The 50th World Agricultural Expo was held Feb. 14-16, 2017, in Tulare. The three-day show was attended by 105,780 people representing 43 states and 71 countries, according to its website. UC ANR participated by hosting a newsmakers event for journalists and sponsoring four booths displaying information about the division's array of research and programs.
At the booths, 4-H members and UC ANR scientists greeted visitors and answered questions. Visitors were invited to take a picture with a UC ANR frame and post it to social media with the hashtag #UCWorldAg to be entered in a contest to win a FitBit.
On the first day of the show, reporters were invited to meet UC ANR scientists, who gave 3-minute descriptions of their research. Rose Hayden-Smith, editor of the UC Food Observer blog, was the emcee. The speakers were as follows:
- Mary Lu Arpaia, UC Cooperative Extension horticulturist, UC Riverside, based at the Kearney REC in Parlier,avocadoes
- Khaled Bali, UCCE irrigation water management specialist, based at KREC, automated irrigation systems
- Peggy Lemaux, UCCE plant genetics specialist, UC Berkeley, and Jeff Dahlberg, KREC director and UCCE specialist, plant breeding and genetics, $12.3 million study on sorghum
- Lupita Fábregas, UCCE 4-H Youth Development advisor and assistant director for diversity and expansion, outreach to Latino communities
- Maggi Kelly, UCCE specialist and director of the UC Statewide Informatics and Geographic Information Systems program, UC Berkeley, research using drones
- Doug Parker, director, UC California Institute for Water Resources, drought
- Alireza Pourreza, UCCE agricultural engineering advisor, based at KREC, early detection of huanglongbing disease in citrus
- Leslie Roche, UCCE rangeland management specialist, UC Davis, drought management on rangeland
- Samuel Sandoval Solis, UCCE specialist in water resources, UC Davis, groundwater management
UC ANR and UC Food Observer live-streamed the talks on Facebook Live and on Twitter via Periscope. UC Food Observer's Facebook video of the event has been viewed nearly 5,000 times.
On the second day of the expo, a seminar on the changing role of women in agriculture was presented by VP Glenda Humiston, CDFA secretary Karen Ross and president of American AgriWomen Doris Mold. The speakers noted that women have always been involved in agriculture, but cultural bias often left them feeling that their role was inferior to the roles of male family members. The USDA's next census of agriculture will have questions designed to count women as industry workers even if they might consider their husbands or fathers to be the primary operators of the farm.
Humiston told the audience there are many career opportunities for women in agriculture, not just on the farm. She encouraged the young women and girls in the audience to look for opportunities in allied industries. For career advancement, women can join professional organizations and serve on committees, take advantage of training programs and run for leadership positions.
The panelists suggested that women also identify mentors — both men and women — who can help steer young professional women into successful agricultural careers.
Khaled Bali became a UCCE irrigation water management specialist on July 18.
Since joining UC ANR in 1992 as an irrigation and water management advisor in Imperial County, Bali has also served in leadership positions. From 2009 until accepting the UCCE specialist position, he was the UCCE director in Imperial County. In 2012-2013 and 2014-2015, he served as interim director of the UC Desert Research and Extension Center in Holtville.
His research and extension projects encompass irrigation, drainage, water management, water quality, soil salinity, waste management, reuse of wastewater for irrigation and nonpoint-source pollution control practices. Bali, who has been an active participant in the UC-Mexico Initiative, continues to collaborate with researchers from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California on irrigation projects.
Bali earned his Ph.D. in soil physics and M.S. in irrigation and drainage from UC Davis and B.S. in soil and irrigation from the University of Jordan. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Jordan (2006-2007), where he conducted research on wastewater reuse for irrigation and constructed wetlands to treat wastewater.
Bali is based at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier and can be reached at (559) 646-6541 and email@example.com.
Alireza Pourreza joined UCCE on June 30 as an area agricultural application engineering advisor.
Prior to joining UCCE, Pourreza was a postdoctoral research associate at University of Florida, where he conducted research in detection of citrus black spot disease using spectrometry and aerial image analysis. While at Florida, he developed an autonomous sensing system using a field robot.
