After three years of limited hiring due to budget constraints, the University of California's Agriculture and Natural Resources has announced it will release 10 UC Cooperative Extension positions for recruitment.
UC ANR is home to the county-based UC Cooperative Extension, Integrated Pest Management, Master Gardener and 4-H Youth Development and other programs.
The new UC Cooperative Extension positions include:
- Plant Pathology Area Advisor, Santa Cruz County
- Soils and Irrigation Advisor, Kern County
- Urban Agriculture/Small Farms Area Advisor, San Bernardino County
- Community Nutrition & Innovative Technologies Specialist, UC Davis
- Forest and Fuels Management Specialist, UC Berkeley
- Subtropical Crops Pathology Specialist, UC Riverside
- Diversified Agricultural Systems Area Advisor, Lake County
- Forestry and Natural Resources Area Advisor, Sutter-Yuba counties
- 4-H Youth Development Advisor, San Mateo-San Francisco counties
- Integrated Vineyard Systems Area Advisor, Hopland Research and Extension Center
The county listed beside the advisor title is where the office for the employee will be located. All of the UC Cooperative Extension Advisor positions will serve multiple counties.
Last week, the state restored UC ANR's budget to pre-COVID levels of FY 2019-20 and provided a 5% increase plus an additional $32 million in ongoing funding, bringing total state support to $107.9 million for the division. Over the past 20 years, UC ANR had seen its budget decrease by almost 50% when adjusted for inflation.
“This budget increase is transformational,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “It will allow us to rebuild UC Cooperative Extension's boots-on-the-ground to help Californians cope with wildfire, drought, climate adaptation and economic development among other issues.”
Twenty UC Cooperative Extension positions have been designated as critically urgent to fill. To avoid overwhelming UC ANR's Human Resources staff, the other 10 positions of the 20 will be released in late September as they ramp up hiring for future recruitment.
“We look forward to releasing additional positions for recruitment – both academic and program support members – throughout the next several months,” said Humiston.
“We are extremely grateful to Governor Newsom, the Legislature and especially Senator John Laird, who championed the budget increase, and look forward to working with our community partners to leverage these resources.”
The state budget signed by Governor Newsom Monday night [July 12] includes a historic increase for the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. The state restored UC ANR's budget to pre-COVID levels of FY 2019-20 and provided a 5% increase plus an additional $32 million in ongoing funding, bringing total state support to $107.9 million for the division, which contains the county-based UC Cooperative Extension, Integrated Pest Management and 4-H Youth Development programs.
“This budget increase is transformational and will allow us to rebuild UC Cooperative Extension's boots-on-the-ground to help Californians cope with wildfire, drought and climate adaptation,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
Over the past 20 years, state funding for UC ANR decreased by almost 50% (adjusted for inflation), resulting in a significant reduction of UC ANR's Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists – from 427 positions in 2001 down to only 269 in 2021 – creating vacancies in many critical positions.
“We appreciate UC ANR stakeholders for sounding the alarm,” Humiston said. “And we are immensely grateful to Senator John Laird, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Education, for recognizing this critical need and for his leadership and dedication to restoring UC ANR's budget to bring back Cooperative Extension throughout California.”
With this new funding, UC ANR will begin recruiting for 20 UC Cooperative Extension academic positions and prioritizing many more critical positions for hiring during the next several months.
“As in the past, we will be talking to our community partners and other stakeholders to identify the most pressing needs to prioritize the next round of hiring,” Humiston said. “We must identify positions to address California's emerging and future needs. While this state budget increase will allow UC ANR to hire more people, we will continue seeking funding from additional sources to expand access to our diverse resources for all Californians.”
To learn more about how UC ANR enhances economic prosperity, protects natural resources, develops an inclusive and equitable society, safeguards food, develops the workforce, builds climate resilience, and promotes the health of people and communities in California, see the stories in its 2020 annual report at https://ucanr.edu/sites/UCANR/files/352362.pdf.
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources brings the power of UC to all 58 California counties. Through research and Cooperative Extension in agriculture, natural resources, nutrition, economic and youth development, our mission is to improve the lives of all Californians. Learn more at ucanr.edu and support our work at donate.ucanr.edu.
The Pistachio Research Board will donate $1.5 million to support a UC Cooperative Extension specialist to conduct nut and fruit disease research. This specialist position, which will be based in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis and housed at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, will help UC ANR fulfill its mission as well as serve the pistachio industry’s needs.
“On behalf of California’s pistachio growers, the California Pistachio Research Board is pleased to invest in the research and extension activities of the University of California and particularly UC Cooperative Extension,” said Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board.
“California farmers, especially pistachio growers, know that research is needed to maintain and improve food production while using our resources wisely and sustainably,” he said. “This position will help address the ever-changing plant disease spectrum in the state, as well as respond to new regulations on both the state and federal levels.”
“The nut and fruit crop pathology specialist was identified as a priority position for UC ANR in our position planning process, and the Pistachio Research Board’s generous gift and foresight enables us to begin recruiting immediately,” Allen-Diaz said. “The board’s six-year commitment gives the position stability. After six years, UC ANR will assume financial responsibility for the position.”
This is the third UC Cooperative Extension academic position funded through a partnership between the agricultural community and UC ANR. The California Rice Research Board and the California Table Grape Commission were the first to partner with the university in this new public-private funding model to fund UC Cooperative Extension positions.
“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.”
“We value our partnership with the UC and will continue to invest in additional research positions as well as support the ongoing research and extension activities of UC scientists,” Klein said.
To discuss potential partnership opportunities to fund academic positions, contact Cindy Barber at Cynthia.Barber@ucop.edu or (510) 987-9139.