- (Focus Area) Agriculture
John Bailey, director of the University of California's Hopland Research and Extension Center, has been appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. Bailey's two-year term expires on Sept. 17, 2021.
The purpose of the Committee is to advise the USDA Secretary on strategies, policies and programs that enhance opportunities for new farmers and ranchers.
“As a member of the Committee, you will advise me on matters impacting beginning farmers and ranchers, including access to land and capital, recruitment and retention of farmers and ranchers, and more,” Perdue wrote in Bailey's appointment letter. “Your role is vital as I strive to obtain the public and industry perspectives on National and State strategies, policies, and programs impacting beginning farmers and ranchers.”
Before joining UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bailey was the Mendo-Lake Food Hub project manager for North Coast Opportunities, where he developed a regional food hub with an integrated training, marketing and distribution system that allowed regional specialty crop growers to dramatically increase sales of their crops.
Prior to that, Bailey worked at McEvoy of Marin for 12 years. He started in horticultural operations in McEvoy's vegetable gardens and fruit and olive orchards and worked his way up to director of operations, overseeing product development, production and distribution of their botanical-based body care brand as well as national sales and marketing for their private label soap line. He also owned and operated Middle Mountain Farm, which grew and marketed specialty crops to retail and wholesale customers. He is currently a partner in a bulk wine storage company in addition to overseeing Hopland Research and Extension Center's 5,300 acres of oak woodland, grassland, chaparral and riparian environments for research and education.
“In my various roles related to, and diverse network of professionals contacts in, agriculture, combined with my experience in multiple business enterprises, I have gained experiences and knowledge which will help me provide solid advice to the Secretary,” said Bailey. “I am honored to be appointed to this committee and will do my best to advise the Secretary on issues affecting beginning farmers and ranchers across our state, and methods that show promise for assisting them in their agricultural careers.”
The Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers is made up of 20 members from organizations with demonstrated experience in training beginning farmers and ranchers, and other entities or persons providing lending or technical assistance for qualified beginning farmers and ranchers. Congress authorized the committee in 1992 and since its inception, the advisory committee has been an important part of the USDA strategy to engage, support and serve new and beginning farmers. The committee is funded by the Farm Service Agency. USDA's Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement provides oversight, which ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity.
Legalization of cannabis in California changes the dynamics of competing industries
Humboldt County has long been known for marijuana production. Over the last decade, the North Coast's Emerald Triangle – Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties – have experienced a large influx of growers moving to the area to get into the cannabis business.
The greatest expansion of cannabis cultivation occurred within the remote corners of these counties.
“Forested and woodland parcels became valued, not for timber or ranching, but for their capacity to support cannabis operations,” said Yana Valachovic, UC Cooperative Extension director and forest advisor in Humboldt County. “Land prices skyrocketed and a whole wave of newcomers surrounded ‘traditional' producers of forest products and beef. The nearly exponential growth of the cannabis industry has been a shock to some and there has been a steady discussion of social, economic and environmental concerns.”
Of the 71 landowners responding to the survey, 18% said they had grown cannabis on their property and 40% said they had indirectly profited by trucking or operating heavy equipment for the cannabis industry. About half of the landowners didn't indicate whether they had or had not grown cannabis.
While the burgeoning cannabis grows have brought jobs to the economically challenged county, over 60% of the landowners agreed that cannabis had contributed to labor costs, 57% agreed it had negatively affected their livestock operations and the majority reported negative impacts to their property.
“Fences have been wrecked, roads damaged, and stream water theft,” wrote one rancher.
Since cannabis has become legal in California, most landowners (64%) have maintained their views on the industry. Yet, Valachovic and her colleagues are interested in seeing how this rural community adapts to protect its environmental health and economic prosperity.
“It's not news that ranchers can have issues with cannabis farmers, but the evolving perspective is what most excites me about this survey,” she said. “The cannabis industry is very dynamic and has experienced rapid expansion, price highs and lows, and an evolving public policy discussion trying to keep up with the changes. The results of this survey reflect opinions from 2018 and with the inclusion of hemp or low THC cannabis, perspectives will continue to evolve.”
