- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Allen-Diaz, vice president for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), has agreed to participate in a stunt with thousands of buzzing honey bees clustered on either a UC ANR T-shirt or on a UC ANR banner in a project coordinated by the world-renowned bee wrangler Norm Gary, UC Davis emeritus professor of entomology.
Allen-Diaz holds several other titles: director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, director of Cooperative Extension, and professor and Russell Rustici Chair in Rangeland Management at UC Berkeley. But next spring, she will become “The Bee Lady” or “The Bee-liever,” surrounded by thousands of buzzing honey bees.
And, if the UC ANR administrator raises $5,000, she’s promised to eat insect larvae to promote awareness of alternative protein sources. (To donate, see http://promises.promiseforeducation.org/vpanr)
Allen-Diaz has never intentionally been near a cluster of bees. “I have to say that most of the bee interactions that I’ve had in the past have been stepping on them barefoot on the lawn as a child in Edmonds, Wash.; jumping off a rock wall into a bee hive as a child – 11 stings on my neck and face; and trying to control meat-eating wasps (protecting her families’ hands, faces and legs) at our Oregon home,” she said.
Norm Gary said he will set up the project sometime in the spring, when the weather warms and the bees begin their annual population build-up.
Gary, who turns 80 in November, retired in 1994 from UC Davis after a 32-year academic career. He also retired this year as a bee wrangler and as a 66-year beekeeper, but “I’m coming out of retirement to help with this cause,” he said.
“Bees are not inclined to sting if they are well-fed, happy and content and are ‘under the influence’ of powerful synthetic queen bee odors — pheromones — which tend to pacify them,” Gary said.
While at UC Davis, he formulated a pheromone solution that is very effective in controlling bee behavior. Bees, attracted to pheromones, cluster on the drops of pheromones, whether it be a sign, a t-shirt or a plastic flower.
“Bees wrangled by this procedure have no inclination to sting,” he said. “Stinging behavior occurs naturally near the hive in defense of the entire colony not for the defense of the individual bee, because bees that sting die within hours. Using this approach I have had as many as a million bees clustered on six people simultaneously.”
“Most people fear bees,” Gary acknowledged. “They think bees ‘want’ to sting them. Wrong! They sting only when the nest or colony is attacked or disturbed or when they are trapped in a physical situation where they are crushed.”
Gary holds a Guinness Book of World Records for most bees (109) in his mouth; he trained the bees to fly into his mouth to collect food from a small sponge saturated with his patented artificial nectar. He kept the bees inside his closed mouth for 10 seconds.
The retired bee scientist is the author of the popular book, “Honey Bee Hobbyist: The Care and Keeping of Bees,” now in its second printing. During his academic career, he published more 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and four book chapters.
Gary, who received his doctorate in apiculture from Cornell University in 1959, is known internationally for his bee research. He was the first to document reproductive behavior of honey bees on film and the first to discover queen bee sex attractant pheromones. He invented a magnetic retrieval capture/recapture system for studying the foraging activities of bees, documenting the distribution and flight range in the field. His other studies revolved around honey bee pollination of agricultural crops, stinging and defensive behavior, and the effects of pesticides on foraging activities, among dozens of others.
A professional jazz and Dixieland musician, Gary is also known for playing the “B-Flat clarinet” while covered from head to toe with bees. He continues to play professionally in the Sacramento area—minus the bees.
“I’m looking forward to the big buzz next spring,” he said. “I promise it will be un-bee-lievable.”
"The UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor system is an integral part of the growth story of the table grape industry in California,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission. "Continuing that growth is critical to the industry but also to the rural communities in which table grapes are grown. With this gift, the University will be able to expand its ability to help growers cope with challenges such as pests, diseases, water quality and quantity, and a host of known and unknown issues that could negatively impact the industry's ability to compete in a worldwide marketplace.”
The California Table Grape Commission-funded position will be headquartered in Tulare. UC ANR will also be hiring a UC Cooperative Extension area viticulture advisor who will be based in Kern County.
