As most of you know, Bill Frost, our associate vice president (AVP), intends to retire in June. In light of his impending departure from ANR, we are looking at augmenting the leadership structure to provide better support for ANR's extensive programs and initiatives. Currently we have challenges in balancing program delivery and administration with the need to expand our efforts in strategic initiatives, partnerships, funds development and raising the profile of ANR. To better provide for those needs, we're moving forward with a few modest but important modifications. The changes are in no way set in stone — we're going to evaluate things over the next several months and will make adjustments as needed. Those changes will be:
- The new AVP, which is under recruitment, will have several current responsibilities removed and be based at UC Office of the President in Oakland (UCOP). This will allow the new AVP and the AVP for Business Operation to work closely as a team on day-to-day operations, and to coordinate regularly with counterparts at UCOP. The new AVP will be more focused on ANR's engagement with the entire UC system, policy issues and partnerships that will benefit ANR. One aim of this change is to augment the Vice President's ability to engage more on funds development, strategic opportunities, policy development, expanding collaborations and raising ANR's profile.
- We will create a new position, Vice Provost Strategic Initiatives & Statewide Programs. The leaders of the strategic initiatives, Nutrition Policy Institute, California Institute for Water Resources and statewide programs will all report to the Vice Provost Strategic Initiatives & Statewide Programs. The position, which will be based in Davis, will coordinate ANR's engagement in the UC President's initiatives, provide leadership for ANR's Strategic Initiatives and enhance synergies between initiatives and our various programs. Like the Vice Provost for Cooperative Extension, this new position will report to the AVP.
- Management of the REC System will be removed from the AVP and the current associate director position will be elevated to director. Lisa Fischer will be appointed interim REC System director for two years, followed by an open recruitment for the director position.
Going forward, the Senior Leadership Team, along with 21 program and unit directors, will serve as my VP Council. We will meet quarterly to strategize on how best to engage with initiatives, new partners and opportunities as they arise. The VP Council will also serve as a sounding board on policy and program issues as well as help design action plans to best serve ANR goals. Shortly after these changes are implemented, we will also seek to empower both the Academic Assembly and the new Staff Assembly to serve as strong voices in the shared governance of ANR.
It is my hope that these changes will enhance our efforts to rebuild the ANR and Cooperative Extension footprint around the state. These modifications should allow me to do what I see as the core part of my job: finding new sources of funding, building new partnerships, enhancing key collaborations, and positioning ANR as the premiere source of science and solutions for the challenges facing agriculture, natural resources and the health of our communities. I also believe that improving the ability of all the voices in the ANR system to be heard will greatly improve how we advance that science and develop those solutions. We will all be able to achieve far more as a well-functioning team with access to the knowledge, information and skills of every member.
Thank you for being part of the ANR team. I look forward to working with you as we implement these changes!
Registration is now open for five program team meetings planned for this spring. More information on these meetings and program teams is online at http://ucanr.edu/sites/programteams/.
- March 8, Dairy Production and Food Safety, Embassy Suites, Monterey (held jointly with the first Golden State Dairy Conference).
- March 17-18, Pomology (formerly called PECC) Foundation Plant Services Pete Christensen Conference Room, Davis
- March 21-22, Youth Development and Healthy Behaviors Joint Meeting, San Joaquin Valley Room, 2801 Second St., Davis. The Diversity Workgroup is planning to meet on March 23-24
- March 22-23, Agronomic Crops, San Joaquin Valley Room, 2801 Second St., Davis. Precision Ag Workgroup is also planning to meet on the afternoon of March 23.
- April 11-12, Agricultural Production Systems, Putah Creek Lodge, Davis
- Date pending, Pest Management
Who should attend: Anyone (including ANR and non-ANR personnel) who wishes to be a part of any of the program teams that will be meeting. ANR will fund the travel of ANR academics and program representatives (be sure to obtain approval from your supervisor or program lead).
Workgroup chairs: If a program team that your workgroup is affiliated with is meeting and you'd like to convene your workgroup, complete a brief online form and UC ANR Program Support will make the arrangements for you.
Program team leaders: If you would like to convene your program team, please complete a brief online form. The Program Support Unit will respond to you as soon as possible.