The study was conducted by Valachovic, UC Cooperative Extension advisors Lenya Quinn-Davidson and Jeffery Stackhouse, and UC Cooperative Extension specialist Van Butsic in the Department of Environmental Policy Management at UC Berkeley.
The authors concluded that while public policy will not solve all social behaviors and competing industry needs, land-use policy can help mediate land-use conflicts and zoning to support new economic opportunities as well as existing multigenerational businesses.
“Humboldt has been at the forefront of these issues for decades and perhaps the lessons learned here can be helpful for other communities,” Valachovic said.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Eight academics joined the ranks of UC Cooperative Extension advisors, specialists and an academic coordinator over the last few months.
The new academics are:
UCCE specialty crops advisor
Contra Costa County
Kamyar Aram joined UC ANR in August 2019 as UCCE advisor in specialty crops. He serves Contra Costa and Alameda counties. Previously, Aram was a post-doctoral scholar at UC Davis working on research and outreach for management of vectored grapevine diseases. He has bachelor's degrees in plant biology and Latin from Ohio State University, a master's degree in horticulture from Cornell University and a doctorate degree in plant pathology from UC Davis. His doctoral research focused on the life cycle of the Sudden Oak Death pathogen in aquatic environments. For his master's thesis, Aram studied the use of compost as a source of nitrogen and to suppress soilborne diseases in vegetable production.
Aram can be reached at (925) 608-6692, email@example.com.
Academic Coordinator for Volunteer Engagement
Master Gardener statewide program
Marisa Coyne was named academic coordinator of volunteer engagement in the UC Master Gardener Statewide Program in April 2019. Previously, Coyne was a community education specialist at the UCCE office in Marin County, where she managed the 4-H Youth Development Program. Originally from Philadelphia, Coyne has worked in rural and urban communities and in food, agriculture and wilderness spaces, providing interdisciplinary, inquiry-based educational opportunities for learners of all ages. Coyne holds a bachelor's degree in communications at Temple University and a master's degree in community development at UC Davis.
Coyne can be reached at (530) 750-1394, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director, Western IPM Center
UC ANR headquarters
Amer Fayad joined UC ANR as director of the Western Integrated Pest Management Center in July 2019. He is a plant pathologist with research experience on the identification, epidemiology, biological and molecular diversity of viruses. Prior to joining UC ANR, Fayad served in several capacities at Virginia Tech, most recently as associate director and Africa program manager of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for IPM. Fayad has a bachelor's degree in agriculture and a master's degree in crop production from the American University of Beirut. He earned a doctorate degree in plant pathology, physiology and weed science from Virginia Tech.
Fayad can be reached at (530) 750-1271, email@example.com.
UCCE nutrient management and soil quality advisor
Joy Hollingsworth was appointed nutrient management and soil quality advisor, serving Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties, in April 2019. Before taking her new position, she served as a staff research associate at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier. Previous to that, Hollingsworth was a junior specialist in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, where she designed and implemented agronomic field trials for canola, camelina, sugar beets and castor. Hollingsworth has a bachelor's degree in communications and a master's degree in plant science from Fresno State.
Hollingsworth can be reached at (559) 241-7527, firstname.lastname@example.org.
UCCE nutrition specialist
Statewide position, based at UC Berkeley
Susan Matias joined UC ANR in July 2019 as a UCCE specialist in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at UC Berkeley. Before coming to UCANR, Matias was a research scientist with the California Department of Public Health and a specialist at UC San Francisco. From 2013-18, she was an assistant project scientist in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis. Matias has a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in educational psychology from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. She earned a doctorate degree in epidemiology from UC Davis, with an emphasis in international and community nutrition. Her research interests include maternal and child nutrition, immigrant health, food security, obesity and diabetes prevention.
Matias can be reached at (510) 642-0980, email@example.com.
UCCE organic production specialist
Statewide position, based at UC Santa Cruz
Joji Muramoto became UC ANR's first organic production specialist in May 2019. He has a joint affiliation with UCCE and the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz. In his new role, Muramoto will coordinate a statewide program focused on fertility and pest management in organic production systems across the state. Muramoto has bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in soil chemistry from Tokyo University of Agriculture. He has conducted research and extension on fertility and soil-borne disease management in organic and conventional strawberry and vegetable production since 1996.