"This generous gift by the California Table Grape Commission will enable UC ANR to begin recruitment immediately,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, University of California vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources. "As state funding has dramatically decreased in recent years, private-sector support is becoming a critical component of funding important positions essential to the long-term health of agriculture throughout California.”
This new funding model will enable UC ANR to hire outstanding academics to continue to conduct research and deliver new knowledge that is critical to the sustainability of farmers and to California's future.
- Contact: Pamela Kan-Rice
“This is a pioneering step in a new direction for funding public research,” said Allen-Diaz. “I want to thank the California Rice Research Board for being the first. This innovative partnership between the agricultural community and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources recognizes the immediate importance of rice research and the need for this new funding model.”
The $800 million rice industry makes California the nation’s second largest rice producer. UC conducts research on weed control, pest management and variety testing for rice crops to keep California growers competitive in the world marketplace.
“The rice specialist was identified as a priority position for UC ANR in our position planning process, and the Rice Research Board has taken a bold step to enable us to launch this position sooner rather than later,” Allen-Diaz said. “This generous gift by the Rice Research Board will enable UC ANR to begin recruitment immediately and the six-year commitment gives the position stability. After six years, UC ANR will assume financial responsibility for the position.”
The board will donate $212,000 each of the next six years for a total of $1.272 million to support a UC Cooperative Extension specialist to conduct rice-related research. The Rice Research Board is funded by grower assessments that are based on the amount of rice each grower produces. This specialist position, which will be based in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, will help UC ANR fulfill its mission as well as serve the rice industry’s needs.
“The Rice Research Board recognized the value of having a rice specialist serving the industry,” said Dana Dickey, executive director of the California Rice Research Board. “This service includes acting as a bridge for the efforts of the rice ‘team’ at UC Davis and ANR, performing research on issues vital to the industry, being a resource for linking new research directions with researchers, and overseeing the variety trials for the industry.”
Dickey added, “The Rice Research Board chose this avenue to ensure the position will continue without interruption and be filled in coordination with the retirement of the present specialist.”
“Hiring outstanding academics to do research and deliver new knowledge is critical to the sustainability of farmers and to the future of California,” said Allen-Diaz. “This new funding model will enable us to act now to work on needed research and deliver science-based solutions.”
To discuss potential partnership opportunities to fund academic positions, contact Cindy Barber at Cynthia.Barber@ucop.edu or (510) 987-9139.
- Posted By: Brenda Dawson
- Written by: Pam Kan-Rice, (530) 754-3912, firstname.lastname@example.org and Brenda Dawson, (530) 752-7779, email@example.com
University of California researchers will receive more than $6 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2011 Specialty Crop Block Grant program, which is intended to enhance agricultural markets, address environmental concerns, protect plant health, provide farmers with scientifically tested production techniques and increase food safety.
The USDA awarded $55 million nationwide for the Specialty Crop Block Grant program, which provides grants to states to enhance the competitiveness of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture identified 72 projects in the state for funding, including 30 projects led by University of California agricultural researchers.
“Funding for specialty crop research is critical to California’s $37.5 billion agricultural industry because many of the crops grown in California are considered specialty crops,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “With these funds, UC scientists will be helping California farmers find new ways to protect their crops from pests and diseases, remain economically viable, and provide healthy food for an increasing number of people.”
- The UC Davis Center for Produce Safety received a combined $1.4 million for food safety projects, many of which will develop strategies to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
- Assessing temperature conditions to determine the potential for using wind machines as an alternative to sprinklers for frost protection in coastal vineyards with the ultimate goal of reduced water use is the goal of a $59,961 project led by UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor Mark Battany in San Luis Obispo County.
- The UC Agricultural Issues Center will be conducting an analysis of the effects of quality control standards and European Union trade policies on the California olive industry, to identify market opportunities as standards and policies change, funded for $135,883.
- The largest single award made to UC in this round was $495,750 to a statewide project that will assess the effects of reduced irrigation on strawberries, blueberries and blackberries -- including berry yield, nutritional content, flavor and consumer preference -- led by researchers with the UC small farm program.
- A project that will train small-scale, Latino, Hmong and Mien growers in Fresno, the Sacramento Valley, the Central Coast and Southern California regions to compete in new markets, led by the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, received $86,851.
