- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Amira Resnick joined UC ANR as director for Community Nutrition and Health on Feb. 15.
"We look forward to Amira bringing her enthusiasm and experience to help continue the growth of our nutrition and health work across the state," said Associate Vice President Wendy Powers. "Our historical impact in these areas – and more recently the growing concerns around COVID-19 and food security – highlight the importance of and need for this work.”
Prior to joining UC ANR, Resnick was senior manager with Alliance for a Healthier Generation based in Los Angeles. In that position, she has spearheaded new, innovative multisectoral partnership development, secured funding opportunities, and implemented projects to advance environmental and systemic change toward whole child health. Previously, as Statewide Family Services coordinator with Telamon Corporation, she led program implementation across 17 Migrant Head Start sites with 500 employees, serving over 1,000 families.
Resnick holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California and a bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology with a minor in Spanish from the University of Michigan.
“The position will further refine our vision for growth in the areas of nutrition and health and will oversee the network of nutrition and health work implemented across the state through the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program; CalFresh Healthy Living, UC program; and UC Master Food Preserver program,” said Mark Bell, vice provost of strategic initiatives and statewide programs.
Resnick is based in the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com.
Tracy Roman joined UC ANR as associate director for the Business Operations Center on Feb. 15.
For the past 27 years, Roman worked for UC Davis Stores (Bookstore) in multiple positions, the last decade as the associate director of finance. She also was the bookstore's coordinator of commencement for students, served on the UC Student Health Insurance Plan committee and was a member of UC Davis' administrative management group called ADMAN.
During her tenure with the bookstore, Roman coordinated the student health vending machine, got SNAP accepted on campus, developed “Relax and Restore” (an event to help student de-stress during finals week), helped get an Amazon store located on campus, and served as project manager for Equitable Access.
Roman is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maru Fernandez joined ANR as associate director of statewide programs operations and research and extension centers on Jan. 24.
Fernandez, who has worked for UC since 2011, served as Financial Services Supervisor for the UC ANR Business Operations Center in 2020 and 2021. She has also worked in Contracts and Grants Accounting at UC Davis, as a fund manager.
She earned a B.S. in entrepreneurial management and marketing from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Fernandez is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com.
Philip Waisen joined UC Cooperative Extension as a vegetable crops and small farms advisor in Riverside and Imperial counties on Jan. 10.
He is developing research and extension programs focused on pest and disease management and plant nutrient management in vegetable agroecosystems.
Prior to joining UCCE, Waisen was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he worked on Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education-funded research projects on nematode and soil health management in tomatoes, peppers, cucurbits, asparagus, banana and brassicas. During 2021, Waisen served as a part-time lecturer teaching plant pathology, research methods, and horticultural sciences courses for his alma mater, the Papua New Guinea University of Technology.
He earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in plant pathology/nematology, plant and environmental protection sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a B.S. in agriculture and plant disease at Papua New Guinea University of Technology.
Waisen is based in Indio and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (760) 342-2467.
Natalie Levy joined UC Cooperative Extension on Jan. 3 as an associate specialist for water resources serving Orange County.
Levy will be designing and conducting water-related research and extension activities focused on the needs of both urban and agriculture systems. Based at the South Coast Research and Extension Center, she assists with the Climate Ready Landscape Plant irrigation trials, a collaborative Specialty Crops Multistate research project being conducted at several Western academic institutions. The data collected from the deficit irrigation trials are used to assess vigor and overall performance of landscape plants to identify low-water use plants that can be successfully grown in each climate and soil type.
Prior to becoming a UCCE specialist, Levy was a staff research associate at South Coast REC assisting with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation's study of storm and non-storm runoff within urban landscapes in OC. Before joining UC ANR, she worked for ecko360 as terrestrial division director, developing custom aerial imaging and modeling solutions for plant production systems.
She earned a Ph.D. in agricultural and extension education and evaluation and an M.S. in agronomy, both from Louisiana State University, and a B.S. in environmental science from UC Berkeley.
Levy is headquartered at the South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Julie Morris joined UCCE in Santa Clara County as agricultural liaison, a new UCCE position supported by the county Agricultural Division and UC ANR, on Jan. 3. Morris will facilitate and expedite agricultural projects in Santa Clara County.
“Julie will advance our mission to support economic and community development of local farms and ranches by coordinating across county departments and community groups to enhance food access and public health,” said Santa Clara County Agricultural Commissioner Joe Deviney.
Morris will help agricultural producers navigate the complex regulations and coordinate efforts for policy change and regulatory simplification. By working closely with a variety of partners, including farms and ranches, landowners, policy advocates, decisionmakers, community stakeholders and others, she will be instrumental in developing and administering new systems, policies, processes and programs supporting healthy food systems.
