- Author: Jeannette Warnert
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
People from across California and around the world got to taste new crops, see research demonstrations and learn about several UC ANR activities at the World Ag Expo Feb. 12-14. Despite the cold rainy weather, the world's largest agricultural exposition attracted 102,878 people representing 48 states, the District of Columbia and 65 countries to Tulare.
At an outdoor tent, Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, Greg Douhan, UCCE citrus advisor, and other researchers, handed visitors fresh Tango citrus grown at the Lindcove Research and Extension Center and told them about their citrus variety research.
Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UCCE small farms advisor, and Michael Yang, small farms and specialty crops agricultural assistant, encouraged visitors to taste moringa tea. Surendra Dara, UCCE entomology and biologicals advisor, described how Bagrada bugs and other pests under the microscopes can be controlled by microbes. Roger Baldwin, UCCE wildlife specialist, and Niamh Quinn, UCCE urban wildlife conflict advisor, took turns showing taxidermy vertebrate pests and describing their management research.
Jeff Mitchell, UCCE specialist, and Jeff Dahlberg, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center director, gave demonstrations to show the superior health of soils managed with conservation techniques.
Demonstrating the use of high-tech in agriculture, Sean Hogan, Informatics and Geographic Information System academic coordinator, Andy Lyons, IGIS program coordinator, and Jacob Flanagan, IGIS programmer, showed how they use drones and cameras in agricultural research.
Inside Pavilion A, Teresa Rios-Spicer, UCCE nutrition program manager, andYeseniaMedrano, UCCE community education specialist, both from Tulare County, challenged visitors to test their nutrition knowledge by playing Jeopardy! Visitors could spin the UC Master Gardeners prize wheel to answer gardening questions and win seeds. 4-H members invited youth to peer into virtual reality goggles to give them an idea about the fun activities that can be part of joining 4-H.
Frank Mitloehner, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, gave a seminar explaining confusion in the media about the amount of greenhouse gas livestock emit in California and globally. He reviewed the innovations in livestock production that are leading the way to a "greener future" for California and U.S. agriculture.
Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative Extension citrus entomology specialist, and Victoria Hornbaker of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, gave an update on regulatory protocols relating to Asian citrus psyllid and HLB quarantines and the proper transportation of bulk citrus to prevent the spread of the pest and disease.
The California and Dutch AgFoodTech innovation partners reunited in Tulare for a networking luncheon to share their action plan with invited guests and scope the projects.
Kamaljeet (Kamal) Singh-Khaira has accepted the position of director of the University of California CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, also known as UC CalFresh. Singh-Khaira began her new role on June 18, 2018, succeeding David Ginsburg, who retired after leading UC CalFresh since 2008.
“We are very fortunate to have another strong leader to direct the UC CalFresh program,” said Helene Dillard, dean of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Under David Ginsburg's leadership, our program has grown substantially and become a widely emulated model across the nation. Kamal Singh-Khaira—with her more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing health and active living initiatives—is ideally positioned to lead the program into the future.”
Prior to joining UC CalFresh, Singh-Khaira was an independent consultant. She previously held leadership positions with the Network for a Healthy California and the American Heart Association.
Singh-Khaira has a master's degree in community development from UC Davis and is the 2012 recipient of that program's Ted Bradshaw Award, honoring an alum of the program who exemplifies the passion, humanity and devotion for community empowerment. In 2015 Singh-Khaira received a U.S. Department of Agriculture Western Region Food and Nutrition Service Recognition Award honoring her professional contributions and leadership in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) education efforts.
Singh-Khaira is based at UC Davis and can be reached at (530) 752-0555 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ellen Bruno joined UCCE on July 1, 2018, as an assistant specialist in quantitative policy analysis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley.
Bruno will develop a research and extension program that focuses on policy issues relevant to California's agriculture and natural resources. Much of her current research and extension work relates to the changing regulatory structure of groundwater in California and the potential for groundwater trading.
Prior to joining UCCE, Bruno was a graduate student researcher in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis. Her Ph.D. dissertation, titled “An Evaluation of Policy Instruments for Sustainable Groundwater Management,” assessed the potential of market-based instruments for improving management of groundwater for agriculture.
Bruno earned her B.S. in management science from UC San Diego and M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from UC Davis.
Bruno is located at 223 Giannini Hall at UC Berkeley, and can be reached at email@example.com.
Nicole Marshall-Wheeler is now an area 4-H youth development advisor for Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties as of June 1, 2018.
Marshall-Wheeler joined UCCE in 2016 as a 4-H youth development community education specialist in Butte County, providing oversight and leadership to the county's 4-H Youth Development Program, coordinating and managing nearly 200 volunteers and 500 youth. She also worked two summers (2014 and 2015) as a 4-H events assistant for UC ANR California 4-H State Office. From 2010 to 2016, she was an after school program director and leader at Chico Area Recreation and Park District, overseeing 200 youth and 10 staff, budget management, mentorship and resolving conflict with staff, youth and parents. As a California 4-H alumna, she was a Butte County 4-H All-Star and California 4-H State Ambassador.
