Budget meetings were held this week. It was nice to be in the Davis building and see more people than I saw last week! Also nice, and timely for our budget discussion, was the Governor's signing of the state budget. We discussed much about the increased support for our work. The intent behind the restoration of the FY19/20 budget was to allow us to resume our efforts underway prior to the pandemic, including operating funds, equity program assessment, and strategic goals. The additional funds from the legislature are clearly aligned with the legislature's desire to restore the academic footprint to that of over a decade ago. These are all good things. After 5 years of a different picture, I am optimistic that a number of goals can be addressed with these funds; not everything, but enough that each and all benefit directly or indirectly.
The funding is the result of everyone taking time to tell our story. Take a look at this one example, where Lynn tells the 4-H story with Farm to Table Talk podcaster, Roger Wasson. We know Lynn's busy; please thank her for taking the time to do this. If you don't have time to listen to the entire podcast, just check out the first 60 seconds!
Have you had a chance to attend the interview seminars of the new Kearney/Westside REC Director candidates? Two of the three webinars are complete. I hope our stakeholders take time to review the recordings and weigh in on the candidates. We have a number of recruitments open now for director positions in counties, statewide programs or at RECs. I hope we are fortunate enough to have a strong pool of candidates for each position. These represent advancement opportunities for staff and academics, alike.
Tomorrow is a bit hectic with Zoom meetings with both state and federal decision makers, COVID meetings (I hope those wind down soon!), and a few odds and ends. Friday is a bit lighter on the agenda and cooler if I end up in the garage for the day. Next week is another virtual national conference. I'm still undecided if I am eager to end those or look forward to continuing abbreviated conferences with fewer sessions and less hallway time. One conference I am looking forward to is the next ANR conference. Five years goes by fast. And, with all of the hiring ahead of us, this next year will be crazy fast.
In the meantime, please welcome Sandipa Gautam who started this week as the Area Citrus Integrated Pest Management Advisor, based at the Lindcove REC, with programmatic responsibilities in Tulare, Fresno, Madera, and Kern Counties. Welcome, Sandipa! You are joining at an exciting time!
See everyone at the Town Hall!
I went back to the office this week! My plant didn't survive the 16 months without a drink. Other than that, everything was intact. Getting my desktop functioning was a bit of a challenge with updates, recalling passwords, and moving things from my laptop, but I welcome the change in scenery and the air conditioning! My laptop gained back 9 minutes lost since last connecting to the network. Most important, it was nice to see members of the UC ANR team, in person, again!
The NPI has been busy helping facilities reopen safely. Take a look at the factsheet they developed with partners at Purdue University. The USDA has made use of this information in order to assist schools in preparedness plan.
Congratulations to Keith and Fe for their latest accomplishment! A book about social capital and social justice, co-authored with several colleagues from LGUs across the country, has just been published and made available at the 4-H Mall. A timely and important topic, indeed.
While we eagerly await learning that the Governor has signed the state budget restoring the UC budget and augmenting the UC ANR budget line, I am pleased that hiring of new academics continue. In addition to the impressive effort that Ruth is leading to hire 7 Community Educators and 2 CE Advisors to support small-sized farms, Sandipa Gautam starts on July 12th as the Area Citrus Integrated Pest Management Advisor, based at the Lindcove REC, with programmatic responsibilities in Tulare, Fresno, Madera, and Kern Counties. Please make a point to reach out and welcome Sandipa in her new role. Sandipa is not new to UC, but we are extremely pleased to have her join UC ANR.
Scott, Bethanie, Jake and the UC Path transition team have made it past the launch date for bringing the UCR CE Specialists into the UC ANR business unit. I have no doubt they are feeling a wave of relief that the date has passed without disruptions. Likewise, the UCR CE Specialists are no doubt relieved as well. Congratulations to the team at both UC ANR and UCR for their extraordinary care in making the transition a successful reality! Only one unit remains to transition (Oakland)!
After a 3-day weekend of yard work, I am caught up (for now)! I can sense the weeds already recovering, but I am confident I can avoid yard work during the heat promised this weekend. I hope you each find relief from the heat!
Wildfire activity is picking up across the state and this wind isn't helping. It is no surprise that wildfire is the topic of webinars around the state. Word is that Lenya was an incredible speaker for the federal UC Wildfire Briefing. There was great attendance, several questions were directed to or answered by Lenya, and she quickly had two legislative offices contacting her to arrange meetings. Anne Megaro commented that Lenya brought life to the briefing - she was interesting and engaging and connected the value of federal investment to real-world work reducing catastrophic wildfires and improving forest and land management. Take a look at the recording for yourself. You can find the recording here.
Safeeq Khan spoke at a UC Wildfire Symposium last week. I was unable to attend but hear that he explained the impact of the loss of snowpack and the forest ecosystem, more generally, such that all could understand. Congratulations, Safeeq!