A longtime rancher and co-founder of T.O. Cattle Company, Morris is an advocate of local food systems. Her family's ranch direct markets grass-fed beef to customers throughout California. She was communications and government affairs manager at Earthbound Farm and has experience with federal and state agriculture policy, food access issues, and regulatory and compliance standards. She is also the former executive director of Community Vision San Benito County, part of the Community Foundation of San Benito County.
Morris holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from San Diego State University and is a graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership program, a two-year fellowship focusing on community involvement and leadership.
Morris is based in San Jose and can be reached at (408) 201-0674 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rita Clemons joined UC ANR as UCCE director in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties on Dec. 1, 2021. By assuming administrative responsibilities for the three counties, Clemons' hiring allows Darren Haver, Janet Hartin, Chris McDonald and Stephanie Barrett to focus on their research and extension.
Prior to joining UC ANR, Clemons was the regional center director for Cambridge College-Southern California, creating visibility for the college by developing strong partnerships and relationships with local community organizations. She managed day-to-day operations; recruited, interviewed and recommended faculty; supervised faculty and staff; resolved complaints from constituents; represented the college at events; assessed academic and student service needs; recommended new programs and developed agreements to market the college.
The Pomona native began her corporate career working in human resources for law firms in Los Angeles. She moved to higher education, first as a recruiter for Claremont Graduate University's School of Politics and Economics, and eventually becoming a program administrator for the School of Information Systems and Technology.
Clemons earned a degree in paralegal studies at the Southern California College of Business and Law, bachelor's degree in business administration at the University of Phoenix, and a master's degree in management with a concentration in leadership at Claremont Graduate University.
Clemons is based in Moreno Valley and can be reached at email@example.com.
Urban IPM team wins CDPR IPM Achievement Award
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation presented a 2021 IPM Achievement Award to Karey Windbiel-Rojas, associate director for Urban & Community IPM, and fellow UCCE advisors Andrew Sutherland, Niamh Quinn and Siavash Taravati for their integrated pest management work in urban settings.
The advisors play important roles in encouraging IPM implementation in urban settings throughout California. As urban IPM advisors, they conduct research, provide training and publish resources to promote IPM adoption. Their research topics include urban IPM, organic herbicides, bait-only cockroach management programs, bedbugs, rodent and coyote management in the wildland-urban interface, red imported fire ants, and municipal IPM.
They received the award during a virtual meeting on Feb. 22.
WeedCUT wins CDPR IPM Achievement Award
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation also presented a 2021 IPM Achievement Award to the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) and members of the UC Integrated Pest Management Program for science-based tools and resources to control invasive weeds in California.
With funding from the DPR Alliance Grants Program, Cal-IPC and Tunyalee Martin, associate director for communications, Chinh Lam, IT supervisor and lead programmer, and Cheryl Wilen, emeritus IPM advisor, published the “Best Management Practices for Non-Chemical Weed Control” manual and released an interactive online tool called WeedCUT, which helps users make informed decisions about managing weeds without using chemicals.
“We're very fortunate that DPR has funded version 2 of WeedCUT to add herbicide information,” Martin said. “This will make the tool a complete, one-stop shop for natural areas weedy plant management.”
Ken Tate received the Society for Range Management's 2022 W.R. Chapline Land Stewardship Award on Jan. 10 during the society's annual meeting in Albuquerque. The award recognizes exceptional accomplishments and contributions in range management.
Tate, professor and Rustici Endowed Specialist in Rangeland Watershed Sciences with UC Cooperative Extension and UC Davis, has contributed to the conservation of California's rangelands over the past three decades. His research and extension focus on natural resources and sustainable agricultural enterprises. Recommendations from his work have had significant impacts in guiding ranchers and state and federal land management agencies.
Tate has led multiple teams to develop research, education and extension programs to proactively address concerns about fecal microbial pollution from rangeland cattle.
Early in his career, he worked to inform public interest groups on the risk of pathogenic contamination of San Francisco's drinking water supply. Working with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Tate helped stakeholder groups identify management practices to reduce risks of drinking water supplies being contaminated by livestock-borne Cryptosporidium parvum, allowing ranching families to continue sustainable grazing practices on Bay Area watersheds. Since then, he has led numerous collaborations to examine the movement of other pathogens; bacterial indicators of water quality such as fecal coliforms and Enterococci; and hormones and pharmaceutical products common in rangeland cattle production.
Tate has published 120 peer-reviewed journal articles and secured over $14 million in research and extension grants. His scientific leadership and expertise in the livestock grazing-environmental quality-human health nexus have been sought out nationally and internationally. Most importantly, Tate has become a trusted source of information through his work with private landowners, public land managers, conservation groups, regulatory agency staff and policymakers to support science-based decision-making.
Blake Sanden, emeritus UCCE farm advisor, received an Honoree Award from the California Chapter of the American Society of Agronomy.
