By hiring 68 new UC Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists since 2010 - and with 23 positions being actively recruited plus more planned - UC leaders are reversing a downward trend in the number of UCCE academic staff, reported Ching Lee in AgAlert.
Barbara Allen-Diaz, vice president of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, noted in the story that 2013 was the first time in recent years that UC hired more Cooperative Extension faculty than had retired. In December, she approved hiring of another 29 advisors and 16 specialists for the 2015-16 cycle.
"So we turned the corner for the first time in this long downward...
Rice planting in California is well underway and taking place more quickly than expected, reported Heather Hacking in the Oroville Mercury Register.
Despite early worries about water supplies, Cass Mutters, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Butte County, said 25 to 30 percent of rice acreage is planted; statewide about 10 to 15 percent of acreage has been planted. According to the article, rain in March delivered enough water to Lake Oroville for full water contracts to be honored.
Things could have turned out a lot worse, said
Even as farmers across California struggle with the third year of drought, so do University of California agriculture researchers, reported Todd Fitchette in Western Farm Press.
Fitchette opened his story with the plight of ag research at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center near Five Points. Many of the farmers in the area will receive no surface water allocation this year; neither will the research center.
The facility can pull water from a deep well, but it is not enough nor is the water quality adequate for all the farming operations, said Bob Hutmacher, UC...
The Redding Appeal Democrat reported in December that the ranks of U.S. farmers is dwindling. Said Sutter County almond grower Mat Conant, "Pretty soon we'll be such a small minority nobody will listen to us."
Fewer farmers means there are fewer lawmakers with first-hand knowledge of agricultural production.
"You can go to Washington, D.C., and talk about agriculture, but it doesn't have the same impact if you practically experience it," said Christopher Greer, UC Cooperative Extension director for Yuba and Sutter counties.
Lawmakers, like the people they represent, can be...
As California rice fields begin to be harvested this week, farmers and UC experts say the yield is expected to be good, but unremarkable, said an article by Ching Lee in the Central Valley Business Times.
"It looks like it's going to be an OK harvest," said Butte County rice farmer Michael Arens.
Yields should be "somewhat average," the article quoted Chris Greer, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for Yuba, Sutter, Placer and Sacramento counties.
A hot spell in August limited flowering in some cases, but the warm weather also helped control the fungal plant disease rice blast.