Travel funds: Travel funds are available for ANR personnel. Please be prepared to estimate your travel expenses when you register. Travel approvals will be sent to you within one week of registration.
The Oct. 5-7, 2015, Joint Strategic Initiative conference had great participation, with 353 people attending. During the January Strategic Initiative (SI) leaders meeting with Bill Frost, we carefully reviewed the conference feedback. The conference evaluation survey had a good response rate (23%). A summary of responses to the closed-ended questions is at http://ucanr.edu/sites/2015jointsiconference. Below are some highlighted themes from the open-ended questions, and how we are planning to address them:
- 75 percent of respondents liked the Joint SI Conference format compared to having individual SI conferences.
- In response to this preference, as well as to better facilitate synergies with Workgroups and Program Teams, we plan to have SI-hosted conferences in 2016-17. Multiple SIs will co-sponsor, and the conferences will be co-planned with relevant Program Teams or Workgroup leaders.
- When asked “What did you learn during the conference that you may use in your work?,” the respondents' most common themes were 1) in-service trainings, 2) networking and 3) better understanding of ANR.
- These aspects will continue to be emphasized in the future SI co-hosted conferences.
- When asked “What is working well?” withtheSIs, the themes explain thattheSIs provide value for outward messaging, as well as focus, direction and coordinated effort.
- To build on existing strengths, we will develop a more formal external communications strategy for the SIs, to include producing an impact piece to illustrate the value of the SIs to ANR, UC and California. In addition, we will be working with ANR's Communication Services and Information Technology to improve the SI webpages and social media presence, and to develop regular communications tools.
- When asked “What could make the SIs better?,” the themes found that some people are still unclear about SIs, including overall function, respective priorities, cross-disciplinary efforts and impact.
- To help clarify the role and scope of the SIs, we plan to take a more active role in orienting new academics to the SIs. We are considering participation in the new academic program orientation, county director meetings and program team meetings, and to initiate meetings with small groups of new advisors and specialists.
- To facilitate improved understanding of the SI priorities, we will encourage all advisors and specialists to apply for the ANR Competitive Grants Program at least once, and provide Letter of Intent writing training. This will help ensure that academics are familiar with the SI strategic plans and priorities, given these are the focus of the Request for Proposals (RFP).
- To better capture and communicate SI impact, we discussed creating a project recognition program, and will work to develop a coordinated evaluation plan. We will meet with county directors, department chairs and campus-based specialists to share information on SIs and hear about successful ANR network collaborations.
We thank all those who provided this valuable feedback about the 2015 conference. We will continue to seek input as we develop and implement strategies to coordinate ANR's considerable infrastructure and talent, focusing on the most critical issues, seeking new resources and new ways of partnering within and outside UC, and communicating our collective impact finding science-based solutions for California.
ANR's Strategic Initiatives Leaders
David Doll, Sustainable Food Systems
John Harper, Sustainable Natural Ecosystems
Keith Nathaniel, Healthy Families and Communities
Doug Parker, Water Quality, Quantity, and Security
Cheryl Wilen, Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases
S. Kaan Kurtural joined UC ANR as a Cooperative Extension viticulture specialist in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis on Nov. 16.
Prior to joining UC, Kurtural was the inaugural Bronco Wine Company Research Chair in Viticulture at California State University, Fresno. From 2005 to 2008, Kurtural was a Cooperative Extension viticulture specialist at the University of Kentucky. His research focuses on improving production efficiency, fruit quality and pest management in vineyards.
Kurtural has done extensive research on mechanization of crop load management for optimizing grape yields and composition in the San Joaquin Valley.
Kurtural is part of a team recently awarded a $6 million, four-year USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant for precision vineyard management. Kurtural leads the variable-rate crop load study in winegrapes, juice grapes and tablegrapes. He is also planning field trials to look at different rootstocks under different irrigation regimes to evaluate them for drought tolerance, water-use efficiency and rooting systems. One rootstock trial with red grape varieties is planned at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, and a rootstock trial with white grape varieties will be conducted on the UC Davis campus. He also expects to work with other researchers on fertilizer use and efficiency and its effects on grape flavonoids, red blotch virus and training systems for mechanical production efficiency.
