"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.