- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
A mural depicting a UC Cooperative Extension advisor talking with a farmer beside a crop field and stream, surrounded by cattle, potatoes and a 4-H member showing a prize-winning sheep, against the backdrop of the Siskiyou Mountains was dedicated Oct. 13, 2018, to Siskiyou County agriculture and the memory of Steve Orloff.
Orloff's Family, friends, clientele and colleagues gathered to remember and honor Orloff, who passed away Oct. 3, 2017, after serving 33 years as a UCCE advisor, the last 25 years of his career in Siskiyou County.
“It is a testament to the power of Steve's work and ANR impact in local communities,” said Glenn Nader, emeritus livestock and natural resources advisor. Local farmers and ranchers funded the Steve Orloff mural, which is painted on the south wall facing the parking area of the UC Cooperative Extension office in Yreka, making it visible to I-5 travelers.
“Many members of the community and Steve's family were on hand to celebrate the efforts of the community to create a tribute to the work done by Steve Orloff,” said Jacki Zediker, 4-H community education specialist and coordinator in Siskiyou County.
“Sari and Steve began discussing the mural idea about a year or more before his passing, based on Sari noticing our exterior walls were very bland and could use some sprucing up,” said Carissa Koopmann Rivers, director of UC Cooperative Extension in Siskiyou County.
At the time, Orloff told Sommarstrom, “I can envision artwork with large cows and ranching depicted on one side transitioning to agricultural fields and mountains on the other side. It would be a great tribute to ag in the county.”
Following Orloff's passing, Sommarstrom followed up on the mural design, fundraising and execution. She partnered with the local Farm Bureau to assist with the financial backing of the project. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors approved the mural in April 2018, with the county contributing the first $2,000, kicking off the fundraising campaign and allowing the painting to begin in September.
“The mural would not have come to fruition without efforts from within the entire community, and the enthusiasm of artist Kim Solga,” said Rivers. “It is important to recognize one particular person, Jacki Zediker, who was at the forefront of the project ensuring the mural exemplified the Siskiyou County agriculture and the vision that Steve had. Jacki not only worked diligently behind the scenes to cross t's and dot i's, she was also physically responsible for all the wall prep work and finishing coat on the wall, as well as organizing the official revealing unveiling of the mural on October 13, 2018.”
The mural is located at 1655 South Main St. in Yreka.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
- Author: Jeannette Warnert
Intermountain Research and Extension Center (IREC) celebrated the grand opening of a multipurpose conference and laboratory building on July 26. The facility will be available for use by private and public groups for business meetings, job fairs, trainings and conferences.
"The facility is the first in the Tulelake area to offer modern audio-visual infrastructure and high-speed internet connectivity capable of supporting remote presentations to stay in touch with groups from around the world," said Rob Wilson, IREC director. "We hope this facility will greatly increase the visibility and accessibility of local events and help draw more regional attention to the area."
The conference room was dedicated in honor of the late John Staunton, a local research collaborator with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources who passed away in 2015. Staunton Farms and the Staunton family donated $25,000 to support the building project and recognize the Tulelake farmer and his long-standing support of agriculture and research.
Winema Elevators/Western Milling, Sensient Natural Ingredients, Macy's Flying Service, and Basin Fertilizer also contributed support.
UC awarded approximately $2 million for this capital improvement project with funds from UC lease revenue bonds to pay for most of the building's design and construction costs, but additional support is needed to complete the project. Intermountain REC has set a fundraising goal of $100,000 to pay for tables, chairs, furnishing and lab equipment for the building.
A special UC fund has been created to collect tax-deductible contributions to be used solely for this building project. Donations over $50 will receive recognition in print and on the IREC website. Donations over $1,000 will receive recognition on the donor wall in the building entryway. Name plate recognition on the donor wall will be based on the gift amount: Gold ($2,500+), Silver ($1,750 to $2,499), and Bronze ($1,000 to $1,749). Donations can be made via check using the enclosed envelope or by credit card by visiting the IREC website at http://irec.ucanr.edu and clicking the “Make a gift” link.