As a result of Sanden's research, many almond growers started to put more water on their trees. And average Kern County almond yields increased by 65% between 2002 and 2011 compared to the previous 15 years, the Almond Board of California wrote in a story on its website.
Sanden retired in 2018 from his 26-year UCCE career.
“He was a champion on re-evaluating the water requirements for almond trees, which prior to his investigation was too little,” said Bob Curtis, the retired former director of agricultural affairs for the Almond Board of California.
“While there is no doubt that Blake had a big impact on California growers, he also had an impact on new farm advisors, including myself, as he was always there to help and transfer his knowledge and experiences to us as we started our new job as farm advisors,” said Mohammad Yaghmour, UCCE orchards advisor in Kern County.
Sanden received the award during the American Society of Agronomy's convention held via Zoom Feb. 1-3.
Kate Scow and Daniel Sperling, UC Davis professors, have been elected as members of the National Academy of Engineering.
Kate Scow is a distinguished professor emeritus of soil microbial ecology in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources. The academy honored her for “elucidating the role of soil microbial communities in polluted ecosystems and their responses to agricultural management practices,” according to an NAE statement.
The newly elected class will be formally inducted during the NAE's annual meeting on Oct. 2.
Pam Ronald, UC Davis plant geneticist, has been named the recipient of the 2022 International Wolf Prize in Agriculture, given by the Jerusalem-based Wolf Foundation in recognition of her “pioneering work on disease resistance and environmental stress tolerance in rice.”
Ronald is a distinguished professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, having joined the faculty in 1972, and is also affiliated with the UC Davis Genome Center and the Physical Biosciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The Wolf Foundation noted her work isolating a gene that allows rice to survive two weeks of flooding and increases yield by 60% compared to conventional varieties. “Her discoveries show an advanced understanding of fundamental biological processes and enhance sustainable agriculture and food security,” the foundation said in its announcement of her prize.
Flood-tolerant rice varieties are now grown by more than 6 million subsistence farmers in India and Bangladesh. The committee noted that those two countries lose more than 4 million tons of rice each year to flooding, enough to feed 30 million people.
Ronald founded the UC Davis Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy to provide the next generation of scientists with the training they need to become effective communicators. She and her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer who retired in 2020 as the market garden coordinator for the UC Davis Student Farm, are the authors of Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food.
The foundation has been giving its $100,000 prizes in agriculture and other disciplines since 1978, honoring scientists and artists from around the world “for their achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations amongst peoples.” – Kat Kerlin
Getts, Haviland, Nobua-Behrmann appointed to CISAC
UC Cooperative Extension advisors Tom Getts, David Haviland and Bea Nobua-Behrmann have been selected to serve on the California Invasive Species Advisory Committee.
This group advises the Invasive Species Council of California, which is composed of the secretaries of California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Health and Human Services Agency, and the Office of Emergency Services.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Six UC Cooperative Extension research projects were awarded funding ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 each from the California Department of Food and Agriculture Healthy Soils Program. The grants are designed to fund implementation and demonstration of on-farm soil health practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and store carbon.
One of the grant recipients, John Bailey, director of the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center in Mendocino County, will use the $100,000 award to establish a perennial hedgerow at the center. Hedgerows are not traditionally part of standard ranching practices in Mendocino County, where in the past the center's 5,400 acres of rangeland and surrounding areas were grazed by large flocks of sheep.
“At Hopland, we have pivoted our operation to reflect the current state of the sheep industry in California, with reduced overall sheep numbers and decreased individual flock size, so we will use this project to show our smaller-scale sheep owners how they can enhance the ecosystems of their properties,” Bailey said.
Bailey expects the hedgerow to offer many educational, ecological and practical benefits, including enhancing soil health, increasing soil carbon sequestration, and providing habitat and food sources for beneficial organisms, such as pollinators and birds.
There may also be economic benefits to using sustainable practices in raising sheep. The project will explore the financial costs of implementing hedgerows as well as the opportunity for producers to enter a niche fiber market by offering sustainably produced wool to textile companies and consumers willing to pay a premium to support the ecological benefits of Healthy Soil Projects.
“I'm excited about this opportunity to combine the latest knowledge on environmental sustainability practices with the older traditions of livestock grazing in Northern California,” Bailey said. “This is a progressive step that ties in ecological knowledge that can benefit the livestock ranching model by both enhancing their properties and creating new markets for their products.”
The following projects were also funded by CDFA Healthy Soils Program in 2020:
Integrated sustainable nitrogen management in vegetable cropping systems, $250,000
Maria de la Fuente, UCCE county director and advisor, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties
The implementation of climate-smart agricultural practices within intensively managed vegetable cropping systems is extraordinarily challenging. Often conservation practices cannot be effectively implemented due to operational barriers, resulting in very low rates of adoption.