Muramoto can be reached at (831) 459-2178, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Area UCCE orchard systems advisor
San Joaquin County
Mohamed Nouri joined UC ANR in April 2019 as an area orchard systems advisor serving San Joaquin County. He will conduct a research and extension program to address high-priority production and pest management issues in walnuts, sweet cherries, apples, oil olives and other crops. Because San Joaquin County is the statewide leader in cherry and walnut production, Nouri will be a regional and statewide leader, facilitating interaction among campus-based academics, UCCE advisors and community stakeholders. Previously, Nouri worked at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center as a graduate student and post-doctoral researcher. He performed research on fungal diseases of major fruit and nut crops. Nouri has a bachelor's degree in life and earth sciences, a masters in microbiology and plant pathology and a doctorate degree in plant pathology, all from Tunis ElManar University.
Nouri can be reached at (209) 953-6115, email@example.com.
UCCE biometeorology specialist
Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, UC Davis
Kosana Suvocarev joined UC ANR as a UCCE biometeorology specialist in March 2019. Before taking this position, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arkansas, where she was part of a team effort focused on rice farming, water conservation and greenhouse gas emission reduction practices in the area of the Mississippi Alluvial Aquifer. Suvocarev earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Novi Sad in Serbia, and a doctorate degree at the University of Zaragoza, Spain.
Suvocarev can be reached at (530) 752-4628, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farmers who are considering growing romaine hearts or organic strawberries in California's Central Coast region can get some help determining whether the crop will pencil out for them.
UC ANR Agricultural Issues Center and UC Cooperative Extension have released sample costs to produce and harvest organic strawberries for fresh market and romaine lettuce hearts in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.
A major difference between growing strawberries organically and the conventional practice is in weed control.
“Weed management is especially challenging for organic strawberry production because soil fumigation and most herbicides are not allowed under organic regulations,” said Mark Bolda, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Santa Cruz County. “Weeds in furrows between the beds can be mechanically cultivated during the growing season, but most of the weeding will need to be done by hand from December through September.”
The cost analyses are based on hypothetical well-managed farming operations using practices common to the Central Coast region. The costs, materials and practices shown in the studies will not apply to all farms and are intended to assist growers in estimating their own costs.
The organic strawberry study assumes a farm with conventionally grown strawberry transplants planted on 27 contiguous acres of rented land. “Organic strawberry transplants are part of the picture now, but not standard by a long shot,” said Bolda, who co-authored the cost studies. The strawberry crop is harvested by hand and packed into trays containing eight 1-pound clamshells, from April through early October with peak harvest in June and July.
For romaine lettuce for the hearts market, the cost study assumes a farm of 1,500 non-contiguous acres of rented land, with romaine planted on 250 acres and rotated with other lettuce and cool season vegetable crops to assist with pest management and soil fertility. Lettuce is planted continuously from late December to mid-August along the Central Coast. To manage lettuce mosaic virus, Monterey County has a host-free period (December 7 – 21), during which time lettuce may not be planted. In this study, lettuce is planted in January.
For both the organic strawberries and romaine, ranging analysis tables show net profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs. The authors describe the assumptions they used to identify current costs for production material inputs and overhead.
The authors have also expanded the section on labor, which includes information on California's minimum wage and overtime laws.
Growers, UC ANR Cooperative Extension farm advisors and other agricultural associates provided input and reviewed the methods and findings of both studies.
Free copies of these and other sample cost of production studies for many commodities are available. To download the cost studies, visit the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at https://coststudies.ucdavis.edu.
For more information about calculations used in the romaine hearts and organic strawberriesstudies, contact the Agricultural Issues Center at (530) 752-4651 or Mark Bolda at UC Cooperative Extension in Santa Cruz County at (831) 763-8025.
The cost and returns studies program is funded by the UC Agricultural Issues Center and UC Cooperative Extension, which are part of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
After nearly 38 years of working for University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, Janine Hasey, retired on July 1 as the UC Cooperative Extension orchard and environmental horticulture advisor for Sutter and Yuba counties.
