“We visited offices of 26 of California's 55-member congressional delegation in two days!” said Lucas Frerichs, government and community relations manager.
On March 6-9, a UC ANR delegation attended the 35th Annual Council on Agriculture Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) meetings in Washington D.C. CARET is part of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). They also made congressional visits to explain the importance of science and research to California.
Vice President Glenda Humiston was joined by AVP Wendy Powers, UCB College of Natural Resources Dean Keith Gilless, UCR College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Dean Kathryn Uhrich, Nutrition Policy Institute Director Lorrene Ritchie, UC Cooperative Extension Specialist Clare Gupta, Chief Innovation Officer Gabe Youtsey, and Frerichs. Industry partners Bill Frost, former UC ANR AVP; Cher Watte, executive director of the California Asparagus Commission; Mike Mellano, fresh cut flower grower; Dina Moore, Humboldt County rancher; and Jean-Mari Peltier, managing partner of Environmental Solutions Group, served as CARET delegates from California.
The group split up into teams to visit the offices of Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, agriculture committee members, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and other California representatives.
Although no U.S. secretary of agriculture had been confirmed at the time of their visit, members expressed their support for agriculture.
“One thing that members of Congress – Republicans and Democrats – can certainly agree on is that the support for agriculture and the University of California is strong,” Frerichs said.
Read more about the CARET visits in Powers' ANR Adventures blog.
Ag Day at the Capitol was held in Sacramento on March 22. On Monday, March 20, Lucas Frerichs, Tyler Ash, Pam Kan-Rice and Meredith Turner of UC State Government Relations, visited the offices of all 120 legislators and the governor and lieutenant governor to invite them to visit the UC ANR booth at Ag Day. They handed out bags of UC-developed "Tango" mandarins, explaining that the seedless, easy-to-peel citrus variety is one of many California crops developed with UC ANR research.
We'll have more coverage of Ag Day at the Capitol in the next ANR Report.
Assemblymember Jim Wood, second from left, visited Kim Rodrigues and Greg Giusti at Hopland Research and Extension Center on Oct. 26 to learn about the research and outreach being conducted at the 5,300-acre site. Wood's district director Ruth Valenzuela organized the visit with Rodrigues, Giusti and Lucas Frerichs, UC ANR government affairs and community relations manager.
- Author: Tracy Schohr
“We focused on fostering a good dialogue and facilitating co-learning among attendees,” said event co-chair Leslie Roche, assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialist in rangeland management. “We hosted university faculty, statewide CE specialists and academics, and county-based CE advisors—as well as local policymakers and leaders from non-governmental organizations and statewide programs.”
UC researchers who have successfully engaged in the public policy arena provided numerous models of linking research and policy. There were five key take-aways for scientists:
- Honest broker role – Present policymakers with various policy options, based on sound research. Have a clear understanding of the science behind your messaging. Use qualitative data to tell the story of the hard quantitative data.
- Active engagement – Be part of informational and oversight hearings. Empower communities to take action and foster community engagement.
- Build coalitions – Collaboration is imperative. Develop unexpected allies and foster long-term relationships, realizing it may take some time to bear fruit.
- Disseminate information – Share your data in user-friendly formats. Target local community, Legislature and state agencies to inform policies. Get your science into trainings and continuing education programs. Leverage your coalition to expand the circulation of your research results.
- Target messages – Develop a strong, concise message to deliver your research. Use an emotional connection – “Old-growth oak woodlands” versus “oak woodland.”
Throughout the conference, speakers highlighted the multiple levels of engagement for researchers in the policy arena, with different roles matching different needs – some take a center stage, while others play imperative behind-the-scenes roles.
Keynote speaker Jason Delborne, associate professor of science, policy and society at North Carolina State University, encouraged engaging the public. “Science is a social process,” he said, noting that community and public engagement is often key to successfully applying research to policy. Delborne also touched on the tension between expertise and democracy, commenting that we can't always resolve it and often we have to learn to live with this tension.
A diverse set of researchers shared their perspectives from experiences in engaging in policy. The panel included Thomas Harter, Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair in Water Management and Policy and UCCE specialist in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at UC Davis; Lorrene Ritchie, director of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute; Mindy Romero, founder and director of California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis Center for Regional Change; and Yana Valachovic, UCCE forest advisor and county director in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. They discussed the importance of building strong science-based programs, actively engaging local communities and building coalitions of support.
Guests from both government and non-government organizations who use research to shape policy shared their perspectives on translating science to decision-making.
“Science is the foundation for developing programs,” said Amrith Gunasekara, science advisor for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Tina Cannon Leahy, attorney with the State Water Resources Control Board, noted that policymakers and decision-makers are often looking for a clear, “black-and-white” answer, while for scientists, there is “no answer,” but rather information.
Anne Megaro, consultant to the California Senate Committee on Agriculture, and Rebecca Newhouse, consultant to the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee, both emphasized the importance of making sure science is accessible and digestible.
Juliet Sims of the Prevention Institute explained how her organization uses both published scholarly literature and community stories to effectively inform its advocacy platform.
Keynote speaker Rachel Morello-Frosch, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, introduced the concept of moving from “translational research” to “transformational research,” a shift that requires deep community engagement in meaningful ways to effect policy change.
In the afternoon, four breakout sessions were offered: “Policy structures and opportunities for engagement” with Robert Waste, “Relational approaches to science communication and engagement” with Faith Kearns, “Putting it into practice–UC ANR case studies” with Dave Campbell, Clare Gupta and Lucas Frerichs, and “Navigating policy engagement: Education vs advocacy,” with Adrian Lopez and Kit Batten. These training modules helped participants build technical skills and analytical frameworks for successful policy engagement.
The Research to Policy Conference was a forum to exchange ideas and share perspectives, continuing to bridge the gap between science and policy communities. It challenged attendees to be open to new ways of thinking, shared innovative outreach methods and showcased how research can have an impact in the policy arena.
“The event brought cross-fertilization and co-learning between disciplines – nutrition, forest management, water quality – and there were common themes that resonated for all participants,” said event co-chair Gupta, assistant UCCE specialist in public policy and translational research.
VP Glenda Humiston wrapped up the policy conference by saying, "Good science is vital for good policy. It's great to see UC folks enhancing these skills to bring science together with policy."
For more information on applying research to policy, contact Frerichs, UC ANR government and community relations manager, at (530) 750-1218 or email@example.com, or Research to Policy Program Team contacts Gupta at firstname.lastname@example.org and Roche at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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.