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.