Welcome to Beatriz Nobua-Behrmann who starts this week as an Urban Forestry and Natural Resources Advisor, based at the South Coast REC, with programmatic responsibilities in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. Last week, Ryan Tompkins started as the Forestry and Natural Resources Advisor, based in Quincy, with programmatic responsibilities in Plumas, Sierra and Lassen Counties. IT is great to see our forestry capacity building.
I looked at the academic footprint numbers this weekend. It's possible we are down in numbers, but before I share the graph, I want to confirm how counting occurs for some positions. I know we are all very interested in our numbers and growing that footprint; it came up as a question during the Town Hall last week. We have a few CE Advisor and 4 CE Specialist positions yet to fill from the 2016 position call process. Plus we will backfill a Table Grapes Advisor position, based out of Kern County, as a result of a partnership with the California Table Grapes Commission. We should be moving forward with other hirings soon, too.
Also over the weekend, I had dinner with friends. We had teff as part of the meal. Did you know that UC ANR researches teff? Both the Desert REC and the Blythe area have research underway. My friend was quite interested in the study for her work. I think there may be some opportunity to work together on things; we'll see. I was interested to learn that my friends knew about Elkus Ranch and that their kids had been in 4-H! While that may not be surprising to many, it caught me off guard because they live right in the Mission District of San Francisco.
Tomorrow I head to Salinas to meet with the California Leafy Greens Research Program committee. I've met with the group a few times; every 6 or 8 months. Tuesday a dozen of us are at the State Capitol meeting with assembly persons and state senators to talk about the work of UC ANR in their districts. Then Wednesday I am at UC Merced for a tour of the campus and discussions about our partnerships with the university. Although I am home every night this week, it is shaping up to be a bit of car time. Keeping up on emails may prove to be all I can manage. The remaining 51 dossiers will still be there next week.
Last week has really had its ups and downs, literally. I had a chance to take a drive through Amador County and get a close up of the snow that remains in the hills. Long and winding roads, but a beautiful drive! I was not out visiting county offices on this trip but I look forward to stopping in to meet all who make things happen and learn about the county programs the next time I am there. I have to admit, I prefer the Rt. 88 route over taking I-80, time permitting. That wasn't the case a couple weeks ago when I was in Salt Lake City, but this time, the intermittent interstate closing due to fires provided the right incentive to take the scenic route. Following my return, I headed down to Desert REC. The last time I was there Chris Greer and I traveled from San Diego to DREC late enough in the day that it was dark so I really didn't notice the elevation. As I recall, we were more focused on the snow that was falling and the possibility of slippery roads. What a difference 6 months and daylight makes! Despite the heat, Gilberto was kind enough to show us around the facility and talk about the research taking place, not to mention the highly successful FARM SMART program that brings in 12,000 visitors per year to learn about agriculture practices and contribution to the region's economy. As I made my way along during each of those trips, I found that I would think I had just gone downhill only to see the next sign that indicated otherwise. It was difficult to stay oriented making me wonder how often I presume one thing, such as a downward trend, when it later turns out that things were on the upswing all along.
Information sessions around the state are coming up, beginning the week after next. This week Program Council meets via Zoom for an abbreviated meeting. One topic for the meeting is the upcoming position call process that begins in January 2018. Year-end budget things are winding down and the FY17-18 budget allocations are undergoing final review. We have some new County Directors across the state who are transitioning into their roles well. Along those same lines, I hope the recent retirees are enjoying their new role; many have emeritus work plans in place. It's hard to believe we are on the downhill side of summer. Of course in the other direction we are climbing towards something better. Before summer is over, I really need to get to a few more county offices.