From 2011 to 2014, he was also a graduate assistant at the University of Florida, conducting research and lecturing. His doctoral dissertation focused on interdisciplinary research in citrus diseases detection. Pourreza developed two real-time, vision-based sensors for detecting citrus huanglongbing disease for laboratory and field experiments. On Dec. 23, 2015, he published a patent, “Method for Huanglongbing (HLB) Detection” (WO 2015/193885, 2015), for the polarized imaging technique that he developed. From 2004 to 2011, Pourreza, who is fluent in Farsi, was a technical expert and project manager for BinaPardaz Shargh Company in Mashhad, Iran.
Pourreza completed a Ph.D. and an M.S. in agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida. He earned an M.S. in mechanics of agricultural machinery and a B.S. in farm machinery engineering from Ferdowsi University, Mashhad, Iran.
Pourreza is based at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center and can be reached at (559) 646-6577 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suzanna Martinez, who joined ANR in 2014 as an analyst for the Nutrition Policy Institute, became an assistant researcher on June 1. She recently co-authored UC's Student Food Access and Security Study with UC Santa Barbara sustainability coordinator Katie Maynard and NPI director Lorrene Ritchie.
Prior to joining ANR, Martinez, who is fluent in Spanish, completed her second postdoctoral fellowship at UC San Francisco, where she studied determinants of obesity among Latino children, including sleep and nutrition. From 2009 to 2012, she was a postdoctoral fellow at UC San Diego in the Department of Pediatrics, studying cardiovascular health in Chileans.
Martinez earned her B.S. in biochemistry and cell biology from UC San Diego, M.S. in nutrition education from Columbia University and Ph.D. in public health from the Joint Doctoral Program at UC San Diego and San Diego State University.
Based at UCOP, Martinez can be reached at (510) 587-6264, email@example.com and on Twitter @drSusieMartinez.
Burton joins Contracts and Grants
Suzanne Burton began working in ANR's Office of Contracts and Grants on Aug. 1 as a senior analyst. She will work with UCCE county offices and statewide programs, reviewing proposals for submission, reviewing and drafting award documents and writing subawards.
Over the past 15 years, Burton has worked at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine assisting principal investigators in preparing their proposals as well as at the Office of Research's Sponsored Programs Office as a contracts and grants and research administration analyst.
Burton is located in the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1386 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Downtown Oakland was the site of December's biannual UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources (PAC) meeting, which focused on President Janet Napolitano's Carbon Neutrality, Global Food, UC-Mexico and Innovation and Entrepreneurship initiatives, and the ways in which UC ANR can support them moving forward.
After opening remarks from UC ANR vice president Glenda Humiston, each of the Presidential Initiatives took center stage, with two-to-three person teams each offering brief presentations. The teams each included one or more UC ANR representatives, who spoke about the division's contributions – current and future – to the initiative in question.
Tapan Pathak, UC Cooperative Extension specialist for climate adaptation in agriculture (at UC Merced and the Sierra Nevada Research Institute), offered insights into what UC ANR is doing in regards to carbon neutrality. Pathak's expertise is focused on how the latest climate science can help agricultural producers reduce risks and enhance profitability.
On the UC-Mexico Initiative, Khaled Bali, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for irrigation and water management and director for Imperial County, spoke about UC ANR's collaborative research and education programs with Universidad Autonoma de Baja California in Mexicali. Mike Janes, UC ANR's strategic communications director, discussed the division's News and Information Outreach in Spanish operation in Riverside, noting the variety of communications products that office disseminates to California's Latino and Spanish-speaking populations that might be leveraged by the UC-Mexico initiative.
David Doll, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in pomology in Merced County, addressed UC ANR's work related to the UC Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Technology Commercialization Initiative. Among other data points, Doll alluded to the many patents and licenses generated by UC ANR throughout the years.
Finally, to demonstrate just one UC ANR activity that has successfully been supporting the Global Food Initiative, Rose Hayden-Smith, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for 4-H youth, family and community development in Ventura County, discussed the UC Food Observer blog she created in support of the GFI. She offered demonstrable evidence of the blog's vast reach and impact.
Following lunch, UC President Napolitano offered glowing remarks about UC ANR's contributions, not only to the Presidential Initiatives but to the UC system generally. She said she was committed to the division's growth and sustainability.
A series of updates followed from the deans of the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources (Keith Gilless), the UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Science (Helene Dillard), the UC Riverside College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (Michael Anderson), and the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (Michael Lairmore).
To give PAC members an opportunity to converse with the presenters about the initiatives informally, they concluded the meeting with a dinner reception at the nearby home of President Napolitano.