- Author: Deanne Meyer
Last week was a world wind tour of three Research and Extension Centers (RECs). Oranges, cotton and sorghum were not yet harvested at our South Valley RECs. Darren Haver, Maru Fernandez and I had great visits at these RECs. It was thrilling to hear about the various research projects and how UC ANR and campus faculty are finding ways to improve California agriculture.
Jasmine Del Toro (Business Officer), Don Cleek(superintendent) and Ashraf El Kereamy (Director) shared activity at Lindcove from research projects to how the processing/packing shed works. We were just a few weeks before harvest begins so we imagined the packing shed in full swing. Citrus of all types, from kumquats to pomelos and Buddha's hand, are grown at Lindcove. There's even a project on reuse of ground trees as mulch. This year's fruit is not yet harvested and already blossoms were on trees continuing the cycle. Maru spent quality time with Jasmin to help through new financial record keeping requirements. Much better than doing it over zoom.
Buddha's hand, Lindcove Pistachio tree, West Side Greenhouse, Kearney
At West Side we met with Karen Motly (Business Officer), Brian Neufeld (superintendent) and Tom Turini (Interim Director). Tom discussed center history and needs. Brian gave us a top-notch tour of the REC. Karen worked with Maru and Darren. It was exciting to see pistachios still on the tree. We were able to pick them and realize how soft the shell is while the nut is on the tree. If you're used to almond hulls, pistachios don't have that amount of external cover.
Wednesday we toured Kearney. There's much activity with detailed alfalfa work, organic plots, trees (fruit, nut, novel), vines, hemp, etc. Also, there is IR-4 work. Scientists from University of California campuses (Davis, Riverside and Berkeley) make Kearney their home. It was great to meet our newest Cooperative Extension Specialist Jackie Atim as well as see exciting work done by others.
All three RECs work to address issues growers face related to nitrogen management, water conservation and integrated pest management. It's fabulous to have land available for controlled experiments, greenhouses, and areas to isolate plants and pests. These facilities provide researchers from all over California with unique opportunities. Thank you to all the staff who keep the RECs running.
An exciting part of the week was a Zoom meet and greet with many Community Nutrition and Health Advisors, Amira Resnick and many new colleagues at UC San Francisco. The combined group spent focused on community-based research and outreach programs to improve health. This is the first of many interactions. The groups had so much in common.
Human Resources and many search committees have been busy! We welcome student assistants Taylor Baisey and Sia'h Jimissa (NPI), Cedric Renaudin (NFCS), Amritpal Kaur (Kern), Yolanda Tabarez (Desert REC); agricultural technician, Jovani Renteria, Lindcove; Lab helper, Tyler Waltrip; Blank Assistants Shayna Blythe (BOC), Katherine Fessler (State 4-H office), Robin Martin (Central Sierra MCP) and Andrea Rayray (SWPR). Rounding out our new hires were Joaquin Vega (Facilities, Planning and Management), Uriel Gonzalez (IT Services) and Benjamin Saltzman (IGIS Programmer). Three more Advisors joined our ranks too: Stephanie Mar, Organic Waste, South Coast REC; Joanna Solins, Environmental Horticulture, Capitol Corridor MCP, Yu-Chen Wang, Plant Pathology, Santa Cruz.
It takes many people to keep UC ANR running! Thank you for your contributions.