- Developing improved integrated pest management strategies that could help ornamental nurseries protect against the light brown apple moth is the goal of a $255,598 project led by Steve Tjosvold, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Santa Cruz County.
“Many of these projects are collaborative efforts between farmers and scientists from UC campuses, UC Cooperative Extension advisors in counties, and other agencies and educational institutions,” Allen-Diaz said. “This array of expertise focused along the spectrum of specialty crops production will help keep California competitive in the global economy.”
For a complete list of California’s Specialty Crop Block Grants projects, please visit http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/grants.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
UC Berkeley professor Barbara Allen-Diaz, associate vice president of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was appointed today (Sept. 15) by the Board of Regents to a term position as head of the university’s statewide agricultural and natural resources programs.
As UC systemwide vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR), Allen-Diaz will lead the university’s research and outreach activities in food systems, environmental sciences, family and consumer sciences, forestry, community development, 4-H youth development and related areas. The appointment is effective for up to three years, beginning October 1, 2011.
“For more than 140 years, UC has provided California farmers the research and new technology they need to compete in global markets,” said UC President Mark G. Yudof. “Together, we have developed new crops varieties and some of the most progressive and environmentally friendly farming practices to produce an abundant and safe supply of food. Under the leadership of Barbara Allen-Diaz, ANR will continue its legacy of working within California communities to address new challenges.”
ANR programs, including Cooperative Extension and the Agricultural Experiment Station, are located on UC’s Berkeley, Davis and Riverside campuses, with nine research and extension centers and more than 50 county offices throughout the state, with nearly 1,000 Agricultural Experiment Station faculty, Cooperative Extension specialists and Cooperative Extension advisors.
“I am deeply honored to be selected as vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources,” said Allen-Diaz. “I am privileged to work with incredibly dedicated, hard-working people who possess exceptional expertise and a passion to find solutions to the most pressing problems facing California agriculture, natural resources and our youth.”
The first woman to lead UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Allen-Diaz succeeds Daniel M. Dooley, who was appointed in January 2008. In November 2008, Dooley agreed to take on additional responsibilities as senior vice president for External Affairs and he has served since then in both roles. Given the increasing demands of the two roles, it is no longer feasible for one individual to cover both positions.
As Dooley resigns his position as vice president-Agriculture and Natural Resources on October 1, Allen-Diaz will succeed him as vice president, reporting directly to the provost and executive vice president-Academic Affairs.
In addition to his title as senior vice president for external relations, Dooley will be named senior advisor to the President on Agriculture and Natural Resources and will be available to advise Allen-Diaz, Provost Lawrence Pitts and President Yudof on issues related to agriculture and natural resources and the strategic direction of ANR.
Allen-Diaz is an effective and seasoned leader in the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, where she has served as associate vice president-Academic Programs and Strategic Initiatives since 2009 and as assistant vice president–programs since 2007. She is currently on leave from her position as a tenured faculty member in the College of Natural Resources on the Berkeley campus, where she has worked since 1986. She also holds the prestigious Russell Rustici Chair in Rangeland Management.
“I am very excited about Barbara stepping into this role,” said Dooley. “As a member of a farming family, I have a personal investment in ANR and I know she cares deeply about the organization. I respect her as a scientist and have confidence in her capability to lead ANR.”
Allen-Diaz was among 2,000 scientists recognized for their work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to the IPCC and Vice President Al Gore in 2007. Allen-Diaz's contributions focused on the effects of climate change on rangeland species and landscapes. She has authored more than 160 research articles and presentations and is an active participant in her professional society; she has served on its board of directors and on various government panels.
Allen-Diaz will receive an annual salary of $280,000, along with the following additional items university policy: standard pension and health and welfare benefits and standard senior management benefits, including Senior Manager Life Insurance, Executive Business Travel Insurance and Executive Salary Continuation for Disability, and use of administrative funds for official entertainment and other purposes permitted by university policy.
Allen-Diaz earned a B.A. in anthropology, an M.S. in range management and a Ph.D. in wildland resource sciences, all from UC Berkeley.