The ribbon cutting followed the 2018 IREC field day, an annual event that showcases the research underway at the 140-acre facility. Charlie Pickett of USDA, UC Davis Plant Breeding Center director Charlie Brummer, UCCE farm advisors David Lile and Rachael Long and UCCE specialist Dan Putnam joined Wilson in giving research updates on the tour.
Research presentations included work on biological control of cereal leaf beetle, influence of fall harvest management of irrigated grass hays, onion white rot, managing alfalfa weevil and clover rootcucurlio, pulse crop options for theKlamath Basin, cover crops and amendments, cutting schedule effects on lowlignin alfalfa andgermplasm evaluation of alfalfa and tallfescue.
In the news article, Jester also wrote, “The information gleaned through research at the IREC can be invaluable to farmers and other researchers. Through its years of experimentation, the center has helped growers develop more effective practices in a wide range of areas, from determining the crops that will grow best in the local climate, to selecting the most economically viable crops for the region, to understanding the most effective ways to manage pests and disease.”
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
“Over the 33 years that Steve has been a member of the UC ANR family, I'm sure that many of you have worked with this kind and affable man, whether it be at county director meetings, on alfalfa research or Program Council or other projects. We'll all miss Steve's good nature, willingness to help others and his expertise,” VP Glenda Humiston wrote in an email message to ANR employees.
Orloff, who grew up in Lancaster, earned his B.A. in geography at San Diego State University in 1978. From 1979 through 1981, he served in the Peace Corps, helping Central American farmers, primarily in El Salvador, and met his wife-to-be in Honduras. After graduating with his M.S. in general agricultural science from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo in 1983, he joined UC ANR in 1984 as a UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Los Angeles County, based in Lancaster.
After a few years working in the Southern California desert, Orloff moved north to become a farm advisor in Siskiyou County in 1992. He conducted research at the Intermountain Research and Extension Center in Tulelake.
When the California Alfalfa & Forage Association named Orloff as the 2011 recipient of its Jim Kuhn Leadership Award, it noted that he “conducted careful studies of the control of dodder, a major weed in alfalfa production in California, and his studies during the 1980s became the gold standard for management strategies for this difficult parasitic weed.”
In a tribute to their longtime colleague, UC Cooperative Extension weed specialist Dan Putnam and IREC director Rob Wilson wrote in the Alfalfa and Forages News blog:
Steve Orloff was a true agronomist with broad knowledge and in-depth expertise related to most fields of agriculture science. He published hundreds of articles reporting on his original research related to pest management, irrigation, harvest management fertilization and variety selection. Steve worked with many crops, including alfalfa, grass hays, small grains, onions, and several specialty crops. His accomplishments played a vital role in progressing California agriculture and helping solve many regional problems related to pests, water conservation, and economic stability. The publications “Intermountain Alfalfa Management,'" which he led in the 1990s, and “Irrigated Alfalfa Management for Desert and Mediterranean Zones” (2008), to which he made significant contributions, are considered the leading nationwide references to management of alfalfa.
Orloff's family held a “Celebration of Life.” UC Cooperative Extension weed specialist Brad Hanson attended the event and later wrote in a UC Weed Science blog post, “Many of his family and friends celebrated Steve's life at a remembrance on Oct. 14 on a farm overlooking the alfalfa fields of the Scott Valley near Fort Jones, Calif. In my mind, the memorial was very fitting and much like Steve - there was some seriousness, plenty of humor and inside jokes, and real personal connections among Steve's family, friends, and colleagues.”
Orloff is survived by his wife, Islia; their three sons, Michael, Danny and Rob; his mother, Carol; and sisters Lisa and Diane.
[11/7/2017 Updated to include the years Orloff served in the Peace Corps and the year he transferred to Siskiyou County.]