From Del Norte, Siskiyou, and Modoc counties south through San Diego and Imperial counties, Californians will be seeing more University of California Cooperative Extension advisors in their communities.
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources has released 48 more UCCE Advisor positions for recruitment over the next 12 months thanks to increased 2021-22 state funding. This brings the total to 89 new UCCE Advisor positions since July 2021 when Gov. Newsom and the state Legislature provided a historic budget boost for UC ANR. During the last six months of 2021, UC ANR released 41 other UCCE positions that have been filled or are under recruitment. The full list of UCCE positions is posted online at https://bit.ly/CEpositions2021-22.
Additional UC Cooperative Extension Specialist positions will be announced for recruitment in early April 2022.
“We appreciate the people across the state who worked with UCANR to develop the UC Cooperative Extension advisor position proposals,” said Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “Input from community members and partnering agencies and organizations was critical to informing the prioritization of these UCCE positions. Now we hope our supporters will help us recruit the best scientists to work with California's communities.”
The new UCCE advisors will be providing research-based information to residents about nutrition, community development, crop production, forestry, pest management, water management, youth development, landscape management and wildfire.
In addition to traditional issues, some of the new UCCE advisors will be focusing on climate adaptation for Indigenous farmers, cultural burning and Indigenous land stewardship, repurposing green waste, and community development with Californians who are Black, Indigenous or speak English as a second language.
The following UCCE Advisor positions will be staged for recruitment to avoid overwhelming UC ANR's Human Resources colleagues:
- 4-H Community Engagement & Development Youth Area Advisor for Tulare, Fresno and Kings counties
- 4-H Animal Science Youth Advisor for San Benito, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties
- 4-H Youth Development Area Advisor for San Diego and Orange counties
- Agronomy and Weed Management Area Advisor for Merced County
- Agronomy and Weed Science Area Advisor for Tehama, Glenn and Shasta counties
- Climate Resilient Indigenous Farming and Food Sovereignty Area Advisor for San Diego and Riverside counties
- Community Development BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other people of color) Advisor for Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and San Francisco counties
- Community Health and Nutrition Advisor for San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties
- Community Health and Nutrition Advisor for Shasta, Trinity and Tehama counties
- Community Health, Nutrition and Food Security Area Advisor for Butte, Glenn, Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties
- Community Health, Nutrition and Food Systems Area Advisor for Siskiyou, Modoc and Lassen counties
- Community Health and Nutrition Older Adult Area Advisor for Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties
- Cultural Burning and Indigenous Land Stewardship Advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties
- Dairy Area Advisor for Tulare and Kern counties
- Entomology Area Advisor for Ventura and Los Angeles counties
- Environmental Horticulture Area Advisor for Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kings counties
- Environmental Horticulture and Forestry Area Advisor for Placer and Nevada counties
- Environmental Horticulture and Water Resource Management Area Advisor for Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties
- Food Safety and Organic Production Area Advisor for Imperial and Riverside counties
- Forestry Area Advisor for Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties
- Forestry Area Advisor for Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou counties
- Fruit and Almond Area Advisor for Fresno and Tulare counties
- Horticulture and Specialty Crops Advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties
- Indigenous Disaster Resilience Planning and Policy Area Advisor for Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne and El Dorado counties
- IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Area Advisor for Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne and El Dorado counties
- IPM Entomology Area Advisor based at Kearney Research and Extension Center
- IPM Entomology Farm Area Advisor for Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties
- Intermountain Irrigated Grass Systems Area Advisor for Modoc, Shasta and Lassen counties
- Irrigation and Soils Area Advisor for Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties
- Livestock and Natural Resources Area Advisor for Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne and El Dorado counties
- Orchard Systems and Weed Ecology Area Advisor for Glenn, Tehama and Colusa counties
- Organic Materials Management Area Advisor for Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego counties
- Organic Materials Management and Agri-Food System Area Advisor for Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and San Francisco counties
- Pathology Area Advisor for Imperial, Riverside and San Diego counties
- Production Horticulture Area Advisor for Ventura and Santa Barbara counties
- Restoration Ecology and Weed Science Area Advisor for Kern, Tulare and Kings counties
- Rice Farming Systems Area Advisor for Colusa and Yolo counties
- Sustainable Agriculture Systems Area Advisor for Mariposa, Merced and Stanislaus counties
- Sustainable Orchard Systems Area Advisor for Sutter, Yuba, Butte and Placer counties
- Urban Agriculture Food Systems and Environmental Issues Advisor for San Diego and Orange counties
- Urban IPM Area Advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties
- Urban Watershed Resilience Area Advisor for Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties
- Vegetable Crops Area Advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties
- Water and Soil Resources Area Advisor for Sonoma, Marin, Napa and Mendocino counties
- Water Management Area Advisor for Tulare, Fresno, Kings and Madera counties
- Water Quality-Quantity-Climate Change Area Advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties
- Weed Ecology and Management Area Advisor for Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties
- Youth, Families and Communities Area Advisor for Kern, Inyo and Mono counties
Testimony highlights UC ANR's role in advancing prosperity, sustainability and climate resilience
Glenda Humiston, Ph.D., University of California vice president of agriculture and natural resources, director of the Agricultural Experiment Station and director of the Cooperative Extension Service, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture at today's (March 16) hearing “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: The Role of USDA Programs in Addressing Climate Change.”