Also on fire, is the Forever 4-H Endowment! Lassen County just established the eighth Forever 4-H Endowment! I know this was a high priority for David and his team. Congratulations, all!
Thank you to all who participated in Big Dig Day! I haven't heard the total raised, but the mid-afternoon progress was promising. I noticed that Missy and her team were doing particularly well when I made my donations. Hopefully we made new friends in the process.
Once again the week is flying by. It has been particularly hectic this week with standing meetings, wrapping up merit and promotion decisions, working through plans for returning to the workplace, Vice Provost interviews, and a few national meetings related to Cooperative Extension. I am not bored.
Soon I am leaving the garage to make a visit to the Hansen REC. Who knew this could be so exciting. Normally, I would look forward to the visit. This time, I am giddy with excitement just thinking about spending a day, not in the garage and not on Zoom all day. While we aren't even close to herd immunity, I am optimistic we can keep the incidence of new transmissions low and resume some semblance of normal activity.
The short week is off to a great start, weather aside! I hope everyone enjoyed the Memorial Day holiday and took time to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. Take a look at this short video to learn how Michelle Hammer-Coffer reflects on Memorial Day. Thank you, Michelle, for your service and efforts to keep us all safe!
Big Dig Day is this Friday! It's time to show your support for UC ANR. We are so fortunate to have made it through this last year and UC ANR has much to be proud of and thankful for. I haven't heard if there will be matching opportunities, so I am unsure how early I need to set the alarm, but no doubt I will be showing my gratitude.
There's good news in Orange County! Thanks to the generous support of the Orange County Farm Bureau and the Orange County 4-H Council, he Forever 4-H Orange County Endowment will be established. Congratulations to the Orange County UCCE team!
Master Food Preserver received a plug in the Washington Post. Congratulations to both Sue and Erin who were quoted. And a huge ‘thank you' to reporter Becky Crystal for calling out the program!
The big news is that the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees released on Tuesday a joint plan to be negotiated with the Governor that provides a $32.1 million ongoing increase to UC ANR. This conversation isn't over, but we are far closer to a meaningful increase that I have seen in my time at UC ANR!
My garage has heated up considerably over the last week, but I hear my key FOB will work in the Davis building in just a month. I hope the good news keeps coming!
Congratulations to our ANREP winners! A group of CE Specialists, CE Advisors were recognized with a Bronze Award for their “Ranch Water Quality Planning Instructor's Guide and Lesson Plan”. Take a look at the list of recipients: Anthony O'Geen, Bill Birmingham, Brooke Latack, D.J. Eastburn, Dan Macon, David Lewis, David Lile, Devii Rao, Fadzayi Mashiri, Jeffery Stackhouse, Jim Downing, Josh Davy, Julie Finzel, Kenneth Tate, Laura Snell, Leslie Roche, Lucien Crowder, Matthew Shapero, Michael Lennox, Morgan Doran, Randy Dahlgren, Rebecca Ozeran, Robert Atwill, Sandra Osterman, Stephanie Larson, Theresa Becchetti, and Tracy Schohr.
The other winner at ANREP was Lenya Quinn-Davidson! Lenya received the Early Career Award. We couldn't agree more with the selection committee! Be sure to take a look at the write up (page 27). Thanks so much to Yana and Susie for the nomination of their colleague.
Take a look at a recent Morning Ag Clips article that featured some of Dorina, Anne, Marcel, Katherine, and Kendra's work! I am anxious to see impact statements as this important work progresses! I took a getaway near Cambria last weekend for my own mindfulness exercise.
Thanks to the research reviewers who mined through the Project Board data to identify stories for the federal research report. I will share more stories in the future, or be sure to take a look for yourself.
Youth & Community Develoment: Martin Smith
Nutrition: Karina Rios Diaz
Livestock/Rangeland: David Lile
Forestry/Fire: Yana Valachovic
Water: Doug Parker
SFS: Neil McRoberts and Deanne Meyer
EIPD: Jim Farrar and Georgios Vidalakis
In addition to 11 annual evaluation conversations this week and ‘first Friday' meetings with REC and County Directors, I have spent the week at a virtual conference of Western Extension and Experiment Station Directors. In addition to the business meetings and Center updates, we heard from a University of New Mexico FRTEP Advisor who shared with us the challenges for the Navajo reservation residents during the pandemic lockdown with few grocery stores and a need to continue ag production in order to feed residents. The death rates and COVID incidence numbers shared are alarming and sad. The Advisor talked about increased youth participation in Master Gardener program and other virtual programs since the pandemic began in addition to increased collaboration and partnering with other institutions. Vaccine education is a critical ongoing effort to provide this and other COVID relief services. The program seeks opportunity to develop a partnership for pre-college programs and a sheep herd health program.