By demonstrating nutrient management strategies in partnership with a large influential vegetable grower in the Salinas Valley, the project aims to encourage broad scale practice adoption.
Recent research has indicated the addition of organic amendments in combination with nitrogen fertilizers potentially reduces nitrogen-derived greenhouse gas emissions and nitrate leaching while increasing soil carbon stocks. These outcomes will generate significant climate benefits in agroecosystems experiencing heavy tillage and fertilizer inputs.
This project has the potential for statewide impact as the researchers are currently working with the developers of COMET-Farm to provide data and coordinate outreach within vegetable cropping systems. Through direct engagement the team will make integrated sustainable nitrogen management more feasible and agronomically favorable for producers.
Using hands-on COMET-Farm-focused field days and a webcasted sustainable nitrogen short course, the project will provide producers with additional tools to make nutrient management planning decisions that have positive climate and soil health outcomes.
Evaluation of compost application to processing tomato fields in the Sacramento Valley, $100,000
Amber Vinchesi-Vahl, UCCE vegetable crops advisor, Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties
The project will demonstrate compost applications on two farms in two Sacramento Valley counties, Colusa and Sutter. The researchers will work with Westside Spreading LLC and compare two plant-based compost rates to a control (no compost) over three years. Soil health parameters – such as total carbon and nitrogen, pH, EC, organic matter and fertility analyses relevant to tomato crop production – will be measured.
The benefits of compost applications vary depending on how often they are used, how much is applied, crop rotation, and other management decisions, such as whether compost is incorporated or left on the soil surface. Vinchesi-Vahl expects that over time the compost implementation evaluated in this project will result in lower input costs and improved soil function.
Compost application may reduce the need for fertilizer inputs for some of the rotational crops and provide benefits to the microbial community, thereby improving soil structure and reducing heavy conventional tillage needs.
By improving soil health, the research expects plant health will also be improved, leading to better tolerance to pest pressure from diseases and weed competition.
The two demonstration sites will showcase compost applications and their impact on processing tomato production and annual production soil health. These focused demonstrations will be extremely important in showcasing this soil health practice in the local Sacramento Valley region, providing information to growers from the experiences of collaborators at the two sites.
Evaluation of winter cover crop species for their ability to mitigate soil compaction in an annual rotation, $100,000
Sara Light, UCCE agronomy advisor, Sutter, Yuba and Colusa counties
This project has three components:
- Replicated research plots in which three cover crop varieties are evaluated for improvements in soil structure, specifically subsurface soil compaction
- Fieldscale demonstration plots in which varieties thought to reduce soil compaction are planted and visually assessed for performance in the Sacramento Valley
- Small, single-row hand planted plots in the buffer area, in which a wider number of both summer and winter cover crop varieties will be planted for outreach and demonstration purposes
Combined, these components will enable growers to make more informed decisions about cover crop selection and encourage wider adoption of cover cropping. The outreach objective for this project is to reduce barriers to cover crop adaption among regional growers by increasing knowledge and information about varietal selection and field-scale cover crop management, as well as opportunities to improve soil structure using cover crops.
Healthy soils demonstration project with Cardoza Farm, $100,000
Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UCCE small farms advisor, Fresno and Tulare counties
This project will demonstrate compost application, hedgerow planting, and application of mulch generated from cover crop residue in a vineyard producing organic raisin grapes. Mulch will be applied directly under the vines, providing ground cover that will conserve soil moisture and decrease weed pressure. Generating the mulch on-farm eliminates the need to transport materials from outside sources.
Currently, production of organic raisin grapes involves frequent tillage under the vines. The cover crop between rows and the mulch under the vines will reduce the need for tillage for weed control and increase soil organic matter. These practices will be showcased at field days that will include bilingual training for small-scale, socially disadvantaged farmers in the San Joaquin Valley.
Application of compost to alfalfa to improve soil structure and fertility, $250,000
Kate Scow and Radomir Schmidt, UC Davis Department Land, Air, Water Resources and UCCE advisors Michelle Leinfelder-Miles and Rachael Long
This project will demonstrate compost application to alfalfa for improving soil structure and fertility. Compost is not typically applied to alfalfa; however, manure application to alfalfa is common in the state's dairy regions.
The over half a million acres of alfalfa in California could represent an important repository for compost, for which a large land base of spreading may be needed as municipalities convert organic waste management streams to diversion from landfills.
Alfalfa has the ability to immobilize large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients of concern in the concentration of organic wastes due to their potential to contribute to water pollution. Furthermore, alfalfa growers are interested in the potential of compost to improve soil structure in their alfalfa fields, as many growers report suffering from the large cracks that form in soils during the wet-dry cycles of alfalfa surface irrigation management.