Hasey has worked mainly with walnuts, kiwifruit, cling peaches and almonds. Over the course of her career, walnut acreage in Sutter and Yuba counties has grown from 17,000 acres to 47,000 acres.
Collaborating with local farmers, Hasey conducted research on tree pruning, pest management, walnut rootstocks and varieties, water quality, cover crops, and irrigation management.
“Janine has been a tremendous asset to our entire agriculture industry during her 38-year tenure with UC Cooperative Extension,” said Sandra Gilbert, Rio Oso walnut grower.
Gilbert, who farms with family members, said, “Working side-by-side as Janine conducted research on our ranches, often with other scientists from the UC system, has been a pleasure. She has provided important information that has dramatically changed the methods we employ to produce walnuts.”
Hasey has been the “go-to person” for the California kiwifruit industry, said Tom Schultz, past chairman of the California Kiwifruit Commission and current chairman of the Kiwifruit Administrative Committee.
“It would be hard for me to list all the kiwifruit research projects that Janine has tirelessly worked on for the benefit of our California kiwifruit industry,” Schultz said. “She has always been the first person that we would contact in our UC Cooperative Extension system when a kiwifruit research project was needed. If it was an insect problem, fungus, canker, you name it, Janine was always there to help us either solve the problem or name the best researchers to contact for help.”
To show other walnut growers the results of experiments, Hasey held field days at the Gilberts' ranch.
“It's rewarding to see other growers demonstrate their high regard for Janine when they flock to the on-site meetings to witness results of her test plots,” Gilbert said. “We have a number of test plots where the on-site grower meetings really bulge. Growers, buyers and nurseries are eager to examine growth patterns, production, nut quality and crack outs of new varieties. Janine has provided quality information that is paving the way for advanced tree vigor, more timely harvest schedules, quality nuts and higher production.”
A recent change in walnut training management, at first met with skepticism, was the no-pruning, no-heading practice introduced by UC Cooperative Extension orchard management specialist Bruce Lampinen and Hasey. “We had a paradigm shift when we realized that lateral bearing walnuts do not have to be headed to grow during the training stage,” Hasey said.
Gilbert agreed: “Watching over the plot for the past 6 years, we were all taken aback by the superior growth and early production this method provided. After adding in the significant labor savings for pruning labor and brush removal costs, savvy growers quickly put this method into action on their own ranches.”
The farm advisor's research also helped walnut growers estimate plant water needs. “Watermark soil sensors and leaf-pressure chambers proved invaluable in determining optimum water needs for orchards leading to significant advancements in tree health with the added benefit of often saving large quantities of water,” Gilbert said. “The use of the pressure chambers is a regular part of our employee training now.”
After earning an M.S. in plant pathology, Hasey was selected by UC ANR for an intern program in 1981. She trained with mentors on tree crops in Sutter and Yuba counties and weeds, environmental horticulture and wine grapes in Napa County.
“I was drawn to the flexibility of the position, responding to problems and challenges as they arose, solving those problems through applied research and collaborative work with colleagues, conducting extension meetings and field days, and the opportunity to work with so many growers, PCAs and Master Gardeners,” Hasey said.
In 1983, she returned to Sutter-Yuba counties as a UCCE farm advisor working mainly with walnuts, kiwifruit and almonds, later adding cling peaches. In 2011, she began serving walnut growers in Colusa County. In 2014, she added UCCE director for Sutter-Yuba counties to her responsibilities.
“She has been a foremost resource and promoter of agriculture and is responsible for keeping our industry in front of the pack,” Gilbert said. “On behalf of the entire Gilbert family, we have enjoyed and learned from every encounter and hope that Janine doesn't entirely kick her work shoes off to the side.”
In retirement, Hasey, who has received emeritus status from UC ANR, plans to continue some research projects, contribute to the Sacramento Valley Walnut Newsletter and remain involved in the local agriculture industry. “I am looking forward to traveling more, but I'm not planning to ride into the sunset for a while.”
“I can't think of a better career than working with so many fine individuals in orchards and vineyards throughout these counties, diagnosing problems and researching methods to increase production, reduce labor costs and manage pests and diseases with products safer to humans and the environment,” Hasey said. “We've persevered through droughts and floods, good times and bad.”