Marshall-Wheeler is based in Colusa and can be reached at (530) 458-0570 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Miguel Sanchez joined ANR's News and Information Outreach in Spanish (NOS) as a broadcast communications specialist on July 1. He will be producing videos and writing news releases in English and Spanish to provide ANR's research-based information to Latino Californians.
Prior to joining NOS, Sanchez was the technical director for Entravision on KVER Univision Notivalle for six years in Palm Desert, helping to produce the evening newscast and upload news to the station's social media platforms. From 2003 to 2012, he was a video editor, photojournalist and technical director for newscasts in Santa Maria for KCOY-12 CBS and KKFX-11 FOX, then Entravision on KPMR Univision 38.
He earned an associate's degree in multimedia from Brooks College in Long Beach.
Sanchez is based at Rubideaux Hall in Riverside and can be reached at (951) 781-2124 and
Koopman Rivers named UCCE Siskiyou County director
Carissa Koopman Rivers is the new director for UC Cooperative Extension in Siskiyou County. Koopman Rivers, a UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, succeeds the late Steve Orloff. She is based in Yreka and can be reached at (530) 842-2711 and email@example.com.
JoLynn Miller, a 4-H youth development advisor, is serving as the interim director for UCCE Central Sierra while Scott Oneto is on a one-year sabbatical leave. Miller is based in Sonora and can be reached at (209) 533-5686, cell (209) 588-6757 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Hopland Research & Extension Center, superintendent John Bailey has been serving as interim director since Kim Rodrigues retired July 1. Bailey can be reached at (707) 744-1424 x112 and email@example.com.
CASI Center wins WEDA Award of Excellence
The Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation (CASI) Center received this year's Award of Excellence from the Western Extension Directors Association (WEDA). Dan Munk, UCCE farm advisor in Fresno County and CASI member, delivered a presentation on CASI's goals and accomplishments on July 10 at the WEDA annual conference in Guam, then accepted the award on behalf of the group.
The WEDA Award of Excellence is presented annually to recognize Extension outreach education programming that has achieved outstanding accomplishments, results and impacts in addressing contemporary issues in one or more of the 13 Western states and Pacific Island U.S. Territories.
Composed of scientists and growers, the CASI Center develops and delivers information on the economic and environmental benefits of conservation agriculture systems and strives to increase adoption of locally appropriate systems in California. CASI was founded by and continues to be fueled by Jeff Mitchell, UCCE specialist.
Surveys conducted by the CASI Center indicate that no-tillage and strip-tillage practices were used on less than 0.5 percent of California's annual crop acreage in 2004 (http://casi.ucanr.edu/?blogstart=51& blogasset=14128), but today, an estimated 45 percent of dairy silage acreage in California now uses these production techniques. Major transformations toward reduced disturbance tillage systems have occurred in several other crops including tomatoes, sorghum and cotton.
The application for consideration for the WEDA recognition was submitted by Brenna Aegerter, Howard Ferris, UC Davis professor Amelie Gaudin, UC Merced professor Teamrat Ghezzehei, Kurt Hembree, William Horwath, Louise Jackson, Betsy Karle, Sarah Light, Mark Lundy, Dan Marcum, Milt McGiffen, Glenn McGourty, Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, Mitchell, Gene Miyao, Munk, Tapan Pathak, Samuel Sandoval-Solis, Gary Sposito, Scott Stoddard, Tom Turini, Amber Vinchesi, Jeannette Warnert and Daniele Zaccaria.
In their application, they wrote: “In concert with these reductions in tillage intensity and soil disturbance, estimates of PM10 or fugitive dust by the SJV Air Pollution Control District indicate about 9.2 tons per day lower emissions that are likely due to reductions in tillage intensity and soil disturbance in the eight-county San Joaquin Valley region that was out of compliance with US EPA air quality standards in the early 2000s. This effort was one of several agricultural management approaches that helped the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin achieve and maintain attainment of the PM10 air quality standard. Further evidence of our impacts includes our leadership and founding role in the creation of the California Farm Demonstration Network, as well as our organizing of a very dynamic group of organic farmers in California that is now working together on no-till organic food production systems. Our impact also extends to what we term ‘saturation visibility' of our work through an average of 65 public presentations annually and over 50,000 views of our CASI videos. CASI is now widely recognized as the ‘go to' organization in California for science- and experience-based information and leadership on conservation agriculture principles, practices and systems.”
WEDA represents Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Micronesia, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
UC ANR had a major presence at World Ag Expo Feb. 13-15 in Tulare. In addition to exhibits inside the Pavilion, this year, UC ANR hosted a series of well-attended researcher demonstrations of citrus varieties, soil quality and other subjects in a tent outside. UC ANR scientists also gave presentations on “hot topics” ranging from the use of drones and other electronic technology in production agriculture to animal health to human nutrition.
