- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Outstanding academics recognized with Distinguished Service Awards
Winners of the Distinguished Service Awards were announced June 13. Sponsored by UC ANR and Academic Assembly Council, the Distinguished Service Awards recognize service and academic excellence in UC Cooperative Extension over a significant period of time. The awards highlight the use of innovative methods and the integration of research, extension and leadership by UC ANR academics.
Award categories include outstanding research, outstanding extension, outstanding new academic, outstanding team, outstanding leader and contribution to diversity, equity and inclusion.
We are pleased to congratulate and recognize this year's honorees:
Mark Hoddle has been a UCCE specialist in biological control in UC Riverside Department of Entomology for 25 years. His research program on biocontrol of invasive pests that attack agricultural crops, threaten wilderness areas, and degrade urban landscapes in California has been supported by more than $14.5 million in grants from commodity boards and state and federal agencies and have significant impacts in California, nationally and internationally.
Highlights of his work include the successful biological control of the glassy-winged sharpshooter, a species of palm weevil (Rhynchophorus vulneratus), the Asian citrus psyllid and the Argentine ant, resulting in a massive reduction and elimination of these pests in California and other states and countries.
Hoddle also has developed proactive biocontrol and integrated pest management programs for pests not yet present in California but that are likely to invade, including the spotted lantern fly, the avocado seed moth and the avocado seed weevil.
His outstanding research has led to over 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals, books and book chapters. He also has published over 100 extension articles and 40 web pages. His outreach includes interviews for TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and podcasts.
In addition to his academic successes, Hoddle has mentored seven graduate students, more than 40 undergraduate students and nine post-graduate researchers. He also has received several national and international awards throughout his career.
Lyn Brock is the academic coordinator for statewide training for both the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California. Brock leads the training and professional development efforts for academics and staff that work at the state and county levels for both programs.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the EFNEP and CFHL, UC programs were stymied by the inability to provide in-person education. Through her persistence, innovation and leadership, Brock transitioned more than 140 program staff to virtual delivery in a matter of months so that they could continue to serve the people of California.
She spearheaded novel trainings pertaining to a wide variety of topics that suddenly became relevant, including learner-centered programming, online learning platforms and copyright policies, among others. Under her leadership, 24 evidence-based curricula were adapted for virtual delivery during the pandemic. These programs are still regarded by the programs' federally funded partners as cutting-edge in virtual education.
Brock has produced numerous limited distribution publications and also presented during conferences, trainings and presentations to extend knowledge in her role as training coordinator. Highlights of her extension work include the What's Up Wednesday meetings, virtual staff check-in meetings to facilitate communication between program leadership staff. She also developed training material and trained staff on available virtual platforms to allow them to deliver programs virtually.
Aparna Gazula became a UCCE small farms advisor in 2016. Her extension program provides training and technical assistance for nutrient management, pest management, irrigation and food safety to diversified vegetable farmers in Santa Clara, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.
Because a majority of the crops grown by Asian immigrant farmers – including amaranth, bok choy, gai choy, gai lan, a choy, Chinese celery, edible chrysanthemum, yam leaves, garlic chives and pea tips – are considered minor crops, there is little research-based information about them that can be used as the basis for management decisions or to fulfill regulatory requirements.In six years, she has secured more than $1.6 million in grant funding for research, outreach and technical assistance to fill information gaps on pest management, food safety and water and nutrient management.
Many of the socially disadvantaged farmers Gazula works with face language and cultural barriers. To provide targeted extension to non-English speaking farmers, she secured grant funding to hire specialists and educators who are fluent in Cantonese and Spanish. With her team, Gazula provides technical assistance, workshops, and outreach publications in Chinese and Spanish.
She also has led her team in assisting farmers in the region to access pandemic relief funding and state programs to improve soil health and water use efficiency. Gazula and her team helped non-English-speaking farmers submit over 200 applications for relief between April and December 2020. These farmers received $3.1 million in emergency aid, allowing them to maintain vegetable production during the pandemic. With her team she also provided training and technical assistance, in both Cantonese and English, to farmers about the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program and Healthy Soils Program.
