343 and email@example.com.
Electronic reports of misconduct, including sexual harassment and discrimination, can also be submitted through the Office of the President's confidential hotline at (800) 403-4744, or the EthicsPoint online reporting system.
More information about prevention and reporting of discrimination, sexual violence and sexual harassment is at http://ucanr.edu/sites/DiscriminationSexual_Violence/Reporting.