Compost application has been anecdotally reported to alleviate soil cracking in another perennial crop, almond orchards in the Central Valley, but soil structure improvement via management practices like compost application has received little research attention thus far. Westside Spreading LLC is collaborating on this project.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
CDFA awards grant for Proactive IPM program
(Morning Ag Clips) April 30
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has awarded funding for one project in the initial funding cycle for the Proactive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Solutions grant program. The project, titled “Proactive Biological Control of Spotted Lantern Fly, Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae)” was awarded $543,936.
The three-year project will develop biological control agents for spotted lantern fly, an invasive pest that has not yet arrived in California but is spreading rapidly across the eastern US. This pest has the potential to affect many high-value California crops including grapes, walnuts, avocados, and pistachios. The project will piggyback on work that is already being conducted on the pest in the eastern US and abroad. Project leads are Dr. Mark Hoddle (UC Riverside) and Dr. Kent Daane (UC Berkeley). The biological control agent is a small (3 mm) stingless wasp, native to China, that parasitizes the eggs of the spotted lantern fly.
Learn about sheep, shearing, and more at Barn to Yarn in Hopland this week
(MendoVoice) April 30
If you've ever wondered how a sheep's wool becomes a sweater, you might want to check out the "Barn to Yarn" event in Hopland this weekend. This popular springtime event will return to the University of California Hopland Research and Extension Center this Saturday, May 4.
The Barn to Yarn event will feature farmers and ranches, shearers, spinners, weavers, and knitters, and other local experts involved in the Northern California sheep industry. There will educational activities, presentations, workshops, take-home craft activities, and more for all ages.
Moth caterpillars are back for a rare second bite in the Bay Area
(Mercury News) Cat Ferguson, April 29
…Andrew Sutherland, University of California Cooperative Extension's urban integrated pest management adviser for the Bay Area, recommends a simple preventive measure: reach for the hose.
Right after the bugs have hatched, “use pressure washers to push the larvae off the trees before they start wandering around,” he said. “In the late summer and fall, if you've got egg masses, you can wash them off and you won't have an issue next year on that tree.”
Bay Area pest control and horticulture experts say most caterpillar calls come from Santa Clara and southern San Mateo counties, which Sutherland linked to warm weather and high densities of host plants — the caterpillars are particularly fond of oak and fruit trees. Sutherland said he doesn't field nearly as many calls from the East Bay.
Hopland Research Center holds BioBlitz for Mendocino County students
(Ukiah Daily Journal) Curtis Driscoll, April 26
The Hopland Research and Extension Center held its annual “BioBlitz” on Friday for over 200 students from across Mendocino County, giving them a chance to explore their interest in science by finding new species at the Hopland Research Site.
The BioBlitz went on at the same time as the 2019 City Nature Challenge, an international event where people find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. Although students in Mendocino County couldn't participate in the national event, the Hopland Research Center decided to have the BioBlitz as a way to allow students to explore nature in Mendocino County.
…Experts also helped the students learn more about the area in Mendocino County and the many kinds of unique species that are in the county. Anna Holmquist, an arachnologist from UC Berkeley, entomology students from UC Berkeley, and California Naturalists, people who have gone through a UC naturalist training program, were all available throughout the day to help students and guide them as they made different discoveries.
“We will be looking for species with them and searching and trying to add to the list, but there will be a bit more depth to it with the kids actually trying to build on their understand of our Mendocino habitats,” said Hopland Research Center Community Educator Hannah Bird.
Have the Tough Conversations: Koopmann Family Ranch Transfer
(Capital Press) Ashley Rood, April 26
… The next generation of Koopmanns, Carissa and Clayton, are well-poised to continue the family legacy of conservation and ranching. Both are building up their own cow herds on leased land while, as partners in the family LCC, they help make the big decisions. They also have full-time agriculture jobs off the ranch focused on grazing. Clayton is the range manager for the local water utility, the SFPUC, and has a grazing management consulting business. Carissa is a livestock and natural resources advisor for University of California Cooperative Extension in Siskiyou County. Both Carissa and Clayton emphasize how hard it is to make a living ranching alone, even with all the advantages of the family ranch. But getting out on the land, despite the hard work, is a place of relaxation for both of them.
For others considering succession planning, Carissa says, “Get started early and don't ever make assumptions. It's vital to know what everybody truly wants. Ultimately, the end goal that is that you're still a family, regardless of what happens.”
Fresh, local and sustainable advice
(Marin Independent Journal) Jane Scurich, April 26
Ah, spring! Time to visit the local farmers market for tender locally grown asparagus, luscious spring peas and great gardening advice. Wait — what's that last item — advice? Yes — and it's free!
Knowledgeable, UC-trained volunteers in the University of California Marin Master Gardener program officially open their market advice tables in May to provide research-based information on horticulture and sustainable gardening practices to Marin residents.
Love science? Free app allows you to assist in research!
