Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources, issued the following statement today (Sept. 18):
Earlier today (Sept. 18), UC President Janet Napolitano announced that she will be stepping down as president of the University in August 2020. President Napolitano joined UC as the first woman to lead the university in 2013.
We are thankful for President Napolitano's leadership and vision to address critical issues that affect California, the rest of the country and the world.
Recognizing the challenge of feeding a growing worldwide population, Napolitano launched the Global Food Initiative to inspire more collaboration and draw from the collective resources of all 10 UC campuses, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to develop solutions for food security, health and sustainability.
To address the threat of climate change, she created the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which marshals resources from across the UC system to research and develop ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To attract and retain top-flight academics, she created the Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs to help UC campuses and UC ANR encourage donors to establish endowed chairs to fund research. The Presidential Match has enabled UC ANR to fill five endowed positions in UC Cooperative Extension, ensuring the scientists will have a dedicated source of funding for their ongoing agricultural research.
Finally, she emphasized the university's commitment to diversity by taking actions to let immigrant and LGBTQ members of the UC community know they are welcome and supported.
The UC Board of Regents will soon appoint a search committee to start a national search for the next president of the University. Per policy, the search committee will include student, academic and alumni representatives who will seek input from the UC community and the public.
More information, including highlights of President Napolitano's tenure at the University, can be found at https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/university-california-president-janet-napolitano-announces-decision-step-down-next-year.
Glenda Humiston has always been involved in rural issues from her days growing up on a cattle ranch to her current efforts to connect rural communities to more resources as University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
In recognition of her contributions to sustain California as a place to create and thrive and to bestow to future generations, Humiston will be presented the 2018 California Steward Leader Award by California Forward and the California Stewardship Network at the California Economic Summit in Santa Rosa on Nov. 16. She currently serves on the 2018 Economic Summit Steering Committee and is the Action Team co-lead for Working Landscapes and co-chair of Elevate Rural California.
She has been involved with the California Economic Summit from the beginning, chairing the Access to Capital Action Team at the first Summit in 2012. To raise awareness of innovative options for financing projects, she founded and chaired the California Financial Opportunities Roundtable and was instrumental in producing the Access to Capital Guidebook, a widely used resource for small business owners, policymakers and financial institutions.
Humiston served as deputy undersecretary for natural resources and environment at USDA from 1998 to 2001 under President Clinton. She then managed the Sustainable Development Institute at the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development in South Africa and the 2006 World Water Forum in Mexico City. In 2009, Humiston was appointed by President Obama to serve as the California State Director at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Development.
Working landscapes a significant sector of the economy
He added, “The fact that rural issues are on the agenda, the fact that we're talking about ecosystem services and the contributions that Working Landscapes can make in terms of meeting the Economic Summit's million-acre feet of water goal, Glenda has done a tremendous amount to make that possible.”
Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore agreed. “Glenda is a powerful and relentless advocate for triple bottom line prosperity. She has championed and delivered in every position I have seen her in. As one of the Co-chairs/Steering Committee for the Economic Summit, she has ensured that working landscapes remains a driver for rural prosperity.”
“Glenda embodies what CA Forward and the California Stewardship Network are all about: empowering regional hubs to own their own future,” added Gore, who served with Humiston at the U.S. Department of Agriculture as presidential appointees under President Obama.
Her work on rural issues continues. “Our Ecosystems Services Team has done a fantastic job in highlighting the opportunities for ecosystem services to be a powerful policy instrument as well as a compensation instrument for landowners to ensure that the many benefits from ecosystem services are available to the general public,” Humiston said. She added that recommendations from last year's Summit may be included in upcoming legislation.
Biomass, rural broadband and water infrastructure
As co-chair of Elevate Rural California, she is working on three main areas: biomass, rural broadband and water infrastructure. “We identified those issues at last year's Summit and worked this year to identify where the opportunities were as well as options to pursue. We're bringing that information to the Summit this year to get people to really rally around those three issues and move forward working on implementation.”
To support these initiatives, Humiston is working to enhance economic development efforts throughout the state by ensuring that the research and resources of the University of California are delivered to every single community in the state. UC Cooperative Extension is in 70 communities and serves all 58 counties; its mission is to conduct research and extend knowledge that supports food security, healthy environments, science literacy, youth development and economic success in a global economy.
Humiston, who joined the university in 2015 and clearly loves her work, said, “I love the mission of the programs I oversee for the University of California. This work is critical as we seek solutions to the challenges we all face: climate change, invasive species, changing workforce demands, water management and more.”