Kurtural, a native of Turkey, earned his B.S. in plant and soil science, M.S. in pomology and Ph.D. in plant biology, all at Southern Illinois University.
Based at the Oakville Station, Kurtural can be reached at email@example.com and (707) 944-0126.
To read more about Kurtural, visit http://news.bftv.ucdavis.edu/ven/index.html?display_article=1349.
Theodore Grantham joined UC ANR on Dec. 1, 2015, as a Cooperative Extension specialist in climate and water in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on the relationships between hydrological and ecological processes in studies relevant to the management of water resources. Through applied, cross-disciplinary investigations that employ hydrological and hydraulic modeling, empirical field studies, geospatial analysis and ecological statistics, his work aims to inform sustainable, cost-effective water management policy and practice in California.
Prior to joining UCCE, Grantham was a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the U.S. Geological Survey at the Fort Collins Science Center. He also spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher with the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis and one year as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Barcelona.
He has over 10 years of experience investigating California water management challenges, working in partnerships with research institutions, government agencies and NGOs. His previous research has largely focused on understanding ecosystem water needs and identifying strategies to incorporate ecological principles in water management practices, policy and decision-making.
Grantham completed a Ph.D. in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley and a B.S. in biological sciences from Stanford University.
Grantham, who is located in Berkeley, can be reached at (510) 664-4664 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aparna Gazula joined UC ANR on Jan. 4, 2016, as a UCCE area small farms advisor in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo and San Benito counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Gazula had been a Cooperative Extension agent in commercial horticulture since 2009 at University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension in Alachua County, where 97% of all farms in the county are small farms. She was responsible for planning, delivering and evaluating educational programs for the vegetable, fruit, nursery and landscape management industries. Gazula, who speaks Hindi and Telugu, has worked with peppers, tomatoes, watermelons, strawberries, Asian vegetables and microgreens. She conducted variety trials for peppers and fresh market tomatoes and has studied drip irrigation, nutrient management and pest management.
Gazula earned her B.S. in agriculture from A.N.G.R. Agricultural University, India, an M.S. in horticulture and crop science from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in horticulture from University of Florida.
Based in San Jose, Gazula can be reached at (408) 282-3127 and email@example.com.
Carissa Koopmann Rivers joined UC ANR Cooperative Extension on Feb. 1, 2016, as a livestock and natural resources advisor in Siskiyou County. Rivers is a fifth-generation partner in her family's cow/calf operation in the Alameda County town of Sunol. She and her husband also manage their own set of commercial and registered Red Angus cattle.
Prior to joining UCCE, Rivers was a junior specialist in the Rangeland Watershed Laboratory at UC Davis and from 2011 to 2015 was a land manager for the National Audubon Society. She specializes in livestock grazing systems, rangeland ecology and management, livestock management and wildlife and livestock interactions.
Rivers earned her Master of Agriculture degree in integrated resource management from Colorado State University and her B.S. in animal science, livestock production management, from California State University, Fresno.
Based in Yreka, Rivers can be reached at (530) 842-2711 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lenya Quinn-Davidson is the new UC ANR Cooperative Extension area fire advisor for Humboldt, Trinity, Mendocino and Siskiyou counties beginning March 1.
Since 2011, Quinn-Davidson has been a staff research associate II with UCCE in Humboldt County. During her time there, she has focused on fire science outreach as the coordinator for the Northern California Region of the California Fire Science Consortium, and worked on various research projects with her UC colleagues. She is passionate about oak woodland ecology and restoration, and recently led the development of a successful $2.6 million grant for oak woodland restoration in the North Coast. She is also the director of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council.
Quinn-Davidson earned a B.S. from UC Berkeley in conservation and resource studies, and an M.A. in social science from Humboldt State University (from the Environment and Community Program).
Based in Eureka, Quinn-Davidson can be reached at (707) 445-7351 and email@example.com.
Lucas Frerichs joined UC ANR as government affairs and community relations manager on Jan. 4.
“I am excited to use my experiences working in state and local government to assist UC ANR in building more effective relationships with local and state elected officials and community leaders throughout the state of California,” said Frerichs, who has served as a Davis city councilman since 2012.