(ABC10) Monica Woods, April 25
…In the words of Laci Gerhart-Barley, iNaturalist is "Instagram for biology and nature enthusiasts." The professor with the biological services department at the University of California, Davis, is even incorporating it into her classroom.
… Each year iNaturalist users participate in a "competition" to see what region can upload the most photos in the matter of a few days. The City Nature Challenge started as a competition between the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum and gradually grew to include regions all over the world.
The Sacramento region is getting on board for the first time in 2019. [Sarah Angulo, community education specialist for the California Naturalist Program, is helping organize the challenge.]
The City Nature Challenge Sacramento will take place from Friday, April 26 to Monday, April 29.
UC Extension head updates supervisors on programs and leaders
(Plumas News) Victoria Metcalf, April 24
The face of the Farm Advisor's office is changing.
Plumas and Sierra county Farm Advisor Director David Lile was before the Plumas County Board of Supervisors April 9, explaining just how much his staff has changed.
… Holding up a copy of the local University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources annual report for last year, Lile said, It's “easy to look at with plenty of pictures.”
…Lile then introduced Ryan Tompkins as the new forestry advisor. He replaces longtime representative Mike DeLasaux who retired in 2018.
…Natural resources and livestock liaison with local ranchers was introduced next. That's Tracy Scholr [Schohr].
…Most 4-H members and their parents already know 4-H Program Representative Kari O'Reilly.
… Tom Getts was also introduced as the technical assistance for Plumas and Sierra farmers and Susanville area land managers.
… And Barbara Goulet, as administrative assistant, provides support to the staff, but also works with local Master Gardener volunteers and 4-H volunteers, according to Lile.
Can California get cows to burp less methane?
(NBC News) April 24
California is now requiring the beef and dairy industry to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Some scientists are testing and growing a red algae seaweed that can reduce methane from cow burps.
How to Control Thrips in Blueberries
(California Fresh Fruit) Matthew Malcolm, April 24
Citrus thrips have been a major nuisance for California blueberry growers, but how do you keep them under control and when should you apply crop protection materials? Is there an organic treatment available? Watch this brief interview UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor David Haviland as he answers all these questions. Read more about blueberry pest management in California Fresh Fruit Magazine.
UC: Older vineyards can be modified for mechanization
(Ag Alert) April 24
Saying they have proven that older vineyards can be converted to mechanization, University of California Cooperative Extension specialists say winegrape growers in the San Joaquin Valley do not have to replant vineyards if they want to switch to mechanical pruning.
Growers who want to make the switch can retrain the vines to make the transition, without losing fruit yield or quality, according to a UCCE study.
UCCE specialist Kaan Kurtural said the study found that "growers do not have to plant a new vineyard to mechanize their operations."
"We have proven beyond a doubt that an older vineyard can be converted to mechanization," he said.
There is no loss in yield during conversion, Kurtural said, "and post-conversion yield is better and fruit quality is equivalent to or better than hand-managed vines."
No replanting needed for mechanical pruning
(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, April 24
University of California (UC) researcher Kaan Kurtural has gained recognition in recent years for automating a vineyard operation in the Napa Valley, which was planted at a density conducive to the practice.
Now Kurtural and other UC Cooperative Extension scientists are applying their knowledge in the San Joaquin Valley, where they say growers who wish to switch from hand to mechanical pruning to save labor won't have to replant to do so.
Wet winter in Sonoma County may have helped spread virulent oak disease
(Press Democrat) Derek Moore, April 24
Now that the North Coast is finally drying out from an unusually wet winter, concern is growing over the potential rapid spread of sudden oak disease, renewing calls for the public's help tracking the deadly forest pathogen.
“Now is when we might expect the pathogen to take off a bit,” said Kerry Wininger, a UC Cooperative Extension staffer in Santa Rosa.
Wininger is a local organizer of annual sudden oak death surveys known as the SOD Blitz. This year's survey occurs from April 25 to 28 across Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Organizers are hoping for a good turnout of volunteers, who will become educated spotters and collectors to help scientists slow the disease's spread.
Young chefs: Local students prepare and taste international meals at fourth annual Culinary Academy
(Lompoc Record) Lorenzo J. Reyna, April 24
Twenty-one elementary school students spent part of their spring break learning to cook various international recipes inside Rice Elementary School's cafeteria Wednesday.
The fifth- and sixth-graders from 4-H Student Nutrition Advisory Council Clubs took part in the fourth annual Culinary Academy, spearheaded by six adults from UC CalFresh Healthy Living.
…Janelle Hansen helps oversee the 4-H SNAC Clubs as supervisor of the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo group.
She said Wednesday's five-hour event from 1 to 6 p.m. was much more than just students learning how to create various dishes.
“The hope is that they will learn the life skill of healthy living and nutrition — and that's really one of our goals,” Hansen said as the students were preparing their meals.