Vision based on partnerships
Her vision is really based on partnerships. “I also see great opportunity for increased collaboration between UC, CSU and the Community Colleges," she said. "Working together we can offer more robust support for innovation, regional industry clusters, new business opportunities and other aspects of local economic development; we can bring a lot of resources to the table. Working with the California Economic Summit allows us to leverage the resources of various regional initiatives as well as other sectors; this helps all the Summit's efforts to be more successful.”
As for the award, Humiston is humbled. “It's quite heart-warming to be selected by people I respect for something like that and certainly to be in the company of people who have won it in past years,” she said.
Previous recipients of the California Steward Leader Award include former California State Senator Becky Morgan, California Emerging Technology Fund's Sunne McPeak and Van Ton-Quinlivan, vice chancellor of the California Community Colleges.
Humiston will receive the award on Friday, Nov. 16, at the annual gathering of the California Economic Summit in Santa Rosa.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources vice president Glenda Humiston signed a memorandum of understanding in Sacramento Oct. 26 to initiate a new partnership to advance climate-smart agriculture in California.
This partnership will provide $1.1 million to hire 10 UC Cooperative Extension community education specialists who will be deployed to 10 counties statewide to assist and encourage farmers to participate in CDFA programs aimed at increasing adoption of smart farming and ranching practices.
“Agriculture is an important part of the climate solution,” Ross said. “This funding enables CDFA and UC ANR to partner with farmers to scale-up climate smart agricultural practices.”
The new program is funded by California Climate Investments dollars through the Strategic Growth Council (SGC),
“Farmers and ranchers are key to carbon sequestration and a sustainable California,” said SGC chair Ken Alex. “The Strategic Growth Council is pleased to fund this partnership for smart agricultural practices.”
The partnership is focused on implementing on-farm solutions to improve soil health, nutrient management, irrigation management, on-farm composting and manure management – smart farming practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
- State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program
- Healthy Soils Program
- Alternative Manure Management Program
The 10 new education specialists will serve in Mendocino, Glenn, Yolo, San Joaquin, Merced, Kern, Imperial, San Diego, San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz counties.
Three UCCE advisors will mentor and assist the new educators: water quality and management advisor Laurent Ahiablame, based in San Diego County; area dairy advisor Betsy Karle, based in Glenn County; and irrigation and cotton advisor Dan Munk, based in Fresno County.
In addition to working with the new educators, the UCCE advisors conduct research on farming and ranching practices that boost efficiency and protect the climate, therefore serving as a conduit between discovery and implementation.
“This is a great opportunity to really support growers find the right balance between food production and effective management of natural resources,” Ahiablame said. “With the 10 community education specialists we will be one step closer to the producers across the state. I look forward to the opportunity to mentor these specialists, who in turn will be making direct impacts on the community.”
Karle said she was interested in participating in the program as a way to encourage dairy operators to try practices they are interested in but consider too costly.
“I've worked here locally with dairy producers who wanted to implement practices but need financial assistance in order to make it feasible,” Karle said. “They need assistance in the grant application process and technical support to make changes on their farms.”
The tenth Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACE) will be held for the first time in Northern California in October. To promote partnerships, the exchange will bring economic and political leaders from across the Americas and beyond to visit Northern California's world-class innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems, and to experience the best California has to offer in food, wine and local products. The milestone “ACE 10” is sponsored by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, Central Valley AgPlus and other California partners.
From Oct. 21 to 27, approximately 50 high-level economic and political leaders from across the Americas, selected through a competitive application process, will participate in ACE 10, which will highlight innovation and entrepreneurial activity.
ACE 10 program themes include:
o Improving health: Bioscience, food safety, healthy food access and nutrition
o Feeding the world: Sustainable food systems & communities, food security, ag tech
o Maximizing resources: Resource management, water and energy, waste-to-energy uses
o Fostering resiliency: Environmental sciences, mobility, global leadership
o Innovation ecosystems: Innovation communities, supporting entrepreneurs, financing ventures
“The University of California is pleased to host the milestone ACE 10 in Northern California to highlight our world-class innovation and entrepreneurship that drives local and regional economic development,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president of agriculture and natural resources. “We look forward to building new and lasting partnerships across the Americas.”
The ACE 10 program will start in San Francisco at UCSF's renowned biotech research center and start-up incubator in Mission Bay, followed by a visit to NASA Ames Research Center. The tour includes stops in Santa Cruz, Monterey, Salinas, Fresno, and Davis, and will conclude in Sacramento. Site visits will focus on food and agriculture, water and energy technologies, life and environmental sciences and advances in manufacturing.
“It's a tremendous honor and important opportunity for Northern California to host the 10th Americas Competiveness Exchange,” said Valley Vision's chief executive Bill Mueller. “Hosting this global delegation gives California not just the chance to showcase our assets, but also provides an unmatched platform to build global economic and research alliances.”