Frerichs brings to UC ANR a decade of experience working in the California State Assembly in Sacramento. Most recently, from 2010 to 2015, he served as legislative director for Assemblyman Rich Gordon, chairman of the Assembly Rules Committee, advising Gordon on agriculture, housing, natural resources, energy and the budget process.
Frerichs spent his childhood in upstate New York and Alaska, but has been active in the Davis community since graduating from Davis High School. In addition to the city council, Frerichs serves as vice chair for the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (Amtrak California), and as board member for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, Yolo County Transportation District (Yolobus) and the Yolo Habitat Conservancy. He is also an appointed member of the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee. On environmental matters, Frerichs is a board member for the Yolo Basin Foundation, which oversees the management of 16,000 acres of wetland habitat in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area.
Based in the ANR Building in Davis, Frerichs can be reached at (530) 750-1218 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
IFT honors German and Winter
Both will receive their awards in a ceremony of the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Exposition in Chicago on July 16, 2016.
For a full list of the Institute of Food Technolgists' 2016 Achievement Award recipients, visit
The Lone Star Ranch, owned and operated by the Moore Family in Kneeland, was recognized as the North American winner of the 2016 Society for Range Management's Excellence in Range Management award. The sustainable way the Moores manage livestock, silviculture and vegetation is supported by the work of Jeff Stackhouse, UC ANR Cooperative Extension livestock advisor in Humboldt County. The ranch was recognized regionally by the Society for Range Management for Excellence in Range Management last fall, then advanced to win the national award.
The award was based upon the positive impacts of the Moore family's efforts in environmental stewardship, community support and inter-agency collaboration.
Dina Moore serves on the UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The ranch employs numerous business enterprises, including, but not limited to: sustainable beef grazing and timber harvest, goat grazing for vegetation management, and a heavy equipment business to install restoration projects and improve roads. Sediment reduction in streams from road runoff is one of the greatest successes of the Lone Star Ranch and the Yagger/Van Duzen Environmental Stewards (YES), a landowner non-profit organization headed by Dina Moore.
UC ANR held a seminar for credentialed journalists on the first day of the World Ag Expo in Tulare. The Feb. 9 seminar featured 11 key UC ANR academics who serve as expert sources for the news media on hot topics.
The seminar was hosted by VP Glenda Humiston. Each of the UCCE advisors and specialists delivered a three-minute synopsis of his or her research and outreach efforts in California, such as the spread of Asian citrus psyllid, adapting to climate change in agriculture, GMOs and more. Afterwards, they fielded questions from the reporters.
“The Newsmakers Seminar was well-attended and well-received by reporters so we plan on hosting a similar event at next year's World Ag Expo,” said Jeannette Warnert, senior public information representative in Strategic Communications, who spearheaded the seminar. “In the fall, we will be looking for academics who are interested in building relationships with reporters to take part in the 2017 event.”
Agricultural trade reporters filed stories on several of the subjects and exchanged business cards with the scientists for future reference. The Kaweah Commonwealth newspaper published two stories by John Elliott about the seminar: On the cutting edge of agriculture: World Ag Expo's Newsmakers Seminar reveals current research and Newsmakers' Seminar reveals current research, Part 2.
The following academics participated in the seminar:
- Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in citrus entomology and director of the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center
- Jeff Dahlberg, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in agronomic crops and director of the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center
- Bob Hutmacher, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in cotton and director of the UC West Side Research and Extension Center
- Lindsay Jordan – UC ANR Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor for Merced, Mariposa and Madera counties
- Rose Hayden-Smith, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor, editor of the UC Food Observer blog, part of UC President Janet Napolitano's Global Food Initiative
- Themis Michailides, Ph.D. – UC ANR pathology researcher, based at Kearney Ag REC
- Jeff Mitchell, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in conservation agriculture, based at Kearney Ag REC
- Toby O'Geen, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in soil resources, based at UC Davis
- Tapan Pathak, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in climate change adaptation in agriculture, based at UC Merced
- Maurice Pitesky, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in poultry food safety, based at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
- Alison Van Eenennaam, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in animal biotechnology, based at UC Davis