Close to home or farther afield, visit California's native plants and gardens
(Los Altos Online) Tanya Kucak, April 24
If you're in the mood for some road trips, immerse yourself in an atmosphere of beautiful plants and enthusiastic people by attending the Going Native Garden Tour, now in its 17th year.
Sponsored by the California Native Plant Society in association with the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County, the tour offers an unparalleled chance to talk with gardeners and designers, view gardens of different types and compare gardens planted a year ago to those planted a couple of decades ago. More than 50 gardens are scheduled to be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 4 and 5. Gardens in San Jose and other southern Santa Clara County cities will be open May 4, while May 5 will feature visits to northern gardens from San Mateo to Sunnyvale, including Mountain View. No Los Altos gardens will be on display this year.
AgriTalk: How Agriculture is Managing High-Level Issues
(Agweb.com) Ashley Davenport, April 23
Dr. Frank Mitloehner of the University of California-Davis recently was awarded the 2019 Borlaug Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) award. He talks about what that award means for him, how he started on social media, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Mechanical Vineyard Pruning Possible Without Replanting
(AgNet West) Brian German, April 23
One of the major concerns regarding mechanical vineyard pruning is the time and cost associated with replanting a vineyard in a manner that would accommodate the process. However, a report from University of California Cooperative Extension researchers that was published in HortTechnology demonstrates that replanting is not necessary. Research conducted in Madera County found that growers can mechanize their operations by retraining vines without suffering any fruit loss or decline in quality.
“The trial actually ran for three years,” said Kaan Kurtural, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology. “In the end, there was like no loss in yield even during the conversion years and the quality was actually much better in the mechanically managed plants.”
Is a small farm or ranch your dream? The Beginning Farming Academy is for you!
(Yuba Net) April 23
Is your dream to start a small farm or ranch? Are you ready to get started on your dream? Apply for the Beginning Farming Academy offered by the University of California Cooperative Extension on April 26th and 27th, 2019. The class is held in Auburn and runs from 8 AM to 8 PM on Friday, April 26th, and from 8 AM to 5 PM on Saturday, April 27th. April 23 is the application deadline for the April class.
The Academy is an intensive 2-day introduction to starting a small commercial farm or ranch and will help prospective farmers jumpstart their operations. “Participants will learn to assess their land and resources, research markets, and analyze the potential economic viability of their operation,” says Dan Macon, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor.
California's high-value crops, like fruits and nuts, are the ones most vulnerable to climate change
(Fast Company) Larry Buhl, April 22
Agronomy, a peer-reviewed, open access scientific journal, laid out a stark future for California agriculture, predicting it will be vastly different by the end of the century. Led by Tapan Pathak of the University of California, Merced, the research team concluded that almost all of California's crops, together valued at more than $50 billion a year, will be endangered by rising temperatures and unstable weather patterns brought by climate change. The state will face wildly fluctuating precipitation patterns, leading to severe droughts and flooding, warming temperatures, more heat waves, and shorter chill seasons. The researchers wrote that the increased rate and scale of climate change “is beyond the realm of experience for the agricultural community,” and that changes in the state's crop output “would not only translate into national food security issues, but also economic impacts that could disrupt state and national commodity systems.”
Michael previews the UCCE Annual Spring Garden Tour
(Fox 26) Stephen Hawkins, April 22
The University of California Cooperative Extension Fresno County Spring Garden Tour & Plant Sale takes place this weekend.
Michael Ikahihifo spent the morning at Garden of the Sun on Earth Day to give us a preview.
California Has Farmers Growing Weeds. Why? To Capture Carbon
(KQED) Lauren Sommer, April 22
…“I think there's great potential for agriculture to play a really important role,” says Kate Scow, professor of soil microbial ecology at UC Davis, of the state's climate goals. She's standing in a large wheat field at Russell Ranch, seven miles west of the campus, where the university plants crops to study sustainable agriculture.
“Soil is alive,” she says. “There's farmers that know that.”
California farmers try new strategy to cut carbon
Mitloehner To Receive CAST Award
(Drovers) Greg Henderson, April 19
Frank Mitloehner has been chosen by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) as 2019 Borlaug CAST Communication Award recipient. A professor and air quality extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California-Davis, Mitloehner is the 10th recipient of this award.
“I'm honored to be selected by CAST, an org I've long admired, and to be in the company of so many recipients who have inspired me during my career,” Mitloehner said. “Being recognized with the Borlaug CAST Communication Award is an affirmation of the importance of sharing research and academic pursuits well beyond labs, classrooms and universities.”
- Author: Brenda Dawson
Why do you love fruits and vegetables? Is it their bright colors? Their many shapes and varieties, the way they can makeover your plate with the seasons? The opportunity to taste local terroir in a very fresh bite of fruit or forkful of salad?