A recording of the hearing can be viewed at https://youtu.be/2_GQI6b6CCs. Congressman Jimmy Panetta, who represents California's Central Coast, introduces Humiston at the 16-minute mark of the recording. She begins speaking at the 40:38 mark.
In Washington, D.C., Humiston delivered the following prepared statement:
Good morning, Chairman [David] Scott, Ranking Member [GT] Thompson, and Members of the Committee, my name is Glenda Humiston, and I serve as the Vice President of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) for the University of California (UC) system. I am honored to have this opportunity to discuss the importance of agricultural research, and other USDA programs, as you begin work on the next Farm Bill.
With UC ANR serving as a vital partner, California continues to be the nation's top agricultural state. For more than a century, California's $50 billion agricultural sector has depended on UC ANR, in partnership with our UC campuses, for the stream of new technologies and research breakthroughs needed to stay competitive and be responsible stewards of the land. We are proud to be part of the Land Grant partnership that was developed between states and the federal government with the 1862 Morrill Act, 1887 Hatch Act and the 1914 Smith-Lever Act. That enterprise has, for over 130 years, advanced scientific knowledge in all aspects of food production, and improved production capacity, profitability, and safety of the nation's food system.
With over 71,000 farms producing 400 different commodities, California is an agricultural behemoth and the sole provider of many high-demand farm products while also exporting roughly a third of its agricultural production each year. Beyond on-farm production, California's working landscapes include farmland, ranches, forests, wetlands, mines, water bodies and other natural resource lands, both private and public, that are vital sources of ecosystem services. These services are ways that the natural world provides biological necessities, such as clean water, nutritious food, and a livable climate, as well as indirect economic benefits, such as jobs and revenue created along food value chains. More broadly, they encompass intangible goods that contribute to human well-being, such as recreation, aesthetic inspiration, and cultural connection.
To combat such future perils, we must harness the ability of our agricultural and other working landscapes to adapt, to mitigate and where possible, to become a solution to climate change. According to the National Academy of Sciences, U.S. soils and forests have the potential to sequester about 500 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Emerging markets for carbon credits and government incentive programs could generate tens of billions of dollars per year in new investment for working farm and forest lands within the next several years.
Within this framework, USDA programs are critical to our efforts to support carbon sequestration, improved water management, healthy soils, forest restoration, hazardous fuels management, and wood products innovation, among other provisions that support natural climate solutions. USDA's new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities is a great example of how targeted funding for pilot projects can create market opportunities for commodities produced using climate-smart practices.
As we pursue those climate-smart practices, it is critical that we make full use of existing programs and leverage collaborations among them wherever possible. Supporting partnerships between government agencies with academia and the private sector will enable production of multiple benefits from various actions. As part of this we need to utilize voluntary, market and incentive-based programs to the greatest extent possible and maintain a focus on science-based outcomes. In many situations, transformative innovation is needed – moving beyond just improving existing methods and processes to totally re-thinking how our systems are designed to deliver policy and programs.