Although Gazula is a new academic, she is recognized throughout the region for her expertise and is often called on by community and local government groups to contribute to food and farming initiatives. She has established herself as a leader in supporting the Asian vegetable industry.
Outstanding Team - UC ANR Winter Cover Cropping/Water Use Team
The UC ANR Winter Cover Cropping/Water Use Team is composed of UCCE specialists Daniele Zaccaria, Samuel Sandoval Solis, Amelie Gaudin, Jeff Mitchell and Khaled Bali, UCCE advisor Dan Munk and UC Davis students Alyssa DeVincentis and Anna Gomes.
In direct response to prominent knowledge gaps around implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the team conducted a focused applied research program on water-related impacts of winter cover crops in California's Central Valley from 2016 to 2019.
Their research showed that the benefits of winter cropping in processing tomato and almond production systems offset or compensated for water used during the winter by the cover crops. Contrary to widespread belief, research results showed that cover crops did not use a lot of soil water because evapotranspiration during this period is normally low, crops shade and cool the soil surface, and improve soil aggregation, pore space and soil water infiltration and retention.
This research provided the basis for a series of 11 invited extension education presentations and outreach activities to inform and guide policy implementation of local stakeholder agencies and entities including the Madera Regional Water Management Group, the American Farmland Trust's SJV Conservation Partnership Program, the CA/NV Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, and the East Stanislaus, the Eastern Merced, Fresno, Kings, and Tulare Counties Resource Conservation Districts, as well as the California Irrigation Institute.
Gail Feenstra, director of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, is a distinguished leader and visionary, not only in UC ANR, but across the food systems landscape. Her career has been exemplary in terms of her pioneering success in applied, multidisciplinary research, evaluation, and outreach. In the early 1990s, Feenstra began to parlay her graduate training in nutrition along with her experience in community development and food systems into what was then a very new, poorly studied discipline that she would continue to develop and lead for the next three decades.
This field of work comprises regional food systems that merge the business and livelihood needs of small- and mid-scale farmers with the economic well-being and nutritional health of their local communities. Feenstra developed SAREP's and the nation's understanding of values-based supply chains. She has been a pioneer in the farm-to-school movement and has developed widely adopted tools for farm-to-school evaluation. In recognition of her stature in this field, CDFA selected her to lead a four-year, $60 million evaluation of its Farm to School Grant Program.
Feenstra also has shown tremendous leadership within UC ANR through her role as co-chair of the California Communities and Food Systems Program Team where she has helped shape collaborations within UC ANR. She has worked to bridge interconnected disciplines of nutrition, food, health, community development and agriculture within UC ANR. She also has led efforts to work across program teams, particularly in developing new specialist and advisor position descriptions. Her energy is infectious and her leadership through collaboration is compelling. The Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society recently honored Feenstra with its 2022 Richard P. Haynes Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award.
Katherine Soule began her DEI work in 2013, focusing on providing solutions to the challenges that marginalized youth, families and communities face on the Central Coast.
Her work particularly focused on the needs of Latino youth and families, LGBTQ+ youth and adults, neurodivergent people, and individuals living in poverty. Through a timely intervention, Soule's DEI work has helped to increase health equity, improve food security and safety, and promote economic prosperity in marginalized communities.
She implemented a very impactful “Schools as Hubs of Health” program that reached more than 4,000 students annually in more than 150 classrooms and created a college and career readiness pathway that engaged more than 12,000 youth. She brings an interdisciplinary approach to her work with an emphasis on engaged and participatory research, and lifelong commitment to personally unlearning and decolonizing.