Gabriel Youtsey, UC ANR chief innovation officer agrees. “Innovation and entrepreneurship are California's biggest ‘exports' to the world and we aim to set off the next wave of innovation in our state's distinct areas of strength: food, agriculture and life sciences.”
The agenda is designed to provide the delegates opportunities for interactive learning, sharing of best practices, networking and partnership development as they travel from the coast to the inland areas of the state. “During the tours, our visitors will discover opportunities and create new collaborations that will continue to flourish long after they return to their home countries,” Humiston said.
ACE toured the Arizona-Southern California corridor in 2016. The most recent exchange, ACE 8, was held in Florida in December 2017. ACE 9 will be held in Israel and Germany this June where the baton will be passed to Humiston to take lead on ACE 10.
Valley Vision—a civic leadership organization headquartered in Sacramento that is committed to building a prosperous and sustainable future—is a co-host for ACE 10, along with UC ANR. The Northern California leadership team also includes California State University, Fresno and California State University, Chico; the cities of Davis, Fresno, Sacramento, Salinas, San Francisco and Santa Cruz; Bay Area Metro and Monterey County. The successful bid to host ACE 10 is an outgrowth of the Central Valley AgPlus food and beverage manufacturing consortium.
The principal ACE convening institutions are the U.S. Department of Commerce, through the International Trade Administration (ITA) and the Economic Development Administration (EDA); the U.S. Department of State; the Government of Argentina;and the Organization of American States (OAS) as the Technical Secretariat for the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC). ACE is a core component of the Work Plan of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network.
Past examples of mutually beneficial partnerships developed by ACE exchanges include:
• Research centers and co-ops such as Organic Valley in Wisconsin and Escuela Superior Integral Lecheria (ESIL) of Villa María in Cordoba, Argentina, working on business and export development in the dairy industry;
• Young entrepreneurs from UNITEC Honduras interacting and collaborating with the entrepreneurship ecosystems led by UC San Diego;
• An industrial internship program between Canada and Mexico through Mitacs, a Canadian not-for-profit research and training organization, and Mexico's National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT).
California is constantly being challenged by pest invasions, obesity, labor shortages, water scarcity, food insecurity, climate change and more. To accelerate the development and adoption of technologies that address these challenges and advance food, agriculture and natural resources in California, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and AgStart will receive a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to cultivate the Verde Innovation Network for Entrepreneurship (the VINE)
Like a grapevine, the VINE will connect existing clusters of innovation across California and link entrepreneurs with mentors, advisors, collaborators, events, competitions, education and other services to turn good ideas into products and services people can use.
“We want to make sure every Californian has the support system to take a novel idea and commercialize a new product or start a new business,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “They don't have to be a university inventor, they could be a farmer or a young person.”
AgStart itself was established with an EDA i6 Challenge grant to assist agriculture and food technology entrepreneurs in the Sacramento Valley region. Since 2012, AgStart has supported more than 58 entrepreneurs and their companies.
“In 2016, of the 16 entrepreneurial companies that AgStart assisted, eight resided outside our region, and leveraged AgStart's program to make connections into our Sacramento Valley region,” said John Selep, president of AgTech Innovation Alliance, AgStart's sponsor.
“The VINE will expand this AgStart model of connecting entrepreneurs to the resources they need to be successful, to enable entrepreneurs residing anywhere in California to connect to the clusters of resources, contacts, mentors and potential partners that have emerged across the state,” said Selep.
UC Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors, who work in every county, can provide insight into real-world conditions that entrepreneurs should consider in the development stage. UC ANR's nine research and extension centers can provide locations to field-test products and demonstrate their effectiveness. For example, start-up Blue River is testing its technology by flying a drone over sorghum crops to collect data at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.
“The VINE is really exciting because of its potential to unite all the regions of California in an innovation ecosystem for food, agriculture and natural resources,” said Youtsey. “Not only will it help bridge the Silicon Valley and Bay Area with California's food-producing valleys, but it will bring opportunities for our innovators and entrepreneurs in rural communities in every part of California to participate.”
The VINE, which is working with UC Davis Innovation Institute for Food and Health and Valley Vision, is being structured to complement other efforts to establish food, agriculture, and natural resources incubation and innovation resources in cluster locations around the state, such as the BlueTechValley Regional Innovation Cluster, the Western Growers Innovation & Technology Center, UC Merced's VentureLab and others.
Youtsey and Selep are seeking more VINE partners with expertise across the business spectrum.
“If our vision is successful, the VINE will make California the most fertile region in the world for entrepreneurs in ag and food technology to establish themselves, to prosper and grow,” Selep said.