UC ANR supports California farmers and ranchers to be resilient to extreme weather events with data-driven tools, methods, and technologies. For example, we are developing drought, heat, and pest-tolerant crop varieties that allow farmers to remain economically viable while also being resilient to extreme weather. Finding new crops suitable for California soils and ecosystems not only improves the productivity of the farm but can have co-benefits such as improving water-holding capacity of the soil, increasing native pollinator habitat, and boosting local economies by increasing value-added products.
We are also pushing our research system to expand collaborative efforts between experts in soil sciences, plant pathology, biochemistry, and other sciences with technology experts in robotics, sensors, artificial intelligence, materials, supply chain logistics, and energy systems to solve today's complex problems in agriculture. Much like the biomedical revolution, it is the integration of multiple disciplines into a single project that can lead to transformative innovation that improves productivity, food safety, and ecosystem services while also giving rise to new businesses. Great examples of such transdisciplinary research and development include:
- An initiative to place solar panels over irrigation canals to reduce evaporation of precious irrigation water supplies for farmers while also producing electricity.
- Implementing healthy soil practices, like cover crops and no-till, to enhance capture of rain and improve groundwater recharge.
- Programs for farmers to install dairy digesters to convert potentially harmful greenhouse gases into valuable biofuels.
To develop the science, new technologies and better farming practices that are desperately needed, increased funding for agriculture and food-related research and extension is necessary as are new investment in agricultural research facilities. Public funding for agricultural research in the U.S. has declined in real dollars over the past few decades while deferred maintenance of research facilities greatly hampers scientists' work. Greater investments will help ensure farmers and ranchers have access to the scientifically rigorous tools and information they need to build climate resilience, mitigate environmental impacts, and increase the productivity of their land.
Other exciting opportunities can be found in forest health efforts that convert excessive fuel loads – biomass – into valuable bioproducts while reducing risk from catastrophic wildfires. California's wildfire crisis continued its destructive march in 2020, each year worse than the one before. Working closely with regional economic development organizations and our California Economic Summit partners, UC ANR is a key partner in developing and implementing recommendations to improve forest health, reduce wildfire risk, incentivize innovation in new and innovative wood products industries and build capacity for manufacturing to enhance forest and environmental health and resilient rural communities. Examples of this work include:
- Organizing controlled burn associations with local communities and other forest treatment practices such as a software program, Match.Graze, that improves use of grazing.
- Partnering with the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and the southern California commercial ports to convert biomass into hydrogen and other liquid biofuels to replace diesel in trucks – the largest source of air pollution in that region.
- Educating homeowners on landscaping, defensible space, and fire-wise plants to improve home-hardening, reduce risk from fire and conserve water.
- UC Engineering research on materials science is developing new advanced wood products and data to demonstrate the multiple values of construction with such products.
- Teaming up with community colleges to provide workforce training in forest professions.
The US needs robust funding for wildfire prevention, research, recovery, and extension. Cooperative Extension academics are lead experts in forestry and wildfire research and they provide critical resources to inform strategic fuels management, enhance community wildfire planning, and build community fire adaptation and resiliency. USDA's Climate Hubs should be expanded so that they can regularly engage stakeholders and prioritize vital research amongst more partners. The U.S. Forest Service's work on bioproducts is extremely valuable as is their willingness to enter into long-term stewardship agreements with state and local partners.
In California, we are very excited to be working with the Governor and the state legislature to secure a $185 million investment in UC to build new capacity in climate-focused research, innovation, and workforce development. For example, with this funding we would establish Regional Workforce Hubs that will provide on-the-job training opportunities for university and community college students as well as well as leverage the professional learning and career certification infrastructure of the UC Extension programs to offer a portfolio of training opportunities, tools, and resources for college-prep and non-degree seeking individuals.
Just as these programs allow us to implement climate smart agriculture and healthy forests' initiatives, they also support regional economic development and job creation. Rural Development, the Agricultural Marketing Service and many other USDA programs are important partners as we build climate solutions through more efficient regional food systems, improved supply chains, workforce training, manufacturing of BioPreferred products, and food security initiatives.