Soule also demonstrates DEI leadership by serving on the UC ANR DEI Advisory Council as the inaugural chair and serving on the City of San Luis Obispo's DEI Taskforce.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Outstanding work recognized with Distinguished Service Awards
Sponsored by UC ANR and Academic Assembly Council, the Distinguished Service Awards (DSA) recognize service and academic excellence in UC Cooperative Extension over a significant period of time. Awards highlight the use of innovative methods and the integration of research, extension and leadership by UC ANR academics. Award categories include outstanding research, outstanding extension, outstanding new academic, outstanding team, and outstanding leader.
Congratulations to the 2020 DSA recipients!
Outstanding Research – Carlos Crisosto
Carlos Crisosto, UC Cooperative Extension postharvest physiology specialist, has demonstrated an exceptional research program with impacts on both the California food industry and consumers through his work on postharvest handling of tree fruits and nuts. His work has had a significant impact – reducing food loss, improving fruit quality and safety, and expanding markets for California agriculture. Highlights of Crisosto's work include his incorporation of consumer perceptions into the measurement of fruit quality, collaborative development and implementation of protocols for fruit ripening, transportation and retail handling, and research into consumer perceptions of different cultivars. His outstanding research has been coupled with an outreach and education program that included extension through site visits, in person workshops, short courses, manuals, popular articles, websites and collaboration. In addition to his academic successes, Crisosto was awarded the Industry Distinguished Service & Achievement Award by the California fig industry in recognition of supporting cultivar development and improving marketing and utilization of dried and fresh figs over his career. The success of Crisosto's program is a testament to the outstanding work in applied research that can be accomplished through UC ANR.
Outstanding Extension – Andrew Sutherland
Andrew Sutherland has shaped his pest management program based on his clientele needs since the beginning of his career at UC ANR in 2012 and has had great success implementing pest management programs in urban areas. He has done an extensive amount of work on bed bug, termite and cockroach control. He has worked with several agencies including structural pest control businesses, public health nurses, multi-family housing managers and UC Master Gardeners to deliver practical information on pest management. One ongoing project that has both a public health and an environmental impact in California is bait station systems for control of subterranean termites. The project is evaluating efficacy and costs associated with bait systems and looking into alternatives to liquid termicides, which have been identified as serious environmental contaminants in CA's surface water systems. His work has benefited urban populations in general, but has also reached under-served communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sutherland has made a major effort to reach out to Hispanic audiences, producing materials in Spanish and hosting public presentations and outreach events in low-income areas of his territory. He has worked with industry leaders collaborating on applied research projects considering economic challenges when designing programs that would be beneficial and relevant to his clientele.
Outstanding New Academic – Mae Culumber
Mae Culumber has been the CE nut crops advisor in Fresno County since June 2016. She has developed an outstanding applied research program in only 4 years, which addresses clientele needs and is in alignment with the ANR Strategic Vision. Her work provides innovative solutions to identify orchard management practices that maximize the efficient use of water and nutrient resources, and promote biochemical and physical soil characteristics that will lead to improvements in soil health and enhanced vigor and productivity of nut crops. Culumber's work primarily focused on innovative efforts that improved food system productivity. She established successful collaborations with advisors and specialists from UC Cooperative Extension, faculty from UC Davis Plant Sciences, and scientists from USDA-ARS Davis and Parlier to examine greenhouse gas emissions, and soil biochemical carbon and nitrogen dynamics in newly established orchards after whole orchard recycling. Her leadership of this basic and applied research team is exceptional for a newer advisor in the Assistant rank. Culumber recognizes and invests in developing useful information, strategies and trainings to impact and improve clientele practices, that also have statewide public value by protecting California's natural resources.