Is it more about the juiciness, crunchiness or succulence?
Or do you think more about nutrition? About vitamins, micronutrients and fiber, after decades of being encouraged to eat “5 A Day” to be healthy? Is it about that feeling of righteous virtue when you fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables — and know you're earning a gold star for eating right?
The importance of eating fruits and vegetables has been making headlines again recently, with studies refocusing on the concept of “nutrition security” in a changing climate and pushing for an emphasis on nutrient consumption. The EAT-Lancet commission — while mostly garnering headlines in the United States related to reduced meat consumption — also recommended a diet that would require almost every global region to increase its consumption of fruits and vegetables to meet healthy diet goals.
But there's another reason to love fruits and vegetables that might not be as obvious. Here's a 30-second video clip of what a young farmer in Uganda had to tell me about vegetables, when I had the chance to meet him last year:
“There's no quicker source of getting money in town,” Boaz Otieno explained, when discussing why he chose to farm instead of going to town to find a job. He also talked about the concept that he could grow vegetables like tomatoes on a smaller plot of land and earn as much for those tomatoes as a larger plot of corn or cassava.
"You might even grow (tomatoes) twice while the cassava is not yet harvested, so there's a lot of money in horticulture," he said.
Otieno is a farmer who was also working as a site coordinator for a research project led by Kate Scow in Uganda, which was supported by the Horticulture Innovation Lab, the USAID-funded research program that I work for at UC Davis. Elizabeth Mitcham, director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab and a UC Cooperative Extension specialist, often talks about the “double-duty impacts” of fruits and vegetables, as these crops can be a tool to achieve two major global goals: improving nutrition and reducing poverty.
And it's not just one farmer's opinion that horticultural crops can yield higher incomes. In a white paper about aligning the food system to meet fruit and vegetable dietary needs, the authors pointed out that data from Africa and Asia have shown farmer profits per hectare 3-14 times higher when growing vegetables versus growing rice. The paper also points out that USDA estimates fruits and vegetables account for 23 percent of production value in American agriculture, grown on less than 3 percent of the country's agricultural land. And here in California, fruits and vegetables are a $20 billion industry.
Later this month, the Horticulture Innovation Lab will be hosting a conference in Washington, D.C., focused on making the case for fruits and vegetables with the theme, “Colorful Harvest: From Feeding to Nourishing a Growing World.” The conference will bring together decision makers, international development practitioners, and researchers from universities across the United States, Africa, Asia and Central America to discuss how horticultural innovations can advance global issues of food security, food waste, gender empowerment, youth employment, malnutrition, and poverty reduction.
While the conference speakers and participants will be diverse, we're also working to bring farmers' voices — like Otieno's — into the conference with video clips from our partners in Nepal, Honduras, Rwanda and elsewhere, to explain what exactly it is that makes them love fruits and vegetables.
- Conference info: Colorful Harvest: From Feeding to Nourishing a Growing World
(Check the conference webpage for more videos and presentation info after the event.)
- White paper: Aligning the Food System to Meet Dietary Needs: Fruits and Vegetables
- More about the Horticulture Innovation Lab
- Author: Sean Nealon
The team, led by Samantha Ying, an assistant professor of environmental sciences at UC Riverside, received the grant from the University of California Office of the President.
The funding will allow for the establishment of the University of California Consortium for Drought and Carbon Management (UC DroCaM), which will design management strategies based on understanding soil carbon, the soil microbiome and their impact on water dynamics in soil.
The researchers will conduct field and lab research on microbiological, biophysical, and geochemical mechanisms controlling soil formation and stability under different row crops (tomatoes, alfalfa, wheat), farming practices (carbon inputs and rotations) and irrigation methods (furrow and flood, microirrigation).
Field research will initially be conducted at three UC Research and Extension Centers (Kearney, West Side and Desert) the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility near UC Davis.
Recommendations will then be made for broader monitoring and field experiments throughout the state based on input gained from local growers and citizens at workshops at the agricultural research stations. Ultimately, the hope is to expand and involve all nine research and extension centers from the Oregon border to the Mexican border.
“Having agricultural research stations throughout the state is a huge part of this project,” Ying said. “It is going to help us create one of the best research centers in the country focused on soil and drought.”
There is also a public engagement component. Citizens will be recruited to participate in workshops to learn how to monitor and sample their local soils. Information will then be imputed into an online soils database that will help create a map of the biodiversity of agricultural soils in California.
Ying's collaborators are: Kate Scow and Sanjai Parihk (UC Davis); Eoin Brodie and Margaret Torn (UC Berkeley); Asmeret Berhe and Teamrat Ghezzehei (UC Merced); and Peter Nico and William Riley (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory).
The grant is one of four awards totaling more than $4.8 million from University of California President Janet Napolitano's President's Research Catalyst Awards.