“Between our tent and our Pavilion space, there's been a lot of very good engagement and discussions with the primary stakeholder audience,” said Mike Janes, Strategic Communications director.
On the opening day of the expo, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue held a town hall to hear from members of California's agriculture industry concerns about the upcoming Farm Bill. VP Glenda Humiston was among those present for the discussion, which attracted considerable media attention.
Western Farm Press wrote: “While trade, labor and regulatory issues may top the list of agricultural policy issues Perdue faces in Washington D.C., Glenda Humiston, Vice President of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Division of the state's Land Grant university, stressed the importance of adequate research funding and federal definitions of rural versus urban, which she said is having detrimental impacts across California on important program funding.”
“If a county has one town that has 50,000 population in it, the entire county is labeled metropolitan for purposes of allocating funding,” Humiston said in the Hanford Sentinel.
“Humiston said that while UCANR has a ‘proud tradition of research in California,' the university is plagued by reduced budgets at the same time the state is plagued by a new invasive pest every several weeks. She said for the university to stay ahead of these issues and to help growers in these and many other areas, additional funding is vital,” Farm Press reporter Todd Fitchette wrote.
In private communication, Fitchette said that widespread applause broke out from the audience in response to Humiston's comments.
- Author: Jeff Mitchell
As many in ANR already know, the California Farm Demonstration Network was recently formed and formally launched in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing ceremony that was held at the Winters orchard of Russ Lester on May 5.
The network is a partnership of several groups, including the California Farm Bureau Federation, the USDA-NRCS, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, UC ANR, and the UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, plus many farmers, local farmer associations, and private sector and other public agency affiliates. The YouTube video at https://youtu.be/k2cpuwzASgs provides a brief introductory overview of a small part of the network's initial efforts.
Since UC ANR is a formal signatory to the MOU that launched this effort, and because many of us in ANR are already and will hopefully be involved with the network's efforts in the future, we would like to actively encourage participation of any and all ANR colleagues who'd like to become involved with the network in any capacity.
At this point, for instance, we welcome your involvement in everything from service on the Network Steering Committee (or other technical and advisory committees that are now being formed) to hands-on collaboration with any of the various farm demonstrations that are going to be started and that you'll have direct roles in starting yourselves. This is frankly a great time for everyone to step up and to register their interest in becoming involved.
The overall purpose of the network is to increase adoption of conservation agriculture, soil health and climate-smart systems in California. Its goals emphasize the development of water-, climate- and nutrient-smart systems for California's diverse crop production environments, and its focus areas include, but are not limited to, the following: participatory learning resulting in the adoption of improved management practices grounded in sound science and experience-based principles, the public, voluntary showcasing of innovative systems developed by experienced farmer leaders, a program of farm demonstration evaluations that employ monitoring, data collection and analysis of findings, and the use of proven, creative methods for sharing, discussing and communicating results and findings to scale-up even broader adoption of improved systems.
The introductory videos were edited and produced by two students in the Soils and Biogeochemistry Group at UC Davis, Jessica Chiartas and Irfan Ainuddin. The full 9-minute video is at https://youtu.be/k2cpuwzASgs and the 3-minute version is at https://youtu.be/W3G5bmzCD8s.
Innovation is key to keeping California farmers globally competitive. On May 5, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Farm Bureau Federation, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, UC Davis and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources signed a memorandum of understanding to better connect the state's farmers with each other and with science-based information sources to assure the sustainability of the state's agricultural systems.
The scarcity of water, fossil fuel use, carbon emissions, groundwater quality, labor cost and availability, air quality and loss of soil fertility are some of the challenges to the long-term viability of farming in California.
“What we are striving to accomplish with the California Farm Demonstration Network is to create a means for farmers to learn, to discover and to innovate,” said Jeff Mitchell, UC Cooperative Extension cropping systems specialist, who is leading the effort.
The MOU was signed by Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation; Ron Tjeerdema, associate dean of UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Karen Buhr, executive director of California Association of Resource Conservation Districts; Carlos Suarez, state conservationist for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; and VP Glenda Humiston.
In Glenn County, the farmer-driven effort has provided the opportunity for local farmers to share innovative practices and hold honest discussions about opportunities and challenges related to these systems.
“The collaborative effort of the partners presents the opportunity to leverage resources based on local needs and increases the likelihood that innovative agricultural practices will be adopted sooner than they might have been without the networking opportunity,” said Betsy Karle, UC Cooperative Extension director in Glenn County.
With the California Farm Demonstration Network, the organizers hope to create more opportunities to connect local people, showcase existing farmer innovation, engage in new local demonstration evaluations of improved performance practices and systems, evaluate the demonstration practices, and share information with partners. They also hope to expand and connect other local farm-demonstration hubs throughout the state via educational events, video narratives and a web-based information portal.
Read more about the ceremony in Mitchell's blog post http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=24054.