If we are to promote resilience and help rural economies better adapt to climate change, we need to harness all programs throughout the US Department of Agriculture. That means having senior USDA leadership coordinating climate issues across the entire agency and robustly serving as USDA's climate representative at all interagency climate-related meetings. For example, USDA must collaborate with federal entities like the Federal Communications Commission to support improvements to broadband access, which is critical for climate-smart precision technologies and rural economies. Similarly, just as USDA has partnered with the National Science Foundation on research initiatives and jointly funding competitive grants, it needs to build closer partnerships with programs like Commerce's Economic Development Agency and Treasury's Community Financial Development Institutions to ensure that access to capital, effective economic development planning and infrastructure investments are targeted appropriately and delivered well.
One important way to help ensure wise distribution of program dollars to give the current definition of “rural” serious examination and re-engineering; as it stands now, far too many communities are improperly denied USDA resources due to the antiquated definitions of rural and metropolitan. Strongly encouraging more cross-agency proposals throughout USDA and enhanced support for public-private partnerships would remove barriers and hurdles for industry and communities alike.
The current mix of federal and state capacity funds is generally leveraged many-fold by federal competitive grants, grants from private industry, and other types of unrestricted gifts and awards to faculty conducting research at the nation's land-grant universities. Competitive funding processes can elicit new ideas and speed up certain research projects; however, they also encourage a shift from programmatic research towards shorter-term project research. Failure to invest in a well-balanced mix of capacity and competitive funds for food and agriculture research could have very negative consequences for decades to come – consequences that would take significant time to reverse.
It takes at least seven to 15 years of research and development to develop a new crop variety – longer for trees/vines. Deploying and/or adapting new agricultural technologies can be even longer. For example, when UC Davis engineer, Coby Lorenzen, designed a machine to automate the harvest of tomatoes in the 1960s, it also required agronomist, Jack Hanna, to develop a less-delicate variety of tomato that ripened uniformly and could be easily plucked from the plant, essential qualities that made machine harvesting feasible. Federal funding that recognizes these realities as well as improvements in technology transfer and support for commercialization is vital.
Faculty and staff at land-grant universities across the nation recognize that their work takes place on behalf of a greater good, a broader goal, and a common vision that is much bigger than their individual achievements. Members of this House Committee on Agriculture can be confident that every dollar of federal investment authorized by the Farm Bill and expended at land-grant universities is guaranteed to be leveraged further, and to spawn innovation and discovery that will be translated into solutions to improve the lives of U.S. citizens. I thank you for this opportunity to provide testimony.
- Author: Mike Hsu
Publication in English, Spanish prepares private applicators for state exam
Expanded from four chapters in the previous edition to 12, the third edition of Pesticide Safety: A Study Manual for Private Applicators aims to be more than just a study guide.
The manual, available for purchase in English and Spanish, provides much more detail on essential processes and procedures that will help keep applicators safe while using pesticides – as well as reduce environmental impacts from misapplication.
Published by University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources in collaboration with the state's Department of Pesticide Regulation, the manual – intended for members of the agricultural community who own, manage or work on farms that use restricted-use pesticides – also includes substantial updates.
“The information in the book they were using was way out of date,” said writer/editor Shannah Whithaus, senior editor for pesticide safety education with UC ANR's Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. “Also, the book was much, much shorter than it needed to be, because it wasn't providing enough information for people to safely apply pesticides, given the complexity of the regulatory environment we're in now.”
The new manual reflects important changes to federal and state regulations since the publication of the previous edition in 2006.
“There are significant regulatory updates which help you stay up-to-date with safety rules and standards – and protect your workers from overexposure to pesticides,” said Lisa Blecker, technical editor of the publication, and currently a pesticide safety educator at Colorado State University.
In addition to emphasizing the broader ecological ramifications of improper pesticide use, the manual includes information on subjects that might get short shrift in other manuals, such as the correct calibration of equipment to ensure accuracy of application.
“All of that is now in the book and fully fleshed out,” Whithaus said. “[Applicators] are going to be able to do that much more effectively using the new book, compared to the old one – it was really hard to be thorough in 80-some pages.”
The new edition – totaling more than 200 substantive pages – also features a more streamlined and user-friendly layout modeled after a sister publication, The Safe and Effective Use of Pesticides, written for commercial applicators.
“A significant update is a layout that is not only beautiful, but helps you identify key information you need to know in order to make safe and effective pesticide applications,” Blecker explained.