Outstanding Team – AB 589 Water Measurement Training Team
This team of CE specialists and advisors rapidly developed and coordinated a training program that met the needs of UC ANR's farming and ranching clientele, in a cost-effective and timely manner. California Senate Bill 88 requires all water right holders who have previously diverted or intend to divert more than 10 ac-ft per year to measure and report the water they divert to the State. For most ranchers and diverters impacted by SB 88, complying with the reporting requirements is expensive and burdensome. The cost and availability of professionals to design, install and calibrate diversion measurement systems resulted in a grass roots effort by California Cattlemen's Association and California Farm Bureau to seek an educational alternative for surface water diverters. With support from the University of California, Assembly Bill 589 (AB 589) was introduced and carried. It passed through the Assembly and the Senate with no opposition and was signed by Governor Brown. The bill allows diverters that complete the UC course to install and maintain measurement devices to comply with SB 88, saving them time and money. Working with industry (California Cattlemen's Association) and regulators (State Water Resources Control Board), the UC team provided a huge service to farming and ranching clientele, and the state. This is a true testament to UC ANR's ability to work with groups of differing interests in order to reach a common goal. The UC team has conducted 20 workshops since the bill was passed and certified over 1,200 diverters. One letter of reference indicated a cost savings of more than $4,000 on his ranch alone.
The AB 589 Water Measurement Training Team includes:
- Larry Forero, UCCE director and livestock and natural resources advisor, Shasta County
- Khaled Bali, UCCE irrigation water management specialist, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center
- Allan Fulton, UCCE irrigation and water resources advisor, Tehama County
- Daniele Zaccaria, UCCE associate Cooperative Extension specialist, UC Davis
- Theresa Becchetti, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, Stanislaus County
- Josh Davy, UCCE director and livestock and natural resources advisor, Tehama County
- Morgan Doran, UCCE director and livestock and natural resources advisor, UC Cooperative Extension Capitol Corridor
- Julie Finzel, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, Kern County
- Cari Koopmann Rivers, former UCCE director, Siskiyou County
- Glenn McGourty, UCCE director and farm advisor, Mendocino County
- Rebecca Ozeran, UCCE livestock advisor, Fresno County
- Devii Rao, UCCE director and livestock and natural resources advisor, San Benito County
- Tracy Schohr, UCCE livestock and natural resource advisor, Plumas-Sierra and Butte counties
- Scott Stoddard, UCCE director and farm advisor, Merced County
- Matthew Shapero, UCCE livestock & natural resource advisor, Ventura & Santa Barbara counties
- Rhonda Smith, UCCE viticulture advisor, Sonoma County
- Laura Snell, UCCE director, Modoc County
- Jeff Stackhouse, UCCE livestock & natural resource advisor, Humboldt & Del Norte counties
- Julé Rizzardo, assistant deputy director, Division of Water Rights, State Water Resources Control Board-Sacramento
- Kyle Ochenduszko, deputy public works director, City of Benicia
- Brian Coats, senior water resource control engineer, SWRCB-Sacramento
- Jeff Yeazell, water resource control engineer, SWRCB-Sacramento
- Chuck Arnold, water resource control engineer, SWRCB-Sacramento
Outstanding Leader – Katherine Soule
Katherine Soule holds a number formal leadership roles in ANR including leading several statewide programs locally, serving as director of UCCE in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and as Academic Assembly Council president. Soule holds informal leadership roles as a mentor and colleague. Outside of ANR, she leads a national working group, is a local non-profit board member, and leads research and development for a professional organization.When Soule became county director (July 2017), she began strategic planning focused on building relationships with key stakeholders (administrative, clientele, academics, and community partners) and addressing the needs, opportunities, and challenges UCCE faces in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Her efforts focused on improving fiscal management, increasing understanding of UCCE, and eliminating program inefficiencies.
Soule uses strengths-based leadership and her leadership position to support and communicate the goals of academics' programs and their successes, while ensuring the fiscal resources needed to carry out their visions. She recognizes the strengths and expertise of those she leads and provides others with meaningful opportunities to develop shared visions and long-term objectives. She has supported the development and advancement of several team members, who have completed advanced degrees while working for UCCE, taken higher-level positions, and increased their professional contributions to their respective fields. She is sought throughout the ANR system to provide guidance and support for academics, statewide leaders and other personnel.
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.