- Author: Scott Hernandez-Jason
The two UCCE specialists, from the UC Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources, will help further connect campus research with local farmers and residents.
One of the positions, which will be housed in the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, will help farmers and ranchers adjust to the problems created by climate change and participate in statewide efforts, which include state and federal agencies in addition to UC, address climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The other position, housed in the Health Sciences Research Institute, will focus on nutrition research and education and food security, aiming to improve the lives of local residents. The UCCE nutrition specialist will connect with a larger team of nutrition researchers and educators throughout the UC system addressing issues related to healthy food and human health.
UC Merced Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Tom Peterson said even though the campus doesn't have an agriculture school, current areas of faculty research can and do benefit San Joaquin Valley citizens and farmers. For example, research on unmanned aerial vehicles offers more efficient means to monitor soil and crop conditions. UC Merced scientists are also conducting research into factors that affect the flow of water out of the Sierra Nevada and into the San Joaquin Valley.
“These positions come with a focus on interacting with the community, conducting applied research, and translating UC research to help the agricultural economy and local residents,” he said. “This is a recognition that we're making important contributions to the agricultural industry and that we have research and outreach important to it.”
Both positions require applicants with Ph.D.s who are ready to start projects that will work toward solving pressing problems.
The climate change specialist could potentially study precision technologies that help better manage agricultural systems or increase the quality and scale of information.
The nutrition specialist will work with experts in the field to understand regional and state research needs and outreach priorities. The specialist will also have an emphasis on nutrition and disease prevention.
“We're an ideal lab for these kinds of research experiments,” Peterson said.
“Serving California agriculture with UC science-based solutions is what we do on an everyday basis. California agriculture is a world-recognized marvel, and we'd like to think the university, through its Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is a big reason why,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, Vice President of ANR. “This collaboration with UC Merced will only strengthen UC efforts.”
ANR focuses on agriculture, nutrition, natural resources and youth development. UC Cooperative Extension, which is part of ANR, conducts research on campuses, at research and extension centers and in counties.
UCCE advisors and educators work directly with people in their communities to conduct and apply this science-based research on the farm and field and in classrooms and homes. UCCE's 20,000 Master Gardener Program and 4-H Youth Development Program volunteers help extend UC's information even further into communities around the state.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
The annual Ag Day at the Capitol event, held Wednesday (March 19) in Sacramento, honored the University of California Cooperative Extension for its centennial. California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross presented a proclamation to Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources, who oversees UC Cooperative Extension.
“I want to commend my good friend Barbara Allen-Diaz and Cooperative Extension,” said Ross. “You help us take all that great knowledge from the UC System and extend it directly to farmers and ranchers. It is a circle of innovation that sets us apart. It is absolutely crucial to our future and I'm really happy to be here to celebrate 100 years with you.”
UC Cooperative Extension, which has offices in counties throughout California, will be holding local celebrations throughout 2014. For more information about the UCCE centennial, visit http://ucanr.edu/100.
- Author: Shelly Meron, UC Office of the President, (510) 987-9200, email@example.com
“The division of Agriculture and Natural Resources will report directly to the UC President, effective today. By taking this action, I want to underscore both the important role agriculture plays in California's economy and culture and the value the University places on its service to this industry.
“Since UC's earliest days as a land-grant university, ANR has delivered outstanding service and research innovations to California growers, ranchers, gardeners and youth. I am committed to enhancing those long-standing partnerships.”
Historically, the ANR vice president reported to the UC president, just as the campus chancellors do. Six years ago, as part of a broader reorganization, the division was put under the umbrella of the UC Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.
“I'm pleased that the president recognizes the importance of ANR to the University and the state of California,” said ANR Vice President Barbara Allen-Diaz. “We all look forward to continued service to the people of California and to strengthening our relationships with the agricultural community under President Napolitano's leadership.”
ANR includes more than 700 academic researchers and 300 UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) advisors and specialists, based on campuses and in county offices throughout California. This year the United States celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of Cooperative Extension. UCCE is one of the oldest in the nation, opening the first office in Humboldt County in 1913.
ANR operates nine research and extension centers that contribute to breakthroughs in food production and processing that have increased yields, reduced irrigation and fertilizing costs, and eradicated invasive pests and diseases.
In addition, ANR manages the statewide 4-H Youth Development program, serving more than 150,000 young people. It also manages California's Master Gardener program and community-based nutrition programs that reach 222,000 adults and children annually.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
“With our administrative and statewide program staff co-located in one building in Davis, we will be able to work more efficiently to meet the needs of Californians statewide,” said Allen-Diaz. “We also anticipate savings on energy and other costs by renovating an existing building to meet LEED Certified Interior standards.”
Originally built as an indoor roller hockey rink, and later used as the temporary home of the Yolo County Library and the Explorit Science Center, the building will become the administrative home for UC ANR’s statewide programs. Interior renovations to the existing 33,000 square feet include adding 9,600 square feet of a partial second floor in the rink portion of the building.
UC ANR’s statewide programs include Cooperative Extension advisors located in 57 counties as well as nine Research and Extension Centers in different ecosystems from Tulelake near the Oregon border to El Centro in the Imperial Valley. UC ANR also manages a number of well-known statewide programs whose administrative offices will be located in the new building, including:
- Integrated Pest Management;
- Master Gardeners;
- 4-H Youth Development; and
- The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).
For more information about UC ANR, visit http://ucanr.edu.
- 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.”