She highlighted the “knowledge expectations” listed at the beginning of each chapter and in the margins of the book, next to the relevant passages. The statements serve as “visual cues” to help readers learn and retain the material they need to pass California DPR's certification exam for private applicators.
And while the manual functions as an improved study aid for owners, managers and workers who apply pesticides, it doubles as a reference that they can turn to for years to come.
“It's going to be able to serve as a reference manual, as opposed to just a study guide,” Whithaus said. “You really will be able to use this book as a tool to help you do better in managing your land.”
The manual, listed at $29, is available for purchase in English at https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=3383 and in Spanish at https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=3394./h4>
Researchers who have been investigating the impacts of the Camp Fire and other urban fires in Northern California will gather June 4 in Chico to share what they have learned. Members of the public are invited to attend the Camp Fire Water Resources Monitoring and Research Symposium, which will be held at the California State University, Chico Farm located at 311 Nicholas C Shouten Lane, Chico, CA 95928.
“The recent urban fires across California have raised questions about the fire impacts on watershed health, food safety and groundwater,” said Tracy Schohr, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Butte, Plumas and Sierra counties, who is organizing the symposium.
“The Camp Fire Water Resources Monitoring and Research Symposium on June 4 creates a forum for researchers across a broad spectrum of disciplines to share findings from research conducted in Butte County and across the North State.”
“Chico State is partnering with University of California Cooperative Extension to host this educational symposium to help our community understand the impacts of the Camp Fire,” said Kasey DeAtley, Chico State professor in the College of Agriculture. “In a region rich in natural resources and agriculture production, there has been significant interest in the topic of urban fire implications and researchers have been working hard to find answers that will be shared at the symposium.”
The program will start at 9 a.m. and will feature three sessions. The day will kick off with a session titled “First Year Findings,” looking at initial rapid response for water quality, surface water monitoring, groundwater monitoring and more.
The second session is on “Urban Fires Impacts on Food and Agriculture” and will feature research presentations from UC Cooperative Extension on livestock drinking water quality and forage, eggs laid by backyard poultry, fruits and vegetables grown in gardens, and post-fire forest management.
The symposium will conclude with a session on future investigations, with Chico State professors sharing an overview of a comprehensive study underway to understand the impacts of the Camp Fire on water quality and soil health.
For more information and to register, visit https://ucanr.edu/sites/Rangelands. The event is $50 to attend and includes program materials, morning refreshments and lunch. Parking is free at the Chico State Farm.
People who are interested in using drones for real-world mapping are invited to attend a three-day intensive drone workshop in the Monterey Bay Area. The third annual DroneCamp will be offered June 18-20 by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Informatics and GIS Program. No experience with drone technology is needed to participate.
Drone mapping involves taking high-resolution photos with drones and stitching them together with software to make extremely accurate, orthorectified maps. More difficult than videography, it is widely used in agriculture, construction, archeology, surveying, facilities management and other fields. DroneCamp will cover all the topics someone needs to make maps with drones, including:
- Technology - the different types of drone and sensor hardware, costs and applications
- Drone science - principles of photogrammetry and remote sensing
- Safety and regulations - learn to fly safely and legally, including tips on getting your FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate
- Mission planning - flight planning tools and principles for specific mission objectives
- Flight operations - hands-on practice with both manual and programmed flights
- Data processing - processing drone data into orthomosaics and 3D digital surface models; assessing quality control
- Data analysis - techniques for analyzing drone data in GIS and remote sensing software
- Visualization - create 3D models of your data
- Latest trends - hear about new and upcoming developments in drone technology, data processing, and regulations
On the first day, DroneCamp instructors will discuss drone platforms, sensor technologies and regulations. On the following two days, participants will receive hands-on instruction on flying safely, using automated flight software, emergency procedures, managing data, and turning images into maps using Pix4D mapper and ArcGIS Pro.
Registration is $900 for the general public and $500 for University of California students and employees. Registration includes instruction, materials, flight practice and lunches. Scholarships are available.
This year DroneCamp is being held in conjunction with the Monterey Bay DART (Drones Automation & Robotics Technology), which is holding an industry symposium on Friday, June 21. DroneCamp participants get a $50 discount to attend the symposium.